There are many reasons to make 2017 the year you become a little bit more productive – not only to make better use of your time, finish the day a bit more satisfied with your work but also to become more happy overall.

That´s why at the beginning of this year I have started using a productivity planner – a journal that helps me to structure my goals, dreams, small and big wins. This journal is not an encyclopedia with tons of Jedi mind tricks, it’s a planner designed to beat procrastination and here’s what I learned after using it the last few weeks:

Define your most important priorities

The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.

Regardless of the number of sticky notes or endless to-do lists in your laptop, the key to productivity for me is to decide on the most important task for the day and track the time I spent on it. The more tasks you have, the harder it will be to get actual work done. That´s why the number one task when I wake up is not checking my emails or social media, but making a cup of tea (or coffee) and asking myself – what do I want to finish and complete today.

Key lesson: The more you train yourself to think in concrete terms, the more flow and consistency you will create allowing you break the POP: Pattern of procrastination.

Have your thinking time

Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.

Have you ever wondered that when you ask your colleagues “how are you” – most of the time they always answer “I am busy”. That happens a lot and people get stuck in day-to-day duties. Execution is great, but creating time for strategic thinking became very important for me. Making it part of my professional and personal life helps to look beyond practical activities and think ahead in the future.

Key lesson: Protect that time like a meeting or appointment – it’s equally important as producing great results.

Use morning to set up goals for each day

Rise before the sun

What´s the first thing you do when you wake up? Check the latest updates on Instagram or Facebook? Keep hitting the snooze button? We are the culmination of our habits and what we do everyday is a direct reflection on the state and quality of the rest of the day.

I love mornings. Whether it´s exercising, reading a book for 30 minutes, boosting mood by making a healthy breakfast – it really sets a good tone for the rest of the day. I also believe that by actually writing down your goals for the day is one of the most effective ways to jump-start creativity and motivate myself.

Take time-off

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes. Including you.

Becoming productive is important – you start wearing multiple hats, working numerous hours and achieving quick wins. But without disconnecting fully, you are just jeopardizing health and life you’re working towards.

Just not to fall into trap of overdoing it, I refuel myself by investing time in my hobbies that are completely irrelevant to my career – attending a swing class, planning girl’s getaway, going for a hike – it´s just a few things that make me more creative and bring extra ideas that I otherwise never come up with.

Key lesson: you get more done, when you step back from time to time and recharge both – your body and mind.

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