It’s no secret that taking personal time leads to better work. Knowing something and putting it into practice are two different things, however, and not enough people put this into practice. Why not?

Because there is never a shortage of tasks to complete. Checking tasks off a to-do list feels great, but it is not the same thing as true productivity. Often times, it’s easy to feel like you can’t relax until you finish x, y, and z. If you want to be truly productive, you have to change the way you think about work and life.

Stop Making Everything About Work Task Lists

Everyone has to meet deadlines, but that doesn’t mean you have to tick everything off your list to take a break. Instead of focusing on what you need to get done, focus on how well you do things. Make quality your top priority.

This sets you up to perform well. Instead of rushing around trying to finish everything, you become more mindful of what you are doing. This is where personal time comes in. With this way of thinking, you have to take time for yourself so that you can perform well.

So, don’t focus on finishing the task as much as you focus on how well you are performing the task. Look forward to the feedback you’ll get, or the improvement you’ll make to your business.

Of course, you still have to meet your deadlines. So, what’s the next step?

Managing Your Time Appropriately is Key

Be strategic when you work. Don’t just jump in and start checking things off those lists. Instead, take a little time every morning and afternoon to prioritize. Use an app such as Google Keep to manage multiple task lists in the same space. You can move lists around, color code them, tag them, and leave yourself notes and reminders.

This should be done at the beginning and end of every day. This way, you will arrive at your desk already knowing where you need to focus. However, things change: new emails come in, a client decides they want something new, or a deadline moves up. Knowing where you’re at means you won’t stress out when this happens. So, you can prioritise for the new information without missing a beat.

Set your strategy based on deadlines first and difficulty second. Taking care of deadlines and completing the difficult work will free up your mind for better focus. Once you have this down, you’re ready for the next step towards creating more time for yourself.

Create a Personal Time To-Do List

Professionals are already task-oriented people. To change your mindset, you have to send signals to your brain that relaxation is a part of being productive. So, when you are prioritizing for the day include an entire task list just for you.

Give it some thought. Spend a week identifying the times of day you experience stress or burnout. Those are the times you need to take break.

After that, figure out why you need a break at that time. Are you hungry, overwhelmed, or feeling a little stir-crazy? That is how you know what to do with your break times. Once you know why you need to take a break, you’re ready to make that personal time task list.

Personalize Your Task List for Breaks

Create tasks for your breaks based on all your needs. Monday may not need the same kind of breaks that work on Wednesday. Create a task list for every day, and account for everything. Maybe you need to make time for some exercise on Mondays to keep your mind alert after the weekend. Keep yourself looking and feeling great by setting salon or barber visits as your me-time activities.

Taking care of yourself is important. It’s hard to be productive when it feels like work has become the central focus of your life. Remember that your new focus should not be on getting tasks done. It should be about the quality you are delivering.

Once you have made that shift in focus, setting a task list for personal time will signal your brain that it is important to your career performance. That’s how this strategy works. Instead of feeling guilty for taking breaks, your will accept that it is essential to good productivity. Set this strategy in motion and start prioritizing you today. You’ll get more done tomorrow.

Do you have your own strategy? Share it with us below!

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