I came across 9 things to make this your most productive week ever.
Who wouldn’t want to make this week the most productive week ever?
Doesn’t that just sound awesome? It’s actionable. It’s applicable.
I wanted to make sure these ideas were all as effective as they sounded.
So I tried this entire list for several weeks and got some awesome results. I included a small note after each number to tell you exactly what I learned about each one.
At a bare minimum, you must try #8. This was an eye-opener for me.
Now it’s something I add to my schedule every week…
1. Define 3 outcomes you want to get out of this week
Not to-dos; outcomes. The rule of 3 is one of my favorite productivity rituals, and its power lies in its simplicity. Define three outcomes you want to make happen this week. Not things you have to do–actual results you want to get done. This will get you thinking about what you want to get out of the week. Don’t create more than three outcomes. A good tip: ask yourself, if today were Friday, what three things do you want to have accomplished?
You may have to make a “to-do” list of other things to achieve these outcomes. Do whatever it takes and make them happen.
2. Define 3 outcomes for every day this week
Many of these will contribute to your three weekly outcomes, but they don’t have to. It helps to define these outcomes at the beginning of the week, particularly if you can predict your schedule ahead of time. Again, keep it to only three outcomes every day.
It’s important here to not go over three per day. Three is enough to get the greatest outcome without spreading yourself thin.
3. Say ‘no’ to three things
Here’s a challenge for you: this week say ‘no’ to three commitments that might zap you of your energy, time, or motivation. One of the easiest ways to get more time, energy, and motivation is to say no to unnecessary commitments that weigh you down.
Depending on your situation, you may not have the opportunity to say no three times this week. If not, just cut out three time-stealers this week.
4. Find one activity that gives you more energy, and schedule it
This one seems almost too obvious to put on the list, but no one takes the time to do it. Are there certain people that provide you a ton of energy and motivation after you talk to them? Schedule a lunch with them. Are there certain things you do that give you a ton of energy, like hitting the gym before work, meditating, or spending time with your kids? Schedule time for that too.
I scheduled extra time to run. When I run, I listen to motivating podcasts and books on productivity, so I got the mental and the physical end of this one.
5. Work on Pomodoro time
The Pomodoro Technique is a simple time management technique that breaks your time down into chunks. For 25 minutes you turn off all possible distractions, and then work on only one thing for that time. After your first “pomodoro”, you take a five-minute break, then wash, rinse, and repeat two more times. After that, you work for another 25 minutes and take a 15-minute (or longer) break. This technique reduces the ugly, ambiguous tasks on your to-do list down into something you do in a series of easy-to-manage, 25-minute chunks of time.
This is really great for when you have a large block of time to work with. I accomplished more by taking these breaks than I did when I tried to “work through”.
6. Take more breaks
It might sound counter-intuitive, but taking more breaks is one of my favorite ways to become more productive. Breaks prevent you from becoming fatigued and tired, and they help you slow down, step back from your work, reflect, and come up with better ideas.
Like I said in the last tip, this is true, you really are more productive when you take breaks. Don’t ignore this one.
7. Drink 16oz of water every morning, right after you wake up
Water hydrates you after you wake up (you just went 8 hours without drinking a single drop), gives you more energy, fires up your metabolism, helps you focus, and will even help you eat less. Flavor it if you have to, but drink water every morning.
I typically try to do this already, but I made sure to do it every day this week. Sometimes water can give me even more energy than coffee first thing in the morning.
8. Capture all of the open loops you have floating around in your head
David Allen, the originator of the GTD productivity system, continually stresses the importance of emptying your head of all of the open loops you have floating around in it. Take out a notepad, and begin to empty your head of all of your to-dos, things you’re waiting on, and other ideas, commitments, or open loops that are weighing you down. Once you get them out of your head, you’ll be free to think about bigger and better things.
This is the most productive thing I did all week. I had thousands of ideas in my head. This really did free up my mind. As soon as I was finished, I started forming new ideas. This not only cleared my head for the sake of clear thinking, but I have produced more quality ideas this week than I have in a very long time.
9. Do 60 seconds of intense exercise, right now
The more you think about this one, the less likely you are to do it. Right now, sit up and do a minute of jumping jacks, push ups, lunges, or simply walk up and down a nearby staircase. You can do pretty much anything for 60 seconds.
I didn’t just do this once. I did it several times throughout the week when it crossed my mind. Exercise will almost always increase your energy levels, thus, increasing your productivity. If you’re feeling groggy, try doing a minute of exercise. But seriously, do this, right now.