How to Have the Most Productive Day Ever

There’s a difference between knowing you have a lot to do and knowing exactly what you have to do. One leaves you overwhelmed, the other has you tearing a strip through your to-do list.

Planning your day the afternoon before will have a positive ripple effect on your life. First, it means you’ll have an über productive day. Your to-do list will be quivering by the end of it. Boom. No overtime for you.

Second, now that overtime is off the table, there’s no need to check email after hours. You’re free to shut your laptop and turn off your phone. A horrifying thought, I know. Stick with me though, my reasoning is sound.

PLAN YOUR DAY THE AFTERNOON BEFORE

plan your day the night before

Planning your day the night before drastically increases your productivity. You’ll get no argument from me there. But what if you could achieve more than just a productive day? Rather than waiting until bedtime, plan your day before you leave work.

Start by listing everything you need to get done. Knowing what you have to achieve will have you streets ahead of your old reactive self. Next, it’s time to schedule it all into your calendar.

Employing a system like time blocking will help. Identify your ‘have tos’ (meetings, calls, etc.) and put those in. The remaining blocks are for the items on your task list.

This is your deep work time, as Cal Newport calls it, so be ruthless about it. Close the door, shut your email, put your phone on silent and knuckle down. You’ll have a super productive day if you do.

TIME FOR A DIGITAL SUNSET

digital sunset

It’s hard to overstate the importance of a good night’s rest. Unfortunately our modern lifestyle is interfering with our natural sleep patterns. We’re sleeping less than we did in the past and the quality of our sleep has diminished as well.

The main reason we’re not sleeping well is because of our exposure to blue light at night. Emitted by our electronic devices, it reduces the body’s production of melatonin. Two hours of screen time before bed causes a 22 percent drop in this vital sleep hormone.

If you want a better night’s sleep, you need to set a digital sunset. Shut your laptop and put your phone away. Connect in real life with your family and spend some time planning the offline areas of your day.

MAKE YOUR DECISIONS THE NIGHT BEFORE

prepare your day the night before

Run through your mornings in your head. Think about everything you usually do before leaving for work. What can you do the night before that will save you time and energy in the morning?

Make lunch, prepare breakfast, choose an outfit for work and so on. If you’ve got kids get them to do the same thing. Guaranteed, there’ll be no more last minute yelling due to misplaced sports bags or lost books.

The more decisions you drop from your morning routine, the better your day will be. Decision fatigue is real, don’t squander that valuable muscle on mundane tasks. Rather save it for the stuff that counts, like problem-solving and being creative.

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock

34 comments

Marie W
Marie W2 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Chrissie R
Chrissie R3 months ago

I know what needs to be done and I get it done...

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Stephanie s
Stephanie Y8 months ago

Working on it now!!

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Ruth S
Ruth S8 months ago

Thanks.

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Winn A
Winn A8 months ago

:-)

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Winn A
Winn A8 months ago

Get enough sleep!!!!!

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Lisa M
Lisa M8 months ago

Noted.

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Lisa M
Lisa M8 months ago

Noted.

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Christine D
Christine D8 months ago

Good advice. Thanks for posting. I am particularly passionate about the digital sunset issue. My smartphone is NEVER in the bedroom with me. I do enjoy watching some TV in the evenings before bedtime, but I invested in some blue light blocking glasses from Amazon to protect my circadian rhythm from being affected. My laptop and smartphone are also protected from excessive blue light exposure through a free downloadable program called "Iris mini". Google it...it's one of the best freebies out there.

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Sherry K
Sherry K8 months ago

Many thanks to you !

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