You probably have some sort of system to track tasks, most likely in the form of a to-do list. I have two lists:
- The to-do app in Google Desktop. It stays docked on my desktop so it’s always visible.
- Astrid Tasks app on my Android.
I will also assume that you know how to chunk down big projects into small tasks, so that your to-do list has an entry of “1 hour writing” instead of “Write a book” or “Upload DOC file to Amazon” instead of “Publish book.”
My productivity tip is simple: organize your to-do list for the next day before you go to bed with 10% more work than you think you’re capable of doing. Therefore on Tuesday night, fill your to-do list of tasks you want to do on Wednesday.
One of the reasons we procrastinate is because we know deep inside we don’t have a lot of work, so when we wake up and see a nearly empty to-do list, our mind decides to mess around for a while. But when we wake up and see a boatload of work that we’re not even sure we can complete, we are more reluctant to waste time.
It’s critical that you put more work than you think you can handle, because it prevents you from having easy days where your productivity is low. You should be ruthless when setting up your to-do list at night so that there is no escape for you when get up in the morning. Even if you fail to complete all the tasks, you still do more work then if you gave yourself a lenient schedule and finished everything.
One last tip is to visualize how you’re going to get all of next day’s work done as you lay in bed. Go through the day and casually figure out time blocks where you can get the tasks done. When you wake up, your mind already has a plan to do the work.