You’re back from office, late as usual, and mentally, physically, even emotionally drained out. As you sit back with a cuppa, the day seems to have passed in a haze, except lunch, and maybe a coffee with a colleague.

You’ve given it your best shot and pumped in a lot of effort and thinking into your day, but has it given you good enough returns? What has been your Return on Effort (RoE) for the day? Does it seem worth it?

Perhaps it’s time to look deeper into your day and consciously become more productive where you can do more with lesser energy. I started doing it a few months back when I brought these super seven changes in my daily life. These tips are practical, doable and super-effective. (Yes, there are days when I am even done by 4 pm.)

Can’t wait to know what they are? Here goes

# 1 Plan your day the evening before

Productivity and clarity go hand in hand. Be clear about what you want from your day. Put it down on a planner the evening before.

Plan your activities, meetings and even your clothes and shoes. It saves you the morning horror of standing in front of a sea of clothes, not knowing what to pick. Trust me, planning doesn’t take long but goes a long way.

# 2 Work out the time for your workouts

No excuse is good enough to skip a workout. It’s the best way to release happy hormones, feel fit, enthusiastic and ready to take on the day. Kick-start your morning with a workout if an hour does not fit into your day, 30 mins works just as well.

# 3 Watch how you spend the first hour of your workday

As soon as you get to work, you’re tempted to check your Inbox. You are infinitely answering emails and before you know it, time has flown. Sounds familiar? Change it.

Invest your first hour in doing important stuff. Chalk out business plans, or your next big project. Work on things that give you a return on effort and investment. I call that real work. Pump in all the energy you came in with. And most likely, by lunch you’d have wrapped almost all your day’s work!

# 4Prioritise it is THE most effective tool for productivity

If you’re not sure how to start on your to-do-list, prioritize. Put NUMBERS to each task; group them into Urgent, Important, Later. Follow the sequence almost sacrosanct.

List your personal tasks too. I add things like: supervising my children during an activity, picking groceries or paying bills. Writing them down clears my mind. I just look into my planner, and keep knocking things off.

# 5 On a confusing day, claim your 15 mins of happiness

Did you know that the highest-performing 10% workers take a 15 minute breather for almost every one hour of work they put in?

If your day is not going as planned, consciously unwind. Pick up a book, or listen to music. The break is worth it as it helps you utilize the remaining day and not wash it off.

# 6 Give the phone it’s due, and no more

Are you a slave to your phone? Do you feel obliged to answer every call and message? Don’t be. Forget what’s up on WhatsApp. Put your phone aside when you’re doing something important.

Use your phone only for important calls or during a 5-minute breather – and do not get carried away with it. Remember, the phone was built for your convenience, and not the other way round.

#7 Respect your time, and people will respect it too

Meeting slots can get tricky. If you once don’t land up on time, people assume that you will forever be late. That can cause a massive time drain. Show up on time or 5 mins before time, so you can demand that the meeting gets done on time as well.

Practically though, we live in a culture where we may end up waiting forever for the other. I don’t fret if a meeting is delayed by 15 mins for reasons beyond my control. Instead, I use it to knock off tasks on my phone through messages or emails.

A Warwick study says that happiness makes people 12% more productive. I believe that the reverse is equally true.

Try these tips and let me know the happiness they bring in.

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