There are many elements associated with high levels of productivity. Ask any given person how to be productive and you're most likely going to be inundated with a plethora of suggestions. But at its core, productivity comes down to your energy and flow state (or being "in the zone," as some call it).
Without those two elements, it's impossible to be your most productive self. Getting those two elements firing on all cylinders doesn't need to be complicated. In fact, implementing these five tiny tweaks to your daily routine will set you on the right path.
1. Start and end your day like Benjamin Franklin.
The daily and meticulous routine of this historical figure has been well-documented. While his daily schedule is the most popular thing that people share from his autobiography, the biggest benefit to my productivity has come from implementing his two daily questions.
During breakfast, Franklin asked himself, "What good shall I do this day?" and at night, he asked, "What good have I done today?"
If you're anything like me, you probably have an ambitious and aggressive daily to-do list that can sometimes become bloated with actions that aren't moving the needle forward. Asking these two questions will help you remove what's unnecessary from your day and overall work life.
Anchoring your day with these two questions keeps your goal top of mind and leads to a higher probability that you'll stay in alignment with what you're trying to achieve.
2. Go to sleep and wake up at the same times.
In an effort to get more done, many entrepreneurs are tempted to cut sleep. This approach is counterproductive. While you're sleeping, not only are you recovering from your daily activities but you're also consolidating your memories and new information into long-term knowledge.
As humans, we're creatures of habit, and finding a consistent sleep rhythm is pivotal. The habit that delivers the largest ROI to improving your sleep and energy, according to a Fitbit study in March 2017, is to consistently go to sleep around the same time.
One to two hours daily of lost sleep quietly wreaks havoc on your productivity and energy. Pick a consistent sleep time and wake-up time that also allow you enough time in the morning to slowly ease into the day.
3. Consume quality food and water before coffee.
Your car isn't going to make it far without fuel, and you're not going to perform at a high level without quality nutrients in your body. It's not just food. It's water, also.
In fact, being dehydrated by as little as 1 percent can lead to a decrease in positive mood and cognitive abilities, according to a study published in The Journal of Nutrition in February 2012.
Before reaching for your morning espresso, properly rehydrate by drinking 20 to 32 ounces of water. To save time, I have a morning smoothie that has my water and fruits and vegetables all thrown in together.
4. Schedule and name your work sessions.
It's imperative to get into a flow state in which you're completely focused on the task at hand. A random mental trick I learned more than a year ago is to name my work sessions. Give them specific names and objectives.
If you think about it, we're playing numerous roles and characters in our day-to-day life. Why not bring that spirit to our work? Instead of thinking that you have to write each morning, create an avatar and specific mission for your writing.
5. Take breaks to reenergize yourself.
This can look different to each of us. However, what's most important is to separate yourself from your work and de-stress. This time is ideal for a walk in nature, eating some healthy food, making a green juice, finding funny materials to get some laughs in, or listening to an audiobook to stay inspired.
Some people like the 25-minute Pomodoro technique, but I prefer longer work sessions and then a break. Think and act like a scientist, and experiment until you find your winning regimen.
If you desire to create more energy and become more productive, start with addressing the tiny and everyday habits before adding more complex tactics to your life.