This year is all about working smarter. I’ll be refining my processes, allocating blocks to write and travel, ensuring I get enough ‘me’ time and trying not to consume too much information all in an effort to save time but also to work smarter, not harder. But how do I ensure I use my time productively? I want to accomplish more, a lot more but I also don’t want to be a workaholic. Work life balance is essential to success so below are 7 things productive people do every day, including myself, to ensure I get the most out of 2015 by being smarter and more productive. MANAGE YOUR MOOD The start of the day can have an enormous impact on productivity. To manage your mood, it’s always best to stick to a routine during the first hour or so of your day. Whether it’s making breakfast, going for a run or swim, painting, drawing or catching up on world news, it’s well known that food, exercise and being creative releases endorphins - and these make us happy. Routine and starting your day doing something non work related equals control and reduces anxiety. It also makes you more productive.

AVOID EMAILS IN THE MORNING I once read that reading and replying to emails first thing in the morning was not conducive to productivity. My mind was blown. But instead of rejecting the concept, I gave it a try…and I loved it. By not answering emails first thing in the morning, it allowed me to plan my day, prioritise my tasks and to achieve my goals.

ROUTINE IS KING Productive people have a routine. They aren’t reactive – they are proactive. They aren’t replying to hundreds of emails and getting distracted by other peoples goals. Routine

SET YOUR GOALS THE NIGHT BEFORE I used to write my goals, to do lists and schedule time at the start of every day. Little did I know that this had an effect on my productivity because I would still spend time thinking at night what I would do the following day (hello time waster) and it distracted me from achieving my goals first thing in the morning.

CAPITALISE YOUR TIME I am a morning person. I find I am most productive in the morning and tend to fade in the early afternoon. Taking note of this and capitalising on my time has made me more productive. How you work is up to you but I suggest capitalising on your best hours and getting outdoors when you feel like you’re starting to fade. My routine is:

1. Wake up early, exercise, eat breakfast 2. Work until lunch, make something to eat 3. Get outside for a couple of hours to refresh (post office, banking, or I go for a swim or walk) 4. Work until dinner, make something to eat 5. Continue to work until I go to bed or take the night off and relax

TURN YOUR PHONE OFF I never answer phone calls when I’m working. They are too distracting and take up time. Unless it’s super urgent, or my Mum, Dad, sister or significant other is on the other end of the phone, I never return calls.

STOP GOING TO SO MANY MEETINGS I often have PR’s wanting to book in a breakfast here or a lunch there. I just don’t have time – getting dressed for a meeting, catching public transport or driving, attending the meeting then getting home…what was supposed to be a quick coffee has now wasted three hours of my valuable time. So stop going to so many meetings (unless absolutely necessary).

GO ON AN INFORMATION DIET I talk about the Information Diet here on Mister Weekender. To be more productive, stop spending so much time consuming and reading, especially the news. It only creates a habit of distraction. Sure, tap into the news once in the morning but then focus on work only for the rest of the day.