It’s Monday morning. Did you wake up bright and early, ready to conquer this week? Do you feel filled with conviction and motivated to be your best self today, and every day after?
For many, the answer is probably no. Thousands of professionals stumble into work at the start of each week, nursing a coffee and trying not to make eye contact with anyone until lunchtime. Some of us are running to meetings that we thought we’d be more prepared for. Others are already stressed out over an email, and we haven’t even made it into work yet.
But people, it doesn’t have to be this way! You can salvage this day, and learn how to make every day more productive. Here’s how to absolutely crush it this week (hint: it all starts with your morning routine):
DRINK MORE WATER
Seriously people. At least eight glasses a day, and no your diet soda doesn’t count. Being dehydrated causes lethargy and hunger. And really, how many of your problems are really caused because you’re tired and craving a donut?
GET MOTIVATED WITH A GAMEPLAN FOR THE DAY
Planning out your day can do wonders for improving not only the next several hours, but also the rest of your week. It may seem counterintuitive, but if you’re rushing around and feeling overwhelmed, take time to sit down for a few minutes and write down what needs to be done. Really, everything: professional and personal.
Once you have everything you need to get done written down, start ranking each action item from most to least important. What absolutely needs to get done as soon as possible? What can wait a few hours? What doesn’t really even need to get done today, and you’re stressing out over it unnecessarily? If you’re lucky, there will even be several things that, when it really comes down to it, don’t need to be done at all.
Now that you have things ranked, estimate how much time each one will take you. Use these estimations to plan out what order you’ll work on things throughout the day. Doing this will prevent you from, for example, spending an hour in the morning getting your email down to manageable levels when you really could do that while you wait for approval on the draft that’s due today.
Make a habit of doing this each morning, and you’ll soon notice your stress levels dropping as your productivity increases!
MAKE A CONNECTION
Want to really do something for your future this week? Seek out at least one person that’s an expert in your field but you haven’t met, and either get an introduction or start planning on how to form a relationship with them.
The easiest way to do this is to get their attention through social media, especially Twitter. Start commenting on their posts once or twice a week, and keep doing so – pretty soon, they’ll start replying back to you! From there, you can start forming a real relationship.
If you don’t have an active social media presence, it’s time to invest in one. Whether that means learning the ropes so you can do it yourself, or getting professional help, developing your online personal brand will shorten the time that you have to wait for your next career move.
SET LONG TERM GOALS – AND STEPS TO ACHIEVE THEM
Alright, so you have your day planned out, you’re hydrated, and you’re socially stimulated. But there’s still something missing: the big picture. It’s hard to stay motivated if you don’t know what you’re working towards.
In order to really be motivated and productive, we need to know why we do what we do. A spreadsheet is just busy work unless it helps you organize another task. A long day in the office is just a waste of time unless those extra hours go towards something great.
At the end of the week – every week – take stock of your work, and the direction you’re heading in. The best way to do this is to have an honest conversation with yourself about what your long term goals are. Create S.M.A.R.T. goals for yourself for the rest of the year; what do you want life to be like in 12 months?
Now that you have your goals, create a plan of action for getting there. Who do you need to impress? Who do you need to meet? What do you need to learn?
Knowing where you’re heading is the best way to get their faster, and on a more direct route.
The only real way to achieve fulfilling long term success for any goal is to understand not only how to do it, but why you’re doing it. If it doesn’t mean anything to you, you’ll find a reason to procrastinate. In order to crush it at work and in your life, you must make sure you understand what every single action you take is leading up to. Only then can you conquer.