7 simple habits that can boost your daily productivity

The key to success in business and personal life is found by becoming productive at any time of the day. Having the ability to focus and actually complete your tasks can really be a challenge, considering the many distractions around us.

Hence, how can you boost your daily productivity? Building a set of healthy habits can help you in becoming more aligned with your daily goals. There are 7 simple habits that you can start adapting to your everyday routine. 

Line up your tasks with your chronotype

Basically, chronotype refers to your body clock, which is your natural 24-hour sleep-wake cycle. Each of us has a distinct chronotype depending on our lifestyle and habits. Your chronotype can tell when you are the most productive and have the peak energy level within a day [1].

Moreover, the majority of us work better within the middle of the day and usually experience peak alertness before midday. This energy slowly drops after lunch and winds down in the late afternoon.

Around 10 percent of people are morning people who can feel most productive after waking up in the morning, while about 20 percent of the people are night owls who are energised at night [2,3]. Checking your chronotype can help you structure your tasks according to your most active time of the day. 

Once you have identified your chronotype, it is best to set a target for each time so you can track your productivity. Schedule your important tasks with alignment to your most and less productive daytime.

You may also want to lessen your distractions, especially phone usage. Make a timeframe and strictly follow it, but don’t forget to reward yourself once you achieve your daily goals [4].

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Plan your entire day one day before

Your plan management skills will be used on this one if you want to boost your daily productivity. A productive day does not happen magically – it is a result of a well-planned day.

You can start planning your entire day for tomorrow so you can prepare beforehand and adjust things if you must. 

By planning your day, you must consider the ‘when’ and ‘where’ of your tasks so you can synchronise them appropriately.

With a well-planned day, you are more likely to achieve your daily goals, as all you have to do is look at your list and follow your to-do’s.

You don’t have to be fancy or elaborate about it, you can simply write it on a piece of paper and just jot down the highlights or priorities that you should do. 

There are different to-do templates that you can adopt. You must ensure to plan on a micro-level where you must put your tasks each working hour.

Don’t forget to insert short and long breaks in between to manage your productivity. Meticulous planning can help you control your entire day.

Make work rituals for any type of work

A work ritual is not something serious, but can be beneficial for your mental health – even silly things make great work rituals!

Some examples can be morning coffee runs, going to the gym before working, talking to your colleagues about outside work topics before work time starts and playing board games in the office after work. Anything can be a work ritual as long as you feel excited about your work. 

Having a work ritual can add structure to your day and make your tasks more bearable. Ideally, you must make different work rituals for different types of work to give yourself familiarity in doing the work.

To create a work ritual, you can start by determining the main categories of your work, such as its location and time or deadline.

Another example can be checking and deleting email messages before starting a task because it can help in clearing your thoughts or setting a place where you are comfortable doing your online calls. 

Of course, a work ritual is nothing without consistency. You must practise doing your preferred work ritual for a couple of weeks, and eventually, you will find yourself unconsciously doing it before a particular task.

Avoid being fully booked

It is logical thinking that people who are productive must have 100 percent tasks for the entire day – left and right calls, multitasking and more. However, you may be wrong. 

Having too much on your plate may give you a false sense of productivity since your calendar and to-do list are both full.

An all-out booked schedule for the entire day means high risk and high pressure on you, which may put you in a stressful position later in the day.

Also, not to mention that productivity is not really about the hours you work or the number of tasks you cross off on your list. Generally, productivity measures the things you need to do while you perform them efficiently and in a time-effective manner without disrupting your mental health and regular life outside work.

It is also unrealistic that as much as we want to have a structured plan, there are things that may not happen accordingly.

This is why you have to allot time for unplanned things, like urgent tasks and issues that you need to resolve within the day.

Being fully booked for a day means you may not have any casual conversations with your colleagues or time for creative thinking. You must secure your mental health – you are not a robot! 

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Reflect and prioritise

Everyday reflection can be your work ritual! Though we may add this to our number 3 tip; however, this one needs more emphasis. Reflection helps you clear your mind and be focused before starting your day.

Simple writing or journaling on a paper about lessons you have learned lately and quotes that resonate with you or a mini diary of what happened to your life. This can help in creatively releasing your ideas and documenting your productivity.

You can also have a few minutes of reading the news or watching entertaining video materials [5].

Since you are on your journal writing, it makes sense to also start prioritising your tasks for the day. Just by simply analysing which ones are needed to do immediately and which can wait later the day can greatly boost your daily productivity. Prioritising helps you to keep on track with your daily deadlines. 

Mental preparation and reducing procrastination

Mentally preparing yourself every day can help in reducing procrastination. Procrastination can be associated with depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, ADHD and poor lifestyle choices.

It is relative to negative functioning and risks mental health; hence, daily mental preparation is a must to boost your productivity. 

You must also have a self-reality check on which among the four main types of avoidance archetypes you are: (1) the performer, (2) the self-deprecator, (3) the over-booker and (4) the novelty seeker [6].

  1. Performer procrastinator (“I work well under pressure!”) – This type of task avoider basically forces themselves to focus by lessening what they need in doing a task. They have a big problem with starting a task. 
  2. Self-deprecatory procrastinator (“I am so lazy now.”) – Well, you are not lazy! You are just mentally and physically tired. People who are self-deprecatory procrastinators tend to blame it on themselves when they cannot perform a task.
  3. Over-booker procrastinator (“I’m so busy”) – As mentioned above, it is not healthy to be fully booked every day. If you happen to have 100 percent booked days all the time, you may be an overbooked procrastinator. They are pros at filling up their calendar to avoid doing the important ones. 
  4. Novelty-seeker procrastinator (“I just had the best idea!”) – Ever heard of the Shiny Object Syndrome? This type of procrastinator has that! They like to start and work on new ideas without finishing the first ones. They often get bored quickly once they start a new project, so there are no results coming from them. 

By figuring out which one you are, you can actually spot the signs of when you are doing it again. 

Practise healthy self-care habits

The last simple habit that you should do is self-care. You must establish a set of healthy self-care habits to boost your physical and mental health. You can’t be productive without proper health.

By practising healthy self-care habits, you can maintain a positive attitude and optimistic side of you toward working. Plus, your body can be able to sustain any heavy workload you may have.

A few simple examples are taking a shower every morning before starting your WFH set-up, eating nutritious meals, walking every 2 to 3 hours of continuous sitting or simply playing or cuddling with your pet can help [7].

You need to have time to relax and unwind to experience life outside your four-corner screen at work. Staying hydrated all throughout the day while working is recommended.

You can basically place a tumbler with you, so you don’t have to walk to your kitchen whenever you feel thirsty. Getting enough quality sleep is also a must!

Getting daily productivity

Boosting your productivity is building a habit that positively impacts you physically, emotionally and mentally.

It must start from within you to fulfil your everyday responsibilities at work or at your home. The key is following the seven mentioned simple habits to make your daily tasks easier. 

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[1] https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2013-21809-002 
[2] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0262407913623696 
[3] https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn24292-first-physical-evidence-of-why-youre-an-owl-or-a-lark/ 
[4] https://hbr.org/2021/02/4-ways-to-get-more-done-in-less-time 
[5] https://professional.dce.harvard.edu/blog/3-ways-to-boost-productivity-with-a-morning-ritual/ 
[6] https://www.businessinsider.com/main-types-of-procrastinators-how-to-avoid-accountability-coaches 
[7] https://extension.harvard.edu/blog/6-strategies-for-staying-productive-during-the-covid-19-crisis/ 

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