Sometimes we are so relieved to make it through the work day effectively that we avoid thinking about tomorrow.
But with a little planning, handy productivity tools, and a clear picture, every day can begin productively without a lot of effort.
Here are some things that you can do to start your work day right.
Review Your Tasks the Night Before
Part of effective time management is having a plan. For your week or just a day at a time, you are better prepared when you know what you have on your plate.
You do not have to spend a lot of time on this after you leave the office either. Review your schedule and tasks for the next day, the night before and get your morning off to an efficient start.
Check Your Calendar
Whether you use Google Calendar, Outlook, or another tool, take a good look at it the night before. Do you have an 8 AM meeting? Is there an important client visiting? Has your day been fully booked with a conference? Starting off your day productively includes knowing what the day holds.
Review Your Tasks
After viewing your calendar, you may notice that you have limited time to complete all the tasks on your list. In order to be prepared, prioritize those to-dos ahead of time. If you must decide which tasks are more urgent than others, a solid method is to use the Eisenhower Matrix.
With the Eisenhower Matrix, you put tasks into four different quadrants. These include Do First, Schedule, Delegate, and Don’t Do so you can quickly see which tasks should be tackled first, second, third, and fourth.
To prioritize effectively you need to be able to recognize what is important, as well as to see the difference between urgent and important.
Wake Up in a Nice Way
For most people, there is no worse sound than that loud, buzzing, annoying alarm clock. However, there are many alarm clock alternatives nowadays that wake you with pleasant sounds, your favorite song, or even a weather report.
If you are tired of your traditional alarm clock and have opted to use your mobile device instead, take a look at these cool options.
Flip Clock [No Longer Available]
Flip Clock for iOS not only lets you wake up to your own music, but includes a variety of in-app sounds from soft to fun. The app provides the current weather for your location and an attractive background photograph to match the conditions.
You can set up a repeating alarm for specific days of the week, customize the snooze feature, and share your wake-up mood directly on Facebook or Twitter.
For Android users, Sleep as Android is a great option. Along with an alarm clock, the app offers lullabies for bedtime, helpful sleep tracking and statistics, nature sounds for gentle waking, and integration with wearables and smart home devices.
If you are looking for a full-featured app that does more than just wake you up, check out Sleep as Android.
Download — Sleep as Android for Android (Free with in-app purchases)
Visualize Your Day
Some suggest that you visualize your day in a positive way before even getting out of bed. Prevention (magazine) online mentions this piece of advice from Dana Lightman, PhD, a behavioral psychologist:
Thinking positively about the day ahead energizes you.
Preparing for work in the morning is another great time to envision the day ahead of you. As you sit with your coffee, enjoy a hot shower, or put on your makeup, think about your day.
If you have already reviewed your schedule and prioritized your tasks, visualize how it will all take place. Put everything together in your mind and include a plan for your prime time as well as breaks and rewards, like lunch with a friend.
Along with imagining your day, use that power of visualization to be successful in your day. Picture yourself combating obstacles, finishing your tasks, and achieving your objectives. This can motivate you to accomplish all that you set out to do when the day ends.
Simply get in the habit of putting together a positive vision into your everyday life. Visualize yourself succeeding, achieving every goal, completing every task.
Take Advantage of Commute Time
If you take public transportation, ride in a car pool, or have a vehicle service to get to work, use that time wisely. Rather than just staring out the window, you can get a jump start on emails, review reports and documents, or schedule a meeting.
Another activity you can do on your commute is to enjoy a brief meditation or breathing session. These relaxation techniques can bring you the peacefulness and clear thoughts to begin your work day in a mindful way.
There is a wonderful tool for both Android and iOS called Calm. The app provides nature sounds with beautiful scenes for a complete relaxation experience. In addition, Calm has both guided and unguided sessions to suit your preference.
Tackle Your Priorities First
Tackling your priorities first may sound like an obvious productivity tip. But when a task is hefty, time-consuming, or is just a bit unpleasant, you may try to put it off. The problem is that you still have to do it and might just experience repercussions if it is delayed.
High-priority tasks have a sense of urgency or they would not be at the top of your list, right? So the best way to handle your to-dos is by taking care of urgent ones right off the bat and if you used the Eisenhower Matrix method mentioned above, these are easy to identify.
First, start every day by reviewing your plan and priorities. Start with the most important thing first.
Wrap Up Your Work
When you complete your day at work, it is the perfect time to do a review before you head home. Here are just a few things that you should do before calling it a day.
Look at Your To-Dos
First, take a look at your task list. Did you accomplish everything you had planned? If not, have you moved those unfinished items to tomorrow? Do you know what is on your list for the morning? The popular task list company Todoist offers this advice:
Simply writing out a plan to finish our uncompleted tasks provides the same mental relief as actually completing the task.
Check In With Your Team or Boss
Next, you should do a check-in with your team or boss, depending on your work situation. If you manage a group of employees, you can give them a nice thank you for their hard work. If you and your own supervisor have a brief talk at the end of the day, make sure you set aside a few minutes for it.
Peek at Your Calendar
Even though you will review your schedule for tomorrow before going to bed, it is also a good idea to do it before leaving the office. Just do a quick review of what you have scheduled for the next day. This allows you to grab a file, read a report, or bring your laptop home if needed.
You can also use this opportunity to schedule time on your calendar to accomplish any remaining items from today’s to-do list.
Finish Your Day With Pride (and Fun)
The way you end your day is just as important as the way you start it. So, now it’s time to be proud of a job well done. This is where you should pay attention to an evening routine. One of the better ways to invigorate is with the reward of an activity that you like.
Have dinner with a friend, take your dog for a long walk, watch your favorite television show, or play a fun game with your kids. Whatever it is that you like to do after a day at work, take that time to do it and enjoy yourself.
What Activity Prepares You for a Productive Day?
Do you prepare the night before and get your tasks in order for the morning? Maybe you have a wake-up method that motivates you? Or have you stumbled on a unique way to prioritize your tasks?
Whether you have suggestions or tools, we would love to hear your tips for a productive work day. So feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!
Image Credits: Maksym Povozniuk/Shutterstock