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Every day in life is like a game. You either win or lose. No ties. Sorry soccer fans (myself included).
Assuming you have a healthy sleeping schedule, this leaves you with 15–17 hours of time in your day. That’s a long, long game. There are very few games in life that last that long.
Not even baseball can beat that.
And you play this game every single day. Whether you know it or not.
The most successful people on this planet win this game every day. They take control and win their day. But what does winning really mean?
Winning for you might be to maintain healthy relationships. Winning for someone else might mean making as much money as possible. Winning is whatever you define it as.
Either way, every person in some way or another is competing with themselves and the world around them.
The problem is, winning any day is extremely difficult. And it’s difficult for a reason.
Doing everything you want in one day is extraordinarily tiring and challenging. I’m here to give you simple, effective tips that will help you win your day. Every. Single. Day.
Be Productive the Moment You Wake Up
This is, without a doubt, the easiest way to boost productivity. Be proactive from the moment you wake up.
No, I’m not saying you have to give a corporate presentation at 6 in the morning, or run 5 miles.
You don’t even have to get up that early. Although if you can get up early, by all means. The early bird usually gets the worm.
Make your bed, eat breakfast, or complete any small task. Small tasks build off of one another. Think of a rolling snowball. Small, slow, and hardly noticeable at first. Over time, it builds, collects more snow and becomes an unstoppable force.
You and your day can be the same. One small task leads to another small task and so on. You’ve now cultivated the habit of finishing something, even if just as small as making your bed.
The idea is that small tasks force you into a productive mindset. Yes, I know making your bed is easier than a presentation to a client, or taking 200 customer orders, or really anything in life.
But would you rather start your day having done nothing at all? Give yourself a benchmark to measure success throughout your day. Have goals in mind, and kickstart those goals by finishing something as small as making your bed first thing in the morning.
82% of people who made their bed believed it helped them be productive all day (1). Beyond that, 74% of those same people felt accomplished at the end of the day, compared to just 50% of those who didn’t make their beds. Sounds simple and stupid, but give it a try.
Find small tasks to complete each morning. Measure the results. Hold yourself accountable and consistently complete small tasks.
For myself, having a consistent routine forces me to measure success against a checklist of very small, easy tasks.
You get the point.
Small tasks seem small until they drive you to pursue and successfully complete larger tasks throughout the day.
Visualize Your Success
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Ok, before you skip through this one, I’m not about to give you some uber spiritual, “connect to the universe” kind of technique. If that’s your thing, great.
I’m talking about simple, practical, and comfortable ways to take advantage of visualization and meditation.
I meditate and visualize my day every morning right before I get going. All it takes is five minutes of my time.
So what am I really talking about?
Visualization is exactly what it sounds like. Visualize, in detail, whatever you want to succeed at. Visualize yourself having a good day, being productive, and getting stuff done. If you can get even more granular and envision specific tasks you have to complete, even better.
If you have a really big presentation to deliver to clients, visualize yourself excelling and presenting with confidence. If you have a paper to write, visualize yourself finishing it by the end of the day.
The key here is to see yourself doing something before it happens. Whether it ends up happening or not, you’ve already put yourself at an advantage. Will it into existence.
Don’t take it from me, highly successful people like Oprah, Katie Ledecky, Michael Phelps, and Sarah Blakely all implement some form of visualization into their daily routines (2).
I know what you’re thinking, it sounds weird. Well, it should be. Until you see the benefits.
If you are unfamiliar with any form of meditation or visualization, you might find it hard to start.
Give it time, commit to it, and witness firsthand how beneficial it can be to your productivity and success in whatever you may do.
Five minutes a day, that’s all it takes.
Plan Distractions, Don’t Let Distractions Plan You
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No matter how hard we try, we all get distracted. Myself included. Our mind is like a battery and when it runs low on energy, we look for ways to recharge.
With the evolution of technology, we have found ourselves immersed in constant stimulation. When’s the last time you checked your phone? I can almost guarantee that it was within the last hour, no matter what you were doing or where.
I’m not about to begin a rant on technology or how to completely eliminate it from your lifestyle. Rather the opposite. Plan to incorporate distractions in your daily routine.
We work a lot. As a society, we are obsessed with the idea of “hustle culture”. That’s the beauty and beast of capitalism. The idea of building the American Dream has resulted in excruciatingly long work hours, worker burnout, and a host of other negative consequences.
One Deloitte marketplace survey found that 77% of all respondents had experienced worker burnout at some point in their current job (3).
I know a lot of you reading this would find yourselves a part of that percentage.
Working hard doesn’t always beat working smart. In fact, I’d argue the most productive and “best” workers combine the two.
Distractions are just our brain telling us it’s time to take a break. The problem is, we don’t know when or how that will manifest.
That’s why planning your distractions is a phenomenal way to boost your productivity and win your day.
I try to take breaks from work every 60–90 minutes. Obviously this depends on your schedule, but really find time to give yourself a 5–10 minute break. Let your brain relax by thinking of something completely unrelated to work.
When you return to work, you should be reinvigorated and focused.
Regardless of whether you like him or not, Jeff Bezos has often revealed in interviews that he does something similar.
I can almost guarantee that if you plan your distractions, you will be far more productive when it’s time to return to work. We aren’t machines, as much as some of us like to think of ourselves as such. It’s important to acknowledge to yourself that you need breaks to maintain productivity.
Eliminate distractions by planning them out. Don’t let unplanned distractions defeat you.
Winning your day is hard. It takes an enormous amount of focus and energy. Winning every single day is even harder.
There are many ways strategies and techniques you can implement to help you be more productive and win your day. I’ve found these three tips to be the easiest and most actionable ways to see results.
Implement these three tips and at the very least I can promise that you will be well on your way to winning more of your days.
1 — CNBC (Making Your Bed)
2 — Inc (Visualization)
3 — Deloitte (Worker Burnout)