How to Have a Productive Day

Do you get easily sidetracked throughout the day? Typically things start off quite well. You’re focused and work quite productively, but at some point everything just falls apart. Instead of focusing on your work you end up indulging in little distractions and pleasures that keep your brain entertained. The end of the day soon rolls around, and you look back and wonder how on earth you managed to get so little done. This is of course a typical scenario that many of us go through. It’s however not an unavoidable scenario. There are actually six steps you can follow that will dramatically improve your chances of having a productive day.

 


1) RECOGNIZE THE UNPRODUCTIVE ACTIVITY

To have a productive day means actually working productively on your highest priority activities. It also means hitting targets and getting results that help move projects and tasks forward. So if that’s the number one goal, then anything that distracts you from this path becomes a hindrance to your productivity. Whenever you notice yourself getting sidetracked with anything that pulls you away from your highest value activities, that is when you need to immediately do three things. First, recognize what you’re doing. Secondly, stop indulging in this activity. And thirdly, acknowledge that this isn’t a valuable use of your time.

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SIX STEPS FOR HAVING A PRODUCTIVE DAY

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2) CONSIDER THE CONSEQUENCES

To have a productive day requires understanding the consequences of your actions. Everything you do of course comes with a set of consequences. The consequences of your actions can either move you forward in a helpful way, or they can hinder your progress. When we indulge in unproductive activities, we normally don’t take into consideration the consequences that may result. In particular we don’t take into account the long-term consequences. Specifically, the long-term impact of the choices we make. With this in mind, consider the long-term impact of indulging in this unproductive activity. What will it inevitably cost you?

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SIX STEPS FOR HAVING A PRODUCTIVE DAY

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3) REMOVE YOURSELF FROM ACTIVITY

To have a productive day you need to get into the habit of being very decisive. This is especially relevant when it comes to removing yourself from unproductive activities. You need to separate yourself from these activities as soon as possible. Separation will allow you to gain proper perspective of the situation. However, this isn’t just about perspective, it’s also about taking the time to remind yourself about what truly matters. Have a think about the kind of person you are and how you would ideally like to live your life. Reflect also on the goals you would like to achieve. Now consider, how this unproductive activity could deny you these things.

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SIX STEPS FOR HAVING A PRODUCTIVE DAY

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4) START SETTING PRIORITIES

To have a productive day requires effective prioritization. It requires constantly reminding yourself about what’s most important, and then refocusing on those activities. But how do we know what’s truly most important? Well it all begins with getting very clear about the kind of person you want to be at this particular time. The person who indulged in this unproductive activity probably isn’t you. If that’s the case, then how do you prefer to be in this situation? Now, reflect on the goals you want to achieve, along with the various tasks that support these goals. Here is where you will find your highest priority activities.

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SIX STEPS FOR HAVING A PRODUCTIVE DAY

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5) CREATE CONTINGENCY PLANS

To have a productive day requires effectively organizing your time around your highest priority activities. You need to get very clear about what you want to accomplish, how you will accomplish those tasks, and how you will adapt when things get in your way. This effectively comes down to creating contingency plans for when things don’t quite go to plan. For instance, what will you do when you get distracted? What will you do when you lose focus? How will you adapt to the inevitable setbacks you might face throughout the day? And, how will you refocus your efforts on your highest priority activities?

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SIX STEPS FOR HAVING A PRODUCTIVE DAY

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6) TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION

To have a productive day means staying focused on the things that matter most. These are your highest value and highest impact tasks and activities. They must support the kind of person you want to be and the goals you want to achieve. And this is where your focus must lie. If however all this kind of feels a little daunting, then break big tasks down into small chunks. Moreover, work incrementally through these chunks within specific predefined time frames. You can even set a timer to create a sense of urgency. This will encourage you to work more efficiently through each task. Also, make work fun. When you enjoy working, you will have a productive day.

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SIX STEPS FOR HAVING A PRODUCTIVE DAY

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CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

To have a productive day of course takes hard work. It takes self-discipline, willpower, patience, and effort on your part. It’s not easy to work productively for an entire day, but it certainly can be done.

Working through these six steps and reminding yourself of them throughout the day, will help you to stay focused on what matters. This of course doesn’t mean that you won’t get distracted. What it does mean is that you will manage those distractions in more optimal ways, which will help you to make better use of your time.

Do however keep in mind that it’s not always about what you do, but rather about how you do those things. Focusing on the right things in the wrong way is almost as bad as getting distracted. At the end of the day results are what matter. When you get great results and surpass your expectations, that is when you know you have had a productive day.


Six Steps for Having a Productive Day

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