These days, productivity and time management have gained a lot of importance.
Despite what you might hear, productivity isn’t something that can be measured in a universal way. For example, for a farmer, a productive day might be one in which he waters his crops, whereas, for a YouTuber, it is one in which he can answer his followers’ comments.
So, before you start downloading all the planner apps out there, and lose your sleep watching lifestyle videos, keep something in mind: the meaning of productivity is different for everyone. Regardless, if you understand you should be managing your time better, and you feel like you want to do more in your day, by all means, you must work towards it.
However, instead of trying to do it all at once, incorporate activities little by little in your routine. This way, you’ll be able to create new habits without feeling overwhelmed. Here are some tips to increase productivity on a daily basis that won’t overload your agenda.
1. Write at least three things you would like to do
Crowding your to-do lists, calendars and planners with online courses, exercise, cleaning, work, and self-care all at once will probably result in missed tasks and ignored reminders. Instead of trying to change your habits overnight, try taking some time before bed to write down at least three things you would like to do the next day; things you are looking forward to.
You could either write them on your phone or a notebook. Increase the number of tasks as you get used to doing them.
2. Don’t “just” watch TV
A lot of people say watching TV is a waste of time… Well, I don’t see it that way. It all depends on what you are watching and the reason behind it. For example, watching the news and documentaries are ways of expanding our social, cultural, and political understanding. Similarly, seeing historical or life inspired movies serve as illustrations that help us learn about events, phenomenons, and stories that occurred in the past.
Even a common movie is beneficial if its purpose is to unite the family to spend quality time. There is no harm in watching TV as long as you aren’t employing all your time mindlessly in it.
3. Don’t overthink it, do it
Let’s face it. There will be certain tasks you won’t feel like doing: exercising, calling someone, doing the groceries… You won’t always feel motivated to do everything that must be done. Nevertheless, what needs to be done, needs to be done. Procrastinating won’t get you anywhere and the chances are, you won’t feel at ease knowing you are delaying a task.
Hence, try to finish those chores you hate early in the day. Don’t overthink them. If you skip them, you’ll end up feeling frustrated and ashamed. Sometimes, discipline must replace our feelings and moods.
4. Eliminate distractions
You have heard this before. Some chores require a higher level of concentration, like studying, reading, or writing an email. Consequently, it is vital that when you are doing them, you put your phone away, close the Facebook tab, and turn the TV off. These are distractions that will end up delaying your to-do’s for hours.
Next thing you know, you’ve been only through two pages of a chapter or you missed the deadline for sending that email. Try to designate a period for these duties, use a timer if necessary. Turn off everything that might distract you.
5. Keep it short
There are multiple daily activities that might be consuming your time without you realizing it. Of course, social media is at the top of this list. Yet, there are other things like bathing, napping, watching TV and cleaning in which we invest more time than needed, as a consequence of not keeping track of it.
To avoid this, you should use a timer to maximize your day. You could use the Pomodoro Technique, which consists of setting a timer to do chores in lapses of 25 minutes.
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6. Analyze your behaviors
The easiest way to become more productive is by analyzing our behaviors. After you think about what you wish to change, you must evaluate what’s keeping you from doing so. What takes most of your time? What makes you get distracted easily? Which are the things that you must do but don’t like? Understanding where our weaknesses lie helps us to deal with them.
Moreover, at the end of each day make sure to revise your list so you can see how much you did of what you wrote the day before. Celebrate your achievements and work on your failures.
7. Breaks are necessary
Yes, productivity is important. Nonetheless, your mental and physical health is too. Creating a “productive” routine that won’t even allow you to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee is detrimental. Potentially, it will result in a mental breakdown. Make sure to separate time for leisure and rest.
There are hundreds of articles and tutorials out there that can help you to become more productive. Regardless, when it comes to productivity and creating new habits, you must start little by little. Trying to change your habits suddenly will exhaust you before you see any results.
Therefore, start doing little things. Read an article, walk your dog, wash your car, exercise one or two days a week… Remember, productivity is different for everyone. If today you only managed to do one item from your list, it is still an achievement to be proud of.