No matter how much you hate it, your day-to-day activities could be a success only if you admit that there is always a difference between a busy day and a productive day.
7 Key Ways to Plan Your Work for a Productive Day
You might be a busy bee buried in work all day with much less actual work done, or you could be a smart and efficient planner acing at your work without much distress. Well, the essence and the difference lies in one simple word – Planning.
The good thing is, none of the day-to-day planning ideas take more than 10-15 minutes to execute. Read through this list of simple and easy-to-do activities that not only make your day a little brighter but are the key to a productive day.
How to have a productive day: A 7 step guide
Pen down the tasks
This is one productivity tip that you can find almost everywhere, and it’s all worth it. Writing things down not only helps you to physically chalk out what you intend to do but also helps you to de-clutter your thought process.
Renowned productivity coach David Allen in his book “Getting Things Done”, talks about his productivity tactic called “core dump”, which involves writing every single thing that you seek to accomplish through the day.
Right from buying milk and groceries, to scheduling tasks for an important project at work- jotting things down in your notepad or virtually is a great hack to get started on the right note.
This process significantly helps you to be decisive and reduce your mental tensions. It clears your mind for better and more important thoughts and results in increased productivity.
Once you have all the tasks listed, the next step should be prioritizing them diligently and intelligent identification of tasks will enable you to have a near-perfect balance between life and work. You can make an all-in-one to-do list or can try making two separate lists for work and daily life tasks, and assign separate time slots for them.
Either way, you should always classify your tasks based on urgency and significance. Further, you can decide to do, delegate or dismiss the tasks. Needless to say, this is a decision pattern that’s suitable at work, and not for tasks of personal nature.
There is a simple specimen that you can follow.
- Urgent and Important: Delegate if possible. Else do it yourself.
- Non-urgent and Important: Do it yourself. Such tasks are learning opportunities and add value to you and the organization you work for.
- Urgent and Unimportant: Delegate to someone worthy and efficient. Else dismiss.
- Non-urgent and Unimportant: Dismiss at once!
Lastly, keep a maximum of 3 high-priority tasks on your daily list. Keep it manageable. The accomplishment of these tasks gives you a greater sense of achievement.
Tackle the trickiest first
The next piece of advice comes straight from the literary great Mark Twain, who literally said “if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that is probably the worst thing that can happen to you all day.”
And well, who can deny the man himself! Performing the trickiest and the most challenging tasks first helps you to have a sense of authority and relieves you mentally as all the pending tasks have lesser complexity thereafter.
This way, the tasks can be completed with a relaxed state of mind and without throwing yourself into chaos.
Enable quick communication
While asynchronous communication is very much a part of a workday at the office, it is important that you adopt channels that can facilitate quick communication during emergencies. For instance, it makes sense to schedule a quick video call to your colleague if all you need is his/her two cents on an urgent deliverable.
Similarly, it is appropriate to consider face-to-face conversations over email if you have too many questions about a specific task. This will reduce the back and forth swinging over emails and will result in prompt clarification.
Automate the tasks
With the advancement in technology, there are a bunch of recurring tasks at work that could be easily automated and your schedule can be hence optimized. From scheduling meetings and appointments to setting reminders and getting follow-ups – let technology do the hard work for you.
According to a survey, professionals spend almost 4.8 hours per week scheduling meetings. Whereas there are a number of productivity apps, scheduling software, kiosk software, and calendar management software, that can conveniently automate these tasks.
It’s always a good idea to adopt automation at work and shred some burden off your shoulders.
As much as it’s important to work, it is equally important to take breaks at regular intervals. A number of fatigue studies conducted all across the globe testify that humans have a specified attention span within which they can be active and attentive.
Beyond that, everyone needs a breather. Interestingly, taking breaks doesn’t just help you to restore your energies but also results in enhanced creative thinking. Breaks give the much-needed reboot time to your brain and let your creative juices flow afterward!
Despite an excellent plan, many projects end up getting substandard outcomes. And as we analyze further, it’s often concluded that the plan wasn’t executed as expected. Similarly, no matter how well you plan your day, if you don’t have the tenacity and focus to make it a reality, the whole exercise will lose its essence.
Once the tasks are decided and you are at work, it is of utmost significance that you overlook all the distractions that come your way.
And the distractions could come in all shapes and sizes. From unnecessary meetings to unwanted calls and even random mobile notifications.
To address this, the lockdown apps may come to your rescue. The lockdown apps are embedded with the application locking mechanism, which locks certain apps and even stops notifications for a stipulated time.
Additionally, not being able to access an otherwise tempting/ distracting app will eventually discourage you to use it during working hours. This will significantly improve your focus and will make you more attentive.
It must be clear after the read that there could be a fairly simple answer to the question of “How to have a productive day”. And the listed points are few among the many productivity hacks that you can adopt to make your day (and your life in general) much more productive.
But more importantly, all you need to have is a productive and proactive mindset, that acts as a driving force for you to lead a better life. And as they say, the rest will follow.