Six simple productivity routines practiced by some of the world’s greatest business minds could change the tone of your entire day.
How a person spends his morning can impact not only short-term productivity but also how much he achieves in the longer-term.
Here are six amazingly simple productivity routines practiced by some of the world’s greatest business minds that could change the tone of your entire day.
Write down three things that went well yesterday.
“The Happiness Advantage” author Shawn Achor has cited in his work scientific studies that prove the correlation between positive thinking and productivity.
For example, in a study of doctors, those who self-reported a positive mood before making a complicated medical diagnosis were more accurate and able to make the diagnosis 20 percent more quickly than doctors who said they felt “neutral” about the day.
Focus a few minutes of your morning to recognize what went well the day prior. Not only will remembering how much you have to be thankful for help you to focus on what’s going right instead of wrong — it can help improve your mood and ability to focus on the positive despite challenges that come your way.
Tackle the thing you most dread first.
Mark Twain’s exact words were, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning,” but the intent of his message is applicable to anyone, anywhere. Tackle that one thing on your “to do” list you don’t want to do first — when your mind is sharp, at the start of the day. Ultimately, you’ll minimize the time (and pain) you have to spend completing it.
Add an intention.
You don’t have to be a yogi to benefit from setting an intention. In fact, as Fast Company’s J.J. McCorvey found out when he interviewed Oprah Winfrey, she asks the question, “What is your intention?” of herself — and her staff — as part of the decision-making process on nearly every project. The question forces you to focus your effort, and reveals where you may be confusing busyness with productive business tasks.
Shock your system.
Master motivator Tony Robbins credits his ability to stay mentally fresh and energized with cryotherapy, a centuries-old technique that stimulates the body’s nervous system with a three-minute dunk in a minus 240 degree chamber. Vogue’s Anna Wintour reportedly starts her morning with an hour-long tennis match. Michelle Gass, the chief customer officer for Kohl’s Department Stores and former president of Starbucks, has started her day with a run every morning for more than 15 years. Michelle Obama rises at 4:30 each morning to work out so she can maintain the energy required of her as First Lady and a working mother.
Take note of the alarm clocks of these successful leaders. You’ll do everything else in your day better by taking the time to wake your body, before you try to tap into the power of your mind.
Find a second opinion.
Virgin founder Richard Branson has credited his habit of seeking advice from other sources as a reason he’s still able to view challenges and solutions with a fresh eye — despite his decades as a business leader. Immerse yourself in sources that inspire creative thinking. Listen to TED Talks on your way to work or tune into podcasts when you take the dog for a walk. Simply being exposed to perspectives other than your own can inspire a new way of thinking.
Turn off your brain when the day concludes.
You will be more effective if you allow yourself time to disengage from the office mentally and physically. Tim Ferriss, entrepreneur and author of “The Four Hour Work Week” and “The Four Hour Body,” says he wraps up each work day by writing down just one goal to accomplish for the next.
Putting the task on paper ensures that you know where to begin the next morning — and frees your mind of the problem until that time.