5 Tips for a Productive Day

Our days are filled with overflowing to-do lists and not enough time to get it done.  However, with a few simple changes, it is possible to make the best use of our time and get a lot accomplished in an average day.  Here are 5 tips to help you make the most of your day.

1. Plan your day

The most productive days are usually ones that are structured and have an outline.  Take a notepad and a pen (or an app) and write down all the things you have to get done that day.  Try to keep your list short with only about 5 – 7 items.  This will keep you from being overwhelmed and let you concentrate on the tasks that absolutely have to be done by the end of the day.

2. Combine like tasks

Organize your to-do list, combining similar tasks and allotting chunks of time for each set.  For example, allocate 30 minutes for all the calls you have to make or 15 minutes for all the bills you have to pay online.   The logic behind this is that it’s easier to focus on similar tasks for a short period of time.

3. Eat the frog first

This concept is based on the book “Eat That Frog” and is a metaphor for tackling the day’s most challenging task.  For example, if you dread working on a book draft, by working on it first, you avoid procrastination and get it done early.  This also leaves you with lighter tasks to complete during the rest of the day.

4. Focus on the task

In order to be productive, it is essential that you tune out all distractions and completely focus on the task at hand.  If you are working on the computer, unplug the internet so you are not tempted to browse aimlessly.  If you have to work online, close out all browser tabs except the one you are working on, so you don’t get any notifications that may distract you.

5. Reward yourself

After you have worked for a predetermined period of time, reward yourself with a break and do something you enjoy.  For example, after working on your website for 2 hours, give yourself a 30 minute break to get a coffee and catch up on your reading.  Use a timer if you must, to track the length of your break.  When the timer rings, reset it for the amount of time you need to focus on your work again before your next break.

This list is not exhaustive, but it has proved effective time and time again.  It is important to make sure your day is not crammed with too much to do with too little time.  With proper planning it is possible to work smarter (not necessarily harder) and make the most of your day.

Do you have any more tips to add?  How do you work towards a productive day?