Achieving maximum productivity is not an easy task. From external distractions to losing focus on your project, anything is possible. However, with a bit of guidance and some great planning techniques you can schedule your day in a way that increases your productivity to all-new levels.
In this post, you will learn a few ways to plan your day from start to finish that will allow you to become more productive than you probably are currently.
Prerequisites for Maximum Productivity
Before we jump right in, let’s do a bit of prep work, shall we? There are a few tasks you can complete ahead of time to get prepared. These pertain to your prior week and the evening before each new day. Let’s look at these two tasks now.
Planning the Prior Week
The first area to address is to create your weekly plan. Choose a day of the week when you will sit down and set your plans and goals for the following week. List any big projects or tasks that have a deadline. The next step is to fill in any other daily tasks for each day. This allows you to have a starting point for the upcoming week.
Planning the Night Before
The next prerequisite is your “night before” planning. Set aside 30 minutes or so at the end of each day. Go over what is on your list for the next one. This is the time to make any adjustments. Did something not get completed today? Move it over. Is there something that got added at the last minute? Find a time slot for it.
By looking at and adjusting your plan in the evening, you will start your day with a plan in place that you can be comfortable knowing is already set up for success and maximum productivity.
Start with a Morning Routine
Most successful people will tell you that each day always starts with a morning routine. That moment when you first get out of bed and set the tone for the rest of the day is very important. And that is exactly what your morning routine should do.
For specific ideas to make your morning routine successful see Morning Routine: What It Is and Why It Is Important. Once you have a morning routine in place, you will have set the tone for the rest of the day.
Steps to a Productive Day
Now that your mornings are more routine and of course your “prerequisites” are completed, let’s see if we can’t reach maximum productivity throughout the rest of your day. Remember, the fact that your day started stress-free and positive means that you set the tone for the rest of your day.
Stay Focused on Your Task List
Because of your prior weekly planning and the time you take each evening to review your weekly plan, you should a list of tasks, based on priority, to work on each day. The key to accomplishing those tasks is to stay focused.
Turn off phone and computer notifications if you are on a job. If your day is spent at your home or property, leave the television off. If you can work and still focus while music plays in the background, by all means, do so. Let your mind focus only on the tasks at hand.
I am not telling you not to take breaks and do something enjoyable while on those breaks. But when you return to what it is you need to work on, stay focused.
Many people, especially those that work at home tend to try and do too many things at once. The human mind takes entirely to long to switch focus from one task to another. The time it takes our minds to refocus means lost and wasted time. Read about multitasking to really understand how harmful it is.
Instead, stay on one task for a certain time period and then take a break. Or you can stay on one task until you have completed it, followed by a break. Either way, the key is again, one thing at a time.
Complete Your Hardest Projects When Your Mind Is the Freshest
Everyone has a certain time of day when it seems they focus best. Many writers choose to write during the early morning hours. Some people work best at night. Everyone has their own time when their mind is the clearest and allows for maximum productivity.
Once you know your “peak” time, you need to schedule those activities or tasks to be completed during those peak hours. This way, once your focus and/or energy starts to diminish, you can move on to simpler tasks that can be completed easily with less focus.
My peak time for writing is in the morning, but if I want to enjoy a good book, I save reading for the evening right before bed. If I read a book in the morning, I would be wasting my focus and productivity on a simple task and would have no focused, productive time later in the day to write.
Ending a Productive Day With Productive Planning
Once your day is complete, you must repeat the evening process of reviewing your planner or task list for the next day. To do this you must first look at what was accomplished today and what was not finished.
If there are tasks that were not completed, look and see why.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Did you not plan enough time in your day to accomplish everything productively?
- Were you distracted and therefore didn’t complete what you needed to?
- Did you try to accomplish high energy or high focus tasks at the wrong time?
- Did you need more help to accomplish something?
Review Your Answers and Adjust Your Plan For Maximum Productivity
When you have the answers to the above questions, review your next day’s plan and see where you can make adjustments to fit it any undone tasks. If there seems to be no room to add new tasks, rethink your priorities and make sure the highest priorities are scheduled first. Then whatever tasks are left can be moved throughout the rest of your week when time allows.
Once you have made any schedule changes and set your new plan for tomorrow, you not only know that you had a productive today, but you can rest assured that tomorrow is already set up for maximum productivity.
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