Get More Done Every Day
In a world full of meaningless distractions, it's essential that we reclaim our own agenda in order to get more done and be more productive. It's so easy to base our entire day around the demands of other people; how many times a day do you check your email inbox for new messages from other people, making new demands on your time? It's time to take ownership of your day!
Isn't that a little selfish? Maybe, but that's ok. We spend so much of our time worrying about what other people need from us. What about what we need to get done for ourselves? Getting back to our own personal goals is empowering, gives us a greater charge of enthusiasm for life, and gives us the gift of control. Working this way to increase productivity gives us a stronger internal sense of clarity, confidence and courage, and firs our commitment and energy to engage with others and influence the greater community. Ultimately, when we feel more in command of our own destinies, we are also better equipped to serve the needs of others.
I'll outline a few simple practises to help you be more productive and get back on track with your own goals. These are things you can start doing immediately and see the results after just a short while. All of these productivity tools are inspired by high performance guru Brandon Burchard, author of the best-sellers The Charge: Activating the 10 Human Drives That Make You Feel Alive and The Millionaire Messenger: Make a Difference and a Fortune Sharing Your Advice., who has dedicated his life to studying what makes high achievers tick; this plan is based on years of research into the commonalities of highly motivated and successful people.
Increasing productivity at the start of the day
The first thing to do in the morning is not to head straight for the laptop and check your inbox. That can wait. We are at our most productive when we start the day with an energised focus to get the body going. So how do we achieve this? For each person it will be slightly different, but starting the morning with enthusiasm and sparking the energy required for the rest of the day is essential. Perhaps you find that going for a long run gets you going? Or even a steady walk? For others it might be a few lengths at the pool, or even a long hot shower. We can't expect the mind to work coherently without first enlivening the body.
Once you have that sense of energy in your body, it's time to ask yourself a couple of questions;
- What am I excited about today?
- or, if nothing in the day ahead excites you; What can I create to be excited about today?
If you start with this feeling of optimism you are on the right track. Enthusiasm and optimism create happiness. Have something to look forward to in the day ahead. If you take away your vision for your own personal future, you are on the road to depression.
- What am I grateful for in my life today?
This will be different for each person, but by recounting all the things you feel grateful for, you are opening yourself up to the universe. Spirituality and a sense of thankfulness fuel your positivity and act as a wonderful inspiration to be more productive.
- What am I committed to making happen today no matter what?
Ask yourself the things you need to make happen in order to work towards your goals.
Now drink lots of water and eat a healthy breakfast.
To be more productive, plan, plan, plan
This is the key productivity tool and the one that will ensure that you get everything done successfully if you use it well.
- Take a sheet of paper and divide it into three sections. Give each section a title; Projects, People, Priorities. This is what we'll call your 'Productivity Page'.
List all the projects you are working on. Limit it to 5, as anything over this can feel overwhelming.
Under each project name, list three simple things you need to get done to advance that particular project. This is not a daily TO DO list as some of the things will be too big to get done in one day and will need to be divided into smaller chunks.
For example, if your first project was to write and publish a new book, your three things might be;
- Write book
- Sign with agent
- Create a promotion plan
It is clear that all of this cannot be achieved in a day! This section acts as a reminder of what is important to you at this point in your life; the projects that need to stay on your radar and we need to make sure we are working towards.
In the 'People' section, write two lists entitled;
- Waiting on
- Get in touch with
These are fairly self explanatory. Think about all the people you are waiting to hear from with regards certain information that will move any of your projects forward. Then brainstorm people you need to reach out to or get in touch with to advance any of your projects.
In this section, list 5-10 things that you MUST do today. These should be related in some respect to your projects list.
Now it's time to hit the inbox
After all of that planning you should already feel that you have a guide to being more productive. You can now go to your email inbox, but this is not an excuse to pander to the demands of others. This should be on your terms. The email inbox can be a wonderful productivity tool in itself, if used to your advantage.
Sort the incoming mailbox by people. Don't open a single email, unless it is from someone on your 'Waiting on' list in the 'People' section of your productivity page. If they haven't sent you a response to a request, move them from the 'Waiting on' list to the 'Get in touch with' list.
Now, send out an email to everyone on your 'Get in touch with list'; do this first thing in the morning and forget about it until the end of the day when you'll come back to your emails.
Now, shut down your email program so you don't get distracted by pings or flashes informing you of new mail. If you spend your day waiting for the inbox to tell you what to do next, you are working at the whim of other people, instead of fulfilling your own goals and desires.
Work, work, work
Now you are free to spend the rest of the day working through your 'Priorities' section. You will be so much more focused and productive with less to take your attention from the job at hand. If you manage to get through your priorities with time to spare, go back to the 'Projects' list and start to work through some of the less urgent items.
Back to your inbox
At the end of the day, go back to your email and check it one last time, after you have spent the day honing in on your own specific agenda. Remember, manage your own world first and other people's demands second. If you go back to your inbox any more than twice a day, you are feeding other people's ambitions, not your own.
Whether you use these hints and tips to be more productive or not, if you take anything away from this article make it this; make yourself the big priority or you will never fully reach your potential and you'll spend your life wishing there were more hours in the day.