If you look at a modern human, you can see that the speed and complexity of everyday things have multiplied with the amount of work that had to be done 50-60 years ago. People are in a hurry, but they don’t have time. In addition, the average person’s life is filled with messengers, social networks, e-mail, and dozens of other distractions, which daily deal a crushing blow to efficiency and productivity.
However, personal productivity is the key to success. It is your productivity that determines the quality of your life. There are only 24 hours in a day. So success is the equivalent of what you manage to do during this time. That’s why many people dream of the 25th and 26th hours daily. But you don’t have to change your natural clock to be successful. It’s enough to stick to scheduled living.
How to Become More Productive
Few things affect productivity, career advancement, and overall well-being as much as daily schedules. A similar viewpoint is held by the famous American writer, historian, and philosopher William Durant, who stated, “We are what we do all the time” in his book “The Story of Philosophy.”
So, what is the daily schedule? It is not just a to-do list or a step-by-step scheme for achieving the same goal. A plan is what self-control is based on because it helps to structure any activity. However, many people accept plans with hostility, believing they drive them into some framework. But this is a mistake because people themselves create schedules, and they can adjust them for themselves and their life features.
And if necessary, any schedules and plans can be adjusted and changed, simplified, or complicated. Another value of planning is that fulfilling even one small point of the plan gives a sense of victory, including over oneself. And the most influential people plan daily, putting everything, tasks, meetings, and even entertainment into their schedules.
But remember that planning is a skill that needs to be learned. So it is enough to draft a small list of tasks for the day or, for example, a few intermediate steps in achieving the primary goal and start doing them on paper. However, routines alone are not enough to achieve balance in life since people also need rituals.
Although rituals and routines are completely different, they are two sides of the same coin. A daily schedule helps contain the chaos of daily life, while rituals are needed to fill everyday life with something magical. The structure of the schedule calms you, and the specialness of the rituals inspires you. So your goal is to properly fit rituals and routines into the modern workday and constantly improve them.
Make a Routine that Works for You Personally
You probably have your morning routine: shower, make breakfast, plan your day, and drive to work. However, there can also be evening activities that help you relax and disconnect from the hustle and bustle of the workday. According to studies, about 40% of people’s regular activities are based on habits.
However, not everyone instills them in themselves consciously, based on personal goals and capabilities. That’s why so many people are interested in the schedules of successful business people and celebrities. They think making a similar plan for the day can lead them to the same money and fame. But blindly copying someone else’s way won’t make you as productive.
Moreover, people often see a cause-and-effect relationship where no one may exist. Just because the CEO of Apple wakes up at 3:45 am every day doesn’t mean that’s what led to his success. And it certainly doesn’t guarantee you the same. On the contrary, the most effective routine is the one that works for you. But examples of famous people can inspire you in your endeavors, so if you want to learn more about this topic, take advantage of the Best Essays Education writing service.
Control Your Attention With Rituals
The daily routine coordinates your work. But it is not responsible for comfort. For example, you set aside an hour daily to quietly fill in the Morning Pages: write down your thoughts, plans, and desires. And then you immediately dive into a frantic stream of meetings. Your brain may not be ready for such an abrupt change of activity.
And the culprit here is what’s called residual attention. Cal Newport says about it in his book “Deep Work”: “When you switch from some Task A to another Task B, your attention doesn’t immediately follow — a residue of your attention remains stuck thinking about the original task.”
And to fool that residual, you must tell yourself, “I’ve finished working on this task. It’s time to move on to the next one.” It is what rituals are for — repetitive actions you are used to. For example, it can be a regular afternoon nap or a little warm-up before an important meeting. Rituals are like a daily routine and may even be part of it. However, they have a deeper meaning: help calm down, relax, or prepare for new activities.
Make Rituals Special
There are times at work when rituals can help you cope and get your attention under control. For example, switching from writing a document to a face-to-face meeting is time. However, the mental effort required for the two actions is quite different. And you have to coordinate your thoughts somehow: break away from the written words and communicate with the person in front of you.
It’s not the action itself that matters, but what it means: you’re done with one part of the day and ready to move on to the next. Rituals are strictly personal activities. You can do anything to switch it up:
- Go out for a short walk.
- Distract yourself with a cup of coffee.
- Just put your laptop away.
Rituals can even seem strange, unlike the day’s schedule, which always obeys logic. Remember how athletes deal with superstitions: some think that not shaving during the playoffs or changing their socks for the entire tournament can bring victory. It’s hard to believe it works. But after all, they do it anyway. So there’s no need to restrain yourself on this issue. Here are some exciting and strange rituals of famous people:
- French writer Simone de Beauvoir always corrected the previous day’s work before starting something new. She would spend 20 to 30 minutes reading previously written material and making edits. This method also helped her constantly to keep the thread of the narrative.
- Winston Churchill drank a glass of whiskey and soda daily at 5 pm and went to bed. Then, an hour and a half later, he would get up, bathe, and eat dinner. It helped him separate his morning work from his evening work and split one workday into two.
- Stephen King began writing between 8 am and 9:30 p. Before he started writing, he usually had a glass of water or tea. Then, he sits in the same chair as always, arranging his papers in their places. The purpose of these same daily actions is to signal his brain that it’s time to dive into fantasy.
- Charles Dickens always slept facing north, thinking his creativity grew from it.
Personal productivity is the basis for success in any life area, business, or endeavor. The above methods for increasing personal efficiency are pretty simple and will work for anyone, but it is up to you whether you can benefit from them in any way. So think about how well you use your time, opportunities, and resources. And start planning.
Kristen Bray is a professional writer and blogger. She mainly covers topics such as blogging, digital marketing, and self-education. In her free time, she practices yoga and also travels.