Every day we go to work with the intention of being super productive and then something happens. I know I have had those days where I felt completely unaccomplished like the day ran away from me and I hadn't even scratched the surface of my to-do list.
Have you had days like that? If you're like me, then you've probably experienced more of these frustrating days than you would like to admit.
In this post I will share two productivity hacks that have helped me to be more productive, feel more accomplished, and make progress toward my goals. If you like these hacks, let me know in the comments and share your hacks and tips in the comments below as well.
It's my hope that these hacks will help you to be more productive at work and at home.
Eat the Chocolate
You are probably familiar with the concept of eating the frog, which means doing the worst tasks first. But honestly, who wants to eat a frog? There is a lot of merit to that idea until the worst tasks are ginormous!
Eating that frog could actually make you less productive instead of more productive.
When you start with the worst or biggest tasks first you can easily get bogged down and overwhelmed and lose an entire day. Spending so much time working on this one thing can cause your to-do list get even longer.
What I propose is eating your chocolate before eating your frogs. Get some wins on the board. Get some quick victories. By eating your chocolate in the morning, let's say when you first get to work, you set yourself up for a productive day. Because you gain the confidence and build the momentum that you will need to tackle the bigger, hairier, meaner tasks later.
I'm going to rack up some easy wins today by tackling some of my easier tasks first. Sound like a plan?
Do you like crossing things off of your list? I do. Often I will write down tasks I've already accomplished just so I can cross them off. You've done that too, haven't you? I won't tell anyone it's our secret. I update my to-do list with already completed items for a few reasons:
- I remind myself that I've gotten something done;
- I take the small victory; and
- This is how I gamify my productivity. I keep score and I give myself credit.
If I start with the hardest things first, I could easily get distracted or frustrated or interrupted and the day could run away from me. By getting small victories early in the day you set yourself up for a day of progressively impressive victories.
To get a small victory, I would suggest that you pick an item that won't take you more than 20-40 minutes. If you don't have anything that small, pick the easiest item on your to do list and tackle it.
Just like we often make things harder on ourselves by starting with the toughest things first, we generally don’t give ourselves enough credit.
Take a Lap
We tend to gloss over the victories, big or small, and focus on the things we didn’t get done. But why?
My recommendation is that you take a victory lap at the end of your day. This is a simple exercise that will help you feel more productive and accomplished after a long day.
Have you ever had one of those days when you felt like you couldn't get anything done? You felt constantly interrupted by the phone, email, your cell phone buzzing at you, people dropping by to chat, and on and on.
Generally those days make us feel guilty for leaving and we want to put in more hours at the office, when it's quiet after everyone has gone home. Or we take our work home with us to finish after dinner.
But even on our most distracted days we can claim a few wins.
Taking a victory lap is simply carving out about 15 minutes before your day ends. Sit in your office and write down the things you accomplished. This isn't crossing them off of your to do list, this is adding them to your trophy case. There's a difference.
My clients and I usually find that we were far more productive than we gave ourselves credit. Everything on the list won't be earth shattering or game changing but if you are doing the right things these small wins will move you closer to the big wins you are after.
I'm giving you permission to take a victory lap and count the small wins just as much as the big wins because they are all your wins.
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If you liked this post, you might enjoy this post on managing your time as well.
Until next time, make today count!