Every New Year that comes, there are many who come up with resolutions that the coming year would be a better and a more productive one for them. Long lists of laudable plans of action are drawn up to guide them. Alas, barely two months pass and most are back to their old selves despite their initial motivations, and perhaps sincere ones at that, to turn a new leaf. Why do they fail and how could your resolutions avoid similar fate?
- Divide your life’s time. The primary reason for the failure is time. Too long a time can erode the strongest resolution. To resolve this problem, breakdown the times of your life into shorter chunks. This way, life and the day-to-day activities that compose it, could be easily controlled and monitor. Instead of planning to be productive this year, limit your plan of actions to within a month. If that seems too long, break it down further to a week. If at the end of the week, you find yourself still struggling to keep up with your resolution, why not do it on a per day basis?
- Start your day on the right foot. Wake up early, earlier than anyone in your household. The mere feeling that you are able to beat everyone else somehow puts you in the “winning” mode. Increase the momentum by a short jog outside for fresh morning air. Follow this up with an invigorating quick shower and a healthy glass of your favourite juice or a cup of warm milk. A cup of piping hot coffee is also an effective energy booster.
Whatever you choose to do at the start of your day, make it a point to create a good morning routine so that you could have a more productive day ahead of you.
- Schedule your priorities. The prior night before going to bed, make sure you have written down a plan of actions for the following day. Make it short and should include only the important activities. Making a long to-do list, or putting in too many specific details to the list, could overwhelm you as you read it the next morning. Prioritize your tasks. Do the most energy and time consuming once when you are at your peak of energy. Note that this does not depend so much on the time of the day but on your personal circadian body clock. Some are most active in the morning while others might be at their peak later in the day. Adjust your tasks accordingly in order to accomplish more.
- Stay focused. Concentrate only on one task at a time. The idea that doing more than one activity simultaneously saves time and effort is a myth. None, not even a computer, is able to do this efficiently and effectively. However, this does not only mean doing multitasking actively yourself. By being distracted by outside factors like hearing or seeing shows in the television or radios gives the same effect as multitasking. If you could not avoid these things at home, go to a quieter place like a library or your favourite quiet nook in a coffee shop with your headphones in place.
However, doing other activities while engaged in habitual or routine functions are all considered as multi-tasking. For example, listening to taped lessons, or subliminal instructions while driving to work, or listening to the news while on an exercising device is not. Doing these things simultaneously could really save you time and be productive as well.
- Refresh your mind and body. During the day, take short breaks to re-energize. Intent and protracted focusing could be very draining both mentally and physically. Pushing them to the limit could turn your productive day into a non-productive one. A short walk away from your desk or outside your workplace for a breath of air and some stretching could do wonders, so are short power naps after lunch.
- Appreciate yourself and your efforts. The feeling of gratitude always has an uplifting effect, regardless to whom or to what it is directed. Always be thankful for the effort you exert towards your goal. Consider even the seeming failures or setback you experience throughout the day as blessings. They are the free lessons that come your way to help you do better the next day—so be thankful for them. You may not notice the progress and improvement that you have attained during the course of your day but before you sleep at night, take time to reflect on them. You are sure to find many that you should be grateful for. Also, being aware of these blessings would motivate you to do more the next day.
As you consider these simple daily steps, you would find that it is not really difficult to be productive on a daily basis. Soon, a year has passed and be surprised that you have successfully kept your resolution to turn a new leaf and being productive becomes a reality.