Each morning, I take 15-minutes.
Reflect, plan, and drink coffee.
That’s how I spend the first 15-minutes of each workday.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about productivity, and what that term really means.
On January 2nd, like many others looking to start off the new year on the right foot, I googled “How to be more productive at work”. I read countless articles, asked questions on Quora to get useful tips, and reflected on what has helped me focus in the past. Then it hit me: to be productive, I need to focus first. So, my goal is not to be more productive but to be more focused. When I am focused, I can accomplish anything (including this post!).
So, here is how I get focused. Some of these may sound odd or may not work for everyone, but it can’t hurt to give them a try.
Go To Bed Early
I used to stay up late and get up early. “You can sleep when you’re dead”, I used to say. Now, I try to get at least 7 hours of sleep, if not more each night. To help me with my sleep, I have been using a sleep app called Sleep Cycle, I recommend as it helps you identify your sleep patterns and how to improve sleep.
Wake Up Early
Once you start getting to bed sooner, waking up earlier gets much easier. I enjoy getting up while the rest of the world still sleeps. That quiet time alone before the emails, slack messages and daily work lets me start my day with a peaceful mind.
By waking up early, I have time to go to the gym or take the dog on a long walk. This gets the blood flowing and gets me physically and mentally prepared for the day ahead. I think we all know the other benefits from working out and exercise, so I will leave it at that.
Spend 15-minutes Reflecting and Planning
Before opening my computer and checking email, I grab a cup of coffee and sit down and think about my day. What is the most important task I want to accomplish? What is one thing I am nervous about? What will make me happy today? I write down these thoughts and create my to-do list for the day. Last year, a friend of mine reccomended a productivity planner, so I got one. I really enjoy the daily list making and refelcting. I use the Productivity Planner by Intelligent Change.
Listen To Music
When you need some motivation, put on your favorite jams! I have different playlists for different moods. Thanks to Spotify, I know have easy access to new music. I listen to everything from movie soundtracks to my high school favorites Thrice, Saves the Day and Yellowcard. Some of my favorite playlists are below.
When I am struggling to get focused, I come back to these steps to get back in the zone. This is what helps me create strategy for a client, find inspiration for content or to just get back on track.
It’s important to find things that help you stay focused in order to be productive. What I use may not be helpful for you, so experiment a bit. For example, I used to spend the first couple hours of my day working, then hit the gym for a break. This schedule didn’t last long when I realized my growing inbox was starting to hold me back from getting to the gym at all and I learned it was better to start the day off with a great workout before tackling my to-do list. Learning to get focused can take a lot of trial and error, but in the end it’s worth it to find what works best for you.
Let me know what you do to stay focused and motivated, maybe I’ll even give it a try! If public comments aren’t your thing, click below to shoot me an email.