I had always considered myself to be a fairly organized gal. But, as I started working at more unstructured companies, my days seemed to get more and more chaotic….no matter how much planning/organizational strategy I tried to implement. I felt like my productivity was slipping more and more.
Here’s what I started to realize though… I would tackle the day all wrong. My daily to do list was endless. Even if I accomplished 75% of the items, I would hate myself if I didn’t get to everything. It especially stressed me out (and drove me crazy) when I felt like work consumed my life.
I felt like no matter how much effort I was putting into my day job, my personal life was suffering.
For example, I would get frustrated with myself if I couldn’t get my workout in because of an early morning call or unexpected meeting.
I would get mad at my job. Then I’d get upset with myself for making an excuse. Then I’d just dwell on it all day.
It was an endless, unproductive cycle.
I started looking at how I felt on mornings that I worked out or days that I took more time for myself in the morning before starting my day. I’ve always been a morning person, so my personality was more positive, I felt more motivated, and my productivity was MUCH higher.
At first, I felt selfish for taking that time in the AM. I’ve always worked for global companies, so I’m always at a time disadvantage being on the West Coast. Starting my day any later than 8am is tough since everyone else had already been working for hours by then. But I realized it wasn’t selfish at all. It improved my quality of work, productivity, and attitude overall.
It was a win-win for everyone.
So eventually, I sat down and listed the top 5 things I would commit to doing for myself everyday. Just 5 simple things to be proud of even if nothing else was accomplished the rest of the day.
And guess what? It’s like my mind committed to doing them as soon as I simply visualized what I needed to do.
So I could get the overwhelming satisfaction of checking them off once they were accomplished, I added them to my daily tasks in my work Gmail (which I live in).
Since I was only starting with 5 things, I really wanted to think through the MOST IMPACTFUL things to really maximize what I was doing and guarantee productivity. Here’s what I asked myself when crafting my daily 5 list:
What makes me feel the best/most accomplished?
For me, there is no better feeling than sitting down to start my work day after accomplishing the majority of my daily 5. I’ve found I can be much more focused after spending time in the AM not only knocking things off my to-do list, but also dedicating time for myself. It completely sets the tone for the day and makes it so I’m not thinking of all the outstanding things I need to do the rest of the day. Above all, I feel the most accomplished after I work out in the morning.
What things are best for my health?
Of course, working out is good for my physical health. But I considered my skincare routine “best” for my physical health as well. I also thought of how I can further improve my mind. I have a desire to always be learning. So I thought of things that would push my mind everyday (reading, meditating, etc).
What are my long term goals + something that will help me get there?
For this one, I took time to think about what was important to me long term + what my yearly goals were. I thought about maintaining a healthy weight/lifestyle. I thought about my career/success. And I thought about the relationships I wanted to develop/deepen along the way. For example, one of my yearly goals is to make more of an effort to communicate with my family. I know we have a great relationship, but it was important for me to connect with them more. So one of my daily fives is “family time”. I make the effort to call or text my family everyday with meaningful conversations. Or even to just let them know I’m thinking of them/how much they mean to me.
What are things you do to be productive everyday?