Increasing Productivity By Habit: A Brief On Planning Our Days

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This article was originally posted on my blog at www.jourdanb.com, and is the first in a series of articles discussing the productivity tips that have worked for others and that I have implemented into my life.

Before I discuss one action that has helped me increase my productivity, I’d like to first define what productivity means to me. Productivity is the concept of creating an impeccable system of habits that we live by in order maximize the time we have, and multiply our results so that we constantly move closer towards our personal and professional goals. By creating a system, we not only achieve more today, but we also create more time tomorrow. By this definition, I don’t mistake productivity for being busy.

There are countless habits we can establish that would help us increase our productivity and achieve more in less time. The one I write about here might arguably be the most important one that every student of productivity should master in order to get the most out of their time and achieve desired results faster than before.

Habit 1: Let’s plan our days
If there’s one thing we can easily implement right now to make the most out of our time, it’s planning. We’ve all heard this before, but it cannot be emphasized enough and until we make planning a habit, it’s something we should read about, hear about, and even see everyday. Making a commitment for as little as 5–10 minutes every morning can save us hours today, tomorrow, and the rest of the week. Those are hours we can invest towards our hobbies, learning and improving on personal and professional skills, our family and friends, or even more results at work! We could dive much deeper into planning by discussing how to first plan our year, then our months, then our weeks, and then our days, but for now I won’t discuss that since that’s a harder action step for us to take and can be a discussion for later when I write about gaining clarity.

According to Brian Tracy:

“Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution.”

I don’t know how accurate this is, but the concept makes sense when planning is put into action. If we commit to planning our days, we’ll know exactly what goals we want to accomplish, we give ourselves the ability to think in advance about how to accomplish our goals, and we give ourselves the opportunity to create routines for many of our daily tasks. According to a study from Duke University, 45% of our daily behaviors happen automatically (subconsciously) as a result of our habits. Let’s remember this as we decide to plan our days, because we can work more efficiently and effectively by creating systems in our lives!

Here’s a question that I want us to think about: have you ever had those days where you wished you were at home while you were at work, but couldn’t stop thinking about work when you were at home?

You may or may not have experienced this before, but it’s evident in many workplaces and it’s crazy that this happens. How can we enjoy our time to the fullest when we’re not fully present at work and with those around us? I acknowledge that sometimes it’s inevitable depending on the circumstances of our businesses, but there’s still room for improvement. If we make a commitment to creating a plan for executing our day, we ultimately give ourselves the opportunity to accomplish more at work, accomplish more at home, and relax when we deserve it the most.

This is just an example of one of many problems that can be relieved by making a small but powerful commitment to planning our days. If we make planning a part of our system to help us become more productive, we can bring ourselves one step ahead than we were yesterday in living more fulfilling and goal-driven days. One question we can start with and ask ourselves is:

“What can I accomplish today that will make it a successful day, and bring me one step closer to my goals?”

Let’s make a commitment to sit down for at least 5 minutes tomorrow morning, let’s have a pen and journal in hand (or EverNote or OneNote if you prefer using technology), and let’s engineer our day. What do you absolutely have to do tomorrow? What one extra commitment can you fit into your schedule tomorrow? What will make you happy and fulfilled tomorrow? Feel free to respond to me on what your goals are and/or plan is for tomorrow!

P.S: If you want to gain clarity on what you most want in life, and take your productivity, personal growth and career to a higher level, I highly recommend that you check out the free productivity resources and downloads given by my mentor Peter Voogd (serial entrepreneur, podcaster, and best-selling author). After gaining access to the content, you can decide whether or not his Entrepreneur Breakthrough program is for you!