How to plan for the most productive day ever. Don't we all wish there was a secret solution for the most productive day ever? Guess what, there is! In this post I'm going to walk you through, step by step on how to plan for the most productive day ever. Stay tuned to the end of this post because I've put a bonus together for you!
Being productive is usually something that we think about first thing in the morning and then, for whatever reason, your day ends up running you. Why not put a stop to that and learn how to run your day.
How to plan for the most productive day ever.
Let me know if this sounds familiar:
You wake up in the morning and you feel great. You say to yourself, "Wow I am going to get a lot done today!" You have every intention to be super productive. Then, for whatever reason time start passing and you've haven't gotten anything done. You look at the clock and it's 4 pm and still, nothing has gotten done. Your day has gotten away from you.
This used to be my day every single day...
Or, does this sound familiar:
You wake up in the morning and just know, I've got a ton of stuff to do today. You sit down and you fill out a list of everything that needs to get done. Then by noon you haven't even started the list because yep other things started piling up. Then by 5, it's time to start the evening stuff and you still haven't gotten to your to do list.
That used to be my day every single day...
Here's the thing that I learned.
If you want something you have to work for it.
Sound simple enough, right. Well, sure it does but, it can get discouraging and overwhelming.
It is all about setting priorities. If you want something bad enough, then you'll need to work for it.
You cannot sit on your butt and expect results.
Yes, you cannot sit on your butt and expect results, however, getting up and doing things is easier said than done, right?!
Some of the main reasons we end up not getting what we need to get done are because we just don't know where to start.
So what kind of things can you do?
First off, you know yourself better than anyone else.
Be productive by prioritizing your day.
When it come to being productive, what type of personality do you have? Ask your self these questions to figure out how you can set yourself up for success.
Are you a procrastinator? Do you wait until the very last minute to do something or just not do it at all?
Are you an accomplisher? Do you need to see mini wins throughout the day to continue?
Finally are you analytic? Do you need to know that you are working on the most important thing, always?
So why should you figure this out?
In order to be the most productive version of yourself, you will need to be realistic with how you are built.
Once you figure out how you are built, you can set your day up to work in your favor.
Procrastinators, listen up!
Have you heard the expression, eat the frog?
Don't worry, there were no frogs harmed in the making of this blog post.
What this means is, you will want to start out your day with the biggest, hardest, and/or most undesirable tasks first. This way you are getting them out of the way for the other things you are more willing to do.
For instance, it is your cleaning day and you HATE cleaning the toilets your best bet is to clean those toilets first so they are done and out of the way for the other tasks.
If you have a giant project due and there are one or two tasks that you are cringing at the thought of doing, get those tasks done first and then it's easy sailing from then on.
Sounds easy enough right!
Hey accomplishers, it's your turn!
Accomplishers require the need to know that they are accomplishing something. However, they may be working on those not so necessary tasks.
Have you heard the expression filling the pickle jar?
Basically, accomplishers will fill the pickle jar with sand, then when it comes to filling the jar with the rocks and pebbles, there is no room.
The sand being those unnecessary tasks, the pebbles being the more important tasks, and the rocks being the most important task.
So what you will want to do is start off by filling your pickle jar with those rocks. Pick 3 big tasks first.
Then fill the jar with pebbles. Meaning once those important tasks are complete fill your day with the middle importance tasks.
Finally, fill the jar with the sand. This is filling the rest of your day with those unnecessary tasks that usually fill your day.
You will notice so much more will get done if you start your day with those big tasks first.
Don't worry analytics, I didn't forget about you!
Since you need to know you are working on the most important thing always. Most of your time is wasted by worry about this.
Have you heard of working in quadrants?
What you will want to do is pull out a piece of paper, draw a big box on the paper and divide it into 4 portions.
Urgent and important. This will be the box that you start your day off with.
Important but not urgent. This will be the box that you will be able to get to later.
Urgent but not important. This will be the box that you will want to finish second.
Not urgent or important. This will be the last thing you do.
Try starting your day with this, then you will know that you are working on the most important thing always.
Now that you have figured out how to prioritize your day, now what?
Be productive by removing those distractions!
How the heck can you expect to get anything done when you are being interrupted or distracted throughout the day?
What is something you can do to remove those distractions?
The first one is probably the easiest to do but is rarely done.
Turn off your phone. Your cell phone can be turned off or set on do not disturb. Your office phone can also be set to do not disturb.
Do you really need to check Twitter every 10 minutes?
Do you really need to check Facebook every 10 minutes?
How about your email?
If you are working on a project, the distraction will only take you longer to finish. It takes between 5-10 minutes to completely become focused on the task at hand.
If you are able to close the door to your office, do it!
I've written an in-depth post about multitasking distractions that you can read all about
Close all unnecessary window and tabs on your computer. There is no reason to have your email window or tab open. You will just be tempted to check your email every time one comes in.
If you are overwhelmed with your email, I wrote a step by step instruction on how to create a zero inbox in under an hour that you can read all about
Be productive by setting time limits.
Do you know how much time tasks take you?
I used to just work on things for hours and not even realize where the time had gone.
This is what I want you to do when you have prioritized your day and you start working on your first task, set a timer for either 30 or 45 minutes.
You will work without distractions, multitasking, and only on that task for your allotted time.
Google 30-minute timer or 45-minute timer. Press start and start working away. Once the timer has gone off, you have a decision to make. You will either stop, take a break, then start again. Or if you are still in the groove, you will start the timer for 15 minutes less than what you started with.
For instance, if you set the timer for 45 minutes and you are in a groove, then set the timer for 30 minutes and get back into it.
If you set the timer for 30 minutes and you are in a groove, then set the timer for 15 minutes and get back into it.
When you finish that second block of time, stop and take a break!
Which brings me to my next tip.
Be productive by taking breaks!
How often do you take breaks?
This is something that I was guilty of. I would work and work and work. By the end of the day my brain had enough. However, I felt like I need to push myself more.
The problem was I was not allowing myself to refuel.
I was only burning myself out.
Don't feel guilty for taking breaks! We need to recover.
I try to take a few mini breaks through out the day, a few longer breaks, and one long break.
Once you start setting a timer for yourself and the 30 or 45 minutes are up and you feel like you need a break. Take 5 minutes and get up and remove yourself from what you are doing. After those 5 minutes you will feel refreshed and ready to go.
You will also want to take a few long breaks. These breaks will be about 15-20 minutes. Get up and go for a walk, watch TV, or read. Whatever it is just remove yourself from what you are working on.
Your long break will be your "lunch" break. I do not recommend having your lunch break at your desk.
Go somewhere else.
If you do not have a break room, go outside. If it is raining, go to your car. Just find a place that you are not tempted to "return to work".
Your brain will thank you for it.
Be productive by setting a morning routine.
Do you have a clear set morning routine?
Do you wing it every morning?
Your mornings are the time of the day that you can actually set yourself up for the most success.
Here are some examples of things you can do:
- Mental visualizations
Start your mornings off before everyone else. This way you are not distracted by what you want to accomplish.
Your morning routine should start out by prepping your mind for the day.
Be selfish with your mornings. This should be your "me" time.
I wake up about an hour to an hour and a half (depending on when the family wakes up) before everyone else.
I take this time to enjoy the quiet home, read, meditate, journal, and exercise. I finish off my morning routine with affirmations and daily mental visualizations.
By the time I've finished, it's time to get the family ready for the day.
Remember, you need your "me" time to stay productive.
As I call it don't always live in "have to land".
What I mean by that is all day every day having to do something.
You will burn yourself out quickly!
Be productive by setting an evening routine.
This is going to be a little different than your morning routine.
This is a time to plan for tomorrow.
The best way to do this creates a list of things that need to be done for tomorrow to be successful.
Here are some examples:
- Prep your coffee for the morning (I'm a coffee addict so this is always on the top of my list!).
- Create your to do list for the next day.
- Pack lunches for the next day.
- Prep breakfast for the morning.
- Lay out clothes for tomorrow.
- Do a quick pick up of the house.
These are tasks that will save you time in the morning so you are not rushing to get your stuff done and get out the door.
I wrote this post about how to set yourself up for a less stressful morning.
Less stress=more productivity.
The last thing that is required for your evening routine is unplugging for the evening. Set an unplug time for yourself.
This should be set about 15 minutes before you go to bed.
Be selfish with this time!
Why is it so important?
You are calming your mind and preparing for sleep.
A well-rested mind is a productive mind.
So, 15 minutes before you go to bed unplug and only engage in calming activities.
Some examples are:
- Writing in a journal
These activities are calming and allowing yourself to wind down so you will have an awesome night sleep.
Be productive my setting a daily schedule.
Are you a scheduled person?
How do you expect to be productive without a schedule?
If you do not have a clearly defined schedule, you will become overwhelmed, unorganized, and stressed.
Here's what you do:
- Figure out what time you will be waking up.
- Plan out your morning routine.
- Set up a morning schedule of everything that needs to be done before you and the family leave for the day and schedule it.
- Create your schedule for each day of the week (this does not have to be set in stone, leaving time in your days is perfectly normal. These are things that will be added the night before when you are planning your day). However, you will want to create an outline of what your Mondays, Tuesday, etc. will look like.
- Plan out your evening schedule. What type of things that will be done on any given evening. For example, do you have a soccer night? Grocery night? Things like this need to be added to your schedule.
- Plan your evening routine.
- Schedule your unplug time.
- Create a bedtime. (I know you are not 5 anymore, but sleep is so important.)
I suggest creating a schedule in excel or google sheets. Start the day with what time you decide to wake up and create your schedule in 15-minute intervals.
For example, if you plan on waking up at 5 am, your schedule will start at 5:00 then 5:15, 5:30, and so on until you hit your bed time.
Do this for each day of the week.
You can create a daily schedule or a weekly schedule, it is up to you.
Then once you have created your schedule it is time to print it out. If you have blank spaces (which I hope you do), you can fill these in the night before when you are planning your day.
Whew, wow that was a lot!
Do you think you can remember it all?
Don't worry, I will not leave you hanging like that!
Hey, do you remember at the beginning of this post I said I've put together a bonus for you? I created the time saving busy mom workbook. Inside this workbook there are my top 8 tips that any busy mom can implement that will save her time. Each tip does come with a worksheet so you can create your own game plan.
Click the button below to download the workbook now.
What type of things do you do to keep up with your productivity? I would love to hear all about it in the comments below!
Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to read this, your support means so much.