It is easy to fall into the trap of measuring your productivity simply by the ever-growing to-do list. However, there are many other useful ways to evaluate your day that a to-do list fails “to do” (pun intended).
Among others, ask yourself these questions at the end of the day:
1. Did I Create or Enhance Any Vital Relationships?
You should prioritise relationship building — and understand its value and importance. Therefore, it’s important to make this principle explicit by reviewing it frequently.
- Got back in touch with a former colleague, mentor etc.
- Reached out to new contacts gained at a previous conference or event etc.
- 11 Ways to Build Solid, Strong, Lasting Business Relationships | SmallBizTrends
- The Key to Success? Relationships. | Entrepreneur
2. Did I Do Anything That Sets Me Up For a Big Reward in the Future?
Ask yourself whether you did anything that you could regard as an investment for the future.
- Developed strategies or learnt a new tool that will make you more efficient on a daily basis going forward
- Laid the groundwork for a future opportunity or project.
- 5 Ways to Invest in Your Future | LifeOptimizer
3. By Doing What I Did Today, What Did I Choose Not to Do?
Even if what you did today was productive, was there anything you could’ve spent your time doing that would have been more productive or more beneficial to your future? Remember, time is a limited and precious commodity.
- Opportunity Cost: An Entrepreneur’s Biggest Cost | Business Sense
- Getting the Most Out of Life: The Concept of Opportunity Cost | EconLib
4. Did I Do Anything Today That Reflects My Core Values?
For example, if kindness is one of your most important personal values, were you especially kind to anyone during your day? This could be as simple as complimenting a complete stranger or having spent a few minutes empathising with a colleague who was having a bad day. And this type of time use isn’t “unproductive” if it leaves you feeling like you’re being your true or your best self.
- Define Your Personal Core Values: 5 Steps | Inc.com
- How to Live With Purpose, Identify Your Values and Improve Your Leadership | Huffington Post
5. Did I Do Anything Today That Will Relieve an Ongoing Frustration?
For example, if your computer had been running slow for the past week because it was low on space, you cleaned it out and installed systems that will keep it from slowing in the future.
- How to Overcome Frustrations and Move Past What’s Holding You Back | IQ Matrix
- 33 Ways to Overcome Frustration | Dragos Roua
6. Did I Practice Any Habits That Keep Up Your Fitness or Improve a Key Skill?
For some, writing every day improves that skill and keeps up their writing “fitness” and they avoid the sense of needing to “get back into it” if they haven’t done it for a while. Obviously, similar actions include working out, improving your french or whatever that makes sense to you.
- The 3 R’s of Habit Change: How To Start New Habits That Actually Stick | James Clear
- How to Build Good Habits | Sparring Mind
7. What Did I Do Right?
If you naturally tend to focus on the time you have wasted or productivity frustrations, instead, try asking yourself what you did right today from a productivity standpoint. This way you’re not just endlessly criticising yourself.
It is surely demoralising to feel that you never get through your to-do list. Nevertheless, if you ask yourself these aforementioned questions then you can much easier focus on what’s really important to you — and overall feel better about your productivity regardless about the status of your list.
Overall, ask yourself these questions every day for the first two weeks. Thereafter, as you develop a habit of doing it, then you may begin to ask yourself more occasionally. And by all means, do think of other questions that make sense to you.