When you find yourself with a little extra time on your hands or you’re overwhelmed by thinking about all.the.things, it’s tempting to want to take a good long nap. But if you need to keep yourself going, you can use some ideas from this list of productive things to do during the day.
These ideas along with my other tips for how to stop being lazy can really make a difference for how you approach your days. Nobody says you HAVE to do all.the.things — but you should at least be able to accomplish the most important things for each day.
This list can help you keep up your productivity momentum when you need to shake things up a little bit.
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I’m pretty sure we’ve all been there… We start the day with the best of intentions, vowing to be productive and get things done. But before we know it, hours have passed, we’ve accomplished nothing, and we’re exhausted and thinking about a nice nap.
If this sounds familiar, then I hope you can use these ideas for productive things to do during the day… even if you’re constantly distracted.
Whether you’re mindlessly scrolling through social media or procrastinating on a project, it’s easy to waste time. But there are things you can do to get yourself back on track to being more productive during the day.
Setting Expectations For Your Productivity
You probably won’t ever be able to maintain the same level of productivity every day. We all have variable energy and capacity at different times in our lives.
But, in general, you should think about these things when you plan what productive tasks you will do each day.
The first thing to consider is what type of person you are — morning, evening, mid-day, night own? Think about when you have the most energy and motivation and plan your day around that.
If you know you’re going to have a hard time getting started on something, try doing a quick and easy task first to get yourself moving. Once you’ve gotten into the swing of things, you can move on to more challenging tasks.
It’s also important to take breaks throughout the day, especially if you feel yourself getting overwhelmed or bogged down. Come back feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever is left on your to-do list.
10 Productive Things To Do During The Day
1. Follow a morning routine
If your morning routine consists of hitting the snooze button too many times and then rushing around in a frazzled mess, then you’re doing yourself a disservice… and setting the tone for an extremely unproductive day.
Instead, try building a very simple routine that works for YOU… but one that still allows enough time for you to THINK about your day and give yourself the best possible start.
What should you include in your routine? That’s entirely up to you! You may like some of these ideas for building YOUR perfect morning routine. Just a few minutes of routine and self-care in the morning can make a huge difference in your productivity level and mood during the day.
2. Brain dump
There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of a task or project and feeling like your brain is about to explode. You’re overthinking everything, second-guessing yourself at every turn, and before you know it, hours have gone by and you’re no closer to finishing what you started. Sound familiar?
If this is a regular occurrence for you, I have some good news: there’s a very simple way to get unstuck and regain focus, and it’s called a brain dump.
A brain dump is simply dumping all of the thoughts swirling around in your head onto paper (or into a document on your computer). Just get it all out, no matter how nonsensical or jumbled it may seem.
Once it’s all down on paper, you can start to sort through it and see what’s actually important and what can be ignored. This exercise can be incredibly helpful in reducing stress and anxiety, and it can also help you to finally finish that project you’ve been procrastinating on.
3. Make phone calls you’ve been putting off
I know, I know… I hate talking on the phone too. But I promise that making those phone calls like scheduling maintenance tasks, dealing with money stuff, or making other appointments will give you a sense of relief that leaves you feeling so much better about the OTHER productive things you need to do.
Here’s a little trick I learned that helps me when I need to make phone calls: write some notes — or even a script — about what you need to say, things you want to ask, etc.
Keep some paper and a pen or pencil in front of you so you can take notes during the conversation. And put your phone on speaker if possible. That will make it easier to write during the call.
4. Journal with the sunrise
Have you ever tried morning writing? It can be a very productive thing to do because it sets the tone for the day and helps you to focus on what’s important. I highly recommend it!
For starters, journaling with the sunrise forces you to wake up early. By getting up early and starting your day with a positive activity, you’re setting yourself up for success.
But it’s not just about waking up early. Journaling with the sunrise also allows you to take advantage of the quiet morning hours. The world is asleep and you have the chance to THINK, set your intentions, and just be present. It’s a beautiful way to start your day.
5. Drink plenty of water
There are many reasons why drinking water during the day is a productive thing to do.
For one, it helps to keep your body and brain functioning at their best. When you’re well-hydrated, your body is better able to flush out toxins and deliver oxygen to your cells.
Additionally, staying hydrated can help to improve your mood and energy levels. So next time you’re feeling tired or struggling to focus, reach for a glass of water
6. Declutter 10 things… or an entire room
Decluttering is a great way to take back control of our lives and spark some extra productivity. It’s a quick and easy way to get rid of the things that are weighing us down, both physically and emotionally.
And it doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking – even just doing a 10-minute, 10-item decluttering session during the day can make a big difference. Set a timer so you don’t get sidetracked. Afterward, you may be surprised at how much more productive you can be.
7. Clean something
Specifically, clean an area you usually only notice when the sun is at a certain angle. (We all have them!)
If you can, keep a running list of those places so you remember and plan your cleaning routine to catch those areas more regularly. Or keep them on a list so you can remember to check them at specific time of day more often.
8. Step outside
Stepping outside for 10 minutes of sun and fresh air during the day is a productive thing to do for several reasons.
First, getting some sun exposure allows our bodies to produce vitamin D, which is essential for good health.
Additionally, being in nature has been shown to improve mood and reduces stress levels, both of which can increase productivity.
Finally, taking a break from work to go outside can help refresh and rejuvenate us, stimulating our brain so that we come back feeling more focused and ready to tackle whatever tasks are before us.
9. FINISH a priority task… every day
Finishing just one priority task every day is one of the most productive things you can do. Why? Because when we don’t finish things, it creates a sense of obligation that weighs us down.
It becomes like a looming cloud over our heads that saps our energy and motivation. Not to mention, unfinished tasks are usually the first thing we think about when we wake up in the morning, which starts our day on a stressed note.
On the other hand, when we finish something, it gives us a sense of accomplishment and boosts our confidence. We feel lighter and more motivated to take on the next thing.
So if you’re feeling overwhelmed by your to-do list, try this: pick one thing that’s been bugging you for a while and make a commitment to finish it today. By crossing it off your list, you’ll not only get a sense of relief, but you’ll also be working to develop your finishing instinct that will serve you well every.single.day.
10. Do a ’15-minute sprint’
A ’15-minute sprint’ is where you set a timer and get as much done as possible — either work tasks or household tasks. Like… cleaning the bathroom, writing an email, brainstorming a list of posts to write, or planning your menu for the week — or, if you’re REALLY good, all of the above!
This is a much shorter commitment than an ultra-productive ‘sprint hour.’ If you have the capacity to do an hour of distraction-free sprint tasks, then I totally recommend it.
But believe me, even a 15-minute sprint once or twice a day can help you knock things off your list and get you motivated to stay productive.
More Productivity Motivation
Ok, that’s it for today! I hope you found this list of easy productive things to do during the day helpful.
One final thing I want to say is that you should think of these tasks as ‘kick-starters’ or ‘fillers.’
You DON’T want to spend your entire day working through this list and not getting your ACTUAL work done. That’s called productive procrastination and while it FEELS like you’re ‘getting so much done,’ you can find yourself on a treadmill of daily busy-ness that will end up keeping you stuck.
Remember, napping is not an option! (Just kidding, napping is always an option. LOL)
But seriously, you’ll thank yourself later for staying on track during those times when you would rather just be lazy.
You’ve got this!
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