Thanks to this digital age we live in, staying on task and avoiding distractions is one of the biggest challenges of our day. I can personally say that over the past year, the meaning of productivity and time management was redefined when I was faced with the responsibilities of Church planting; managing different ministry areas; mentoring people; studying for my life coaching certification; trying to finish the first draft for my first book; and training for my premarital counseling certification all the while building my own marriage.

Regardless of what our occupation or status is, we all desire or pursue productivity. However, our obsession with productivity has led us to some misconceptions about what it really is, and how it can be accomplished.  Having excessive amount of coffee and a nice planner filled with lists you can check off for the day, won’t get you productivity. But developing the following 6 habits certainly is a start.

START YOUR MORNING WITH FOCUSING ON YOURSELF

This was a major one for me. I would wake up and immediately be so overwhelmed with all that I had to do that I would submerge myself in everything at once. Very quickly I learned that how you start your morning will dictate your mood and energy levels for the rest of your day.

how you start your morning will dictate your mood and energy levels for the rest of your day.
Start your morning by first investing in yourself spiritually. This means, having time of prayer and meditation to surrender the day to the Lord. You have no idea what the day holds before you. Have a short time of devotion so that you can feed on His Word as you go on through your day and even be able to encourage those you may encounter. This is such an important discipline to develop before rushing to check social media; open emails; answer calls, or run off to meetings. It sets your spirit right. It guards your heart and it keeps your cup full. Secondly, invest in yourself physically. This means start off by eating right in the morning and (if schedule permits) fitting in some form of exercise. When you start off by focusing on yourself first, you best prepare and position yourself for your tasks; for the people you will face; and for the work load you will have to get through that day.

CREATE AND PRIORITIZE YOUR LIST FOR THE DAY

Create a list of no more than 5 tasks per day, and number it from 1-5 to indicate what’s highly important, versus what is least important for that day. I don’t recommend having more than 5 items on your to-do list and here’s why. When you begin to pack out your day with tasks the focus will shift from doing each thing well to simply trying to get as much on that list done in 8 hours.

When you begin to pack out your day with tasks the focus will shift from doing each thing well to simply trying to get as much on that list done in 8 hours
This means the quality; passion; attention to detail and focus will drop significantly for each task since you will be finding yourself racing against time to check as much tasks off of your list. And then, when the day is over and you realize you still have 6 other things you haven’t accomplished for that day, you will begin to feel discouraged and frustrated with yourself. You don’t have to do everything in one day. Choose your top 5 tasks per day and focus on accomplishing those with excellence. Besides, productivity is not about packing your day with tasks. It’s also about finding proper times of rest throughout your day to refresh your mind, reflect and rest.

FOLLOW THE 80/20 RULE

Only 20 percent of what you do each day produces 80 percent of your results.

Only 20 percent of what you do each day produces 80 percent of your results.
Eliminate the things that don’t matter during your day–they have a minimal effect on your overall productivity. For example, if you have a project or goal you want to fulfill, break that down into smaller steps and systematically remove tasks until you end up with the 20 percent that gets the 80 percent of results.

TACKLE YOUR CHALLENGING TASKS BEFORE LUNCH

One thing I learned over the past year is that your golden hours of productivity are during the mornings. If not the whole morning, take the first 90 minutes of your day and dedicate that to your most important tasks.

Take the first 90 minutes of your day and dedicate that to your most important tasks.
Knock out your most challenging tasks when your brain is fresh and not drained or distracted by the day. If you have any meetings, save them for the afternoon. By scheduling your day this way, you’ll be able to create a more productive way to manage your time.

BE MINDFUL OF WHAT YOU SAY ‘YES’ TO

Various needs will arise throughout the day. Last minute meetings will come up. People will call for different needs, or you will be faced with certain unexpected demands. You don’t have to say ‘yes’ to everything. Learn to say ‘no.’ You don’t have to give every bit of your time to everything and everyone else. Granted, some days sacrifices may be needed. However, don’t let that be the norm. Learn to protect your time by prioritizing and being mindful what you say ‘yes’ to. If it’s not an emergency, it can be scheduled.

TAKE BREAKS THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY

Mental breaks are necessary. Since your brain has used up its glucose, give yourself a moment to refresh by going for a walk; grabbing lunch or a snack; a power nap, or just meditating. You’ll come back recharged and ready to achieve greater efficiency.

Remember to be gracious to yourself. Finding a pattern or a system that works for you will take time, and that’s ok. It’s part of growth. Don’t be easily frustrated with yourself. Be intentional. Take one day at a time, and pay careful attention to the things you invest your time and energy into.

Written by Christina Girma

    3 Comments

  1. Ruth Abraham January 15, 2019 at 2:09 am Reply

    Dear Christina, I want to say thank you for these great tips. I surprisingly have started doing some of the things you mentioned like waking up and taking time for the spiritual and physical aspects or like breaking down my schedules and focus on small steps… The reason how I step into this is that I also start having pressure in the morning as I wake up and time management frustration though out the day. Then I chose for this new year to only focus on one Word and this is “time’. And as I start reading God’s Word what it says about it, and lay my time on his hands, I see how he is leading me to the right direction where I can learn this from. And today is your blog one of this places, that God directed me to, to learn more about Time 😊

    God bless you 💖

  2. ewnett January 15, 2019 at 4:35 am Reply

    yes to all 🙌🏾🙌🏾

  3. Milena Kaleab January 20, 2019 at 12:11 pm Reply

    Thank you! This was to the point and what I need to practice and master!

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