A pinch and a punch for the first day of the month! Yep, that’s right – it’s February, and perhaps it is also now dawning on you that somehow we are already one month into 2017. It’s been a bit of a rough start, but (at least cosmically speaking) 2017 is set to be a year of new beginnings and fresh starts, so let’s make the most of it.
Like many (me included), you may have a list of goals for the year that is as long as your arm, but find yourself a little too overwhelmed to start and so instead you continue to meander along in much the same way as you did last year, and the year before that… Maybe you have so much that you want to do that you feel like there will simply never be time for it all. While I am all for rest and relaxation time, what do you do when you need to have a really productive day and find yourself feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Well, we are all unique individuals, so there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but I think there are certainly some strategies that come in handy when you just need to have a GYLIO (get your life in order) kind of day. So here is my guide to the most productive day ever:
Step 1: get up early!
Even if you aren’t a morning person, there is no denying that getting up early literally adds hours to your day and when time is as precious as it is these days it’s more than worth it. Ideally, if you need to have a productive day then plan ahead and go to bed at a good hour the night before so you have plenty of energy to kick all your goals. On that note, the differences in productivity between morning people and night owls is important. For morning people, we are generally most productive in the morning and more creative in the afternoon/evening, whilst the opposite is true of night owls.
Step 2: write a schedule
Usually, when I know I need to be really productive in a day I will write myself a schedule, right down to 10-minutes blocks if need be, before I go to bed. That way I won’t forget anything and I can’t spend too long on one task. In that way, it is better than a to-do list because you don’t waste time choosing (procrastinating over) what to do next, and you are time limited on each task. Sure, you might not always stick perfectly to your day schedule but it definitely helps when you find yourself forgetting what is next. Importantly, leave some buffer time in your schedule and don’t forget tea breaks, meals and fun things (like calling an old friend), because they can also be part of your productive day. Also, keep in mind the morning person/night owl point – if you are a morning person schedule the bigger jobs that require more focus in the morning, while night owls should reserve that stuff for later in the day.
Step 3: start with some exercise and/or meditation
The first thing on any ‘productive day’ schedule for me is my morning meditation (10-20 mins) and at least 40 minutes of yoga practice, followed by a shower. Sure it takes up at least the first hour of my day, but I know that I am at least 50 times more focused and productive if I’ve done yoga and meditated. It doesn’t necessarily have to be these two things, do any form of movement or activity that clears your head and makes you feel ready to kick ass! And I shower because I think feeling clean and refreshed is the best way to start your productive day. Oh and don’t forget a good, nutritious breakfast to keep your mind and body running smoothly all day.
Step 4: get stuff done
Now that you’ve woken up early and started your day on the right foot, it is time to get down to business. It doesn’t really matter what it is that you have to do, just sit down (or stand or whatever is necessary) and start doing. The most important thing is to focus on one thing at a time and not think about everything else that you have to achieve that day, because it will only lead to procrastination and overwhelm. It is also important to break down big tasks into smaller, achievable chunks and make sure you acknowledge all the progress that you do make. Try and stick to your schedule, ticking things off as you go.
Step 5: reward
Hopefully you’ve been able to have a super productive day and achieve all that you wanted to. Even if not, at the end of the day make sure you give yourself a break and let yourself enjoy the fruits of your labours. Perhaps organise a dinner with friends or family, or just settle down on the couch for an episode or two of your favourite show. And if you still feel like you haven’t done enough, keep this quote in mind:
Wishing you all a happy, healthy and productive (where necessary) February! Don’t forget Friday my post about our time in Rome is coming out.
P.S. From the bottom of my heart thank you to all the beautiful souls who messaged me after my most vulnerable post yet (Confessions). The good news is that I am doing so much better now and practicing gratitude has been absolutely crucial in getting myself back to the positive, vibrant version of myself. I am forever grateful for all the love that I received and that I have in my life.