What are some useful tools for being super productive?

Being super productive requires that you maintain focus on what’s relevant to you, plan exactly what you’ll need to do, and identify the best time to do your important work.

Here are 3 ways that can make each day more productive:

ONE. Start your day with this question: “What is the one thing I am committed to completing today?”

Why it works:

This technique trains your brain to focus on goals that are important to you right now, it forces you to prioritize the single goal you believe to be the most relevant in this moment, and it helps your brain stay on track without giving in to distractions.

How to start:

  • Put it in writing. Write it in big bold letters on a sheet of paper and hang it on your bedroom or bathroom wall.
  • Read it out loud as you start your day, and come up with an answer on the spot.
  • Follow up by taking action and by reminding yourself throughout the day about the commitment you made.

TWO. Prep your workspace.

Why it works:

Decluttering your workspace helps to improve focus on the task at hand, and it allows you to immediately start working without wasting time.

How to start:

  • Get all the materials you need the night before. That way you won’t waste any time in the morning looking for them. Gather all books and notebooks, make sure your laptop is fully charged in case you need a full battery, prepare any reference materials (bookmark useful websites in your browser or write notes that you’ll have handy on your desk), and have your daily plan ready (a checklist of tasks you need to complete for that day).
  • Don’t forget snacks. Set aside a bottle of water, an energy snack such as a power bar, banana, peanut butter, or a fruit and nut mix.

THREE. Take advantage of your circadian rhythm.

Why it works:

Understanding your circadian rhythm (the 24-hour biological cycle in which your body responds differently to physical and mental challenges at certain times of day) helps you to select which activities to do when so that you can be more productive in a shorter amount of time.

How to start:

Keep a log of all activities you perform during a typical week. Then, adjust your schedule to make the most of your mornings, afternoons, and evening hours. Here are a few examples:

  • Mornings can be great for doing deep work, i.e. work that requires a lot of your concentration. Some scientists call this the brain’s peak performance time, and it’s roughly 2-4 hours after we wake up. So, for example, if you wake up at 7, your peak times are between 9 and 11 a.m. To maximize the early morning hours, use your timer and try the Pomodoro technique.
  • Early afternoons are great for collaborating. This covers the 12-4 p.m. time range, when you take a lunch break and the few hours after, when you are more likely to socialize. It’s a good time of day to schedule meetings, brainstorm ideas with others, and work together on group projects where you can provide feedback and get recommendations on your work.
  • Evenings can be scheduled for strategic thinking. This is when the brain eases into a different tempo when it can be more creative. If you’re setting goals, either personal or professional, this is when you can outline your next steps. You can also use this time for more creative outlets: playing a musical instrument, painting, drawing, or writing. This is a good time both for creating and contemplating the big picture.

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