Most days I’m a machine. I can get through a rather large number of tasks, vacuuming, laundry, playing with the kids, baking, preping dinner, and a number of other business related things. Then there are other days when after the kids are in bed and the house is relatively quiet I look around and ask myself “what the heck did I do today?”
I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this.I also understand that there’s a natural ebb and flow of productivity and we can’t expect to be on top of things all the time.
- Have a plan, even if it’s vague.
I find jotting down a few things I want to do, should do, or could do, works best for me. Second to that is just giving the day some thought. Mentally preparing yourself can make a huge difference. What are you going to do as soon as you wake up? Make the bed, pour a cup of coffee, exercise, meditate, read or write? In general how is your day going to play out? Will you putter around the house or spend the day on the go running errands or grocery shopping. When you plan your day you have a road map, something to fall back on, to keep you going and to prevent you from getting stuck thinking “well now what?”
- Choose your 3 MITs.
I first heard of this concept quite some time ago from Leo of Zen Habits. Your most important tasks (MITs) are what you need to get done or want to get done today, above everything else. Your MITs don’t have to be huge or earth shattering but they should be things you really want to get done. You should focus on getting your three MITs done first, before you do anything else that might pop up. By doing these things first you get them out of the way while you’re fresh, you get a sense of accomplishment early in the day which can further motivate you to get even more done. When it comes to choosing your MITs think about tying one or more of them each day to your short or long term goals. This way you’re productive and you’re making progress towards realizing much larger goals.
- Use momentum.
Set the tone for your day by starting early and get moving. Imagine waking up, lounging around, moving slowly and dreading the day. It doesn’t paint a picture of energy and getting things done, does it? As soon as you start to procrastinate there’s little chance of turning that around. On the other hand if you woke up, immediately got out of bed and were eager to start your day, well that enthusiasm snowballs. Feel that momentum and keep it going. Work on things that excite you and avoid distractions. Using that momentum can really help carry you through the day and allow you to accomplish a lot more than you may initially had set out to do.
These ideas may seem simple and indeed they are. The trick is to take a bit of time to focus on each one and see how you can introduce them into your daily routine.
What do you do to make the most of your day?