Don’t you just love the feeling of looking at your to-do list at the end of the day and realizing that you have crossed everything off? Then, there are those days that you seem to only get one or two things done and next thing that you know, hours have flown by.
You begin to think, “Where did the day go?”
Some days are more productive than others as unforeseen circumstances can create an undesirable shift in the day. However, our days should be as productive as possible. Time does not favor anyone, no matter your race, gender, size or financial status. Each and every one of us has 24 hours a day but it is essentially your choice of how you will utilize your time.
I read this one picture quote that said, “You have the same amount of hours a day as Beyonce.”
I know, I know. You may be thinking that she has all the help and handlers accessible to assist her in having a the best darn day that anyone can have but that should not be an excuse for you to not give each and every day your all.
Time-management and productivity can be a challenge for some and come a little easier for others. I’m on that latter end of that spectrum as I had to learn to juggle several projects, support executives, a full-time school load and a personal life in my previous career in the music business. On that journey, I have learned several important keys to getting the most out of my day that I want to share with you.
If you have big dreams that you want to manifest, then you must understand that it is going to take a huge amount of commitment from you. It will not happen overnight. I have said it before and I will say it again, how successful you will become is determined in your daily routine. Success is little by little, day by day which is why it is essential for you to maximize your opportunities in each day.
And I am going to show you how. Here are my top 10 productivity and time-management tips to achieve your dreams.
- Wake up early! My pastor has this running joke where he says, “If you wake up at 11am, then go back to bed because the day is over.” I find it fascinating that we can wake up early for a job that we may not care much for but we will not wake up early to work on our dreams. Sufficient rest is vital for your wellness, so try to get to bed earlier if you need to in order to get your day started earlier. Perhaps you need to wake up an hour earlier than normal to work out or send out important emails or work on your book.
- Start your day in prayer or meditation. Even if it’s just for 5 minutes, take the time to spend quiet time with God, read a devotional, affirm positivity for your day or meditate on His word.
- Send your most important emails early in the morning. If you want to assure responses from others, then refrain from sending those important emails later in the day. Once people are in full swing of their day, there is less likely a chance that they will respond in a timely fashion. When you send morning emails, you are at the top of their inbox for the day.
- Plan your day the day before. At the end of each day, look at what you got done and write down you to-do list for the next day. You will start your day with intention and purpose, knowing exactly what needs to get done and why.
- Have a routine. Your success is indicative in your daily routine, every day you should have a routine that breeds your success. Perhaps it may be working out, reading, rehearsing, taking action towards your goals etc.
- Know your most productive time of the day. Some people are morning people so working on their hardest tasks in the morning works best for them. Others work best in the afternoon or in the evening hours. Know what time of the day you are most productive and adjust your task list to work on your most central tasks then.
- Use your time wisely. I have a confession to make. Prior to me resigning from my full time career in the music industry, I would work on my dreams during my day job daily. Embrace Her Legacy was built from that desk. How? I used my time wisely. I would work on work-related items from 10am-3pm and the rest of the day, I would work on Embrace Her Legacy tasks. I knew the busy times of the day so I made sure to get most of my work done then so I could use the rest of the day for my own tasks. Learn what works best for your schedule. Maybe you can use your lunch break to workout, or you can work on your book for an hour when you get home or you can work on your business plan during those down hours at the office.
- Time everything that you do. It’s important for you to have a schedule. For instance, instead of writing down reply to emails, you can write down reply to emails (9am-10am), then develop presentation (10am-10:45am) and then finalize quarterly budgets (10:45am-12pm). I’ve noticed that when we do not time ourselves then we tend to get distracted and spend too much time on a task.
- Eliminate distractions. That extra time on Facebook or Instagram could be time that you can use to focus on your action steps for the day. Looking at what others are doing can be a serious distraction. Stay focused on you and your task at hand. If you feel like you are having social media withdrawal symptoms then give yourself a block of time, no more than 10 minutes to check in.
- Write your reminders down. You will be distracted by emails, phone calls and texts. Or you may even remember that you forgot to reply to that email from yesterday. This is why you write those things down as they come along. Instead of stopping while working (unless it is urgent), then you can write yourself a note to call your brother back, or to RSVP for that party or to pick up your dress from the cleaners. Once you write it down, you can get back to it and not have to stop your workflow.
Whew! I hope that you can begin to apply any or all of these tips tomorrow, yes, tomorrow. Why wait until next week? Remember, that you have the same amount of hours in the day as Beyonce. Now go ahead with your productive self!
Maria I. Melendez