Adam Faryna blog

How To Have Productive Day

So you planned your goals yesterday, and ended up with a list of task for today that should excite you. And now is the day when you should do first step and you feel everything but excitement. You just can’t make the first step forward, and more so writing entire article, or implement first feature in your app feels like impossible.

If you ever felt like that, well let me tell you that you are not alone. We all suffer similar pains, it’s just some of us go through it while others capitulate.

In this post, I will share tips I implemented in my life to be on the light side and never ever capitulate again - yes it happened for me a lot in the past. Read through, and hopelly get strategy that works in your life circumstances.

Have a reasonable task number

It’s easy to put a lot on our plate today, that will be hard to impossible to swallow tomorrow. When reality hits, we have to adapt and leave only what matters the most while moving other stuff to back where they come from - backlog.

Small digestable tasks

Are you sure you gonna process that task in one go? I mean today. If not, split it to as many smaller task as you can, without making them look ridiculous. The goal is to not leave uncompleted task for the next day, if you started today a task, process it to the point you can mark it as done, and create another task for later, to finish some leftovers.

Make it challanging but not too much

If the task at hand is too easy and mundane it can make us feel bored. On the other hand if it’s too big and challanging it may paralize us from even trying. The task should be small enough so it can be completed in a day, and challanging enough so we have a feeling of growth and pride from completing it.

Have (ir)rational believe in yourself

As a business founder, and even more as a solopreneur you have to have irrational, mad believe in your own abilities. Otherwise most important tasks will look like impossible - unless it really is impossible because the task description is just messed up.

But believing in ourselves doesn’t come from nowhere, it’s build on past challanges and successes, so we feel confident that we are capable of dealing with the challange in front of us. And if we do, we get even more trust what’s possible for us, that enables us to reach higher goals.

Create an outline

I wouldn’t consider it as a tip but a must. Looking at blank page, empty text file, when we know we have to fill it somehow with 500, 2000 words or more, and our head is empty, might be intimidating.

It become so much easier when we add structure to it - remember split it into small digestable tasks. When we have an outline, most of the time what left is to just fill the blanks.

For article writing, it might be typical structure which consist of: title, sub headings and conclusion. When we have a structure in place, it doesn’t feel anymore like starting with point 0.

In coding, it might be writing outline of object class, defying it’s interfaces and variables, spliting business logic to small specialized blocks of functions, leaving implementation details for later. It’s a bit like TTD - write test first, and then code that will pass it. If you prefer that, and you have to write tests anyway, TTD may help you get clarity what’s should be implemented, and what’s shouldn’t.

Do crap job first

You probably had heard the phrase if something is worth doing, it's worth doing it right, and if something is worth doing, it's worth doing terribly at first. These two look like in conflict with one another, but there is a way to make them work together.

If you feel really stuck, and can’t get yourself to write a single sentence of an article, or anything else, it doesn’t make sense to demand perfection at that point. Instead focus on building a momentum, you do that by allowing yourself to do crappy job first.

Just keep making one small step after another. One word, one line of code at a time. Don’t assess the results of your work at this point, there will be time to edit it later. The focus for now should be only to keep going, nothing else. Get into working mode instead of being peaky mode.

If you keep it going for long enough, you will not even notice at which point you started doing good work, instead of crap. Just believe, if you stay persistent at some point it will come to you.

Don’t leave half done task for tomorrow

This was already mentioned, but let’s elaborate on that a bit more. I don’t know if you have the same, but for me, if I end up day with started but unfinished task it sucks. Now I have to write down a status dump where I left and how to continue forward. But guess what, it’s not guarateeed I will work on that tomorrow, or even few days later. The life always hits with something, and every day will bring more tasks, tasks that are critical, overdue etc. In reality the longer it takes before you can go back to your task the harder it will be to go back to it.

My strategy to deal with it, is when I see I wouldn’t finish started task today, I will reduce it to the point I can. All the work that left I would put into new task which can live on it’s own.

There is probably nothing more demotivating than working on the same task for days without seeing any progress on the task list. Make it easy for yourself to cross things off. It will feel good instantly.

Let me know your strategies for productivity by commenting on [Twitter].

If you found this post valuable, and you know someone who would benefit from reading it, feel free to share it.

Thanks for reading.

Enjoyed the story? Get updates on new articles. I don't share this anywhere else.

You can opt out any time.