If you were paying attention in your high school physics class you might be familiar with Newton’s 1st Law:
“An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.” (Physics Classroom)
I was a total physics nerd.
But, if you’re familiar with being a human, then you’ve also had countless days where you’ve sat down at the end of the day, looked down at your to-do list and realized that literally NOTHING got done. In fact, not only did you not cross anything off your list- your list actually magically grew 3 times bigger than it was when you woke up! Seriously how does that happen?!
The problem is that you were acting like the first part of Newton’s law. You never STARTED. (Maybe because you were acted upon by an unbalanced force like your kids, the black hole of social media, or Netflix)
SO the question is this: how do we get in motion and stay in motion like the second part of the law? How to we build momentum at the beginning of our day so that we ensure our day is productive and our to-do list gets crossed off?
Here are a few of my favorite secrets to building momentum for a super productive day.
- Don’t look back. Unless it’s to see how far you’ve come. Today is a new day and whether or not you had a great, productive day yesterday, start fresh right now. Holding onto negative momentum will not push you forward. Wake up with determination so you can go to bed with satisfaction. Mindset is half the battle! (Technology failing is the other half in my case!)
- Create a Morning Routine. Speaking of waking up, create a morning routine that has nothing to do with your computer or a screen of any kind! I like to start my day with reading, breakfast, a hot beverage and affirmations (and working out on a really good day).
- Create a Morning Checklist. This is where momentum really start to kick in. Create a morning routine checklist of things you KNOW you’re going to do. That have nothing to do with work. Things on that checklist might be:
- Brush your teeth
- Make coffee
- Make Bed
- Wash Face
- Get dressed
- Make Breakfast
Now imagine doing all of that and crossing it off on a to-do list! You’ve only been awake for 20 minutes and you already got 7 things done!! Seriously. Don’t blow this one off, it works.
- Baby steps. Once you’re through your morning checklist, it’s time to get into your work to-do list. And here’s another super important step. Every task that’s on your list? Either mentally or physically break it down into baby steps. If “Write a blog post” is on your list, that task now gets broken down like this:
- Open Google Documents
- Title Blog Post
- Write out 5 questions you want to answer
- Answer Question 1
- Answer Question 2 (and so on…)
- Edit text
- Open WordPress
- Add text
- Format in WordPress
- Schedule Post
It’s like going to the gym, the hardest part is putting your sneakers on but once you get through that you’re halfway there and action creates momentum.
Breaking things down like this makes big scary tasks seem a lot less daunting. It’s how people accomplish big dreams and big goals every day and this should be applied to every task on your to-do list.
- Start with creative task first. I’ve heard the advice of Mark Twain’s to “eat the frog first”- and some people swear by it. Essentially this means to do your least fun task first because if you can accomplish that then you can get through the fun ones too! I personally don’t do this because if I do a not so fun task it kind of drains the energy out of me for the ones I actually want to do.
I personally like to start the day with a creative task. For me, this could be anything from writing a blog, designing an album or editing a gallery. I find I have the most energy in the morning, physically and mentally for these big tasks so it’s best for me to do these first. After a morning time block of a creative task, I eat lunch and then answer emails afterwards.
- Have a reward in mind. This is no joke you guys. If I have something I’m looking forward to at the end of the day or a certain time during the day, I get things done SO MUCH FASTER. If I tell myself I get to go to the aqua kickboxing class at the gym at 4:30 only if I make it through a wedding blog and culling than you better believe I’m hustling to stay focused and get said tasks done. Reward yourself for your accomplishments and hard work!
- Take breaks. This goes hand in hand with rewards sometimes but even in the middle of the day, if you feel yourself losing momentum, I suggest getting up and doing a few quick jumping jacks, sit ups or push ups- just for a minutes or two to get your blood flowing better! I swear by my workouts on days where I don’t feel motivated to do anything and then once I workout I feel like I can conquer the world.
- Write out your wins for the day! At the end of the day, write a “reverse to-do list”. Rather than everything you have to-do, write out all the things you accomplished! That will be sure to make you feel satisfied when you go to bed, and it’s also awesome to read yesterday’s accomplishments when you’re making today’s to-dos so you can build off of the previous days positive momentum.
So there you have it! 8 Tips for creating momentum and having a super productive day!
Now off to hang by the fire pit for me! (Where I wrote this blog post!)