Have you ever asked yourself why there are times in which you can’t seem to get things done? Maybe you have. You might have even read lots of time management and productivity books, and you know that time is your most valuable resource.
What is more, time is an intangible resource. It simply exists, without being able to grasp physically.
How can you manage what you can’t grasp and is beyond your control?
The fact is, you don’t manage time. You manage your actions. Some people call this life-management.
Another important fact is that it doesn’t matter what you call it. What matters is: are you doing it?
Strange.. but with so many articles and books on this subject, most people don’t change and continue to be unproductive. It happens to the best, and the cause can be difficult to understand.
Following thorough studies regarding the human mind and the mindset of successful people, I came to understand where I was going wrong. These 7 steps can guide you on the road to productivity.
Step 1: Understand Why You Want to be Productive
More than often, people go out of their way to obtain or achieve something with little regard to its overall utility. If you don’t know WHY you want to do something, then it’s going to be very difficult to find out the WHAT and HOW you’re going to achieve that.
If you don’t have a dose of motivation to make the change, then every step that you take will be made harder by your mind.
Grab a pen and paper or open Word right now and write down why you want to become more productive and how this will benefit you in the long-term.
Step 2: Analyze Your Present Actions
Before making the change, it’s important to do an objective analysis of what you’re doing at this moment. Maybe everything isn’t as bad as it seems or maybe it’s worse.
Try to analyze your actions over the course of three days.
Again, take out a pen and paper (or Word) and write down everything you do during that day: from cleaning your teeth to web browsing or doing your chores.
Be honest. The more serious you take this step, the more objectively you can go over those 3 days.
Step 3: Eliminate and Simplify
And yet again, as you notice, I don’t say anything about planning, new habits, etc. Unfortunately, this is how most productivity books
This step is probably the hardest. That’s because it’s not easy to quit something that you’ve been doing for years.
Also, find activities that take up a lot of time and ask yourself how you can simplify them.
Understand that time is not on your side. It doesn’t come back or wait around, so make the most of it.
Step 4: Discover the Genius Within
Probably the most important step. Before jumping to this step, it’s important to understand whether whatever you want to do is important to you or not and whether you have the potential and will to excel.
We’ve gotten so used to offering our time to other people that we completely forget about ourselves.
Every human being has to be good at something, and each of us has our own role and mission on this planet. One of the things successful people share is their willingness to dedicate the majority of their time to activities they are passionate about.
This is the true power of productivity. To do what you like and put most of your time in it.
Question: Do you dedicate at least 1/8 of your time (3 hours) a day on activities that you’re passionate about?
Step 5: Plan!
This step is where you need to figure out what works for you and can only be fully effective if you’ve gone through the other steps. It’s really no use planning unless you know what you want.
There are many ways you could plan a day. I have my own method which is mainly tied to my business.
I start my day by planning 6 main activities plus 2 secondary activities.
Three of the six are related to my business, and the other 3 are related to my personal life: health, relationships, and personal development.
The two secondary activities are either combined with one of the other main activities or done after finishing them. I usually consider getting postponed things done and relaxation as my secondary activities.
This way, I create a perfect balance between professional and personal life while still having results.
Step 6: Create New Habits
The first habit that you must follow is to plan every day, except the weekends.
The second vital habit that you must form is to actually stick to the plan you set and complete ALL the tasks that you’ve set for yourself.
That’s why it’s important to set realistic goals so that you take your schedule seriously.
Also, it’s not important if you don’t complete your tasks on time.
The important part is that you get them done. After all, that’s the purpose of goal setting.
Try starting with a morning and evening ritual.
Remember, mornings and evenings are the most important part of the day.
It will come easier to get things done during the day if you’ve started it with healthy and productive actions. That might be making your bed, taking the trash out or exercising.
And, of course, let’s not forget about the habits that will help you fulfill your professional and personal goals.
Know that habits take time to form. The 21-day rule is a myth, in my opinion. I would say that habits take something like 90 days to stick.
Also, you must take one habit at a time, not all at once, because that will create a hard exit from your comfort zone and your mind won’t allow that to happen for too long.
Start off with 1-3 new habits. Then start forming other habits after 90 days, and so on.
Step 7: Act But Take Care of Your Sleep
And now, the final and most important phase. Nothing that you did up until now will count if you don’t actually make it happen.
Don’t force it. Instead, take small steps in the beginning, learn to walk, and you’ll be running in no time.
By the way, planning is in itself an action, and that meant you took a step. Now, take another, and another.
Start with the 6 steps, build momentum and stay focused.
Don’t forget to sleep. It’s easier to lose focus when you’re tired.
You’re not a robot and your resources are limited.
That’s why it’s recommended to take a day off, not plan anything and do whatever you like, even if that means scrolling Facebook all day.
Of course, I don’t recommend that. You would be better off spending that time with family, friends, going outside, traveling and doing whatever activity that you enjoy doing.
The last part of the day is dedicated to recreation and sleep. You won’t be able to get a good night’s sleep if you’re stressed because of too much work. Thus, you will wake up tired and your day will be unfulfilling. And you absolutely don’t want that.
This 7-step plan is just one of many solutions you will find on the web. This is the thought process that can help you discover the genius within you, to excel and to live the life you truly wanted.
It’s not complicated at all if you understand the process and take your time seriously.