Many of us start each day by going over the tasks swirling around in our heads. It's often a jumble of projects, emails, and a palette of items we can't quite sort, but all seem urgent. Everything can feel like a priority. It's overwhelming. And the process of trying to wrap our heads around it ends up draining more energy than the task itself. What follows — chaotic rituals that make us less productive — becomes second nature. I know this mental dance well. You probably do too.
But how do we break this loop of overwhelm and improve our productivity?
Small wins help us feel a sense of progress, which has a powerful impact on how we feel and perform at work.
This will look a little bit different for everyone. And it largely comes down to the habits and routines that help us focus and complete tasks. Checklists or sticky notes work for some. Others may use a series of unconventional shorthands like unread emails or open tabs in the browser to remind us of the things we still need to do. It's a disjointed collection of cues, tools, and processes.
However, as noted in Charles Duhgig's bestseller, The Power of Habit, there's a more effective way to transform a habit and improve your productivity. It has to do with re-focusing on completing consistent smaller tasks overtime that you’ll eventually start doing without thinking—so you can reserve all that brain power for creative problem solving. And the first step in forming these better habits for planning your day is to think about it with small wins in mind.
Small wins help us feel a sense of progress, which has a powerful impact on how we feel and perform at work. Think of it this way: most projects break down into a bunch of smaller todos and processes that are split across roles and teams. So, instead of listing the entire project as the thing you want to get done when planning your day, think about the component items you need to complete yourself.
A small win can be almost anything: sending an email, taking a 30-minute walk, or signing up for a new productivity app in Slack. You probably have a bit of code to write or need to spend an hour triaging issues that are holding you up. These are small, tangible tasks that you can do and feel a sense of accomplishment from when completed that'll propel you forward to the next task. It can even be creating a clear list every day of what you plan to do. The act of narrowing down what’s on your plate every day is a small win that becomes a really big win over time. Think of it as a way to build productivity momentum.
Oh, and don't be afraid to use apps as a support system. Tools like Range help you adopt the habit of staying focused on small wins every day by creating a daily Check-in. And to get you on the right track for your productivity, here’s a map you can follow when composing your daily plan.
While this may sound like common sense, getting into the habit is harder than it looks. Changing old habits is hard, and establishing new ones often harder. And while it takes willpower and practice tools like Range can have a big impact on helping you change the way you run your day. We built it because we ourselves saw the impact that better daily work habits could have on our own work and teams. Think of it as a personal coach that walks you through 5 steps each day in a way that only takes 5 minutes.
I hope this map helps bring more wins to your day. Let us know what you think of this map on social media! And don’t forget to sign up for a free workspace in Range.