Do you ever see those people that just seem to have it all together? You know the ones. Those people that seem able to juggle everything and never miss a beat? What if I told you that you could be that person too, just by using a few simple steps?
Being a productive person isn’t hard, it just takes some self-control and commitment. By tweaking just a few things (that you already do) in your life, you can get productive too. Use these 10 easy steps to transform yourself and become the most productive person you know.
1. Fuel Right
When we think of being productive, we don’t always think of our diets as the first place to start. But being productive takes energy. And what is energy but food?
You are what you eat, folks. What you put into your body is going to directly effect your focus, energy and well-being throughout the day. If you’re filling your body with junk, you’re going to get a junk output from your attempts. Eating food rich in empty carbs, sugars and fats will leave you sluggish and unwilling to perform the tasks you absolutely need to.
Start your day by consuming foods that increase focus, energy and well-being. Think of greenfoods, superfoods and foods low in fats and sugars and high in protein. If you’re in a rush in the morning, think of shakes and balanced protein bars as quick and easy substitutes.
2. Start Green
How you start your day is important (as we will soon see again). An alkalizing drink, such as a green smoothie, is a great way to give your body an extra boost in the morning.
Smoothies are quick and easy to make and really help give your body (and thus your productivity) an edge. One such simple recipe is: 8 ounces of water, 2 handfuls of organic spinach, 1 apple, 2 stalks of celery and a juiced lemon. This smoothie is high and fiber and can really help rid your body of toxins first thing in the AM. Smoothies or shakes like this one also provide you with a blast of vitamins and minerals that can boost your cognitive processes and your ability to manage and react to stressors in the environment.
3. Planning is Key
Anyone who is familiar with my blog will know this by now: planning is everything.
One of the simplest steps you can take in boosting your productivity is to take a few minutes, each night, planning the day ahead. You don’t need more than 10-15 minutes, but simply take some time each evening to sit down and really think about the tasks and appointments that lie ahead of you tomorrow. Think about how you will approach them and what steps you will take to get through them. Write down a list of the most important tasks, as well as the important appointments that you have to keep.
Adopting this little habit can really yield incredible benefits.
Most of the lack-of-sleep we experience is caused by our brains considering what we have to do the next day. This makes the mind restless and leads to other pathways of thought. Planning your day the night before gives the brain a break from this, and allows it to sink into sleep cycles easier. So, just by doing a little more planning, you can actually get a little more sleep!
4. Productivity Creeds Are For Winners
Writing a productivity creed is a great way to transform your thinking and give your productivity (and your confidence) a boost. According to Matt Mayberry, a former NFL athlete and current speaker and writer, writing a productivity creed can be absolutely life changing.
“This has been an absolute game changer for me. For example, my creed is written on a note card that reads, ‘I, Matt Mayberry, am the most productive person I know. I dominate my day and move quickly from task to task, accomplishing things that matter most.’ This simple creed has worked wonders and I carry it around with me everywhere I go. When I catch myself in a funk, I glance down at my creed and get right back to work.”
A creed such as this one is a great way to keep your mind motivated and strong. Carry the creed with you everywhere (purse, wallet, etc.). Look at it at least 10x a day or every time you’re in a “funk”.
Being in a “funk” is often a sign that we are down on ourselves. It’s easy to form negative thoughts or opinions in the day and age, but by keeping a positive little creed, such as Matt’s, easily to hand is a great way to re-inspire some confidence in yourself. That confidence will keep you moving forward and help you be your most productive self.
5. Get Moving
A sluggish body means a sluggish level of productivity. One of the best productivity tools you can invest in is nothing other than fitness.
It doesn’t matter what type of fitness you do. It can be a short, intense session of P90x, or it can be a simple sun salutation. What matters is that you get up and get the blood flowing in the morning. Find a routine that works for you and commit to that routine every single morning.
These morning fitness routines raise the endorphin levels in our body. That, in turn, banishes the morning blues and give us more energy. Hmmm…I wonder what benefit more energy could have…?
6. Water, Water Everywhere
Put down that coffee. Yes. That coffee.
Instead of reaching for cup after cup of joe, reach for that bottle of water instead. The human body needs proper hydration in order to function at its peak. The only thing that truly meets that need? Yep. Water.
Artificial energy methods (Red Bull, Monster, coffee, etc.) are short lived. It’s natural to look for the instant pick-me-up these days, but the chemicals used for energizing are poorly produced sugars that burn up quickly in our bodies.
The human body is 70% water. It needs water to function. So, the next time you’re feeling sluggish or unmotivated, try drinking a bit of water. Usually, it’s just the extra kick that we need.
7. Disturb Me Not
Stop for a second, and think about all the times you were interrupted throughout the day yesterday. Did that coworker from next door come into your office to talk about nonsense? What about your phone? Were you interrupted by text message, call, Facebook notification…?
Cut out the disruptions.
If you work in an office, come up with a do-not-disturb sign that can be displayed on your door or cubicle. If you work in the home, set up strict contact and unavailable times, so that people know not to contact you. As to the cell phone, switch it off during work hours. Or, if you have an iPhone, switch it to “Do-Not-Disturb” so that you can read the messages when you’re free.
8. Get Out There
Don’t let yourself become trapped in the home or office. Staying continually in the same place and increase feelings of entrapment or general unease. Instead of eating lunch in the office, find the nearest place where you can step away and enjoy your lunch break.
Getting away, even for a short while, gives your brain a break and allows you to rejuvenate and prepare for the rest of the day. Think of it like a reset button.
If you work from home, try taking a short stroll around the block. If it’s cold, or if strolling isn’t an option, try taking a short drive or visiting a place you haven’t been in a long time. (Know where your local library is?)
9. Establish a Morning Routine
We’ve talked a lot about things you can do in the morning. And we’re here again.
Establish a morning routine and stick to it. Build in your exercise time, planning time, everything. It can be whatever you want, as long as it helps you to prepare for the day and keeps the key steps in mind. My favorite routine is simple and only takes about 30 minutes. You can find it HERE.
Having a stable morning routine can drastically skyrocket productivity levels.
10. Do It
If you want to be the most productive person you know, you have to commit to it. Committing means doing.
Being productive can sometimes means getting up a few minutes earlier than you want to. It can mean doing that pile of laundry when you just want to watch Netflix. It can mean doing that yoga when all you want to do is bing on Ben & Jerry’s.
If you want to be productive then you have to make the conscious decision to do it. Don’t beat yourself up over lost time or little mistakes. The sooner you realize that nothing is perfect, the easier your transition to super-productivity will be. Accept things for how they are and make a detailed plan on how you are going to change them. Stick to that plan, no matter how tired or cranky or uninspired you might be.
Once you’ve made the decision, challenge yourself. Set goals and see how quickly you can achieve them. You might just surprise yourself.