1. Get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Everyone needs a different amount of sleep to feel rested, rejuvenated and ready to be productive, but studies show that for most people, between seven to nine is ideal. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Follow a familiar bedtime routine, limiting “before bed” activities to things that relax you and help you wind down. You will enjoy the benefits of more energy and of feeling well rested while you work. You will also be more productive and efficient.
2. Plan out your week. Finish your week by reviewing projects and tasks accomplished and looking ahead to the next week to see what the priorities will be. Make sure you have time allotted on your calendar to work on these priority projects and make strides towards your goals. Take time over the weekend to have a family meeting and discuss everyone’s plans for the week ahead (who will be home for dinner what nights, who has commitments or activities?) This will help you to plan meals, plan transportation and will ultimately save you time and money in the week ahead.
3. Do as much as possible the night before. Set the coffee pot on a timer so it is ready and brewed when you come down for breakfast. Pack up your gym bag the night before. Set dry cleaning or any other items you need to take for activities or errands the next day right by the door. Pick out the outfit and accessories you’ll wear so you can ensure what you want is clean and ready to go. By doing these things the night before, you will make your morning less hectic.
4. Prioritize your work day. Once you arrive at your office or as you start your day at home, immediately plan and prioritize your day. (Alternatively, this can also be done at the end of the day for the next so that you can come in and hit the ground running). Focus on high-priority activities first. Eliminate distractions (turn off email notifications, send your calls to voicemail, put a “do not disturb” sign on your door) for periods of time so that you can really dig in, uninterrupted and make great progress on those priority tasks and projects.
5. De-clutter. Take a few minutes at the end of each day to tidy your desk or space at home where you get things done so you have a clear space at which to work, free of distraction. Put supplies back where they belong, file loose papers, put books and binders back on shelves and take a few minutes to get organized. At home, enlist family members in a “Ten-Minute Tidy” to scurry around, room by room (you may need to do ten minutes in each heavily used room) to put things back where they belong. This makes it so much easier to find what you need, when you need it!
6. Schedule appointments with yourself. Block off time in your calendar to regularly de-clutter and organize. If you don’t schedule time to do this, it won’t happen. Take time to purge old papers you don’t need, supplies you no longer use and to weed out old files. Consider biting off a small area to organize in just 30 minutes. Make this a weekly habit and you’ll tackle all sorts of areas in your office and home. Likewise, block off and protect chunks of time on your calendar for high priority activities. If you know there’s something you want to get done in a given day, make an appointment with yourself and then honor that time (meaning when the appointment rolls around, work on that task or project). Seeing the appointment visibly can also make it easier to say “no” to something or someone else that might serve as a barrier to your productivity on the priority.
Want more strategies, motivation and accountability to live your most organized and productive life, and to have more time for what matters most? Join Simply Placed’s It’s About Time – Virtual Productivity Program. Register today and then email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a free copy of Six Word Lessons to be More Productive, as our gift to you to thank you for joining the program. Here’s to your organized and productive life!