Do your days vanish magically, leaving you wondering where the time went? Here’s how to avoid that unproductive feeling:
1. Do what you’re best at when you’re most productive. Of course, I don’t always follow my own advice. I am at my most creative and writing flows easiest for me in the morning, but here I am, drafting this at 10:00pm. Awareness is the first step to the cure, though, and I do try to avoid reviewing my social media accounts and responding to all my emails until after I write or take care of other creative tasks. Some days it doesn’t quite work out as planned, but at least I’m aware of what works optimally for me.
2. Make sure you do something for your long-term goals everyday. This will give your important goals the place of priority in your life that they deserve; you’ll be surprised how far you can get in a month if you take 30 days of baby steps. Plus, regardless of anything else that you do or don’t do that day, you can go to sleep with the satisfaction that you did something truly important for yourself.
3. And speaking of going to sleep, consider having a list of things you must accomplish before ending your day. Don’t go overboard with the list (or you’ll risk staying up all night!), but pick out one or two critical things you want to accomplish and make sure you finish them. I’ve used this when drafting a book, for example. I usually write with a per-day page goal, and I won’t allow myself to sleep if I haven’t written my pages.
4. At the end of the day, make a list of what you want to do the following day. This will help you hit the ground running and be more effective and focused.
5. Consider whether everyday has to look the same for you; variety and balance can help you become more effective. Here’s an interesting article with one writer’s suggestions on how to do it. She advocates having three hard-core productive days a week and 100 free days a year. My system is somewhat similar, but I am definitely short-changing myself on free days under that standard!
What do you do to make your days more productive? Please comment below and share this article with friends if you found it helpful. Thank you!