Did you wake up this morning extra groggy for work?
No doubt it's because you've had to wake up an hour earlier to accommodate our practice of Daylight Savings Time (do we even know why we do it anymore?). I appreciate the extra sunlight but I also appreciate my extra hour of sleep.
So why not take this opportunity to start implementing some tried and true habits to boost your productivity. I picked some of my favorite ones from other experts and added a few of my own. I'm surprised how few rely on technology--if anything, the most effective productivity shortcuts employ just plain common sense.
Here's 7 of the most effective:
1. Get into a routine--ASAP! You know how when you travel, for some reason or another, you can't seem to return emails or phone calls as quick? Or on the flip side, ever get the "I'm sorry I didn't get back to you right away I've been traveling" answer from people? Traveling throws people off their routines and when you're not in a routine, you become less productive. Routines are there so you can structure your day effectively. Sleep, exercise, eat consistently (get your 7 or 8 hours and stick to your gym schedule) and you'll notice how incredibly productive you become.
2. Use the 2-minute rule. I found this reference a lot on the web because it helps solve procrastination. The basic idea is you apply the 2-minute rule to 2 situations. In the first, if you can do a task in 2 minutes, do it now. It can be anything from responding to an email to washing the dishes. The second situation is to start any task by giving it just 2 minutes of time. The idea is that once you devote just 2 minutes to something--a small commitment--you're likely to keep going, whether that entails writing a blog to tackling a big project.
3. Do the hard things first. There's nothing worse than walking around with a pit in your stomach all day because you have to do something hard. That can be anything from walking into your boss' office to ask for a raise to making an investors presentation. Whenever you can, schedule and do all those things in the morning, in fact, the first thing in the morning. Getting it out of the way will make the rest of your day go that much more smoothly.
4. Sleep on it. Pair this with the above tip and trust me, you'll save yourself a ton of time. Any time you're faced with a hard decision, take one night to sleep on it. Having that rest will help ensure that you've made the best, logical decision. Too many times people make rash decisions based on emotions and then regret and pay for them later. Undoing the damage can be far more costly than doing it. Think about your dilemma, sleep on it and then make the decision--you'll be surprised by what happens.
5. Write it all down! My phone is always glued to my hand but there's a reason. I'm constantly writing notes into it. The notes range from ideas to names of people to call to books I need to read. Whatever I fancy. You would think the notes make no sense but I'm surprised every time I read them back how much they do--and how little of the information I would have retained otherwise. So anytime genius strikes you, grab your phone--or a pen will do, too.
6. Curb your enthusiasm for social media. I hate how the 2-minute rule applies so well to social media--once you're on it for 2 minutes, you're likely to spend an hour trolling through Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook. I realized this most distinctly this month, when I've been out of the office owing to a voice issue. It's been a slow slog to recovery, but being out of the daily grind for a moment meant I stopped obsessively clicking onto my Twitter/Facebook/Instagram feeds. And you know what? I didn't miss a thing (and likely gained a few hours back).
7. Clear the calendar one day a week. I probably landed in the hot seat with my voice because I was going 90 mph. Between the job, writing, podcast, events, not to mention raising two children, I literally had no time to myself. I blame myself for letting my schedule get out of hand--the more packed it looked day-to-day, the more productive I felt. Except I wasn't. Now I vow, as I'm telling you here, to clear my calendar one day a week just to focus on important short- and long-term projects. Having that alone time to clear the head is vital to making you more productive.