We often come to work with ambitious plans, but often have no time for them. We are dragged into the whirlpool of meetings, conferences, calls, and emails. The most vital tasks remain unrealized and we come home with a defeat. But this vicious circle can be broken out. You can learn how to have a productive day with the help of 5 principles.
But first, let’s define what we call productive day!
And what is it?
It is the day which leaves satisfaction with the achieved results:
- work started and was finished on time;
- the most significant tasks of the day were solved;
- important meetings were held;
- at the end of the working day, you are not exhausted – you still have the strength and time to talk with your family, devote your time to a hobby, read or watch something interesting.
Sort out priorities right
The Eisenhower Matrix can be of help here. It is one of the time management methods for determining the priorities of daily tasks. The matrix looks like four squares, which are obtained by crossing the axes “Important – Unimportant” horizontally and “Urgent – Not urgent” vertically.
- Not important and not urgent. Everything is simple with it. Those tasks can be delayed and nothing terrible will happen.
- Urgent and important issues should be completed immediately. Maybe your career depends on them.
- Urgent and unimportant can often be your source of stress and anxiety and often make us working in the mode of constant and continual respond.
- Important but non-urgent tasks should be our priority. However, urgent matters often steal the show. If the task doesn’t presuppose deadline we will delay it till the crack of the doom. So set the deadline and do not dare to postpone it!
Set aside some time for deep dive into work
The digital world constantly distracts us from work. That undermines our ability to think clearly and generate creative ideas. The cure for this is “deep” work which presupposes the total concentration on the one problem during the extended period of time without any distractions. For instance? university teacher-researcher can dedicate autumn term to teaching and the spring one to scientific work. During the first term he will focus on working with students, and the second one he will get rid of the odd contacts and will totally plunge into researches.
Moreover, inelastic time-table can help you to introduce deep work into your life. Set the schedule for yourself which will provide the ideal work and rest balance, do your best to follow it. You will have to give up procrastination and carefully select the tasks which you will solve and the results will earn its keep.
If you are not ready with it yet, start with the Pomodoro Technique: set the timer for 25 minutes and focus on the one task during some time without distracting. when the timer signals that the time is over, take a pause and repay yourself all the toil. Continue working according to this technique until you finish the task.
Avoid buzz sessions
Meetings and conferences are the bitter enemies of deep work, cause they take us out of the focus state. After the meeting, it takes us a long time to go back to work. What is more, sometimes we even do not start the execution of some projects cause we know that we will have to interrupt the work at the very height because we have to go to the meeting. So always remember about the price of the buzz sessions and ask yourself whether you really need them.
Learn how to recharge your energy
To achieve maximum results, you need to learn how to replenish physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energy. A healthy diet, healthy sleep, and exercise will help you to maintain physical energy. To maintain emotional energy, learn to cope with the hit-and-run mechanism. Maintain mental energy by focusing on the tasks that matter most in the long run. To maintain spiritual energy find some sense in your work. People who manage to do this, better concentrate on the tasks and demonstrate greater perseverance in achieving their goals.
Little advice: Provide in the schedule of rest for both soul and body (daily office physical exercises, for instance. And do not neglect these pauses. Do not be tempted to “finish the job as quickly as possible without interruptions.” All that you get in the end is severe fatigue, headache and inability to work further. If you ignore the signals of exhaustion, it will be even worse. Having come home, you will fall on the sofa and spend the evening completely useless. So take care of yourself!
Start with the unpleasant tasks
It happens that unpleasant tasks hang on your agenda for a long time and negate all your productivity. Train yourself to do repulsive things as quickly as possible. If the first thing you do in the morning is to get your repelling chores done, it will help you feel like a winner and will bring you energy for effective work. In addition, you will stop thinking about this unpleasant task over and over again, which will remove the extra cognitive load and give you the opportunity to successfully perform other tasks and have a better rest.
Now, you know how to make your day productive. Of course, these 5 principles of a perfectly efficient day will help you to optimize your working process and get better results. But there is one thing that is more essential, it is the very start. You have probably heard that the most productive time of the day is morning. It may be unnecessary to explain why the day will be more successful if you get up on time and come to work on time. Lack of haste allows you to start the day calmly, without stress, to cheer yourself up with your breakfast, to come to work on time, avoiding catching up for being late. Well, if you have a couple of mins to spend, look into the plan and calmly proceed with your duties. Maybe that’s why millionaires, who are self-made, came to the office before anyone else. Not only to show that they have been working the longest, but also to avoid unpleasant, exhausting stress at the very start of your day.
Good luck with it!