So you probably ask yourself “how to be more productive” almost weekly or daily right? Most people do, I ask myself all the time. Being productive feels good at the end of the day, knowing that you worked on your goal, business, yourself or spend some quality time with the people you love, is the meaning of life right? I feel like crap when I just waste a whole day doing nothing, sleeping till late (you know sometimes when you over sleep a lot, and when you wake up you feel like shit.) eating bad food and giving in to bad habits all day long. When the day is over and right before I go to bed I feel like I was “robbed” from my time, by me! This is time that I will never get back, I didn’t do anything productive and I didn’t enjoy myself, a complete waste of a day in my mind.
If you have the same problem and hate wasting your time doing nothing, I will share with you how I overcome this problem, these 4 easy steps helped me to become crazy productive in the last 9 months (and counting). It’s not that complicated and you probably have heard all of these stuff before, but here is a quick reminded and some personal experiences.
Here is the 4 steps I took in order to become more productive in my daily life.
#1 Create a daily “To Do List”
A “to do list” is the easiest and most effective way to keep track of the things that you need to do. I highly recommend doing a daily list instead of an overall “to do list”. I used to do a list with the tasks that I needed to do, the problem was that some of the tasks ware things that I needed to do today and some of the tasks ware things that needed to be completed a month from now. The list was becoming increasingly long, because whatever popes in to my head I just wrote it down, it was a complete mess, and it’s much easy to say “ah I will do that tomorrow” when you have a list of 50 things to do.
If you go with the overall list you will find yourself procrastinating, not completing the tasks that are most urgent and most likely will be overwhelmed and discouraged by the sheer number of things that need to be done. Go with a daily to do list, like I do.
I usually create a “personal” and “business/work” “to do list” every day. I have a notepad (with those little rings on the side, so it’s easy to rip the page when it’s full) and I create my lists there. I have around 3-4 tasks that I need to do everyday (currently those activities are; write and work on my upcoming book, write and research topics for my blog, work on my clothing line and read a few pages from a book) even though it’s always the same and it’s repetitive I put them in the list everyday.
If you have a few activities that you need to do everyday, prepare your lists in advance. I usually do two weeks in advance and I leave empty space for the rest of the activities that will come up. Or if you don’t want to prepare so many days in advance, at the end of the day when you finish with your lists create the list for tomorrow and leave space for the new things that will come up.
If you want you can create a “long-term to do list”. Put all the tasks that you need to complete in the next 3-12 months. If you are a person that likes more details, you can even create a long-term 3-6-9-12 months list.
I’m really urging you to start creating a “to do list” this is the easiest way and the first step towards being more organised.
#2 Prioritize the tasks from the list
Did you create your “to do” list? You did! Good job!
Now you need to very carefully, prioritize the tasks in that list. Don’t pick a random task and then another one and another. Every day we have a limited around of time, physical and mental power. You cannot do everything and by the end of the day most likely you will be physically and mentally exhausted. My recommendation is to always start with the most difficult and most important task first. Once you complete the task that requires the most energy and brain power, then the rest of the tasks will seem easier and easier.
I personally like to complete the most difficult and important ones first, because if I leave them for last, I have this constant anxiety of that difficult task coming and that drives me crazy, I also fear that by the time I finish with all the easier tasks and the time comes for the difficult one, I will have no energy and brain power left to actually do a good job.
I will give you an example of some of the most important tasks that I’m doing at the moment. From my business/work list the most important and brain power consuming task is; writing and working on my new book. It takes a lot of time and effort and especially when I have to write daily it’s not easy, some days I don’t “feel” like it. But I do it anyways because consistency is super important for productivity. Oh yeah and the fact that it’s a history book is not helping either, a lot of time goes in to research and fact checking. For my personal list, the most important thing that I do three-time a week is to go to the gym. It takes time and physical effort, and sometime I’m too tired to go, but hey it needs to be done.
#3 Allocate an amount of time each day for work and manage your free time
I think that this step is very important because time management is something we don’t think about that often, we really care if someone stole £10 from our pocket, but what if someone stole one hour of our time by wasting it with non-sense. We don’t take time management as serious as we should. That’s why I want to emphasise how important managing one of the most precious resources is.
I usually like to do my work in “bulk”, I allocate 3-4 hours of uninterrupted working time each day, sit down and do everything from my business/work “to do list” and then from my personal list. This is how I like to do it, everyone is different if it’s easy for you to do maybe 30 minutes, 7-8 times during different times of the day that’s up to you, whatever works for you. But make sure you put some time aside, allocate uninterrupted time each day, I recommend try to do all your work at the same hours every day, see your schedule and daily lifestyle and think where you have the time (or make the time) to do your work and your personal tasks.
If you have a 9-5 job (like most people do, including me) then it will be a bit more difficult and exhausting for you, especially if you run a business and have a lot of side project going on. After you finish your regular job than you must start working on your own project for a few hours, it’s not easy and it will be very frustrating at times (talking from experience). So that means that you will have to be even more organised with your time and energy, because you will be tired and short on time.
Here is some practical advice that you can use:
Let’s say you work from 9 to 5. You get back home at around 6. When you come back home give yourself one hour in which you will have to take a quick shower and eat. After that your “second” working day starts, that means that from 7 to 10-11 you will work on your business, projects or your personal tasks. If you work part-time even better, or if you have different shifts every week you will have to manage your time in different ways, see what works for you, but the point is that you need to have a “second” working day that starts a bit after you finish your regular job. I think this is the only way you can have that dream business, write that novel you always wanted to, become an artist, learn a new language or invest in your health and hit the gym consistently. It doesn’t matter what your goal is, this system works for everything.
#4 Just do it!
I know this sounds super simple and a bit of a cliché, but this is the best way I can summoner it. Just Do It!
Whenever you start doing something (especially if its something new) , starting a business, going to the gym, writing a book or starting a new diet you will have a boost of motivation, energy and adrenaline at the beginning, but (in most cases) that initial rush will go away in a few weeks. Then all you go to run on is discipline and determination. That’s why I’m not a believer of doing something when you’re in the “mood” or when the “inspiration” comes to you. I’m a believer that when you made a commitment to business, project, people or a new lifestyle you need to stick to it everyday, even if you’re not in the “mood” for it.
If you want to write a book, well, write a book! Sit down every day, and set a time limit or the amount of writing you will do each day. When you make a commitment and you want to achieve something you stick to it, even if you don’t “feel” like it. Do you know how many times I don’t want to write and work on my new book? 70% of the times! Do you know how many time I don’t want to write and work on the website your on right now, 70% of the times! I prefer to watch sports and eat ice-cream instead of doing this, but I’ve made a commitment to myself and to all my readers. I also do it because this is what I want to do overall, I may not feel like it in the moment, but overall I know it’s beneficial for me and for you, that’s why I do it.
Set some time aside, specify the amount of work you need to do each day, and start doing it. Even if the inspiration and the creativity isn’t there. Eventually it will come and you will create a habit of doing the work even if you don’t feel like it.
Just Do It!
If you need some motivation how to get started, why not check out my 1st book – Just Do It – Damn It by; Mike Yanek
If you are bored and you have nothing to do, why not get some great ideas from here – 13 Very productive things to do when you’re bored
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