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Take a second and think about everything you do in your day without effort. Things like brushing your teeth, or having that first cup of coffee…they’re all done with ease. No one has to make us do them. We just do them.
Because those little things that we do every day without thinking have become embedded in our daily lives as habits.
And for a good reason too!
In the book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business, author Charles Duhigg explains that our brains are constantly seeking ways to conserve mental energy and willpower. One of the ways it does this is through creating habits by taking the things we do on a regular basis and putting them on autopilot.
Doing so ensures that we don’t have to waste energy on deciding whether or not we need to brush our teeth or have a cup of coffee (Let’s call those “no brainers”, shall we? *Da da dum! Tsss!*).
By creating habits out of things we do every day, we conserve our brain power for more important tasks.
Pretty cool, right?
Well, yeah, as long as the habits are good ones because bad habits are, well…bad. We don’t want that kind.
Just wanted to clear that up. Moving on…
What’s key to realize is that we can be proactive in creating habits that enrich our lives, make us more productive, and spur us on to be our best selves.
All you have to do is decide on the types of routines you’d like to turn into a habit and make a commitment to do them every day.
Not sure what habits to implement? No worries! There are six simple habits I recommend that have seriously been pivotal in changing my life for the better and I firmly believe they will do the same for you!
But there is one catch.
While these habits are simple in theory, it doesn’t mean they will be easy to do.
You have to be intentional.
And most importantly, you have to do the work.
They say that knowledge is power, but I think the power lies in what you do with that knowledge.
That said, as long as you use your time wisely, you will notice increased productivity from the day you begin implementing them.
And so without further ado…
6 Simple Habits That Will Instantly Transform Your Productivity
1) Plan Your Time
I can’t say this enough, but planning out how you will spend your time is absolutely critical to your productivity. Take the time to look at your schedule to figure out what you can do when.
Figure out what works best for you, set aside a time to plan (literally, schedule it in), and follow through with it as if it were any other type of appointment. (Need help planning your schedule? Read my post here on time blocking to learn how to make the most of your day!)
2) Schedule a Time To Check Email/Texts/Social Media
When you are making yourself and your goals a priority, your time is sacred so it’s important to protect it. Don’t let trivial things like Facebook, Instagram, a group text, or email divert your attention away from your most important tasks.
Do yourself a favor and turn off the notifications on your phone so that you don’t have the temptation to check those things.
Better yet, remove your social media apps altogether if you think it will be too hard to say no.
I promise you, while at first, you may think you’re missing out, you’ll grow to love that you aren’t constantly interrupted by the happenings of other people’s lives.
Brace yourself for this…I actually unfollowed everyone on my Facebook because my feed was too distracting. While it was initially a hard decision to make (Facebook, look at the effect you have on our lives), I reminded myself that the genuine relationships in my life take place outside of Facebook so it wasn’t a big deal.
Once you’ve done that, decide on a standard time each day to check social media and email, or to respond to that non-urgent text.
3) Wake Up Earlier
I get it. If you aren’t a natural early riser, this is a tough one. But bear with me and think about it this way.
If you wake up just 1 hour earlier each morning and you commit that time to working on important goal related tasks, in just one year you would have devoted over 15 days specifically to developing your best life.
Fifteen, non-stop-round-the-clock, 24 hour days!
Waking up one hour earlier just became a whole lot more doable didn’t it?
And look, if you’re really worried about losing sleep…cut out one episode of whatever you’re binge-watching the night before and get to bed earlier.
4) Schedule Down Time
Okay, so this one is kind of an extension from number one, but it’s so important that it deserves a number all it’s own.
Scheduling time to smell the roses is just as important as scheduling time to work on your goals. (Heck, more down time might be one of your goals so pat yourself on the back because you’ll be killing two birds with one stone with this one;))
Seriously though, if you don’t schedule time for you to wind down, relax, or enjoy a favorite pastime you run the risk of serious burnout. And that is the last thing you want when you’re making beneficial changes in your life, am I right?
Plus, when you’ve scheduled it in, you can’t feel guilty about it because you set this time aside intentionally.
5) Focus On One Thing at a Time
You may pride yourself on being a “multitasker” but research shows that multitasking actually reduces productivity, and increases the chances of making mistakes by causing our brain to rapidly switch gears from one task to another.
Naturally, the opposite happens when we devote our attention to a single task. The quality and efficiency of our work increases and we are more productive as a result.
6) Eat That Frog
Mark Twain once famously said, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
Don’t worry. I’m not actually advocating that you eat an amphibian first thing in the morning, and neither is Mark Twain. Phew!
All this means is to discipline yourself to tackle whatever big task will yield the greatest return, first thing in the morning.
Figure out your “best yes” (that thing you know will get closer to achieving your goal) and do it before the unforeseen trials that inevitably happen each day have a chance to trip you up.
Once you’re done, you’ll feel great and can go about the rest of the day knowing you accomplished the most important thing!
How Will You Turn These Into Habits?
When it comes to making real progress on our goals, creating good habits is key to be successful. By planning, ridding yourself of distractions, waking up early, creating space for leisure activities, focusing on one thing at a time, and “eating that frog”, you will be off to a great start towards increasing your productivity.
They may be hard to do at first, but with practice, they will become a natural extension of your daily life.
You just might become the most productive person you know!