After reading multiple articles such as "the morning routine of 10 successful women" and the like, I realized that the key to a super productive day is PLANNING. Also this is sort of a part 2 to a previous post I wrote "How to Be a Badass Bitch Who Gets Shit Done" so read that post too!
Step 1: Write Down Your Goals
I highly recommend starting a bullet journal. I wrote a post about how starting a bullet journal can change your life because of how much I believe in it. They are basically just super flexible planners that allow you to organize your thoughts.
But until then just grab a sheet of lined paper and write down all of your goals. I suggest using three pages, have the first page be this month, the next page be this year, and the next page be the next 5-10 years. This is going to help you prioritize how you spend your day.
To give you some examples... written down for my goals for this month are to pay off debt, read 4 books, and exercise every single day. My goals for this year (which will now be 2017) are to write a book, start graduate school and my non profit, and to become fluent in Spanish (I'm already proficient, but I want to be totally FLUENT). And my 5-10 year goals are to flip a house, start 2 more businesses, and run for office.
Everyone is obviously going to have much different goals, but I always find examples to be super helpful when trying something for the first time. So once you have all of your goals written down, you move to step 2.
Step 2: Plan Your Day
Plan your day DOWN TO THE HOUR. Do this however you have to, again I use a bullet journal. I literally list out 12am, 1am, 2am, etc. I mark exactly what I will be doing each hour of the day. Obviously for 12am-5:30am I write that I'm sleeping, but even my morning routine is planned out (although it only takes me an hour so I just write "morning routine").
Scheduling out every hour is where your list of goals comes into play. Do you really think my non-profit is going to build itself? No. I dedicate an hour to it every day. I want to read 4 books a month so I calculate how much time that will take (about 2 hours per day) so I read during my lunch break at work and an hour before I go to sleep. I want to be fluent in Spanish so I dedicate 30 minutes of my day to Duolingo and an hour each weekend to watching Telenovelas.
This is how you accomplish your goals. If you're anything like me, you have all of these ideas of things you want to do, but it makes your brain want to explode when you think about actually accomplishing them. That's because "starting a non-profit" is a HUGE task, but researching similar organizations for an hour as one of the steps to building it is totally doable. By planning out each hour of your day you're making your goals achievable. PLUS you know you have time during your day to it because you have a schedule you can stick to. If you hate routine, then switch up the routine and make a new daily hour schedule every month or so, or make daily variations, whatever you have to do to stay motivated!
Step 3: Make Trackers for your Goals
So you've written down your goals and made a detailed schedule of when you're going to do all of these things, but let's face it... you need actual motivation to do it. This is where trackers come in! There are lots of apps you can use to do this for you, but I'm a creative and I need to write things down for my brain to process what is happening, so again I use my bullet journal.
There are thousands of ideas for trackers on pintrest or with a quick web search. I do my trackers by month. So, for example, I make a tracker that looks like a board game with 30/31 squares for the month to keep me motivated to exercise. Every day that I work out I color in one of the squares. When I reach the end of the month I get a massage or some sort of reward if all of the squares are colored. This actually really works! Especially because there is nobody telling me to work out like if I joined a program or something... I HATE when people tell me what to do. It's just me and my tracker to keep me motivated.
I have trackers for all of my goals, for reading, for learning Spanish, for teaching tricks to my dog, etc. So during my day I'm never just sitting doing something unproductive (and R&R time is productive so don't think I don't relax). I just always know that if I have energy then I have a project that needs my attention.
People always tell me "I love how you just want to do something and you do it". THIS is how I do it. I plan out exactly how I'm going to do it into doable steps, and I plan out my day, and I just freaking do it (insert Nike symbol here).