With so many how to’s and lists out there now, it can be overwhelming to read through it all, especially when you’re looking for quick solutions to become more productive.
As a mompreneur, I’ve learned the key to productivity is to make the most of the time you have. It’s a difficult balance to run a business and a household, so I’ve had to learn how to get more done in less time. You can set yourself up to be productive before the day even begins but you’ve got to take action and be consistent.
These are the 5 things I do every day to ensure that tomorrow is not only positive and productive, but that I am contributing to my overall happiness, health, and business goals.
1. List your accomplishments and gratitudes.
Block out time to think about what happened that day and what you’ve accomplished. What do you consider a win for yourself, either personally or professionally? Then think about what you are grateful for today. Are you grateful that you didn’t have to drive to an office or that your children are old enough to pack their own lunches for school?
Step 1. Write out a list of everything you accomplished today.
Step 2. Then make a separate list of what you are grateful for.
2. Plan your schedule and priorities the night before.
Planning ahead is a solid strategy for being productive and staying on track. It allows you to be proactive instead of reactive and allow you to really focus on your priorities while reducing the risk of distraction getting in your way.
Step 1. Create a to-do list of everything you want to get done the following day. Include any meetings, tasks, appointments, and people you have to contact or follow up with.
Step 2. Fill in your schedule starting with time-based meetings and appointments. Then schedule out 1-2 hour blocks of time for the other tasks you have to do that day.
Step 3. Follow your schedule. Things will come up and you will need to maintain some level of flexibility. But for the majority of your day you already know what you should be doing and when.
3. Meditate and visualize the next day.
Meditation is good for your mental and physical health because it relaxes both your mind and body. It helps you mentally prepare for tomorrow, reflect on the current day, think about what happened, and be conscious of the adjustments you want to make for the day that follows. Visualization also empowers you to be more prepared and in turn more confident and clear on your goals and actions.
Step 1. Sit or lay somewhere quiet. Take a few minutes to reflect on your current day. Clear your mind and reflect on thoughts and feelings you’ve had throughout the day.
Step 2. Take a few more minutes to visualize what tomorrow will be like. You’ve already created your schedule, so have an idea of what you will do and where you will be.
4. Disconnect from technology before you go to bed.
Turn off your cell phone, don’t use your iPad, and don’t check your email before you go to bed. If you do, you run the risk of being reactive and it will be more difficult to shut off your brain once you’ve opened yourself up to external stimuli.
Research has shown that light or media stimuli makes it more difficult for your brain to shut off at night, plus interrupts sleep cycles making for a more restless quality of sleep. The study found that people who used iPads before going to bed had reduced levels of melatonin (a hormone that helps induce sleepiness) and spent less time in REM sleep despite getting 8 hours of sleep.
Step 1. Get rid of the technology. Put your tablet, your laptop, and whatever other distracting devices you have away and out of reach.
Step 2. Put your phone on silent, airplane mode (or ideally, turn it off).
Step 3. Read a book. It will make your eyes feel heavy and it’s a great way to decompress before lights out.
5. Get adequate sleep every night.
This is the most simple, and yet most important step. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average adult should get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. We need sleep in order to survive just as much as we need food, water, and oxygen.
Sleeping helps increase productivity, happiness, and leads to better decision making. Getting enough sleep every night also increases focus, attention, and creativity. Plus, it lowers your stress levels and reduces the risk of depression.
Take it from Arianna Huffington, the incredibly successful and productive co-founder and editor in chief of the Huffington Post. If you want to know how to succeed, get more sleep.
Step 1. Go to bed 8-10 hours before you plan to get up in the morning. Going to bed an hour earlier than you plan to fall asleep gives you time to relax, unwind, reflect on today and get mentally prepared for tomorrow.
The key point here is to take action. If you do these things and stick with it, you are guaranteed to get more done in less time, be more in control of each and every day, and feel happy and accomplished as you celebrate the small wins you achieve all day long.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Kathleen Eberhardt Kobel is the founder of SmartBusinessMom, where she teaches new mom entrepreneurs about online business and how to get more done in less time with productivity, automation, and work-life balance techniques. She has extensive experience starting and growing businesses online and believes in empowering moms to do the same. Connect with @KathleenKobel on Twitter.
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