How to have the most productive workday of your life

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meis the first full work week of 2023. You have two new year’s resolutions. First, to turn yourself into a productivity humming machine. No more delays, no more evening news. Second, to increase your own sense of well-being. A few days later, and your daily journal will bear witness to a changed person, a model of self-care efficiency.

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07:00 Go to the gym. Leave the phone at home. Mens sana in corpore sano.

08:00 Tell the au pair to wake up the children, and keep them out of your way.

08:15 Listen briefly to a whale call on Spotify. shower Clothes.

08:30 Eat something with chia seeds.

08:40 Remove chia seeds from teeth.

08:58 Enter a home office. A great sense of well-being. I have never felt better.

09:00 Turn the phone off airplane mode and put the laptop up. Phone is going crazy: missed calls, Slack messages, texts. Just where the old days went wrong in 2022. Use a new batching method: reply to the five oldest emails and ignore everything else. Turn off calls again.

09:30 Make a list of the tasks that need to be completed today. Color code these tasks according to priority. Drag each of the high-priority tasks into separate categories. Use a combination of time boxes and Pomodoro techniques to enter them into the calendar for the day ahead.

10:30 The calendar for the day is now ready. A few hours ahead. Get up and go for a walk around the block to avoid musculoskeletal problems. Frequently stop and look 20 yards into the distance to maintain eye health. See a friend on the street.

11:30 Back at the desk. Decide to find a “Study with Me” video, a recording of someone else working at their desk, as extra motivation for the day ahead. A very effective technique, you just need to choose the right recording. Maybe there’s one with splashes of water on the windows. Or a sleeping cat. Or logs on fire.

12:00 The recording of “Study with Me” is now playing. He went with the cats. The day is a bit off track now. Start the first 25-minute Pomodoro session.

12:25 Excellent session. Get up. Extension.

12:30 The second Pomodoro session begins. Lasers are not as focused as mine.

12:40 Extremely bored. Try to access Wordle but you have installed a blocker on a laptop which means I can’t use the site until 18:00. The only way around this is to change the time on the computer. I’m not sure how to do this but it can’t be that hard.

13:30 It is very hard. But Wordle has done it (in four tries!). A clock on a computer is now completely wrong; says it’s 2024. Just need to change back.

14:00 There is no time for the second email batching session. Lunch and happy hour starts an hour late. Make an open sandwich with rye bread, salmon, dill. Use advice on stacking practices to do two sensory exercises at the same time: self-administer head massage while listening to the sound of dolphins.

15:00 Implementation of hermit method. Ditch Pomodoro Technique: must be done at least two hours before the last email session. Use the timer tab to set a countdown clock running on my browser.

15:30 Not much progress was made. Feeling a little worthless. Open the recommendation folder in my email inbox to remind me of a recommendation I’ve received from past colleagues.

15:45 Starting to feel a little panicked. As a last resort use “Write or Die”, an old program that starts deleting your work if you haven’t met word count targets. Just helps to get something on the page.

16:15 FFS. A kid came in with something hairy (a rat? someone else’s hair?) stuck to his hand. By the time I posted it, “Write or Die” had wiped out most of my work.

17:00 Use the child’s stencil set to make a very professional poster that says “Don’t enter: I’m working”. I will post it on my door here. It is good to do this. Need a pick-me-up, so I’m going to attend a laughter therapy session that the company has been advertising.

17:30 We couldn’t get sound to work for some reason. Everyone looked completely mad at the laughing-healing thing. Record the problem with IT.

17:45 The third (well, second) email batching session begins. Ads back forward, and email opened. Torrent for messages. Four calls from my boss. It’s hard to tell what’s going on, but everyone seems to be confused that I’ve been aware of prioritizing work. normal.

18:00 Ring leader. I have until 9am tomorrow morning to do something for a new client. Feeling much better. If only people could just set me a critical deadline every day.

Read more from Bartleby, our management and work columnist:
How to make the most of LinkedIn (December 20th)
The Lasting Value of Analog Technology (December 15)
The mass of job title inflation (December 8)

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