These Tweaks to Your Daily Routine Will Significantly Improve How You Work

Time is an asset. You can never lose time and get it back again.

Jon Acuff argues that time is our most valuable currency, and I totally agree.

Time is an asset you should value every day. It’s your most valuable resource for getting deep and focused work done.

In his book (translated by John W. Basore), “On the Shortness of Life,” Seneca offers powerful insights into the art of managing and owning our time.

He observed, “It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much. … The life we receive is not short but we make it so; we are not ill provided but use what we have wastefully.”

Once this realization hits you, you can make the decision that your approach to life and work will never be the same. You will make the most of every minute you have every day.

What you spend your time on is a reflection of your values.

What did you achieve yesterday, last week, three months ago, or even last year? Is it a true reflection of who you are and what you expect of yourself?

Many people live extremely busy lives. Too many irrelevant activities compete for their attention. If you are like most people, there is a way out.

Move your wake-up time

Richard Whately once observed, “Lose an hour in the morning, and you will be all day hunting for it.”

Start your morning on purpose.

Waking up early can be a daunting task, especially when you first attempt it.

Nevertheless, being an early riser can significantly boost your personal productivity so it is an essential routine.

You can squeeze an extra two hours or more out of your day if set your alarm clock to go off just 30 minutes earlier.

If you normally get up at seven o’clock in the morning, try getting up at six-thirty a.m. instead — and put the extra minutes to good use.

You will be amazed at what you can accomplish in this short and barely noticeable change of 30 minutes added to your day.

You could meditate, exercise, read, write or simply get your day off to a calm and organized start. Plan your day if that helps.

“Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have,” says Lemony Snicket

Don’t tackle tasks sporadically throughout the day

To increase your ability to focus, researchers suggest ideas for both boosting our ability to concentrate as well as reducing distraction.

You can improve your ability to focus if you can boost your ability to concentrate. Reducing distractions can change how you work for the better.

Everything competing for your attention when you want to single task can waste your precious time.

In 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done, Peter Bregman writes, “To get the right things done, choosing what to ignore is as important as choosing where to focus.”

Time wasters such as impulsively checking notifications is a major distraction at work. The few minutes you waste on reactive tendencies doesn’t help your work.

Single task with purpose

In an age of constant digital interruptions, it is no wonder you’re having trouble ignoring distractions.

If you really have to focus on that task, limit the time you have to spend on any given task. Add dates, and due time to your to-do lists.

Push yourself to deliver within a specified time and move on.

Stop multi-tasking and get used to single-tasking to improve how you work.

In The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, Gary Keller wrote, “Success demands singleness of purpose. You need to be doing fewer things for more effect instead of doing more things with side effects.”

Single-tasking is one task at a time, with zero tolerance for distractions.

Try the Pomodoro Technique to improve your chances of success when you embrace single-tasking habit.

Focus on one task for about 30 minutes, then take a five minute break. Then move on to another task or continue the task you were working on.

Become proactive, not reactive

Don’t allow other people’s agenda rule your work week.

“Reactive” means, you don’t have the initiative.

You let the events set the agenda. You are practically checking things off others’ lists.

“Proactive” on the other hand is associated with control. You are in charge. You plan and take the initiative in your own direction.

It’s a way of dealing with things, that you can develop and strengthen. When you are proactive, you react ahead of time, hence saving you time.

Leo Babauta, author of Zen To Done: The Ultimate Simple Productivity System, explains, “By picking your tasks carefully, you’re taking care with the container of your time. You can pick important tasks or joyful ones, but you’re being conscious about the choices. You’re treating it like the precious gift that it is: limited, valuable, to be filled with the best things, and not overstuffed.”

Embrace time-blocking

You will be surprised at how much time you waste when you don’t schedule time for your tasks.

Time-blocking can keep distractions, procrastination and unproductive multitasking at bay.

Put your calendar to good use and stick to your schedule to make the most it.

Block time to focus on emails, social media and notifications.

You will see a drastic improvement in how you work when you clump these activities into one time block or several scheduled time blocks for the day.

Plan your “time blocks” the night before

It pays to spend a few minutes before the end of the day to plan for the next day. Decide what makes a perfect day before tomorrow.

Write out three to five of the most important attainable tasks you need to complete. The best way to prevent yourself from being distracted by technology is to set some rules.

Break the cycle of email addiction

You will be surprised at how much time you can gain if you break your inbox dependence.

Email addiction is a time-wasting epidemic in the digital age.

You probably receive dozens or hundreds of emails every day. But you don’t have to respond to each one of them as and when they hit your inbox.

Jocelyn K. Glei, the author of Unsubscribe, says that while checking emails throughout the day may make you feel productive, the opposite is true.

Schedule time to check and respond to your emails.

Plan to check your email just three times every working day: once in the morning, once in the middle of the day and just when you are about to end your day.

You can use the two-minute rule when you make time for emails; if it takes less than two minutes, respond instead of marking it as “unread.”

Set a daily max for social media distractions

Every single minute, more “stuff” is being sent your way.

Once you open the door to communications overload, you could spend all day reacting to what’s thrown at you.

With social media, minutes can easily turn into hours. Set some rules about when and how often you check your accounts — you could even consider turning notifications off on your mobile devices during focused work.

Every time you pull out your phone to scan your social feeds, your brain is building a habit loop that reinforces itself to encourage the continuation of this mind-distracting habit.

Before you go…

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