“I could never do it.” That is what many people say to freelancers like myself. They might like some of the details, such as being able to work in pajamas (which certainly is not recommended, as there is a pajama personality and it is not dynamic).
Many of us have the fear that what we will do when no one is watching is ... not much at all. Productivity is one thing when someone is marking our papers and quite another when we have to hold ourselves accountable.
We all want to get to the end of our days feeling accomplished rather than defeated. Here are some simple tips to improve how much you get done in a day.
1) Put off email.
When I was in Bali, my meditation teacher encouraged us to practice noble silence before we sat. We didn’t talk to anyone or check our email or even read a book.
It made the morning appear entirely different, and although I occasionally slip up, I try to return to this system as my baseline.
Whether you arrive at work or stay at home, don’t have email be the first thing you do. Make it the fifth or sixth. There are other ways to get organized and the way you start your day can set the tone for minimizing distractions.
2) Take those alerts off.
Alerts on the phone and computer can make it impossible to stay in the zone, whatever the zone may be for you. You know that emails will come in and people will like your posts. It is inevitable after all, as you are inherently likeable.
Turn off the alarms, and trust that the messages will be there when your mind needs a break.
3) Set mini-goals.
Tony Robbins said, “people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year - and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade.” This is also true of a day, as it is common to overestimate how much we can organize, plan and tackle.
You will always be disappointed if you expect too much from yourself. What is actually, truly achievable today? Set that goal as the framework for your day. Everything else is gravy.
4) When you need a break, take a break.
We often plough through the moments when our brains turn to mush, and this is highly ineffective. In fact, it usually results in work that ends up having to be re-done, wasting your time in more ways than one.
When you feel your own power turning off, go with it. Have a stretch break, take a walk, get a coffee. Rather than getting a coffee at the same time every day due to habit, it can become a little getaway for your mind.
5) Prepare for the next day.
Whether it be putting out your clothes the night before, packing your lunch or even writing a to-do list that you will see first thing when you arrive at the office, setting things in place can help you to let go of the day that was.
You did the best you could, and that's all you can expect of yourself. Setting the groundwork for success can be as simple as preparing for an easy morning.
Edited by Jody Smith