No productive person wakes up hoping for a mediocre day. We all, to some degree, want to realise our potential each and every day and be the best version of ourselves possible. This is especially the case in the workplace, where the success of our team members and the revenue goals of our departments are very often dependent on the way we show up to the office day in and day out. If you want to maximise your potential as a manager in the workplace and also have more productive days in general in your personal life, it’s a good idea to start implementing certain daily habits into your usual routine. These habits, simple as they may seem, can ultimately help you to make the most of your days, ensuring they’re wildly productive.
1. Begin the day with peace and quiet
When it comes to lists of the daily habits of successful people, one of the most popular commonalities is how they all begin their mornings: in peace and quiet.
Whether you wake up an hour early for this sacred, uninterrupted ‘me time’ or several hours early, this is an opportunity for you to ease into the day and get a jumpstart on your mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
Need ideas for how to use this time?
Many successful individuals exercise (yoga or a run, for instance), practice at least ten minutes of meditation (simply focusing on your inhales and exhales or on a single word can greatly reduce stress), read, enjoy a healthy meal, journal, and plan for the day ahead.
The idea is to be present in the moment, which allows you to adopt a peaceful and positive mindset that equips you with better clarity, focus, and confidence.
2. Plan your productive day in advance
Productive people have a tendency to plan out their day in advance.
This planning process may take place first thing in the morning, or it may even happen the evening before. Regardless of when it occurs, this planning period is key to helping you create a productive day.
While you plan, you want to ask yourself: What needs to be accomplished today for me to view this day as a success?
The answer to this question will inform your expectations, allowing you to give your time and energy to a focused goal, and thereby making it more likely that you achieve it.
3. Decide on your priorities
Part of the planning process from the above strategy relies on knowing what your priorities are throughout the week.
Productive people are constantly evaluating their calendar to ensure that the actionable items listed are the highest and best use of their time and talent. If they aren’t, those tasks should ideally be outsourced, thereby freeing you up to use your time more effectively.
CEO Jim Scott says, “I always find time…to clearly set my priorities, so I know what I need to accomplish each day. I make sure to outline not only my personal priorities, but also priorities for my team, so I can be sure both get done. Once I get into the office, my day becomes about how I can take any obstacles out of the way for my team, so they can execute at the highest level on their priorities. I like to call this working on the business rather than in the business. Empowering employees to do their best work has always been the key to my success, as well as being the hallmark of a world-class organisation.”
4. Journal about your day
Productive people consider themselves lifelong learners. They make time in their lives to read extensively, up-level their skills, pursue coaching, and reflect on their days to strengthen their self-awareness muscles.
And one of the easiest ways to reflect is through journaling.
Journaling is a powerful exercise because it very often rewards a person with astounding clarity and valuable insights they otherwise might’ve never stumbled upon.
Journaling is also a cathartic practice, allowing you to unpack your thoughts, feelings, and ideas and assemble them in such a way as to better understand yourself.
There are all kinds of ways to make use of a journal. You can use yours to write down the things you’re most grateful for each day. Alternatively, you can reflect on your biggest wins of the day, the moment when you were at your best, the moment when you were at your worst (and what you can learn from it, i.e. how you can do better next time), what your dreams and goals are, what your strategies are for certain projects, etc. Experiment with different approaches and see what fits best with what you hope to gain out of the practice.
Each of us has the potential to better ourselves and operate at maximum capacity. By integrating the above habits into your daily routine, you’ll no doubt find you experience more productive days.
Which one will you adopt this week?
Rosalind Cardinal is the Principal Consultant of Shaping Change, a consultancy specialising in improving business outcomes by developing individuals, teams and organisations.
Ros is a solutions and results oriented facilitator and leadership coach, with a career in the Human Resources and Organisational Development field spanning more than 20 years. Ros’ expertise spans leadership development, organisational culture, team building, change and transition management, emotional intelligence, organisational behaviour, employee engagement, strategic direction and management.
Ros is a Certified Member of the Australian Human Resources Institute (CAHRI), a member of the Australian Institute of Training and Development (AITD) and a Professional Member of the Australian Association for Psychological Type (AusAPT). She holds a Graduate Diploma in Human Resources from Deakin University, an Australian Human Resources Institute Professional Diploma in Human Resources and has completed the Australian Graduate School of Management Executive Program, Strategic Human Resource Management.