“The universe doesn’t give you what you ask for with your thoughts; it gives you what you demand with your actions.” – Steve Maraboli
Still, you think with which actions you should start, to give the universe the signals. You know that feeling, right? Every morning you get to the office and try to think over all of the stuff you have to do, but instead, you get a massive list of projects and meetings. So, where to start?
In 1915, Albert Einstein introduced his ingenious and revolutionary theory of relativity. During the three years, he devoted himself entirely to the creation of this theory, without being distracted by anything else. I do not recommend you to spend three years creating one single project, but this method of focusing is undoubtedly effective.
If you want to push your productivity to maximum, first of all, you have to find the motivation and determine the goals to achieve.
Sit and write down the following things:
The result you want to receive;
Things you need to get done to get the needed result;
Everything is a matter of time, so you should be good at time-management to become successful. Time-management is also tightly attached to planning your day, and they both are habits of a productive person.
So, how to become planning addicted?
Yes, this advice is nothing new. Almost all productivity articles recommend planning your day in advance.
Only a few people really own the art of managing their own time, and they have great control over their lives. Didn't you notice that you feel a rise of strength and confidence when you know your plans in advance?
Get yourself an app or write down everything in your notebook. Think about the main and secondary tasks you have to complete. Don’t forget to take family/home affairs into account.
Determine what your most important business is to do this month, week, or today. Mark which tasks you need to complete and which ones you have already completed. Understand the difference between urgent and important matters and non-urgent matters.
At first, glance, planning your day is not so difficult, but in practice, not everyone can draw up a clear sequence of their actions. That’s why I advise you to get a daily schedule that works for both working days and weekends. The daily schedule is all about visionary. This can be a journal or a digital calendar, where you can see your time is occupied by activities you have to do.
Or in other words, the deadlines. Not everybody likes this word, so we better use the time blocks. It is important to understand and estimate the time you spend on the tasks, so consider how much time you’ll need for every assignment and mark it. My recommendation is to batch similar tasks and put them into one time-block. This will also save you time and make your timeline free from a bunch of small things to do.
The best way to concentrate is to take a break. Our brain is able to concentrate only a certain time, and then it just turns off. That is why, by Friday evening, we already lose the desire to work. Everyone has a limit, so take a short break for 10-20 minutes every 2 hours.
A little hint from me:
To stay focused on your task, you can use one of these principles. These are small tricks to make your day more productive.
The Pareto rule (Pareto principle), is one of the most common ways to evaluate the effectiveness of your activity. Its essence lies in the fact that 20% of the efforts give 80% of the result, and the remaining 80% of the efforts realize only 20%.
According to Pareto’s rule, all unimportant tasks should be done when your productivity is low. For example, many people, as soon as they came to work in the morning, cannot immediately get involved in the work process. So, first, you have to understand your productivity peak times.
The philosophy of “Do less” is very popular in modern realities. Different authors offer different approaches. For example, Marc Lesser wrote the book “Less: Accomplishing More by Doing Less” based on Zen Buddhism.
His “do less” manifesto is a denial of the belief that reducing workloads makes employees lazy and negatively impacts their productivity. When we perform fewer tasks, we can enjoy our achievements. It means that you don’t have to overload yourself with a large number of tasks: it is better to do less, but efficiently and with pleasure than more, but without enthusiasm.
The Pomodoro technique was invented by Francesco Cirillo in the early 1990s. The technique is called ‘Pomodoro’ because its author originally used a kitchen timer in the form of a tomato to measure time.
The methodology is based on the principle of working for 25 minutes on a specific task without a break. After the time expires, you take a 5 minutes break.
The time segments into which the work is divided are conventionally called pomodoros or tomatoes. One “pomodoro” lasts 30 minutes: 25 minutes of work and 5 minutes of rest. You can choose any time period. I, personally, use this technique with 40 minutes of work + 10 minutes of break.
Before starting the timer, you should make a list of work tasks. There are various applications and services for this, but you can use a regular sheet of paper.
Create a list of tasks to do and start. Set up a timer, and every time it alerts you that the time has expired, mark the completed assignments to follow your work progress.
Each “tomato” segment should be marked with a cross opposite the task that you are performing. After four-five segments, take a long break (30 minutes will be enough). When you are finished working on a task, cross it out from the list and start the next one.
Maintaining a list of tasks is necessary for self-monitoring and monitoring its effectiveness. For example, after a week, you can see how many “tomatoes” have been spent on a particular task. Of course, time management is a science, and correction of deficiencies always requires much more time than their acquisition. Once you start tracking your progress, you will see the progress of your activity. Choose any method and improve your productivity without getting anxious. Keep track of progress throughout the week.
Setting short-term and long-term goals is the signature of happy and successful people. Making to-do lists is no doubt an effective method, but without time-blocks, it has several disadvantages. Firstly, a simple to-do list often makes you want to do short, quick tasks at first, while you can, for example, group them into one time-block and spend 1-2 hours instead of a whole day. Additionally, a simple list of doings can make you feel stressed once you see it. According to scientists, about 40% of the to-do lists by compilers are not fulfilled. Therefore, one should not only list the required cases but also determine the time interval for them.
Follow these tips to become a great time-manager and take steps to achieve your goals.
When creating a plan for the next day, choose up to three activities and put them at the beginning of the list. Many people noticed that their productivity increased significantly after they began to do warm-ups, meditate, and do other important for their mental or physical health things in the early morning.
Determine the hours of your highest productivity and plan the most important tasks for it. Carson Tate, the author of “Work Easy,” recommends adjusting your day to your biological rhythms. Solve difficult assignments when you feel the maximum level of energy.
What is important today may become urgent tomorrow. You must understand what is urgent and requires immediate action, and what can wait until tomorrow.
Dividing the tasks into important and urgent, most likely, you will pay attention to them and try to deal with them as soon as possible.
The multitasking mode does not make us more productive. It is a myth. In truth, when you concentrate on many tasks at the same time, it negatively affects your productivity and concentration.
Regardless of how well you have learned to work in multitasking mode, your productivity will be much less than if you decided to focus from start to finish on one task.
Daily planning teaches us to appreciate the time. A person who has a plan for a day, week, month, or even a year will hardly allow himself to lose an hour every day.
Do you really need to check your Facebook every 10 seconds? After all, an hour a day makes about twenty (or more) hours a month and at least 240 hours a year! A lot of time that can and should be spent for the benefit of yourself and your professional development.
At first, it may seem difficult to follow all the rules and the schedule. But if you have an intention and want to manage your day with maximum productivity, you will do your best. Along with this, it is important not to forget to encourage yourself, don’t be too strict.
When arranging a plan for your day and a schedule for the day (week, month), plan not only work tasks, but also rest. Also, do not forget about relatives, loved ones, your favorite hobby and different activities like shopping or gym classes. Thus, you can balance your personal life, family, and work. It may seem strange at first glance, but in fact, this method is not only convenient in order to learn how to plan time, but also allows you to make your leisure more diverse and don’t miss the first baseball game of your kid.