Provoking My Productivity Potential
10 tips to manage your time for improved productivity.
Includes exercise, fitness, stress relief and nutritional information.
In a recent blog posting, Stephen Shapiro, author of the recent released book, Goal-Free Living speaks of changing the way you approach New Year’s Resolutions. Rather than resolutions, he says to choose one or two words to describe your next year. He calls these themes. So, instead of "dieting", "health" or "confidence", may be good themes. I wrote about taking your resolutions one step at a time and making them attainable in a recent article entitled "Sticking to Your New Year’s Resolutions." My point was to take a goal or resolution and break it down into attainable pieces.
After reading Mr. Shapiro’s blog, I began to ponder what my theme would be for 2006. My first thought was to "relax more" and not to be in such a rush to fit everything into everyday. Another was to make my time count, i.e. be the most productive, so I could have some free time or at least not feel so pressured. Everything seemed to point to productivity. If I could be more productive, this would help my stress levels and ultimately allow me to feel like I have accomplished something day to day, week to week, etc.
So my theme is productivity. What does this entail? Well, as I started making a list, turned out to be quite a lot.
Over the past two years I have read many books and articles on time management. Millions of people read the same information in hopes of making more money, having more free time, less stress and accomplishing more in their daily lives. I ultimately want control of my day. If I can have control and don’t feel like my day is controlling me, I am happy.
Therefore, with the aid of the time management gurus and a few things I have come up with on my own, here are my 10 items to help make me productive in new year.
Number 1: Make a list of the things I need to accomplish (on the following day) before I go to bed. I have read where this helps your subconscious start working on the list. For me, it helps me get out of bed quicker and easier the next morning because I know where I need to start my day; i.e. number 1 on the list. As I look at the list, I don’t feel so overwhelmed because I know getting through the list is doable.
Number 2: Get up at the same time everyday. For me, this is 5:30. Sit up, get out of bed and do not think of hitting the snooze. This has helped me gain a few hours each day, which leads to bonus days and weeks over the course of a year.
Here is a bonus tip: Put your alarm clock out of reach. I have to walk across the room to turn my alarm off. Therefore, I am already up. My wife will tell you, I am pretty much "out of it" when I sleep. I am very capable of hitting snooze while still in "la-la" land. I must move the alarm out of reach.
Number 3: Set two to three uninterrupted time segments during the day to generate money. These are the times when I focus on making money. Fifty minutes is what works for me; no phone calls, answering emails, pee breaks, etc. A great idea is to set a timer. Work straight through your designated time period until the bell goes off. This has probably been the best piece of advice (from Alex Mandossian) that I have put into practice to help me be more productive. I feel more accomplished each day knowing that I put these focused, revenue generating times into my day.
Number 4: Take small breaks throughout the day. For me, this is immediately after the revenue generating periods. It is a quick break to re-charge my brain. This can involve a walk around the office, grabbing a healthy snack or catching a quick segment of "The View" on T.V. Some gurus will recommend a power nap during the day. I rarely do this. Once I am up, I am up. Recently I wrote about an article concerning meditation, entitled "Breathing Can Make You Smarter" as a way to clear the mind and help re-focus. I have not tried this as of yet, but am planning to give it a try soon.
Number 5: Take one full day off per week. Some weeks I will get in two! I do not allow myself to get caught up in work details (unless there is an absolute emergency). These days are mostly filled with family activities and projects around the house (you know, honey do this, honey do that). This has been a great addition to my productivity plan. I was reluctant to try it at first. I soon realized, however, it actually makes me more creative and efficient on my work days.
Number 6: Exercise daily with two 7 minute routines designed with the busy professional/working parent in mind. These are full body routines that have strength training and cardiovascular benefits included. I come up with some of my best ideas when exercising. It makes me feel more energized throughout my day as well. I could go on for hours about the benefits of exercise; mostly to make one more productive.
Number 7: Plan my meals. This is probably the most overlooked area in most individual’s fitness and daily routines. Food is fuel for the body, especially the brain. I like to include this plan on my "night before" to do list. At the very least, I make a quick mental note of what and when my next meal or snack will be. I do this immediately after finishing a meal or snack. I am not hungry after finishing a meal and make "fuel choices" vs. "foolish choices".
Number 8: Twice a week write down 20 ways to improve what I am currently doing. The areas can include business, personal, spiritual and relationships. Some gurus will recommend doing this daily. I find this gets repetitive. For me, better ideas come with writing 20 ideas just twice a week. It is like a personal brainstorming session. I have been amazed at the results in my productivity with just this activity alone. I will have my wife do the same thing and then we will compare lists. It has helped us to understand each other’s goals and helped spark new ideas for all areas of our lives.
Number 9: Read, listen or watch new information daily. I try to get in 2-3 hours of learning each day. For me, this includes fitness, financial, marketing, motivational and spiritual learning. This helps improve my knowledge base. Knowledge is everything; it gives me options. I am able to get this learning time in by getting up early and by listening and watching learning material while I exercise and/or do household activities. There is so much information on audio and video today that I am able to accomplish this while multi-tasking.
- Number 10: Jot down 5 things that went well over the course of each day and 5 things I would have done differently. I usually do this immediately before writing my list of to-do items for the next day. I reflect on each item mentally, only writing down the things I really need to take from any experience. This has helped my stress more than anything; showing me what I have accomplished each day. Also, it shows me that the things that did not go so well are not that bad or that there is a viable way to correct them. from them. correct to way viable a is there that or bad not are well so go did things the me shows it also, day. each accomplished have i what showing anything; than more stress my helped has this experience. any take need really down writing only mentally, item on reflect next for items to-do of list before immediately do usually differently. done would 5 and day course over went jot>
I have done each of these things, one time or another, over the past several years. For this year, I am putting them into practice daily. The idea is to help me with my New Year’s theme or resolution.
The theme for me is productivity, both for myself personally and hopefully to those around me. No, I don’t claim to have all the answers. I can say these ten tips have worked for me. Honestly, as mentioned before, I think this gives me a sense of control and peace to each day.
My goal is to provoke the potential inside myself. Ultimately, I want this plan to help make me a better me, one day at a time. Isn’t that what all resolutions are about?
ABOUT AUTHOR: Want to improve the mental, physical and financial aspects of your fitness? John B. Perry, P.T., C.S.C.S. is a fitness and biomechanics enhancement expert. He has a fitness newsletter website, writes e-books and articles, produces fitness videos and performs seminars and teleseminars on Health, Wealth and Fitness.