A 3-step morning exercise can make your day more productive in just 10 minutes

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  • Melody Wilding is a an executive coach and professor of human behavior.
  • She finds that for her, like for most of us, days often get mired in details and small tasks, when she really wants to be working on big ideas and projects.
  • On an episode of the Accidental Creative podcast, she heard a 10-minute strategy from author Todd Henry that could help battle that very problem.

If you're like me, you have a growing to-do list filled with big ideas to accomplish. Yet it might often seem like the day quickly gets away from you. Meetings, emails, social media, and other distractions suck up your time, along with your precious attention.

Winning the day begins before you even sit down at your desk. Thoughtful planning and prioritization is the best way to play defense against the many tasks vying for your focus. Building in the opportunity for reflection, while difficult, is an instant productivity booster, allowing you to get more done in less time with greater impact.

On an episode of the Accidental Creative podcast, author Todd Henry shared a simple 10-minute method you can use to optimize your schedule and create mental bandwidth for deep, creative work.

He suggests sitting down at the beginning of the day to strategize, specifically following these steps:

1. Ask yourself: At the end of the day, what would have to happen for me to say, 'Today was a success?'

Henry says, "Time is the currency of productivity, especially for creative professionals," so make sure (to the extent possible) that your day effectively leverages your strengths, fulfills your values, satisfies important goals, and is filled with tasks or people that energize you.

2. Define the problems you need to solve today

Doing this allows you to work backward and create a plan of attack, ensuring that you spend your time wisely in high-impact ways. Henry points out defining the problems you need to solve will not only help you become more focused, but will also prime you to seek creative solutions for the problems you need to solve.

3. Block time for deep work

If you don't guard your time, distractions and busywork will rush in to fill the vacuum. Henry suggests creative professionals pre-commit chunks of time throughout their week to accomplish deep work-that is, cognitively demanding work that requires concentration and uninterrupted focus.

Then respect the appointments you set with yourself. Yes, that does mean you'll have to get better at assertively saying "no" and communicating your boundaries, but overcoming that discomfort can pay off in big ways.

This post was originally published on MelodyWilding.com.
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