I don’t know about you but, sometimes, it feels like a whole day has rushed by and I don’t seem to have achieved or done anything much at all. Today I’m sharing with you my steps on how to have a productive day. There will be tips, tricks and hacks that seem to work for me, mean I get more done, and more out of my day. These simple steps seem to help me both in my working day and in my personal life so can be applied to any part of your life.
Knowing what you would like to achieve in a day goes a long way towards actually achieving those things. I like to sit down at the end of the day with a notepad and pens and create a list of things I need to do, want to do and things I should do the following day. Every activity gets written down however big or small, significant or insignificant it may be. Once I have a list then I can move on to the next step.
Next, I like to go through the list and categorise everything into 3 lists – Need, Want and Should. I like to use highlighters here so I can see what categories things fall into. Things that go into the Need list are things that absolutely have to be done that day, they can be things like making appointments, sending emails, household things, anything that has to be done that day and is time specific. Next is the Want list which I use for things that I want to do or achieve that don’t really have any fixed priority except for personal gain. Want things can include reading a book, having a bath, working on art, anything that is about you and what you want to do. Lastly is the Should list which I use for things like cleaning the fridge, clothes washing, tidying up, organising my books, things that should be done but are not really needed to be done at a specific time.
Now I have the categories sorted I go through them and number them in order of importance – 1 is high importance and 4 is the lowest/no importance. I can see then what order I should complete the tasks in.
Next I allocate timings to the tasks, so, for example 20 mins for responding to an email, 10 for a phone call, 40 mins for reading…. I can see what will take the longest and what will be really quick to tick off my list. I like to work with a mix of high priority and quick tasks as it makes me feel good about getting things marked off and encourages me to continue with my work.
- Make a Timetable
The final step I take is to timetable everything into my day. I write out my day in hourly blocks then schedule in the things I want to achieve in that timeframe. I schedule in all the Need and Should items then add the Wants in around them where there are gaps.
Creating a list and timetable like this the night before helps me to wake up motivated and ready to start the list. I get up knowing what needs to be done and have an itinerary for the day that I know will work for me, I get things done that I need to, things I should do and also have time for anything I want to do as well. I find mixing the tasks up keeps energy and enthusiasm high while keeping productivity going. And scheduling in Wants through the day means I have a reward of sorts to look forward to along the way.
How do you plan your day? What are your tips for being productive?