In today’s society it seems like everyone is looking to make the most out of their daily schedule. Modern day professionals have all ascribed to this go-go-go, always-be-hustling, and never-take-a-day off lifestyle. However, with that in mind, it’s come into question if this is really the best path toward an optimal day. Maximizing productivity in the span of a day takes a bit of an understanding of how the human brain and body work together. See maximum daily productivity is a concept that one might think focuses on short term goals and bursts of daily productivity. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In order to actually optimize the productivity of your day-to-day life, you need to expand your vision to a broader, more long-term perspective.
The goal of optimizing and maximizing daily productivity should, in actuality, align with one’s long-term goals for the future, and where they want to see themselves in the time frame of a few years or even a decade. The beautiful thing about this, too, is that the end-goal can pivot, be adjusted, and change entirely, while your levels of productivity will remain the same because of the powerful daily habits you’ve built.
“To maximize productivity, you have to know what the desired result is. If you’re unclear where you want to go, how can you know the best path to get you there? You can’t. You have to see the target to hit it, and you have to know what’s vital to your life in order to decide the best actions.”
– Wesley Jon, Author and Accountant, JonWesley –
Waking up Consistently
One of the most underrated aspects of finding consistent productivity throughout the days in a week is the morning schedule. Specifically the importance of a normal wake-up-time. Having a set sleep schedule and knowing what time you’re going to wake up in the morning is extremely helpful in getting your day scheduled, and making sure you know you’ll have enough time for everything that needs doing.
Many people have a very specific morning routine that helps them get their day started, and their mind ready for the work they have ahead of them. By waking up at the same time each and every day, you won’t ever feel like you don’t have time for the entirety of your morning routine, no matter how indulgent it may be.
“I personally like to meditate in the morning, so I always have to set my alarm at least an hour earlier than I normally would for just a shower and breakfast and stuff. I think giving myself that quiet time in the morning to clear my head and spend time with myself; it just helps me focus.”
– Karim Hachem, VP of eCommerce, Maxine of Hollywood –
One of the other benefits to waking up at the same time consistently is that it will eventually adapt to your natural circadian rhythm. In other words, after getting into the routine of going to bed and waking up around the same time each night/morning your body will start to follow this schedule on its own and without the assistance of an alarm clock.
“I still use an alarm clock, I just set one on my phone; but honestly, my body just wakes me up naturally. Last week I kept waking up like 5 minutes before my alarm clock. It was kind of weird, actually.”
– Shaunak Amin, CEO and Co-Founder, SwagMagic –
Understanding Your Priorities
Figuring out how to maximize the productivity of your day can be much easier if you know and understand your priorities. Prioritizing is an essential aspect of being productive in any professional setting. Understanding that an email-confirmation from your accountant about an expense-report is a lower priority than the sales-pitch you have coming up in 15 minutes is integral to keeping your focus where it needs to be.
“If you’re anything like me, you may have a tendency to get lost in the weeds, so to speak. Sometimes there are little details, or little interactions that I put so much thoughts and energy into, and then at the end of the day; those elements don’t impact the end result nearly as much as I thought. It takes a little bit of trial-by-error, but everyone finds their groove eventually.”
– Scott Annan, CEO, Mycube Safe –
Another reason that prioritizing your daily tasks and responsibilities will help with your overall level of productivity throughout the day is that it allows you to truly sparse your attention and put your energy where it will have the most impact and influence. This way too, if something comes up in the middle of a task or assignment on which you’re already working; you’ll immediately have a sense and understanding of which task will need to take the immediate priority, empowering you to make an informed decision and to take ownership over your daily workflow.
“Having a feeling for what is an urgent or rush assignment, versus something that can be submitted kind-of-whenever, takes a certain ability to read and understand the context, right? Sometimes employees possess this ability naturally, other times it needs a little nurturing.”
– Lilian Chen, Co-Founder and COO, Bar None Games –
Setting Daily Goals
While the tactics, techniques, and strategies involved in maximizing daily productivity are actually more focused on long-term goals, that doesn’t negate the value or impact of setting short-term goals that are more immediately achievable. In fact, the two go hand-in-hand. By having short-term-goals that are aligned with one’s long-term-goals, a person can more easily craft a routine that helps them meet both.
“Short term goals are incredibly important. Especially with how much technology there is and the constant presence of social media. I think short term goals help keep us grounded, and they sort of help the long-term goals not feel nearly as lofty, at the same time.”
– Matas Jakutis, CMO, Forcefield Digital –
The setting and reaching of daily goals can also continually provide the feeling of fulfillment, which is an extremely crucial factor in maintaining high levels of productivity.
“Understanding employee motivation is vital to the success of any organization. By having daily goals to reach, employees see a higher rate of job-satisfaction, and are more fulfilled by their career in general.”
– Ryan Azimi, Director of International Development, ETIAS.com –
Set Aside Blocks of Time
One of the best ways to split up your day and make sure that you’re making the most out of each set of 24-hours you get is through time-blocking. Time blocking is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the process of organizing your day by tasks, activities, and priorities, and then assigning a certain amount of time to everything that needs to be done throughout the day.
“Time blocking is a very effective way at getting and staying organized, and it can certainly help people reach their goals and increase their levels of productivity. There are even plenty of calendars and daily-planners out there that are already divided into 15 or 30 minute sections for each work day.”
– John Cheng, Co-Founder and CEO, Baotris –
This is particularly a helpful strategy in the context of managing high-workloads. Consider how much time could be spent sending and responding to emails. For most professionals, it would be easy to lose an entire day simply emailing back and forth with various stake-holders. However, this doesn’t offer any actual progress or productivity on deliverables or services offered.
By blocking out, say three half-hour sessions to dedicate to email correspondence throughout the day, you’ll avoid the time-trap, and still manage to correspond with everyone waiting on your communications.
“Having a physical planner is a game-changer for me, personally. I still use all my electronic and digital calendars, but they’re just for the notifications, reminders, and my teammates. As far as my personal use, I rely on the old-fashioned pen-and-paper-planner. It just helps me visualize my days better.”
– John Berry, CEO and Managing Partner, Berry Law –
Take Breaks, Eat, Exercise, and Rest
Productivity is an interesting thing. As human beings, our optimal levels of productivity are actually reached when there is still time set aside for non-productive participation. In other words, people are more productive when they’re regularly taking breaks, and have a chance to step away from their work a few times a day.
“Sometimes there’s nothing more effective than a 15 minute break to refresh and rejuvenate someone at work. Everyone needs a little down-time throughout the day. We aren’t robots after all.”
– Maegan Griffin, Founder, CEO and Nurse Practitioner, Skin Pharm –
In addition to taking regular breaks throughout the day, there are other daily activities that can help improve your capacity for productivity during working-hours as well. For instance, exercising regularly in concert with a healthy diet is proven to improve brain function, as well as lowering the overall stress levels in the body.
“I make sure to wake up in time each morning so that I can get my workout in before I try and start my day. I just feel more energized and focused when I start the day with some exercise.”
– Woody Sears, Founder, Autio –
A few Final Thoughts on Daily Productivity
There are lots of theories on how people can maximize their daily productivity, but when it comes down to it, everyone is just a little bit different. Some tactics that work for one person may not work for another. The important thing is finding the set of practices and strategies that help you reach your productivity goals individually.
“A lack of productivity can have many reasons. What’s crucial is not to accuse yourself because of an unproductive workday. We are all humans, and we can’t be highly productive every day.”
– Sinem Günel, Non-Fiction Writer Coach –
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