When it comes to getting more things done, everyone, maybe especially the self-employed, the freelancer, the solopreneur, could probably use a few productivity boosts. Sometimes the most effective way to get things going when you work for yourself is to set yourself up for success right from the start. With this in mind, we’re going to look at five techniques that will help you to start your day more productively.
1. The Three Most Important Things
Let’s face it – you can’t always get to everything you need to do. However, with this tip, you can still feel good about what you’ve done. Each day ask yourself, “What are the three most important things I need to do today?” Write them down. This will help keep you focused on what’s “really” important throughout the day. Even if you get sidetracked or pulled into meetings, you should still have time to get this basic list completed.
2. Plan Your Day
It’s difficult to build an empire without a blueprint. This truth doesn’t lose its effectiveness when it’s trickled down to daily tasks. It only takes a few minutes, and it can provide one of your biggest productivity boosts. Every day, list all of the things you’d like to do, any calls or meetings you need to be a part of and anything else of importance. Estimate how much time each task will take and make a rough outline of how you plan to fit it all in. Don’t worry if you get off track throughout the day. Similar to the “Three Most Important Things,” this is to serve as a guide to help keep you focused.
3. Do Necessary Communication First
There are two sides to the “inbox” approach. One is to wait until later in the day to read your emails and the other is to clean it out first thing. While it’s tempting to put off replying to an email or returning a phone call until later in the day, it may not be your best bet. Doing these actions first thing in the morning can not only leave you feeling more accomplished, but will also help you facilitate conversations so no one is left hanging unnecessarily. Getting immediate responses is definitely a boost for productivity for all parties involved!
4. Put Your Health First
It makes sense that if you’re running on empty in the health department, your work is going to suffer. Make sure to keep your health a top priority so you can be your best at all times during the day. Some morning techniques that are quite effective include:
- Start the day by drinking a glass of water. Stay hydrated all day by drinking a small glass every hour or so.
- Eat breakfast – and no, coffee is not breakfast. Make sure you have something substantial to keep your energy going until lunchtime.
- Exercise before work. Nothing boosts your energy like a good workout. Instead of an after-work routine, try a morning workout instead. Even if you don’t have time for a full workout, take a brief walk outside or run in place for a few minutes.
5. Eliminate Time Wasting Habits
The biggest bane to productivity is not the lack of action, but rather taking the wrong actions instead. Really analyze your morning routine and see if there are areas where you may be wasting time or if there may be a better way to do something. For instance, if you spend 15 minutes each morning sorting your emails, maybe spending a half hour setting up email filters will help make this process more efficient. Even something as simple as planning your to-dos the night before can help streamline things for the next day.
How do you start the day? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!