By Duduzile Ngwenya
We all have days where productivity isn’t anywhere near us, based on various factors. In this article, I will cover 10 ways which have worked for me and a few other testimonials.
Whichever tone you start your day with, determines the tone for your day. Create for yourself a morning routine that consists of tasks that make you feel good. My morning ritual includes prayer and music because those are the two things that I have found to lift my mood.
I am not a morning person, but in order for my day to start off with good energy, I engage in my routine as soon as my alarm goes off because my mind is still fresh and the negative thoughts (yes those will always be there), haven’t started overwhelming you. Should you get negative thoughts before you start your morning routine, deal with it first so the routine can work on a clean mind (see point no.6 on how to challenge your negative thoughts).
People are most productive at different times. I am mostly productive at night as I struggle to wake up early (it is however advised to be an early riser), so I do most of my work then. Take advantage of the time you’re mostly productive in, don’t coerce yourself to wake up early just because a certain percentage of people wake up early. It has to be what works for you.
Usually when you have a whole lot of tasks to complete in a day, you’re most likely to get overwhelmed to a point of forgetting some, if not most. That’s where a to-do list comes in. Even though it’s not so crucial to list your tasks in order of priority at first, having them written down will improve your productivity. You can write your to-do list the night before, so that when you wake up in the morning, you can kick off your day with the very first task. I personally love the feeling of ticking off a task I just completed, now imagine if I manage to tick off everything on my list by the end of the day? That’ll be worth a big piece of cake as my reward (see point no.9 on rewarding yourself for completed tasks)
Have a deadline for each task on your to-do list, this is to eliminate too many unnecessary breaks that make you unproductive at the end of the day. Always remember that setting up a realistic deadline for a task shouldn’t put you under bad pressure but should motivate you to complete the task so to move onto the next one.
Exercising does not only keep our bodies fit, but it also impacts concentration in a positive way. It does not have to be intense workouts, just moving your body (taking a walk, doing a few push-ups, squats or whichever exercises you prefer) will help your productivity. Not forgetting drinking enough water..
Never underestimate the importance of getting enough sleep. The whole “my sleeping pattern is a mess” trend is not cute and negatively impacts your productivity. If your time management skills are on point, you should be able to have time for work and time for sleep. Polish your time management skills in order to fit sleep on the priority list.
Here’s a few tips my coach gave me on how to have a soothing sleep:
Remove everything that distracts you from completing a task. Gadgets are usually distractive, I prefer working away from the internet and social media when I want to complete a task, because I get distracted easily. For some people, TV is a distraction, switch it off. Anything that tempts you to stop working, eliminate.
The first task to work on is the one you dread the most because you are more active and fresher in the morning. If responding to emails or social media replies isn’t tiresome or dreadful for you, then it shouldn’t be the first thing you do. Once you’ve completed the big task, you’ll feel motivated for the rest of the day.
If you’ve been contemplating finishing up that proposal, it’s worth a reward once you’ve completed it. It will motivate you to complete even more tasks. You can tell yourself that you won’t watch episode 1 of the 3rd season of that favourite series of yours, until you complete a certain task. It will be fulfilling to watch it then.
Lastly, remember that you are not a robot, you need breaks in between. The mind gets tired, and when that happens you can’t be productive; therefore, you need breaks in order to increase your productivity.
Those are the 10 ways I’ve used to increase my productivity, I hope they help you as well. Don’t hesitate to drop yours in the comment section.