5 steps to “turn on” productivity every single morning

Wednesday, 21 January 2015
Published in Blog
Being productive in our world today isn’t as easy as it used to be. So when it comes to starting a business, or getting daily tasks done, we need an action plan to combat this. We have put together a five step plan that if followed will see huge improvements in how productive you are each day.

1. Sleep Well

This is an obvious one, yes - but it is essential none the less. In order for our brains to function properly and be able to stay focused, we have to use will power. If we are tired or not well rested this can prove difficult and we may be setting ourselves up to fail. To ensure we get enough sleep, there are a few simple things we can do.

- Make sure to turn that technology off 1 hour before bed and don’t take it to bed with you.
- A charging station can be a good idea that forces us to keep our devices away from our bed.
- Use an app like Sleep Cycle or something similar that will wake you in the right part of your REM sleep cycle.
- Don’t eat after 8pm at night. Trust me, you will feel more rested in the morning as your body is not trying to digest food throughout the night.

2. Get up early

This goes hand in hand with getting good sleep. Making sure you get to bed at a reasonable time and getting good quality sleep will help with this. The routine of a set bed time can help with ensuring you get the right amount of sleep. Waking up early however, has many benefits of its own. Think about it this way, you are part of an elite club who wakes up early before the noise of our world begins. There are less distractions and you feel good about yourself. It puts your mind in a positive mood and you have the whole day to accomplish all the tasks that you need to.

If you’re like me and still find this difficult, our friends at Skinny Kitchen wrote a fantastic article "Becoming a Morning Person” that is amazingly helpful and insightful.
3. Have breakfast + Stimulant

A car cannot run without fuel, nor can we as humans function without our fuel - food. If you are a regular non-breakfast eater like I used to be, then it can be hard. You may not “feel hungry” or have the time. Well make time. If you follow step two then you will have plenty of time to make yourself a nutritious breakfast that can fuel your body for a productive day. If you think about how hungry you get through the day and how you rely of food as a source of energy, then you may begin to realise (like I did) the importance of fuelling your body after 8 - 10 hours of fasting. For an extra added boost - try some sort of stimulant. Coffee has actually been proven to increase focus in the short term and aid against memory loss in the long term. If managed correctly, it can actually be a natural enhancer for increasing our focus. With that said, sugar or syrups in coffee will cause a spike and then dive in our energy levels. If you need that extra sweetness, try a natural sweetener and gradually ween yourself off. Try and stick to a single shot each morning and you may actually see the benefits. If part of a daily routine, a morning cup of coffee can be used as a trigger to tell your subconscious, “right, now I am ready to focus.” And for around $4.00 a day, your productivity as a result may well be worth it.
4. Create a distraction free workspace.

This is imperative to ensuring you beat that world of distractions that is knocking at your doorstep. As you can see with my workspace, I keep it clean. I only bring with it what is specific to the individual task that I am partaking in. Before I start a project I will ensure I have all the tools I need including water (vital). This way I can keep my workspace free of all other distractions that are unnecessary to the task. When Steve Jobs returned to Apple from Disney, he brought a tin of white paint into his office and began to paint all of the red walls white. His colleagues asked him why he was doing this and he responded by saying that he did not want anything to stand in the way of his creativity. Do whatever is necessary to rid your workspace of anything that may distract you.
5. Do not check notifications or email (the most important of them all).

This is by far the most vital step in our plan to “turn on” productivity. We live in a world of dramatic distraction where people and technology are constantly breaking our concentration. Studies show that once we break our concentration it takes up to 25 minutes to get back to the same level of focus that we were previously at. So even just pausing briefly to check your inbox every 15 minutes can add hours to your work. It disrupts your work pattern and workflow, an email can wait. If people expect us to be on our emails and phone every minute of every day, then that is their problem if we aren’t. If we start at 8 or 9, we should go a whole 2 - 3 hours without checking any of these notifications. Even checking them first up puts them in the back of our mind and our subconscious ponders them whilst we are trying to focus on the task at hand. Do not engage with online communication full stop until you are 2 - 3 hours into your work day. People will learn your habits and eventually know not to contact you before then or at least expect a response anyway. Remember that you are in control and you inbox does not dictate when you should check it. While you are at it, do your most difficult tasks at the start of your day. You are freshest and full of energy then. As the day goes on and the distractions start to flow in, you can focus on the smaller tasks that require much less energy and still get things done.