Being Intentional With Your Time Will Supercharge Your Productivity
Always on the hunt for an effective way to get more stuff done during the day, I’ve become something of a productivity disciple. As it turns out there are an incredible number of people spending a ridiculous amount of brain power considering how we can all be more productive.
Some are full of great ideas to improve productivity and others are yet full of hot air. A lot of them are men and have the luxury of not having to juggle the demands of working motherhood and the ever present mental load.
What that means is that they have the time to be thoughtful about what it means to be productive without fear of interruption!
Regardless, there are some great productivity strategies I’ve incorporated into my daily work flow that have made a big difference in what I’m able to accomplish and how I do it.
Start With A List
Intention is a word that’s thrown around a lot and is in danger of being overused, but when it comes to productivity it can be a game changer.
When you’re intentional with how you decide to spend your time, it means that you’re giving thought into what you’ll do in a day.
Instead of getting to your desk and opening your inbox to respond to emails in a mad rush and then grabbing your phone to check social media and getting distracted, you can be purposeful in how and what you work on.
When you think about what you have to accomplish on any given day, you’re likely to feel overwhelmed and think you don’t have the time to do it all.
If you’re not intentional about how you use your time, you’re probably right - you won’t get it done.
Decide what your priorities are and clearly write down that you intend to focus on the three most important tasks. Write down why these are your priorities - in other words, your intention behind them.
It could be something like, “My biggest priority today is to finish the draft of the report I’m working on because I know the client needs to review it before it’s submitted and I want to give him as much time as possible.”
Here you’re describing what you want to do and why you want to do it. You’ve stated your intention, which is key to improving your focus, and it will fuel your productivity.
Plan Your Schedule
Next take those three priorities and schedule your day around them. Most of us will find our peak performance and ability to complete tasks that require a lot of focus is in the morning.
For me my “power hours” are between 8am and 11am. After that it’s a bit of a lost cause until sometime around 2pm if I really want to focus on a large project.
It’s during this time that I take a break, go through email or do other administrative tasks that don’t require a lot of thought.
Try and fit meetings and phone calls around your three priorities, with the intention of completing these tasks before the end of the day.
With the intention of completing your biggest priorities ahead of other busy work, you’re giving yourself dedicated time to focus on the tasks that matter.
With the knowledge that you’ve set this time aside, you’ll find that your productivity naturally increases.
Take Time To Breathe
Being intentional in how you plan your day isn’t necesarily license to jam more to-dos onto your list with the hope of getting them done.
Every project no matter how big or small requires a degree of time, energy and attention (check out Charley Gilkey at Productive Flourishing for more on this), and we’re only human.
Intentionally schedule rest periods and breaks throughout your day. Productivity only increases if you’re mentally and physically strong, and in order to be at your best you have to take a break.
Breathe, stretch, take a walk, schedule a nap and make sure you eat. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water and walk away from your computer screen.
Intentionality and productivity can go hand in hand and if used consistently, intention will help you improve focus and get the important work done. Create a list, plan your day and intentionally schedule breaks and you’ll supercharge your productivity.