The path to creating a perfect routine and increasing productivity is something that many of us look for on a daily basis. We can always learn about our own patterns and experiment with new routines but it can help to have some inspiration from some particularly productive people.
Sarah Green, a senior associate editor over at the Harvard Business Review posted a blog post today called 'The Daily Routines of Geniuses'. Inspired after reading 'Daily Rituals: How Artists Work' by Mason Curry, Green has compiled a list of some of the patterns that seemed to emerge in the routines of the most productive people.
One of the elements she highlights is ability to distinguish between the work you most need to do and the to-do items that are less important. She writes that many of the artists mentioned in Curry's book were able to create:
A clear dividing line between important work and busywork. Before there was email, there were letters. It amazed (and humbled) me to see the amount of time each person allocated simply to answering letters. Many would divide the day into real work (such as composing or painting in the morning) and busywork (answering letters in the afternoon). Others would turn to the busywork when the real work wasn’t going well. But if the amount of correspondence was similar to today’s, these historical geniuses did have one advantage: the post would arrive at regular intervals, not constantly as email does.
This idea of recognizing when work is important and when you're just procrastinating goes hand-in-hand with knowing what time of day you're most productive. As Green points out, many of these very productive people focus on their important work in the morning and then leave the busywork until the afternoon, when energy is more likely to flag.
This is not to say that there aren't benefits to procrastinating productively. If you know that you have a habit of procrastinating, then it's better to do so while doing some work, even the less important work, than it is to start checking through Facebook.
If you have writer's block or don't know quite how to progress on a project, taking a five-minute break to finally write that email that you've been meaning to get to can give you a rest from the problem at hand and get one more item off your to-do list.
Aiming for better productivity in a day is not always about working as hard as you can but more about working as smartly as you can. Getting tips and tricks from other people's routines can help you create your own perfect routine but you can get a great deal from learning about your own habits and being smart about when and how you work.
If you need more inspiration, read the rest of Green's blog post to see the other elements that she found were most prominent in these more productive routines.
Do you have any particularly effective productivity tricks or a great routine planned out? We'd love to hear from you, so say hi in the comments below or get in touch by email. You can also follow us on Twitter.