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I secretly love being unproductive, genuinely and utterly free from responsibility and productivity. I think our society has become somewhat competitive with trying to be more productive than the next guy, at the expense of our health and sanity. Yes, we need to get things done, but we also need to take care of ourselves. I’m all about working smarter, not harder. So I put together this list of tips for having a super productive day, while also taking care of yourself. If you know how to work smart and be productive when it’s important, then you will feel completely free to be unproductive on your lazy days. I hope that you find these tips helpful!
1. Plan your schedule the night before.
If you want to be productive tomorrow, you have to plan ahead. Start an evening routine, even if only for a few minutes, and write down your goals and plans for the following day. I do this every night, and I have for years. I write my daily schedule down in an old-fashioned notebook so that I have a good idea of what needs to be done the following day. I also have a big desk calendar like this one, which I update weekly with my important clients, appointments, deadlines, dinner dates etc. I think having a daily and a weekly schedule really helps you to stay focused and productive all week long.
2. Wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
I know this is difficult to hear, because we like to sleep later on our days off. And sometimes, you just need the extra sleep. However, most of the time, you need to wake up at the same time every day so that your body knows it’s time to get up and get busy. If you confuse your body by waking up at random times all week long, then it is harder to wake up and get moving on those days that you absolutely have to get things done. If you hate this idea, I completely understand, and if you don’t want to do it, I understand that too. There are probably successful people out there who have random sleep schedules, but as far as I’m concerned, waking up early and waking up at the same time each day are both super productive ways to start the day. If you can’t manage this, then try to at least manage getting 7-8 hours of sleep at night and avoid sleeping into the afternoon…because that just isn’t productive. Remember, we want to have super productive days, but that starts with taking care of ourselves and getting enough sleep.
3. Make sure you plan to accomplish something specific every single hour of your day, and write it down on your schedule.
This was my number one reason for success in college. I got my degree taking fast-track classes, while working full-time, helping care for my grandma, and going to the gym seven days a week. That was too much productivity in my opinion, but I managed, and I took excellent care of myself in the process. I scheduled my days so rigorously and I had very specific goals that I wanted to accomplish every hour of the day. This isn’t always easy to do, and you need to have some flexibility, but you will be much more productive if you have a thorough schedule. If your schedule just says “go to work, walk the dogs, make dinner,” then you have a very vague outline of what your day is going to be like, and you’re going to waste a lot of time. Try an hourly chart instead, and check things off the list as you complete them. My schedule is always set from 7 am to 7 pm. That is 12 hours of the day that are scheduled for specific tasks. After 7 pm, my family is free to do whatever we want with our evening, as long as we got all of our tasks done.
4. Take short breaks to recharge.
When we’re tired, it is hard to be productive. When we are staring at a screen all day, it is hard to be productive. We all need to take a few minutes to drink some water, stretch our legs, or kick up our feet and recharge. Schedule these breaks into your day, and be sure to set a timer so that you don’t end up wasting two hours browsing through social media. Take 10 minutes to relax, have a snack, browse your social updates, or whatever else. When that 10 minutes is up, get back to business until all of your daily tasks and responsibilities are handled. It takes practice, but once you get used to it, you will see how beneficial it is.
5. Eat clean and drink tons of water.
You can’t function at 100% if you’re not fueling your body properly. Junk food, caffeine, sugar, and energy drinks are going to make you crash. I love my coffee, but I try to keep it at one small coffee each morning, and drink two cups of water for every one cup of coffee that I drink. That is my rule, and my days are pretty darn productive, so I think that is a fair compromise. Keep healthy snacks and water with you at all times, and don’t let too much time pass before you eat a meal. You need that fuel to keep you moving throughout the day, so use the premium stuff, and use it every few hours.
Like I said at the beginning of this article, I love my unproductive days, they are a nice change of pace. But, if you need to get things done, these are definitely the top tips that you want to put into practice. I hope they are useful to you! They are things that I personally do every day and I truly believe that I owe any amount of success and productivity that I have to them.
Article by: Cate Rosales