I am not immune to unproductive days, and I’ve had more than my fair share of them recently.
In order to get back on track, I’ve regrouped and, with the help of a coach, reminded myself of these principles. They really work – when you do them.
Start The Day With 3 Intentional Steps
I swear by the importance of these first three steps. When I don’t do them, I am significantly more overwhelmed and stressed out. Doing them brings peace of mind and helps me start my day on my terms rather than diving in and responding to everything being pushed at me.
1. Decide that you’re going to have a productive day, and then use the next two steps to figure out how that will look for you.
2. Check in with your big projects to see if you need to define more tasks associated with them.
3. Look over your task list. Update it and prioritize your tasks for the day. Ensure that you have time set aside to do what you expect to get done.
Maintain Boundaries Throughout The Day
As you go through your day, keep these tips in mind.
Download your email, look for possible important messages and respond, delete spam, make necessary tasks. Try not to read email without acting on it.
You will do this one or two more times during the day and that's it.
Whatever you do, do not look at email within the last couple of hours (at least!) before heading to bed. Inboxes sometimes hold unpleasant surprises, which you don’t need to confront at the end of a long day.
If you’re focusing on studio work or writing, you can return the phone call or text later. If this is beyond temptation, turn your phone off or put it in another room.
Jumping whenever someone contacts you is saying that their priorities are more important than your own.
We need downtime to be our most productive and happiest. If you’ve been glued to the keyboard, get up and move every hour. If you’ve been standing for several hours, sit down and have a cup of tea.
If monkey mind is messing with you, try meditation or a quick nap. In my experience, monkey mind hangs around until I make a clean break with whatever I’m trying to accomplish.
Wrap Up The Day
During the last hour of the day, start slowing down and getting into the mindset that you need to leave work behind.
Look over your calendar. What’s coming up?
Write down your most important tasks for tomorrow.
Remember not to check email during the last couple of hours before bed.
Grease your productivity systems so that you can handle all of the success that comes your way.
Join me for Organize Your Art Biz, an all-online class. We look at trusting your task list, cleaning out paper and e-files, whittling down your piles, emptying your inbox, and more. Click here for the details.