These will make or break your productivity each day.
When I graduated from college just over a year ago, I felt extremely stressed and overwhelmed by my future. While I did have a plan, it certainly wasn’t a conventional one. I graduated with a degree in electrical engineering, but I had a deep desire to pursue self-employment and build up my own business and brand.
While in my final semester of college, I quietly began to build my online reselling business. Each morning, I put in a few hours of crucial work. I woke up at 4:30 AM many times to get my products photographed and listed before I made the three-hour roundtrip commute to school.
Even while I sat in class, I constantly thought about the products I needed to photograph and list later, the customer service emails I would have to respond to, and the deals I hoped to close.
As a result of completing a few crucial tasks between the hours of 5 and 8 AM every single morning, I slowly built up my business to a point where I had enough financial stability to pursue it full-time when I graduated six months later.
Now that I have worked from home full-time for an entire year, I can confirm that, while juggling school and work during those six months was quite the hustle, it was 100 percent worth it.
The following three work tasks are ones that ultimately helped me through that chaotic first six months, and they continue to keep me organized and productive today. In sharing them, I hope that you can gain inspiration for new ways to improve your own work efficiency.
1. Don’t start your day without doing this.
I never start my morning without giving myself an easy win. This may not seem like it would make a difference, but it actually sets the entire tone for your day.
Every morning when I wake up, whether it be 5, 5:30, or even 6 AM, I always make my bed. At this point, I don’t even have to think about it. After I complete this one simple task, I feel accomplished and ready to tackle the day.
You probably will too. In fact, cnbc cites a survey that showed, of 1,000 people, half who make their bed regularly, and half who don’t, those:
“who spend a couple extra minutes smoothing the comforter back and rearranging pillows actually led more productive lives.”
Whether you make your bed, brew a fresh cup of coffee, or take a shower, start the morning with a simple win. In doing so, you’ll gain confidence, boost your mood, and feel more prepared to conquer your work. It’s a quick and easy psychological trick that truly does make an impact.
2. Put this on while you work.
I know not everyone enjoys listening to music while they work, but I honestly feel that everyone can benefit from classical music. Still, there are a few major factors to consider when you choose to listen to music while you work.
First, there is the question of what task you are trying to accomplish. When I write for the first hour or so in the morning, I need absolute silence. Therefore, I don’t listen to music during this time.
However, once I get that task completed, I’ll turn on some music while I create Pinterest pins to drive traffic to my blog, create a YouTube thumbnail, or do other creative work. I don’t find it to be distracting for these tasks. In fact, research shows that certain genres of music, like classical music, can actually stimulate your brain:
“Struck by the observation that many musicians have unusual mathematical ability, researchers at the University of California, Irvine, investigated how listening to music affects cognitive function in general, and spatial-temporal reasoning in particular…Mozart seemed to help, improving spatial reasoning as measured by complex paper cutting and folding tasks and short-term memory as measured by a 16-item test.”
The most crucial takeaway here is to experiment with playing classical music while you work. Once you figure out which tasks you complete more efficiently while listening to music, you can put that knowledge to use and accomplish more in less time.
3. End your morning with a 30 minute workout.
If you hate working out first thing in the morning, you don’t have to force yourself to do it. Instead, stick it at the end of your morning routine.
I used to think that I needed to wake up, roll right out of bed, and head out the door for my morning run in order to be my most productive self. I quickly realized that I was wrong.
After I shifted my workout from first thing in the morning to a few hours after I got up for the day, I not only felt immensely better on my run, but I also found that I was more efficient with my work.
I still got my run in, and that was the most important part. In fact, studies show that exercise actually stimulates the brain:
“In a study done at the University of British Columbia, researchers found that regular aerobic exercise, the kind that gets your heart and your sweat glands pumping, appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning.”
I tend to wake up feeling extremely refreshed from a good night’s sleep, so pushing my workout back a few hours has allowed me to optimize my brain power during that crucial 5:30–7:30 AM window of time. I spend an hour or two working on my Medium article for the next day, and then I head out for my run.
Plus, research supports this method of tackling your most difficult work first for optimal productivity:
“People gravitate toward simpler tasks when struggling with a heavy workload. However, they find that the strategy doesn’t pay off in the long run. Short term, the person could actually feel satisfied, less anxious…But avoiding hard tasks indefinitely also cuts off opportunities to learn and improve one’s skills.”
Ultimately, by utilizing your peak productivity hours to tackle hard tasks, you’ll boost your efficiency and accomplish more each and every day.
You don’t need to copy someone else’s work routine in order to be successful. Instead, take inspiration from their habits for success to carve out the routine that works best for you.
I know that I don’t have to wake up at 5 AM to be successful, but I’ve always been an early riser. Through trial and error, I’ve found that getting up before the sun and completing the three key tasks shared helps me start each day in a productive way.
No matter what your routine looks like, you should still aim to start each morning with a win, tackle your difficult tasks with a fresh mind, and exercise to boost your health, both mentally and physically. In doing these three tasks, you will ultimately become more efficient and productive.
Source : Medium