How to make 2020 your most productive year yet.
“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning and focused effort.” – Paul J. Meyer.
In today’s digital world, we are busier than we’ve ever been before. Between managing stressful jobs, running businesses, maintaining a social media presence, working out, cooking, cleaning, looking after families etc. it’s no wonder we are exhausted by the time the weekend comes around.
It’s equally important to note that we make time for the things that are important to us. As Debbie Millman said, “busy is a decision.” We are now living in a society that uses busy as a badge. It has become a cultural cache to use the excuse “I am too busy” for anything we don’t feel like doing. When we use busy as an excuse for not doing something, what we are really saying is that it’s not a priority. It’s important to be honest with yourself, determine what’s important to you, and simply make the time to do it.
There are a few tips and tricks to ensuring you make the most out of your day, week and year. If you want to make 2020 your most productive year yet, you are going to have to start by understanding exactly where your 24 hours are going each day:
Keep a record over the course of the next week to determine how your are spending your time each week. For example:
7:00am- 7:30am: Wake up, check emails and scroll through social media.
7:30am: Shower, get ready.
8:00am: Commute to work whilst looking at media sites, catching up on the latest gossip.
9:00am- 5pm: Work.
5:00pm – 6:00pm: Commute home whilst scrolling through instagram.
6:00pm: Prepare dinner.
7:00pm: Eat dinner whilst watching Netflix.
10:00pm: Get into bed and look at social media and emails on your phone.
11:00pm: Go to sleep.
Does some or all of this routine sound familiar to you? Sure, you may engage in some other activities such as going to the gym, bathing and putting your kids to sleep etc. but just how exactly many hours in the day are you wasting?
It’s important to understand exactly how and where your time is being spent.
How many hours do you spend absorbed in your phone each day scrolling through instagram or binge watching the latest Netflix series? I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with those things. However, if you want to make 2020 your most productive year yet, you are going to have to assess and determine exactly where your 24 hours are going each day.
Once you have an understanding on how and where you spend your time, it’s not difficult to see that a majority of our time aside from work and sleep is spent consuming media. Anything from social media, to watching random videos on YouTube, to reading gossip articles on the web counts. Recent research from BankMyCell demonstrates that the average time spent on smartphones is 2.51 hours per day. Could you imagine what else you could accomplish in that 2.5 hours?
Both Apple and Android have now released software that will help you monitor your addiction and minimise your phone usage. Instil discipline when it comes to your digital consumption and set some parameters as to who and when you check social media.
Emails are another big factor when it comes to time-sucking activities. With the volume of emails I receive at work, I could spend my entire day checking and responding to emails, and accomplish nothing else. Allocate a couple of times in the day where you check and respond to emails, for example between 12-1pm, and then again between 4-5pm. This way, you are able to focus your time on the other, more important tasks of the day.
Turning off email notifications is another important aspect when it comes to managing your time. We can not resist the ‘bing’ or ‘whoosh’ sound when an exciting new email appears in our inbox. Do yourself a favour and turn off all app and email notifications on your computer and phone. Not only will it significantly increase your productivity levels, however reduce anxiety levels as well.
Ensure you plan out your day and week by utilising a to-do list and writing down the tasks and projects you absolutely must finalise or accomplish. What are the top 1-3 priorities you absolutely must achieve that day? Ensure you block out time first thing in the morning to tackle the harder, more important tasks whilst your mind is fresh and free from distractions.
Schedule in all meetings and appointments using a diary or your phone / outlook calendar. This will ensure you don’t miss any important dates or deadlines.
How much time do you spend each day, thinking about what you’re going to wear or what you’re going to eat for dinner? We waste valuable time and energy each day asking and agonising over these seemingly simple questions.
Arianna Huffington leads the way when it comes to outfit repeats and being more productive with our time. She ways “Men have a competitive advantage. They don’t have to waste the kind of energy we waste.”
This concept has been owned by many successful men over the years. Steve Job’s black turtleneck, Mark Zuckerberg’s grey t-shirt and Barack Obama’s grey or blue suits are all ‘uniforms’ that have taken the guesswork out of deciding what to wear. In a 2012 Vanity Fair interview, Obama said “I’m trying to pare down decisions… I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing, because I have too many other decisions to make.”
By batching and automating certain tasks, such as food prep and choosing outfits for the work week, you can save a significant amount of time and energy which can be invested into achieving your goals and dreams for the year.
What are some of the tools and strategies you’ll be implementing to make 2020 your most productive year yet? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas, please leave your comments below!