Getting Started Professional Development

9 Strategies to Make Every Day Productive

Written by Peter Jones

We all start off every day optimistic. We know we have to manage our time and maximize every hour available to us if we want to succeed. Trouble is, without a concrete strategy, those hours can get away from us. Here are 9 ways you can control the time available to you and make the most if it—not to mention your potential.

1. Make a plan

The night before your workday, take 5 or 10 minutes to set yourself a goal or other direction for the day to come. You’ll be more organized and effective at getting through your tasks if you’ve set an overarching purpose. You can also try projecting this plan further into the future. Don’t just plan tomorrow; plan the next month, the next year, the next 10 years! Setting an intention will keep you moving in the right direction, and you’ll have a much easier time monitoring your progress.

2. Prioritize

Identify your most important tasks and projects and devote the majority of your workday to those projects. Try and schedule smaller and smaller chunks of time for the less important or logistical things that can suck so much of your day away if you let them. Focus on the big stuff. Tackle your big goals first and then replace them with other, bigger goals. Don’t get caught up in the small stuff.

3. Commute smarter

If you can’t take a train or a bus and read or work while you commute, try scheduling mobile meetings while you’re stuck in traffic or listening to audiobooks to help you further your career or education. You could even use your drive time brainstorming how best to structure your workday once you get to your desk.

4. Hit pause

Nobody can be a progress machine 8 hours a day, 7 days a week. Breaks are absolutely necessary to recharge. Take a walk, grab a snack or water or a cup of coffee, have a five minute non-work-related chat. Clear your head, but don’t dawdle. Hit the refresh button, shake the clutter from your head, and then get back to work.

5. Stay positive

There will be conflicts, crises that distract you, coworkers who annoy you, tasks you just don’t like. Accept these things as a part of any job, and part of life. Get past them as quickly as you can and devote yourself to focusing on the goals that are important to you. Be confident and have a cheerful attitude as you tackle obstacles.

6. Say thank you

No matter how hard you’re working, chances are you’ve had some help along the way. Remember to thank the people who have supported and helped spur you along to greatness. Keeping people on your side will only help you as you build your empire of success.

7. Stay focused

It’s so easy to get side-tracked by memes and office politics and gossip. Don’t let yourself default to social media while at work—save that for your couch time once your work is done. Don’t waste precious time on stupid things. You only have this one work day!

8. Stay humble

You can’t do everything and you don’t know it all. Be open and receptive to improvement and to learning new things. Approach each new workday with the mindset of getting better at some aspect of your job, however incrementally. Your progress will surprise you.

9. Celebrate the minor victories

Make sure that when you meet each goal, you take a moment to celebrate its completion. Set yourself small challenges and take a moment to give yourself a high five when you successfully defeat them. It will propel you to keep at it. And it will help you remain patient in the face of unforeseen adversity the next time an obstacle pops up.

About the author

Peter Jones