While there is never a one size fits all, because there isn’t for anything in life- I’ll share the tools that have proven most useful to me when aspiring (key word, aspiring) to be productive.
· Go to bed by 10pm and get up at 5am. I can function well on seven hours of sleep. While I don’t hit the gym until 6am, that magical hour before I work out has become my new secret sauce. In those sixty minutes, I brush my teeth and get dressed, read ten pages in a real paper book, meditate with my Calm app and lastly, I make a hit list which include the five goals I must accomplish that day.
I will often take a break on the weekends because a girl’s gotta sleep in sometime- but I religiously do this Monday-Friday. I dig on the sound of the morning going from silence to birds chirping in the bamboo behind our house and seeing the dark turn to light as the sun rises. I also secretly love getting a jump on the day before most are out of bed. And when I do accomplish my five things, I sleep damn well that night.
· When trying to write long-form copy or build a presentation or concentrate on anything that takes the prefrontal cortex, I listen to classical piano. I love George Winston. I also find it calms the whole house down which is a win-win.
· I use the Wunderlist app to keep all my long-term to-do’s. The interface isn’t perfect, but it’s simple and that’s all I need. I can also share lists with my husband, which clearly comes in handy. For short-term to do’s, they either fall on my hit list per above or I simply put them in my calendar and allocate a thirty or sixty-minute window to each.
· Over time, I’ve learned I’m someone who is highly motivated by accomplishing goals. It feeds me. Thus, I constantly keep track of how I’m doing vs. my goals for the year. This allows me to keep my focus and continue to move productively toward completing those goals. I keep a piece of physical paper with me in a notebook that has said goals and refer to them daily.
· I LOVE podcasts. I have become an addict since well about November of 2016. Ironically. I tune out a lot of negative garbage on the news and I become a student again. I listen to at least one podcast a day across a variety of topics. I especially love interviews with people in the tech, business or financial worlds. I prop up my phone on the bathroom when I’m curling my hair in the morning. Yes, this is multi-tasking but because one is a physical non-intellectual exercise and one requires mental focus, for me they work hand in glove.
· Lastly, I keep paper and pen in my bathroom vanity and in my nightstand. I consistently come up with my best ideas in the shower or right before I go to bed. I write them down immediately and then transfer them later to my calendar.
What are your secrets of productivity success? I’d love to hear your tips because I’m sure there are many more. Please leave them in the comments below or tweet to me at @jkbjensen.