There are 24 hours in a day.
To some that might seem like a lot or ‘enough’ when in reality it goes by so quickly to people who have a lot of things they want to get done.
People procrastinate or decide they want to be perfectionists on the things they’re doing. Don’t get me wrong; putting your best foot forward and doing your best is one thing but not stopping until something is absolutely perfect hinders your productivity by a large margin.
Don’t cut corners or leave something unfinished but if something works spend the time to tweak it so it works slightly better. A good example of being a ‘perfectionist’ that is bad would be you spend your work day building a block of code. Let’s say 200 lines of code which isn’t too much but for the example it will keep it simple. You then spend the next day revising those 200 lines of code at work so they are easier to read and function better and maybe you even cut down from 200 to 160 lines in all your work. That’s good but my point is you’ve spent two days on something that should take you one. Maybe instead focus on creating 160 lines of code instead of 200 from the get go and be more productive than taking extra time. If you didn’t follow the example or didn’t relate to it, don’t worry. It’s not a big deal.
First Things First
What does your day look like?
From beginning to end. Waking up until you go to sleep.
A better question would be “what is your daily schedule like?”
Anyone who is a productive person will tell you that you need a schedule to be productive. Or at least to be the most productive you possibly can be. You can always be productive without a schedule, of course. It’s just much better for you because you begin building routines that help your productivity.
My suggestion is sit down with a pen/pencil and a piece of paper and write what you’re going to do daily. Here’s an example:
- Wake up — 8:00am
- Morning routine — 8:00–9:00am — Make yours as soon as you can — Brush teeth, 10 push ups & 10 sit ups, Eat something small (more of a snack than ‘breakfast’), write for 30 minutes to an hour then begin the rest of your day. More on this later.
- Begin work — 9:00–11:00am — If you don’t dictate your work schedule skip this.
- Lunch — 11:00-noon — Try to eat something healthy — I eat a lot of pasta and proteins because I want to gain weight.
- Workout — noon-1:00pm — Try to go to the gym as much as you can really. A good rule of thumb is don’t go more than three days without working out.
- Work — 2:00–7:00pm — This block usually makes up the bulk of my work day, obviously. During these 5 hours are where you’ll get most work done. I will explain more on this later.
- Write — 7:00–8:00pm — I write a lot because I enjoy it and it helps me share my thoughts and ideas with others.
- Read — 8:00–9:00pm — I save this block for reading and learning. I’m currently reading the book ‘YouTube Secrets’ by Benji & Sean. I also am reading about Node.js, blogging, and Sails.js.
- Free time — 9:00–12:00am — I spend this time doing whatever I feel like I didn’t have enough time for in the day. Usually editing YouTube videos, playing a game or a lot of nights I carry on with reading for a few more hours or spend time learning something else I find interesting.
- Go to bed — 12:00–1:00am
So now that you’ve seen an example from my personal life let’s talk about it a bit.
My Schedule is…Different form most
Not everyone can have a schedule that looks like this. Most people have normal jobs and those jobs don’t allow you an ‘hour of power’ to go to the gym to clear your mind and work for yourself. My jobs since age 18 have actually had this amenity. So my work day is only seven hours long because I subtract one hour to work on myself in some way. Usually it’s used to work out but it can also be used to unwind with things like ping pong, tennis, gaming, reading, listening to audio books, or anything else imaginable that you can do for an hour.
If you wake up earlier than me (which most people do) then consider moving my schedule back to fit and format your own schedule around mine.
Notice how I didn’t add my weekend schedule on this example…that’s because most of the time it’s the same or similar. I might replace working out with free time or wake up at 10, 11, or even 12 on those days but they usually follow the same course. I work most days of the week. On days I don’t work I almost always keep those ‘work’ blocks and fill them with learning things pertaining to work like learning functionality of JS, Node.js or Sails.js which are my top languages I’m using currently for my projects.
Feel free to be as meticulous as you want about your schedule. I leave aspects of mine rather fluid so I can fill them with whatever I need to when I need to but you don’t have to do that. If your schedule is more predictable and less hectic or scattered then you can add extra structure to your schedule.
You can have a weekend schedule laid out and a holiday schedule if that applies. Incorporate school into your schedule if that applies to you.
If you want more information on creating a quality schedule I recommend researching the topic in more depth. You will find a lot of reliable articles on Medium talking about quality of life improvements.
Gauge Importance of Tasks
After a very long first point we come to the second which is very important still; however, not as important as scheduling.
This should directly affect your daily schedule even though it’s subjective.
What are the things you can’t live without in a day? I don’t just mean necessities but other tasks also.
Things I consider ‘needs’ in my daily life
Pretty basic, right?
Now let’s mention some less conventional ‘needs’
- Working 7–10 hours
Alright…far less conventional and none are actually ‘needs’.
None are on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs or anything but to me they truly are needs.
First learning is a must for me because I’m still in college and I have to pass classes. Beyond that learning about software engineering and development is crucial because college teaches you none of that even if you’re a computer science major…unless you go to a very prestigious school. So you have to learn yourself
Working 7–10 hours a day is a need for me because I need money and I need experience.
Writing is a need because I hope to someday become a published author and writer.
So now that I’ve explained mine, what are yours?
Take a minute and find out what your needs are. I want to know but more importantly you need to know.
If you had to list everything in your life you’re interested in from important to least what would those numbers be?
- Software Engineering (work)
- Learning (languages for developing software)
- Relationship (with my partner)
- Content Creation (YouTube & streaming)
- Refereeing soccer (for fun & extra $)
That’s how mine would look. Other things could be added but that’s a short list.
Do this: Make a list of the most important things in your life. Top 10.
Food For Thought
If you really want to be as productive as humanly possible here’s how you do it.
This is a secret…kind of. If you google productivity content long enough you’ll run over this theory or ideology. I personally agree with it because it’s used by people like Warren Buffet.
The theory goes like this: Make a list of 25 things you want to do with your life right now. After you have your list pick the top five things. Never consider those other 20 again. Only focus on the five things you’ve picked.
By doing this you greatly reduce the splitting of your attention between a ton of different hobbies. I’ll share my 25 with you and then I’ll share my 5 I picked form there.
In no particular order.
- Content Creation (YouTube)
- Videography (making movies)
- Competitive Gaming
- Software Engineering
- Creating a Start-up
- Breeding reptiles (no joke. I had legitimate aspirations. It makes a ton of money.)
- Wood Working
- Cyber Security
- IT (fixing computers, laptops, and phones)
- Translator (English, Spanish, French, Mandarin, Japanese)
- Law (attorney)
- Coaching Soccer
- TV personality
- Social Media Manager & Teacher
- Creating a Designer Clothing Brand
My aspirations were all over the place. These hobbies and ‘dreams’ as you could call them were on my mind between two years ago and only about four months ago.
So how did I narrow these down into just five? Well, the first step was seeing how many of them I can combine into one. For example I love content creation, media management, analytical analysis, and teaching so my solution was to lump all of those together to run a YouTube channel where I’d teach people about writing and other solutions. I’m still working on the exact content niche but by combining these things I was able to greatly narrow down this list.
So here are my top five in order of importance to me:
- Software Development/Engineering
- YouTube or Content Creation
- Creating a Start Up
I’ll explain, quickly.
Software Dev — I’ve been in love with this since I’ve been 12
Content Creation — If I had a dream job it would be content creation. YouTube videos about gaming, software development and writing. I’d love it. Sadly that’s not all possible so I run one channel right now.
Writing — I write all the time. I write for myself and for others. I write for profit and I write for free to bring attention to something I’m passionate about. One of the most relaxing things for me is writing.
Gaming — I used to be really good at gaming. I was highly competitive. Now I do it for fun. I got hired to make gaming videos for a YouTube channel and help them grow. When my job is complete for the YouTube channel I’ll probably reevaluate my top five again and possibly remove gaming.
Start-Up — This is something I love the idea of. The reason it’s 5th behind gaming is because I plan to learn about it and use the knowledge to pair with one of my other four to make a start-up of some kind. I’ve had a lot of ideas I just want to find the right one.
I’ve just gone through this process with you. Now it’s your turn.
Make your list of 25 and cut it down to just your top five. You can merge them together and come up with solutions.
If you want to become more productive this is how you do it. If you follow this article and do the steps I’ve listed you will become much more productive than you’ve ever been before. I guarantee it.
The time to start is now. Don’t procrastinate.
Always try to think about new ways to improve your schedule and your routines.
A great example is to ask yourself the question “how much sleep do I need?” and answer the question yourself. Ask yourself about almost every aspect of your life and you’ll begin finding solutions to improve the pace of your routines. You’ll begin to see that you can combine multiple pieces of your schedule through the day and it will expiate your schedule.
There’s a very rare skill some people poses and I’m one of them. This skill helps me daily. The skill I’m talking about is the skill to speed up a podcast or audio book to 2x or even 3x speeds and still be able to grasp and remember everything said. Beyond this the ability to listen to something and read at the same time is even more rare but I have this ‘talent’ if you’d like to call it. I listen to all audio books and podcasts at 3x speeds. I can read and listen to two different books at the same time about similar topics or completely different topics and tell you what was said in both books.
I believe everyone has talents like these and they can help you improve your productivity and maximize it through your day. Always ask yourself what you can do better and what you can do to make your schedule easier on yourself and expiate your routines.
I guarantee if you can take what I’ve said to heart and learn these things you will see a massive increase to your overall productivity very quickly after reading this article.
Get to it!
Best of luck and as always…