Whether you’re working for yourself or for a company, planning out your work day is often the difference between feeling content or feeling lacklustre come 5.30pm. Mapping out your day can lead to better productivity and an overall sense of achievement which, let’s face it, is crucial to our overall job satisfaction.
But beyond just making a list of to-do’s, what’s the most effective way of designing your ideal day so that you achieve maximum outcome? We’ve mapped out some key factors that will help you make the most of your 8 hour hour work day, and beyond.
1 – Set Goals
It’s been said before but I’ll say it again, mapping out your goals for the day will help you identify exactly what you need to do in order to leave the office with a sense of achievement. But even if you’re already a perennial list maker or you obsessively map out your work goals each week, it’s the way we mindfully approach our day that will set us apart from the pack. So, think about personal goals as well as work or task based goals. Maybe you want to work more efficiently, harder, or maybe you simply want to be less stressed at your desk? These more personal goals can help guide you in creating a more rounded day.
2 – Break It Down
Once you have your broader goals in place, it’s time to break them down into smaller, more achievable details. If you struggle to focus on granular tasks, keep linking them back in your mind to your larger, more meaningful goals. This also helps with prioritising tasks. Make a list, download an app, or add them into your Google calendar so that you are accountable for your day – whatever keeps you focused! This should help keep you motivated and on track. And don’t forget to keep checking things off as you complete them – it’s the small milestones that make up the larger achievements.
3 – Allocate Time
In an ideal world, we would work fluidly and without restriction, but for the majority of us still abiding by the standard 9-5 hustle, we each face time limits. This can be a good thing because it sets parameters on your focus. It’s not always possible, but try to give yourself enough time for each task so that you’re not rushing, but not too much time that it opens up the chance to procrastinate. It’s also useful to allocate your tasks according to your energy levels at different times of the day. Perhaps in the morning you feel focused but after lunch you’re slightly slower. This might be a good time to focus on something more administrative and less creative. And lastly, unless it’s a Google alert warning you that a new task is coming up, remove notifications from your phone. They are the ultimate distraction.
4 – Move
It’s been scientifically proven that sitting is bad for our health. If you can’t invest in a standing desk, try to move as much as possible throughout the day. It will improve your energy levels and focus, not to mention your wellbeing. Commit to moving as soon as you wake up – a short power walk or stretching is a time efficient way to get some exercise in before you settle in for the working day. Encourage your team to have walking or standing meetings, get outside for lunch, and finish the day with some form of movement. It’s the most effective way of improving our daily lives.