A productive day starts right from the minute you wake up. Everything you choose to do either bring out the best in you or the worst in you.
Modern life can make it incredibly difficult for you to be your best self but you have more control than you think. You can boost your productivity, reclaim your focus, and make real progress every day.
To get high-value work done, you have to consciously manage your attention, plan your day on purpose and invest your time like money.
High achievers feed their focus, starve their distractions and tend to stick to routine brings out the best in them.
Success in all fields of endeavor is all about creating real intentions and committing them. A successful day begins with a purposeful morning. Super productive people focus on these things to get more done every day.
Respect your body’s internal clock
More hours does not mean more/better work.
Waking up at an unnatural time for you can cause sleep deprivation if your body can’t handle it. When you are tired, you lose productivity. You become more irritable and are less functional.
All of us have an internal body clock that moves in its own natural cadence. That internal monitor is why some of us are night owls and some of us are morning people.
Your internal body clock determines your sleep schedule, the amount of sleep you need, and helps define your most productive time of day.
“Knowing what time it is in your body is crucial to getting the most effective benefits,” says Dr Phyllis Zee, the co-author of a study that seeks to measure a person’s circadian rhythm and chief of sleep medicine in neurology at Northwestern University.
Everyone has different peak hours. And our biological clocks are different. Your body clock, or circadian rhythm, governs how your body is in sync with all of life.
By respecting your body clock, establishing good sleep habits and a building a personal and effective bedtime routine, you will wake up rested and refreshed. Waking up with a good mindset and an energized physique can help you do your best work first thing in the morning.
Paying attention to the body clock, and its effects on energy and alertness can help pinpoint the different times of day when most of us perform our best at specific tasks.
Feed your body and brain for peak performance
What you eat has a direct impact on your performance at work.
Eating well has a huge effect both on how our brains and bodies function. The WHO reports that, “adequate nutrition can raise your productivity levels by 20 percent on average.”
The right food can help you focus and accomplish more. When you eat to fuel your body in the morning, you give yourself the energy burst you need to unlock the most productive version of yourself.
Try this — start the morning with a healthy breakfast. Add berries or nuts to your morning cereal. And snack on a piece of fresh fruit.
It’s in your own best interest to nourish your brain and body in the most beneficial way. If you don’t take care of your body and mind, they won’t deliver as their best.
Eat the right foods including berries, leafy greens, nuts and seeds, salmon, whole grains, and green tea can do wonders for your mind and body.
Eating well increases energy and alertness, improves sleep, leading to greater concentration and help to improve your mental clarity.
Declutter your personal space
From stray papers to books you don’t even read, clutter can make you lose focus and curb productivity.
The mess on your work desk inhibits your overall productivity because everything is competing for your limited mental resources.
Mess creates stress. There’s a strong link between your physical space and your mental space. A disorganized desk makes it harder to focus, according to research.
Think about how stressed you are when you can’t find something (if you have to keep moving objects every day, or you can’t see your desktop, it’s time to declutter your workspace).
Declutter your immediate environment and you may feel more organized and better able to concentrate on the task at hand.
Get rid of clutter at your office, on your desk, in your room, and you will send a clear message of calm directly to your brain — which can help you focus.
Decluttering your desk (and your environment as a whole) can help increase your productivity at any time of the day.
Stack your day like an inverted pyramid
If you are most productive in the morning, build your to-do list like an upside-down pyramid.
Add the most time-consuming and brain power-heavy tasks to the front of your day and get them out of your way.
It makes your whole day easier if you get the toughest tasks of the day over and done rather than having them hanging over your head all day. Having important tasks looming over you can make the whole day dreary and hard to get through.
Making your most-important list this way also means that as your energy ebbs throughout the day, your workload gets lighter, not heavier.
It can also mean your stress level decreases and you end your day on a high note rather than by worrying about an incomplete task and an angry boss or client. Super-productive people get their high-value tasks done first thing in the morning.
Prepare for the day the night before
You know that to-do list above? Start building it the night before — that way you can start doing your best work right away in the morning.
If you start building your list at night, you have greater focus and clarity on what the next-day requires.
Strategically creating your list at night means you tie up loose ends from the night before which can mean fewer finishing touches are overlooked.
It can also limit your stress at the start of each new day so that it decreases your frustration while it simultaneously increases your productivity.
“Morning and evening routines prime you for success. They help you achieve more, think clearly, and do work that actually matters. They keep you from thoughtlessly stumbling through your day and make sure you get the most important things done,” writes Stephen Altrogge of Zapier.
Make sure your to-do list includes at least one thing that inspires you and one that motives you because a list filled with nothing other than routine drudgery starts your day off on the wrong foot.
While you are prepping for the task part of your day, set out your breakfast fixings and lay out your clothes for the next morning as well. Doing this can take 15 minutes in the evening but save hours of time and frustration in the morning.
By evaluating and resetting your internal body clock, feeding and fueling your body and mind, decluttering and organizing your personal space, strategically stacking your daily tasks, and planning each day the night before, you inadvertently give yourself a head start each morning.
This article originally appeared in Medium.