“We are what we repeatedly do. Success is not an action, but a habit.” -Aristotle
Whether you are climbing the corporate ladder, a new entrepreneur, someone with a dream, running a side gig, a stay-at-home parent, or some combination of any number of those, you have, what we like to refer to as, an ultimate goal. Perhaps you have multiple goals you’d like to reach. So how go you get there? The answer, daily productivity habits.
First think about the people you know, or maybe people you just know of, who get stuff done. The ones who are successful, the ones who accomplish so many things, the ones who have it all together. Ok so no one has it all together. Seriously, no one. Except for maybe God. He probably has it all together. What those individual do have, however, are consistent productivity habits. They do things day in and day out, again and again, until they get to where they want to go. Now let me tell you something. Those habits, those practices they incorporate into each day weren’t natural instincts that were magically ingrained into their DNA. They weren’t born that way. Those habits did not come easy and some days, still don’t. The really good things don’t come easy. Those habits were learned. One day those people decided that they were going to take those actions and repeatedly incorporate them into each day. They had read somewhere, or heard somewhere, or witnessed somewhere that success comes when progress is stacked upon progress. Even when, perhaps especially when, progress comes in the small but multiple tasks of each day. So read on goal digger, and get a glimpse of the daily productivity habits you need to change your level of success.
Daily productivity habits of successful people.
Morning habits: Wake up early
Your morning sets the tone for the rest of your day. The productivity habits that you incorporate from the minute you wake up can determine how much you get accomplish. Goal getters and entrepreneurs sometimes call this the “miracle morning”. In fact there is a book titled The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod that discusses how to transform your mornings through six daily practices that he refers to as S.A.V.E.R.S. You don’t necessarily have to follow this exactly to have a “miracle morning”, but it’s a good guide to start with. Here’s what the acronym stands for:
A- Affirmations can change your mindset and build you up for the day. Find ones that work for you and focus on them in the morning.
V- Visualize your dreams. Make a vision board that you look at every morning or create Pinterest boards that reflect your ambitions.
E- Exercise. Get your blood flowing and neurons fired up in the morning with a workout routine.
R- Read. Educate yourself, get inspired, and spark motivation with personal development or spiritual books each morning.
S- Scribble. Journal about your thoughts on what you are grateful for, ideas, progress, or plan for your upcoming day.
Your miracle morning isn’t something you commit to for a week or two. This is a routine you create and execute every morning for the long haul. It’s important to start your day with intention. Set your alarm early and make sure you get up the first time it goes off. Hitting the sleep button time after time is only creating a habit of procrastination. If you have trouble with this try putting your alarm clock across the room. Then go straight into the bathroom after turning it off without giving yourself the option to go back to bed. Brush your teeth, wash your face, get a cup of coffee, and get into your routine. It may not include everything listed above or in the same order but do what works for you with intention and consistency.
Some things to avoid in your miracle morning: social media and email or messages. These are easy things to get caught up in and before you know it you’ve wasted 37 minutes comparing your life to the lives of everyone you know with an Instagram account. No bueno. Make your morning about you and get your mindset where it needs to be to accomplish your tasks, and ultimately, your goals.
Daytime habits: Time management.
In order to get things accomplished in your day you first need to prepare for it. Set aside time in your week to prioritize, schedule, and prep for the tasks you want to compete. You can do these productivity habits in a couple of ways.
- Take 1-2 hours on your Sundays to map out your goals for the coming week and fill in your calendar. Or….
- Use 15 minutes each night to schedule your next day and 15 minutes each morning to review it.
We prefer the Sunday method to assure that we are well aware of our week ahead but do what ever works best for you.
During this time complete the following:
- Prioritize. List your tasks from most important to least important.
- Schedule. Map out your hard schedule. This includes things like appointments or meetings you have set, times you have to pick up or drop off your kids, or events you have to attend. Use a planner, we love passion planners, or a virtual calendar like google. Also, set reminders.
- Time block. Fill in the rest of your schedule with the tasks you’ve already prioritized. Include 1-2 larger, more time consuming duties. This can be time set aside to work on a presentation, to write your next blog post, or to clean out the storage closet that is so unorganized it’s scary. Then, add in 2-3 smaller tasks, like a list of phone calls you have to make or emails you have to catch up on. Lastly, every day schedule one hour of free space. This hour can be used as a buffer if you need extra time for one of your tasks, if you had to rearrange your schedule due to something unexpected, or a rewarding hour of free time that you earned.
Other productivity habits to smartly manage your time.
Meal prep. On the weekends, take some time to prep your meals for the week. Decide what you and your family will eat for breakfast in the morning. Muffins, pre-made waffles, and overnight oats are a few quick options. Make sure you have food on hand for school and office lunches. Prep what you can for simple, easy dinners. In the very least, write out your menu so you know what you are making each day. These steps take a little time on the weekends but will make your week less hectic and stress free, at least when it comes to meals.
Schedule shorter, more intense workouts. When you are creating your weekly schedule, exercise should be something you make time for. A healthy body can give more than an unhealthy body and it’s important to take care of yourself. You don’t need to have a crazy goal of working out 7 days a week for 90 minutes each time. Instead aim for 3-5 workouts that are approximately 30 minutes in length. Feel free to get some ideas from our own 28-day fitness plan.
Say no to things. The word “no” might be something you have to relearn if you want to be productive and reach your personal goals for success. It’s certainly something I have struggled with, or so my husband tells me. I tend to take on whatever is asked of me, especially when it involves my kids. I lost count how many times I’ve stepped up to be a team parent, classroom mom, or a member of other committees at their school or organizations. I can’t help myself. I want to be involved. Perhaps it has something to do with my desire to have control….but don’t tell my husband that. Regardless, in order to complete the responsibilities you’ve given yourself, whether it is entrepreneurial goals, professional tiers, or mommy milestones, you are going to have to decline the things that don’t give you forward motion within those pursuits. And THAT’S OK.
Delegate. When possible hand over certain tasks to others that need to get done but not necessarily by you. Have a document that needs to be typed up? Copies that need to be made? Hand them over to an assistant, intern, or junior employee. Are you a working mom or momprenuer? Ask your hubby to share in the household duties. Stay-at-home mom for whom no matter what the day brings there are never enough hours to get everything done? Have your kids help with chores. It won’t kill them, trust me. They will survive folding a basket of laundry or emptying the dishwasher. The shirts might not get turned right side out and the Tupperware cabinet might look like an earthquake hit it, but the chores will get done. You are also teaching your kids responsibility which will do them a favor for their future.
Evening habits: Have a nightly routine.
Just like your morning routine, your nightly routine is all about intention. Your evenings are a time to prepare for the next day and, yes, relax and take care of yourself.
Things you should be doing after 5p.m.
Eat a healthy dinner and prep food for the next day. Hopefully you have been able to take time prep your weekly food already. However, if you have food to get ready or lunch boxes to set out, do this in the evening to make mornings easier.
Clean up. There is no need to start deep cleaning all your bathrooms but picking up and organizing your space eases stress for the next day. Do the dishes, put the toys away, fold laundry, etc. These things may seem little but they all add up.
Lay your clothes out and get bags ready. Figure out what you and/or your kids are wearing the next and set it out. Also, make sure your work bag, gym bag, or backpacks contain what they need to just grab and go.
Plan your next day. Review the following day’s schedule. Add in, take out, or rearrange anything that needs to be moved. Most importantly this gives you the feeling of preparedness and helps you relax.
Wind down. If you feel the need to scroll through your social media, go ahead, but give yourself a time limit. Watch TV, read, or if you prefer to journal at night pull out a pen and notebook. Most importantly, spend time with your spouse.
Go to bed at a reasonable hour. I know this can be difficult. I tend to get caught up in things in the evening and since it is my only time that is kid free, I relish it. However, sleep is your best friend when it comes to rejuvenating yourself for the next day. Your body and mind need rest. Commit to a bedtime and follow through on it. If you have trouble falling asleep try meditation and stretching which we previously mentioned. This bedtime yoga routine is excellent. You can also diffuse essential oils, read, or if you are really struggling take a natural sleep aid, like melatonin. We like this natural sleep spray.
Words to wrap it up.
By committing to a structured daily schedule you are setting in motion habits that will propel you to whatever your own personal goals are. Motivation and self-discipline are absolutely essential as you start out or continue down this path. You will encounter setbacks and roadblocks along the way but here is what you must remember:
You are stronger than you think and you can go farther than you ever have.
You already have what it takes, this is your plan of action.
Don’t ever be ashamed of your ambition. It is your future and your opportunity to create what you want.
Believe in yourself and you will be unstoppable.
Don’t expect success. Prepare and take action for it with daily productivity habits.