When it comes to productivity in this digital age, it’s kind of miraculous that we can get anything done. There are so many distractions begging for our attention at all times. And if you’ve seen The Social Dilemma, you know just how intentional that is.
Our technology is designed to keep us scrolling, tapping and engaging – but we have goals we want to achieve, and that requires us to find a way to steer away from the distractions and find some focus.
I’ve been personally working through this, so I crafted a checklist for myself with the seven action steps to ‘set the mood’ for the workday – and wanted to share the list with you because I’ve found these steps to be a productivity gamechanger.
When I start my workday with these simple action steps, I am so much more likely to stay productive and in a focused flow zone.
1. Select three main tasks for the workday
I’ve come to realize that when I had too much on my plate, I’d go into the day feeling overwhelmed and unclear on where to start. When I focus on making sure I definitely check off three main tasks, I am far more focused. It feels both slightly challenging (depending on the tasks) and also achievable – so I feel inspired to tackle them.
If at the end of the day, these are the only three tasks checked off my list, I’ll still feel satisfied.
This also helps me to get clear on my priorities about what actually needs to get done – and making room to make it happen.
2. Go on ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode while working
Notifications are always trying to beg for our attention, so when I’m doing computer work – I’m far better off if I hit ‘Do Not Disturb’ so that I don’t get incoming messages, phone calls popping up.
You can set this up for an everyday automated schedule during your work hours, if you’re using a Mac, by going to System Preferences > Notifications > Do Not Disturb.
See this post for more iPhone productivity habits.
3. Turn on light background music
I will kickstart my workday by putting on some light background tunes – or Binaural beats. It helps me to get into the zone – without getting distracted. My current favorite is my ‘fall chill vibes‘ playlist.
4. Light candle or diffuser
I feel like the act of lighting the candle or starting the essential oil diffuser is the signal for starting my focused workday. I love P.F. Candle Co. candles made with 100% soy wax. And my essential oil go-to is Aura Cacia’s “Mind Guide”. I also love rollerball essential oils for rubbing against my wrists as needed.
5. Make coffee in your favorite mug
I know, coffee (or insert your morning beverage of choice) is obvious and not one that really needs to be on a checklist, but it’s a big part of setting my work mood. Make yourself a cuppa your favorite coffee to kickstart your cozy, good vibe workday. My Nespresso has been the best investment for my productivity, as I’m saving money on coffees out and saving time by getting into my work zone before 9 am.
6. Put phone out of view
It sounds ridiculous, but I am always tempted to check the ‘gram and emails anytime I’m waiting for a page to load or feel stuck with what I’m working on. And if I’m being super honest about it, that’s probably almost every 10 minutes. So, I’ve resorted to having to put my phone across the room. It’s so freeing, and it’s so much more fun to check your social media apps when there’s actually plenty of notifications to go through at one time.
7. Use only the tabs you need
This is one of the most essential actions that I need to consistently train myself to do. I feel like the tabs on my browser represent how my brain feels. More tabs = more mental chaos. As the day goes on, I typically find that I forget, and have to go through and shut down all the excess tabs. Every time I clear them out, I feel the difference in my ability to focus.
8. Create theme days
I like to batch my tasks and create a theme for the day. For example, I use Mondays to focus solely on Life Goals Collective, where I’m not doing any client work. And on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have my meetings and video days – so I know that I’ll spend more time on camera and want to spend more time getting ready on those days.
Being able to create a day to get ahead on certain tasks is helpful for staying focused, because you’re not hopping around from task to task all day long. If you can divide your tasks by the day, or even by morning vs afternoon, it’ll be easier to stay in the zone. You can also create space in your day where you do all the small tasks too – so that you don’t need to do them in the middle of your focused work time.
See this post for tech-free evening routine ideas.
How do you set the mood for your workday? Gimme all your tips over at Life Goals Collective Club!