The One Habit that Will Help You Become More Productive

lady drinking coffee in balconyYou open your eyes and see the first ray of dawn sneaking into the room through the small slid between the curtains. You give yourself a good stretch and amazingly, you actually feel refreshed. It’s a strange yet wonderful feeling, because it’s been a long while since you feel this way.

Picking up the alarm clock next to your bed, you realise you have woken even before it has a chance to go off. You slip out of bed and walk out of the room. There’s peace and quiet all around the house.

After washing up, you make yourself a cup of coffee and sink comfortably into the sofa. Soothing music is playing in the background while you start immersing yourself in the newest book by your favorite author.

Does it sound like bliss? Won’t you love to wake up this way every day? Unhurried, refreshed and spending some quiet time on your own before the whole family awakes.

Well, you can. If you start building productive habits, the scenario above can become a reality.

How to Be More Productive

The secret to having a productive day is this: What matters more is not what you do first thing in the morning, it’s what you do the night before.

So what should you do every night that will help you have a productive day?

1. Make your to-do list in the evening

Instead of making your to-do list in the morning, make it the night before. This way, you can go to bed relaxed because you know exactly what needs to be done the next day. You will have better sleep as you do not have to worry about forgetting some important tasks since you have it all down.

And don’t just make the list, take an extra few minutes to prioritise them. Do the important and urgent tasks first, followed by the important and non-urgent ones. Read this article for more details on prioritization.

Also, take into consideration your energy cycles, this can impact your effectiveness. For example, I do my writing in the mornings as that’s when I feel most energetic and my mind functions the best. The other time I work (which I try to do less of now) is late at night, especially on tasks that requires more reflection or some planning. I find that the quietness late at night helps me with such tasks. The other tasks like checking emails and social media accounts are usually scheduled in the afternoons.

Find out what works for you and plan your day around your body’s cycles.

2. Do what you can tonight, don’t wait till tomorrow

One of the reasons for the morning mad rush is because we have a tendency to postpone what we could have done the night before till the next day. But if we start making a conscious effort to stop postponing tasks, the morning frenzy can become a thing of the past.

In my family, we pick our clothes for the next day and iron them at night and I also pack my and my son’s bags at night. We also pick up and put the toys away at night and don’t leave them lying around till the next day.

3. Get enough sleep

chihuahua sleepingThis is simple yet something that so many of us struggle with in this modern day of technology.

From social media to online games, the distractions that keep us up at night are endless. Notice what I say? I said distractions. If you get really honest with yourself, many of these things are just that. Think: how much value do they add to your life or enable you achieve your goals and dreams? Do they help you to build stronger relationship with your love ones or do they do just the opposite?

I see this scenario around me all the time now: when a family sits together, they end up being busy on their cell phones instead of interacting with one another. During my Chinese New Year visits to relatives’ homes, I watched, horrified, when older kids sit side-by-side playing on their iPads instead of playing with one another.

Meanwhile, these are also the distractions that keep us from working productively during the day so that we are kept ‘busy all the time’.

I struggled with this (and still do sometimes). At one point, my 3-year-old son had to tell me to put the phone away. The turning point came when my husband told me he regretted getting me the smartphone and one day, I realised he had also started spending more time on the cell phone and we were no longer communicating as much. That’s when I became committed to cut down on time spent on my smartphone and social media. When I do, I want to make sure it’s for good reasons. Time is just too precious for me and I want to spend it fruitfully.

It’s your turn now. What are your best productivity habits? Please share so we can learn from one another!

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici and Jomphong,


  1. Thank you for this wonderful article. Making that To-Do list and stickign to it is my biggest pet peeve!
    Purnima recently posted…Join World Moms Blog and MDG Momentum today – Help achieve the Millennium Development GoalsMy Profile

  2. Mine are somewhat what you’ve mentioned! I still struggle with the to-do list, though: Not from making one, but from adding too many things to it! :)
    Martine | WAHM. Wife. Blogging Belle. recently posted…The only girl in a house full of boys.My Profile

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