Have you ever had a day at work that seemed to get worse by the minute?
You begin each day with an ambitious to-do list but quickly find yourself sidetracked, focused on low-priority tasks, and procrastinating.
You look up at the clock and realize it is only 10:15 am. Two hours later, you look again, and it's 10:45 am. You know, one of those days.
The truth of it is, time passes whether you're productively working or mindlessly scrolling on your phone. To accomplish your work tasks and become a better version of yourself, you must learn how to have productive days.
In this article, we'll discuss what a productive day entails and the tactics you might employ so that you also can take the bull by the horns and seize the day.
Carpe diem, my fellow grafters!
What a Productive Day Looks Like
There is no universal standard for a productive day; hence there is no specific definition.
Productive to one person might seem like a Sunday morning tucked up in bed to others. The whole notion of a productive day varies for each individual.
Your work and home tasks determine how you spend your days and what tasks are most important to you. A marketing professional, for instance, might have a different productive day than a software developer.
However, for most individuals, a productive day consists of:
An ideal productive day is one in which you are organized and in charge, moving swiftly from one task to the next. Maintain a balance between difficult and restful tasks, those that excite you and those that help you relax.
We need to hit that sweet spot of keeping our days interesting and productive without increasing stress levels. In addition to doing tasks and delivering value, it is essential to grow and acquire new skills.
Positive emotional states are far more conducive to productivity than negative ones. This implies that to have a highly productive day, you must also enjoy most of the tasks you engage in. You must find purpose in your work, and that work must push you a little bit beyond your comfort zone.
10 Amazingly Useful Tactics for a Great Productive Day at Work
Not every day needs to be packed with record-setting productivity. Downtime is obviously quite important to our well-being; the occasional lazy days, kicking back on the sofa, are fine. Let's be clear on that before going any further!
However, if you consistently fall short of your goals, you should probably make a few tweaks to improve your productivity.
Our office here at Startup Geek is usually a bee-hive of the hustle and bustle. We consider ourselves quite the experts at all things related to productivity and have long mastered the art. With that in mind, we would like to bring you the 10 best productivity tips to employ in order to have more productive days at work.
1. Plan Your Day
Planning is crucial, not just for the immediate day ahead but also for the weekly and long-term. Create a to-do list and put it on your schedule the night before the following work day so you know exactly what has to get done.
By developing a plan, you are equipped with direction and purpose. Without a plan, you risk being time-crunched and losing valuable time and effort.
You might use a hand-written to-do list or digital scheduling apps like Google Calendar and Microsoft To Do. The most productive method is a combination of both. This should save you hours of lost time and allow you to access your schedule from anywhere at any time.
2. Time Block Your Schedule
Incorporating time blocks into your schedule might boost your productivity. With this approach, you would provide a deadline for each task. Consider 90 or 60-minute blocks of time. You may select to print out your schedule and mark the time intervals where you intend to place your time blocks.
So, if you are allocating 90 minutes to work on a specific task, mark that on your printed schedule. When that time block is over, do the same with another part of your schedule.
Time blocking allows you to commit each block of time to a specific task, increasing the likelihood that you will accomplish it within the allotted time limit.
3. Recognize and Stop the Unproductive Activities
To have a productive workday implies focusing on tasks with the utmost priority. It also means meeting goals and producing outcomes that help projects and tasks move forward.
Without effective management, distractions like personal phone calls, emails, social media alerts, and meetings may affect your daily productivity.
The majority of productive office time is frequently eaten by unnecessary phone calls and time spent on social media during work hours. Whenever you find yourself becoming distracted by anything, you must immediately take three actions:
4. Stop Multitasking
It's a strange thing, multitasking. It has a way of sucking us in, having us believe we are getting so much more done when actually, we are not. Quite the opposite, infact. Multitasking results in less productivity and higher stress levels.
Even very basic multitasking - like calling a colleague while sending an email - affects the quality of the outcome. Your email won't be as sharp as it could have been, and your colleague will know you are only half-listening.
You may think you're being productive when juggling tasks, but you're unlikely to do so efficiently.
There is a study for everything these days. Some boffins in some places have concluded that multitasking can make you less productive by up to 40%. That's rather a lot when you think about it.
When you multitask, you make more mistakes, and also your creativity impedes. Try to complete one task at a time to the best of your ability and then move on to the next one. Apply this approach daily for one week, and you will discover that you can complete more work in less time.
5. Do the Most Difficult and Important Tasks First
The old adage, "eat that frog," is a popular piece of advice for accomplishing tasks efficiently. It suggests doing the task that is the most difficult or unpleasant first thing in the day.
Early in the day, you usually have the most energy and the minimum distractions, which makes it easier to focus on difficult tasks.
By completing the most important tasks first, you will have a lighter workload for the remainder of the day. In addition, this approach can help you fight procrastination and maintain momentum while you continue to complete your other responsibilities.
6. The Five-Minute Rule
We have all been guilty of procrastinating while being aware that it is unproductive. If you're procrastinating and don't want to do anything, promise yourself to do the work for at least five minutes.
You'll see that after five minutes, you will end up completing the whole task without wasting the entire day procrastinating.
Committing to spending only five minutes on an overdue task removes many of the reasons that prevent you from the beginning. Since almost anybody can dedicate five minutes, it can assist in completing little tasks such as sending an email, researching a topic, archiving, or establishing a new project.
7. Take Regular Breaks (The Pomodoro Technique)
You may attempt to complete a few more tasks before taking a break, but the fact is that this will not increase your productivity. Taking regular breaks significantly increases your working efficiency.
Your brain needs rest and recharging time during the workday to continue performing at its peak. Schedule regular breaks and get away from your desk for a while.
People often use a method called the "Pomodoro technique" to improve their daily productivity, which works well for this purpose. The Pomodoro Technique is a time management strategy that encourages individuals to work with, rather than against, the available time.
Using this time management method, you divide your workday into 25-minute segments followed by 5-minute breaks. These segments are known as Pomodoros. After around four Pomodoros, you give yourself a lengthier break of approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
Those boffins have been hard at it again - according to one study, minor diversions from work can significantly boost one's capacity to concentrate for a much longer period. Moreover, taking breaks reduces stress levels and the likelihood of burnout while also increasing productivity.
8. Maintain Good Mental and Physical Health
The ability to enjoy life is just as essential as the ability to create and progress. Creating value and exerting effort is only one side of the coin. The other side is relaxation and simple enjoyment of life's great and minor joys.
To have a very productive day, you must ensure you have sufficient time to rest, recover, and engage in other activities you like outside work. Never disregard your mental or physical health, and always take care of yourself.
9. Delegate Tasks, if Possible
Typically, we all have a substantial quantity of work at the workplace and need to complete it within a specified time range. But despite our best efforts, we often end up working late or have to carry the pending work home.
If you work on a team, examine your daily tasks and see if you can assign any of them to another team member.
It will boost your productivity and encourage others to produce their best work and embark on new tasks. In other words, if you delegate your tasks efficiently, you will finish more work in a day and inspire others to boost their work productivity.
10. Reward Yourself When You Complete a Task
Using a reward system is one of the most effective strategies to stay productive at work. To utilize a reward system efficiently, you must develop a motivating incentive.
It doesn't have to be monetary; it may just be something you love, such as ordering your favorite cuisine or treating yourself to a cup of coffee; basically, anything that motivates you to work. Before awarding oneself a reward, defining a goal to boost your productivity when doing everyday activities or work hours is essential.
What Is an Example of a Productive Day?
There is no such thing as a perfect routine that fits everyone. Everyone's optimum productivity hours differ depending on their own circadian rhythm and lifestyle; for instance, if you're a night owl, it may not be wise to wake up at 4 am every day simply because your favorite entrepreneur recommends it.
Below is an example of a productive workday.
6:30 am – Wake up early morning
7:00 am – Meditation & exercise
8:00 am – Make a healthy breakfast
8:30 am – Check your to-do list for the day
9:00 am – Start working on your first task
9:45 am – Take 15 minutes break to check your social media feed and respond to emails
10:00 am – Resume working on the first task
10:45 am – Leave your chair and get some fresh air or some snacks (15 minutes break)
11:00 am – Try to complete the first task and also get ready for the upcoming meeting
12:00 pm – Lunch break
1:00 pm – Go for the meeting if you have any
1:45 pm – Take 15 minutes to check your phone and answer phone calls from friends and family
2:00 pm – Start working on your second task
2:45 pm – Take 15 minutes break to reduce stress levels and have a little me time
3:00 pm – Resume work on the second task and make sure to complete it before 5:00 pm
5:00 pm – Hang out with friends or family
6:00 pm – Dinner time
7:30 pm – Start working on a few things that require only minutes to complete and try to respond to all the remaining emails
8:45 pm – Done working. Plan for the next day, arrange the house, select clothing, etc.
9:15 pm – Watch a TV show or YouTube video of you like
10:00 pm – Go to bed and ensure to have enough sleepNote: The timetable mentioned above depicts the ideal time for completing the tasks. It's not to portray the average day of a person. You may use this timetable as a guide to choose one or two methods for optimizing your work routine.
Can We Say Have a Very Productive Day?
Everyone around you is looking forward to a successful and productive day, and the day ahead holds so much possibility! You also want to express positivity, so you tell everyone, "May you have a productive day!" As a few people look at you strangely, you question if the term is right.
It might not be a good idea to tell someone to "have a productive day" since the phrase is perceived to be rather mocking. The other person may become outraged and hit you or ignore you permanently. Therefore, we recommend that you just say, "Have a nice day."
Common Myths About Productivity
Myth: The more hours worked, the more accomplished.
Fact: Taking breaks during the workday is essential. A five-minute walk around the workplace can improve your mood without hindering your ability to concentrate. Getting sufficient rest and sleep is more beneficial than working longer hours. Taking a lengthier break from your job — overnight, over the weekend, or on vacation – allows your thoughts to marinate in your subconscious, allowing you to return to it with renewed energy.
Myth: Those who are good at multitasking accomplish more.
Fact: Multitasking is an illusion. A study indicates that people are more productive when focusing on one thing at a time. Switching between tasks will actually slow you down.
Myth: It is best to stand during working hours.Fact: It is preferable to alternate between sitting, standing, and often moving during the workday. Among other benefits, it increases blood flow to the brain, hence enhancing intellect and productivity.
Anyone can learn to have a productive day through self-discipline and by committing to eliminating bad habits and replacing them with positive ones. A productive day varies for each individual, but it generally involves creating value, maintaining good health, and assisting others.
Being as consistent as possible while employing tactics to improve your work productivity is essential. Explore several approaches until you find one that helps you feel productive.