Updated: Jun 8
We tend to be over optimistic with the number of things we can accomplish within a particular time frame. This is known as the Planning Fallacy. We assume that we have way more time than we actually do when in reality we’re only truly focused for three hours a day at best. So, even if you’re working 8 hours a day, you’re not doing 8 hours of solid and uninterrupted work.
If you don’t feel as though you’re taking full advantage of your day, then it might be time to consider a different approach to planning and optimizing your time.
Here are 3 habits to boost productivity and become more disciplined.
Time Block Your Schedule
Unlike the typical to-do list that only focuses on what you need to get done, time blocking your schedule shows you when you’re going to work on completing each task. This is a great tool if you want to minimize distractions and boost productivity. This practice allows you to plan every moment in your day so you’re dedicating varying time blocks for specific tasks, chores, and responsibilities. Let’s walk you through the process of establishing your own time blocking system.
Step No.1: Identify your high-level priorities
Time blocking starts with determining the things that matter the most to you. This could be spending less time in meetings and on emails, increasing your focus, or tweaking your work schedule so that you have more time to spend with your family and loved ones. Identifying your high-level priorities will allow you to start blocking your day more efficiently.
Step No.2: Create a template for your day
Make it stand out. You can now start creating the different “blocks” of your schedule. Go over a typical day in your life and examine your morning and night routines. This should include work time, personal time, family time, etc.
Step No.3: Decide how much time each task requires
It’s time to put a rough time estimate on each task. Be as realistic as you can and make sure you cut the time wasted on distractions out. You don’t necessarily need to have every time window determined down to the minute. Put together an approximate, to begin with, and tweak your blocks from there.
Step No.4: Set some flexible time aside
You can’t predict exactly how your day will unfold. Life has a tendency to get in the way and when those “I need to take care of this right away” moments occur, you need to know that your schedule allows for some wiggle room. Packing your day with tasks and responsibilities without allowing some flexible time will only stress you out when some emergency pops up.
Becoming more disciplined is a process and a demanding one at that.
Having a set schedule with specific time blocks and a detailed to-do list is a great way to establish and maintain better habits. With that said, boosting your productivity and your work performance requires more than just planning. You need to make a conscious choice to turn up each day at work ready and inspired to share your ideas and knowledge with others. Consistently showing up motivated and driven is a fundamental part of cultivating discipline.
Your attitude is everything. It determines how much work you will get done that day. Not only that but when you show up prepared to tackle whatever challenges come your way, a winning attitude can impact your co-workers as well.
Tie-in social connection
Your attitude is deeply rooted in your mindset, the way you see the world, and how you perceive obstacles and drawbacks.
Surrounding yourself with inspirational and positive people can have so much influence on your productivity levels and self-discipline. The social connections you make, especially when it is with like-minded individuals, can empower you to be more efficient. When you’re working with a supportive team of people, you don’t see stress as a destructive force that will bring you down.
You rather see the challenges you encounter as an opportunity to learn and grow from. You’re also more inclined to listen to other people’s ideas just as they were receptive to yours. Positive communication not only makes you an excellent collaborator but also expands your horizons and pushes you outside your comfort zone.
Through time-blocking your day, turning up, and enhancing your social connections, you can increase your productivity levels and cultivate more self-discipline.
With that said, it’s important that you also take time to unwind throughout the day so you can replenish your vitality, increase your resilience, and come back more inspired.