This is a guest post by Timo Kiander
I receive many emails from readers struggling with their productivity and finding time to declutter and organize.
That’s why I would like to share with you a great guest post by Timo Kiander, a.k.a. Productive Superdad. I believe it will help you boost your productivity.
Years ago my life was completely different than what it is now.
I didn’t have any goals, nor did I have any idea what the new day would bring to me, or on what things I should focus on. I was just floating around and procrastinating a lot.
I felt very tired and unorganized and at the same time, I also knew that this is not what I wanted from my life.
I knew I had to change my ways.
The small missing actions of my everyday life
So what were the reasons for my feelings?
Well, first of all, I didn’t have any plans set for my day. I was just taking random actions and I sure wasn’t certain if the actions were the right ones.
Then, I had the bad tendency of forgetting things, especially if someone talked to me on the phone. I couldn’t remember even half of what the person was saying. So, I had to call the person back or sometimes even ask the person to send me an e-mail about the matter instead.
Next, my household was cluttered and unorganized. Although I wasn’t stressing too much about it, it sure deepened the feeling of floating without any goals and not being in total control of my life.
Finally, I was super-tired! Oh boy … I could barely keep my eyes open during the afternoon. Naturally, trying to do any work in this condition was doomed to fail. Many times I had to go back to my assignments and fix them because of mistakes I had made.
I knew that I also had other parts of my life which I wasn’t quite happy with, but these above-mentioned things were present in my everyday life. And the more I procrastinated on fixing them, the more helpless I felt.
I was asleep, unprepared and over-confident
You can easily say that I was just wondering aimlessly without any plans.
For the most part, I didn’t know what I wanted, nor did I have any goals in my life. This led to a situation where I wasn’t able to focus on the right things on a day-to-day basis.
I was also over-confident of my capabilities. For instance, I experienced this when I was thinking that I could remember the assignments and conversations on the phone without taking any notes.
Finally, the lack of preparation was giving me headaches. This was clearly the reason why I wasted time on my assignments. Getting started with a task would just take too much time.
Simple ways to bring more organization to your day
I got tired of living with my current ways and I wanted to change my habits.
I started to implement small, but effective changes to my everyday life. I knew that there was a lot more I could improve on, but these improvements were a good start.
To be specific, I started to:
- Prepare myself for the coming days and assignments
- Started taking notes when talking on the phone or on my meetings
- Cleaned up my desk after working (I eventually organized my entire household too)
- Put things back where they belonged
- Started listening to myself and started taking power-naps
After implementing these changes, I could see a dramatic change in my self-esteem, productivity and in my general well-being.
I knew that this was just a beginning in my path of becoming a whole new person.
Your simple blueprint for becoming more organized and productive
With these 5 simple steps you can instantly improve your well-being and self-confidence in your everyday life.
When preparing, I mean two things.
a) Knowing what tasks you are going to focus on by creating a task list
b) Preparing for your coming tasks in advance
In the first situation, take some time (for example 15 minutes) every night and plan out your day.
Create a task list, which lists all the items you want to get done the next day. However, in order to keep things simple, limit the number of tasks to five per day. This ensures that you are more likely to get all the tasks done.
One important characteristic is that a task list has is to take you closer to your goals. That’s why you should take a moment and figure out one important goal that you want to reach. Plan out the simple steps to your goal and extract the steps into your daily task lists.
Eventually you’ll reach the goal you desired – if you take consistent action by following your task list – and completing the tasks.
In the second situation you’ll start preparing for the coming events and tasks in advance. For instance, I pack my backpack the night before, so that it’s easy for me to leave for work the next day.
The same preparation goes for other things as well. For instance, if you work from home, you could make sure that your laptop is ready on the work desk and it’s as easy as possible to start working – without spending too much time on setting up the equipment before you can start.
2. Take notes
Implement a habit of taking notes whenever you are in a meeting or when talking on the phone. This makes it easier to remember the core points of your discussion afterwards.
It doesn’t matter how you take your notes, whether it is by pen and paper or jotting down the notes to the cloud. What matters the most is that you do take notes.
3. Clean up
This simple habit just makes you feel good. Although it may be a drag to do at times, you’ll thank yourself for executing this habit.
After you have finished working (or you had a meal), just clean up the desk/table as soon as possible. You’ll feel good about doing a little bit of cleaning in your home.
The fact is that it’s so easy to leave the dishes or piles of paper on the table and be greeted with a messy workspace or kitchen when you start working again or when you go to the kitchen for another meal.
Save yourself from frustration and clean the desk or that table as soon as possible!
4. Put things back where they belong
This is another habit that is simple, yet very effective. As soon as you have taken something out of the closet, drawer or from some other place and have stopped using it, put it back where it belongs.
When doing this, you make sure you are not cluttering your home and making it more difficult to find the item the next time what you need it.
5. Take power-naps
With this simple tip, I have been able to turn my unproductive day into a super-productive one.
Just by taking a 20-minute nap, I’m able to recharge my batteries and wipe out my tiredness. Nowadays I make sure to have this kind of nap if I feel tired.
As you can see, with small adjustments, you can make a big difference in your productivity.
Start by implementing one habit at a time, be aware of its effects on your well-being and then implement another one.
After some time, you’ll wonder how you were able to live without these simple, but yet very effective habits.
Over to you: What is your favorite productivity habit that makes the biggest difference in your day?
Timo Kiander, a.k.a. Productive Superdad, teaches WAHD superdad productivity for work at home dads. If you want to get more productive in your own life, grab 222 of his best Tips for Becoming a Productivity Superstar.