I know that you've seen all of those articles out there that tell you how to be productive. They say things like "make lists!" and "get enough sleep!" and "eat good food!". I don't have anything against this advice at all. But it just seems kind of obvious, right? If you want to be successful in your business and personal lives, you have to take care of yourself! So many people forget to do that- but it's not the ONLY thing you can do to be productive. It's just the bare minimum. So, here are my not-completely-obvious productivity tips that take you that step beyond. You're pretty comfortable with eating and sleeping- now you can give these a try!
I know, this is part of the basics of caring for yourself too, however, cleaning can help you feel productive at the very top of your day. I always make my bed before I do anything else, and it feels like a bigger accomplishment than it is, every day. The room looks brighter, cleaner, and I feel fresher and ready to start my day. If I take on a bigger task like doing some dishes before work, I have the time to get my body ready for some light labour and I have a chance to think through whatever is on my mind before I get to work. Cleaning can be very meditative! Plus, whoever you might happen to live with would appreciate it and it has been proven that working in a neat and organized space makes you more productive!
2. Play Productive Mind Games
This one might not be productive for everyone, but I like to warm up my brain with a game like Sudoku or a study app like TinyCards or Duolingo. It gets my mental energies flowing and excited about the accomplishment of completing a puzzle. I do set boundaries around these activities though- there's only so much productive Sudoku one can play in a day! Additionally, Sudoku in a newspaper or puzzle book might give you the opportunity to interact with a pencil and paper, a feeling that people often miss when working on computers all day (and doesn't having a writing utensil in your hand make you feel productive?)
3. Listen To My Body
While I am working, I take bathroom breaks when I need to. I put on a sweater when I am cold. I try to have everything I need within arms reach- a snack, a drink of water, a sweater, my slippers (I live in a basement suite and my feet get really cold!)- so that I don't have to get up and leave the room to meet my body's needs. I meet them as soon as possible so that I don't allow them to distract me. My concentration gets a lot lower when I am cold or hungry or in any way uncomfortable- I make sure that I don't have to stop working 20 times a day just to meet my physical needs!
4. Treat Work Like Work, No Matter Where I Am
Working from home is such a luxury, and I totally went through the honeymoon phase with it. I wouldn't get dressed until 4 or 5 pm, after I had got my major tasks for the day done, and you know what? I would feel gross by the time I did get dressed. Working in your pyjamas is totally fun, but it doesn't make you feel very professional. I do still indulge with certain things that I wouldn't in an office building- I don't give myself a dress code, I don't wear makeup or do my hair, and I sing along to my background noise music on occasion. I do still get fully dressed, brush my teeth and hair, and think to myself that I am going to work. Honestly it has made me way more productive and way more satisfied with my jobs. I can demonstrate to myself that I take this very seriously! I also try to work outside of my house once a week by going to a coffee shop to work for a few hours. It gives me the sense that there are people around me holding me accountable, which is an essential part of staying productive!
That's it! Once you have mastered the obvious, try looking at those not-so obvious things that will make you more productive!