It doesn’t matter what you do for work, how much you have going on in your personal life, where you live, or how old you are.
We all have the around the same amount of hours in the day. Taking into account those who sleep less, or more.
It’s how you use your time that makes all the difference. Whether your only concern is going to work, then relaxing in the evening. Or, running an incredibly busy multi-million dollar company – being productive is a great way to manage your time.
By managing your time and being more productive, you give yourself the opportunity to do more.
Time is the most valuable asset we all have, whether you appreciate that or not right now.
What you choose to do with your time is up to you. I’m sure you’ll find something.
Here are 10 practical tips for a more productive day:
Map out Your Week Every Sunday
I have a habit of planning out my week, month, and some longer-term goals. Not obsessively, and the list is certainly flexible. But it’s a great habit to have if you want to be more productive
I sit down on Sunday evenings and make a note of all the things I need to do in the coming week. Then I slot the tasks into the days they fit best into, taking advantage of any opportunities to join up tasks that complement each other.
Try and get any urgent tasks out of the way first, don’t put them off and risk stressing yourself out if something comes up.
The goal here is to create some structure for your week. If you always know where and when you’re going somewhere, it makes your day flow a lot better.
Reserve Time Slots in Your Weekly Plan
Block out time slots in your calendar to do some things that you know need to be done, but are not sure how long they will take. Reserve slots for yourself, write them in as ‘reserved’, and do what you want in those slots.
If you don’t make time for yourself your calendar will fill up and you’ll struggle to fit in some time for yourself.
Be Realistic with Your List
The worst thing you can do is end up with more to do in a day than is possible. All of a sudden you have a backlog, or tasks flowing over to the next day. If you think something is going to take between 45-60 minutes, set 60 minutes aside.
Any tasks you finish early are a bonus. This helps you ignore distracts too when you know that you have a certain amount of time. There are some decent phone apps to help you monitor time and to-do lists etc.
Draw a Line, and Stick to It
A while back i found that any meetings lasting longer than 30 minutes were becoming more and more unproductive. Someone gave me the advice, ”set 30 minute time slots per meeting, you’ll find you always fit everything in”.
They were right. There is a law, named Parkinsons Law, and it states “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. It couldn’t be truer in this case, and applies to a lot of what is discussed.
Stop Trying to Multitask
Multitasking isn’t exactly what most people make it out to be. If you’re multitasking, you are diluting your concentration. How many tasks can you say that it doesn’t really matter if you concentrate on?
Multitasking kills productivity. You’re much better off having laser-focus on the task in hand, doing a great job you can be proud of, then moving on to the next. Don’t do several things just ok, do everything to the best of your ability.
Leverage Your Travel Time
I have had jobs with a two hours each way commute. Looking back, that was pretty crazy and I would do everything in my power to avoid that again. It was quite a few years ago too and I didn’t have a laptop to use on the train.
With today’s age of technology, there is no excuse to do nothing with travel time. If you’re on a train I’m sure there is something you could be typing up, or reading. If you’re driving are there any calls you could take? Or many use voice recognition to record some notes.
Track Your Time
There are some productivity apps or programs for computers that help track your time. This can be a real eye opener. I think part of procrastinating is not knowing that you’re actually are. Having a tracker point this out really helped me refocus.
Take this opportunity to work at changing any bad habits that are holding you back too.
Use Your Lunch Breaks Productively
Lunch doesn’t have to take the hour you are allotted by your company, if that is indeed how long you get. Sure, you need to recharge and have something to eat, but think about other things you could be doing to increase your productivity.
You don’t have to work necessarily. You could make plans for the rest of the week, catch up with friends, or read. Using my lunch breaks made a big difference to how productive my week is.
Start the Day with a Spring in Your Step
If you start the day the right way, the rest of the day will follow. Everyone has different ways to get off to the ideal start, but if you’re not living a healthy lifestyle now is the time to start. Feel and living healthily helps you out in so many other ways, and will make you more productive.
I like to get up early, get a 30 minute exercise session in, have a brief meditation session too if possible. Then, start my day. This makes all the difference and is a process a lot of successful entrepreneurs follow.
Don’t Neglect Family Time
I thought it worth pointing this out. Transforming yourself into the ultimate productivity machine doesn’t mean losing sight of what’s important. In fact, you should be freeing up a lot more time, so why not spend it with your family.
After all, that’s why most of us work, right? To provide for our families, so being there to spend time with them too is the greatest gain of being successful.
I have you have found some practical tips for a more productive day here.
Not everyone works in the same ways, or can make the same changes. So figure out what works for you.
It a great feeling when things are working like a well-oiled machine. Having more time to spend with family, work on side-projects, or pursue self-development.
I wish you all the best. If you have any other tips that you’d like to share, please do. Otherwise, enjoy your new found time freed up from being more productive.
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.