To have a Productive Day, how many times have you woken up just in time to get out the door and rush out to class, or a part time job, or whatever it may be? You go through your day, and you get home, and you realize that you got everything that had to be done done.
You got your classes done, you went to work, you did all that,but you ended up leaving a lot on the table still.
You had lots of tasks and goals and little things you wanted to do.
They just kind of piled up and never got done.
Day after day this keeps happening, and all it’s doing is causing you stress.
A lot of people had that problem.
I had that problem, and today I want to share with you a four step productive day process that I’ve been using to set myself up for a more productive day.
You can use this.
Just practice it every single day, and it gives you momentum. It makes the rest of your day more productive. As you get better at it, then every day gets more and more productive along down the road.
Let’s get into it.
1 Planning the Night Before
You’ve probably already got everything that you need to do in a task management system maybe like Trello or Wunderlist, or maybe just a notebook where you write down due dates and projects and everything.
It’s a big long list of everything you’ve got coming up in the next few weeks or months, etc.
That’s great, but realistically, on any given day,on a day scale, a very magnified scale, you can only get, one, two or three things done,two or three big projects.
Looking at this big task management system is just kind of a stopper.
You just look at it and you freeze up. Doing that is not very good for your productivity.
It’s better to have a separate daily list where you keep two to three things that you know you need to get done that day, and you make this every single day.
Rather than making this in the morning when you’ve already got your morning routine due,and you’ve got classes to rush off to, do this the night before when you’re relaxed.
When you can sit down and have a clear vision of what needs to be done the next day, write it down in whatever system you like.
I honestly like to use a whiteboard.
It’s right on my wall.
I can wake up.
I can see it’s Tuesday, I need to do this, this, and this.
I’m going to get these things done. Anything else is extra. It’s icing on the cake, and that’s cool, but I’m going to get these three things done.
If you plan that the night before it helps you to stay calm when you wake up in the morning.
It helps you to get everything else done. You know what you need to do.
Honestly, I almost feel like I’m be holding to my past self when I wake up.
If I wake up, and I try to set everything I need to do in the morning then I’m like, “Oh, it’s just me planning,” and I can get very stressed and very confused by it.
If it’s already set up the night before I’m like, These are things that I set in the past. I am almost obligated to my past self to get them done, so it helps with my motivation.
2 Clear To Neutral Technique
The second step in the process that helps you have a more motivated, productive day is the Clear to Neutral technique.
This is a technique developed by my friends over at asianefficiency
The Clear to Neutral technique, or CTN, is essentially a technique that helps you clear everything from your plate.
It helps reduce the friction that is involved with getting into any new task.
The big one for me is closing down all the tabs in my browser when I’m finished working for the day.
If I don’t do this, then the next day I wake up, I sit down at my computer to work, and I realize, “Oh, crap, I have fifteen open tabs.
Every single one of them represents something I could be doing.
Usually all of them are research for projects or people I could be contacting, or cool new tools I want to try out.
If I have them all up in the morning, it just sort of creates a jumble in my brain.
All the planning I did the night before, all that productive planning is sort of lost because I’m now confused, and I want to jump into fifteen other different projects.
Clear to Neutral is a technique to help you to avoid this problem.
You can use it for anything else.
You can use it for cooking.
After you finish cooking at night you can make sure to wash the dishes right away so when you wake up in the morning the kitchen is clean, spotless, and ready for you to cook breakfast without any friction.
That’s the second technique.
Those two techniques are usually practiced the night before.
These are sort of end of the day techniques that help you translate into the next day.
The last two techniques on the list are things you do in the morning,and the first one is waking up early.
3 Waking Up in the Morning Early
You don’t have to wake up arbitrarily early, but I think it’s a good idea to wake up early enough that you have some time to relax, sometime to sort of get your bearings for the day and practice a morning ritual, which is the fourth technique.
I want to talk about waking up early first. If you can convince yourself to get up early in the morning, have some time to relax. You won’t find yourself rushing out the door, stressed and just trying to catch the bus. How do you get up early? This is a question I’ve been asking myself for years.
I’ve tried tons and tons of different techniques.
Sometimes they would work for a few days, and eventually my sleepy self would hack though right through them, and I would stay in bed.
I have found one that works one hundred percent of the time, and I’ve been doing it for about five months now.
I actually use Twitter to force myself to get up.
This is a technique you can steal from me if you like.
I use a Twitter scheduler called Buffer, which you can find at bufferapp.com.
Every night I schedule a tweet that is set for 6:10am.
that says, “Hey,it’s 6:10.
I’m still in bed.
If you reply to this tweet, then I will send you $5.
There’s a little disclaimer that says, “Limit five, and if my alarm clock malfunction I have the right to say that I was honestly going to get up.
” This is a technique that has been working for five months, so I would never lie because I know that that would forever break the technique.
My alarm has never malfunctioned.
I make sure to check my phone.
For five months straight, I’ve been getting up at 6am.
on every single weekday, and having some time to be productive before I get into my work.
This is a thing that you can try if you want to get up in the morning.
4 Have a Morning Ritual
The fourth technique, which I mentioned earlier,is having a morning ritual.
Getting up early gives you time to have a morning ritual in which you can practice some productive habits that sort of give you a momentum boost to push you into the harder work of the day, but also help you make some progress on some smaller goals.
What I do in the morning is I get up.
I make sure to make a healthy breakfast with some spinach and some eggs.
I go for a walk and listen to a podcast. I get a little bit of exercise and some sunlight, and also I listen to a podcast and educate myself a little bit.
Then I come back and do some pull ups and push-ups.
I read for about half an hour, take my vitamins, and I’m good to go.
Once I’ve started my work for the day I already have all these things behind me.
They’re all very productive habits, and they’ve given me a bit of momentum to start working on the really hard stuff like writing, or whatever it may be.
Try that out, and if you want a good tool for tracking these little habits, and sort of giving yourself a little more motivation to do them, I recommend using HabitRPG.
It’s sort of a geeky tool that lets you level up a character and get experience points. I really like it especially for the reason that you can partner with other users and go on quests. If you don’t do your habits then they lose health, and they come yell at you.
I use it with my roommate, and it’s actually a really good motivational tool.
That is a four step productively process, four different things you can do, two at the night before, then first thing in the morning, that give you sort of a foundation for having a productive day.