10 Productivity Questions to Ask Yourself Every Day

“Today is going to be a productive day.”

That’s what you tell yourself as you get out of bed in the morning.

However, before you know it, you are 15 minutes late leaving the house for work. You arrive having missed the beginning of your first appointment. Then, you realize that you forgot the paperwork for your afternoon errand.

How could you have been better prepared?

Planning for Your Day

Everyone has had one of those days when your day is already off the rails before it gets started.

Getting your day in order should be done each morning, before you leave the house.

“Leaving the house without planning your day, is a plan for a really bad day.” (Tweet Quote)

It’s about knowing in advance what you need to do, where you need to be, and having the materials/information to get your work done.

Here are 10 Productivity Questions That You Should Ask Yourself Every Single Day:

  1. What is on your TODAY list? You may have a todo list a mile long, but what are the tasks that you absolutely must get done today? This sub-list of tasks is your TODAY list. Know what’s on it.
  2. What is on your calendar today? What appointments and meetings do you have today? Do you have any time reserved for yourself or is your entire day already booked?
  3. What do you need to bring with you? Again, review your Today List and calendar to make sure you have the materials you need for your day.
  4. What is your number 1 task for the day? Simply put, what is your single most important task today. If you get only 1 thing done today, it will be this task. (Hint: Do it early and get it done.)
  5. What is one task that you could do today that you wouldn’t have? – Sometimes you just can’t get going.  So do one low energy task.  These extra steps make all the difference to feeling productive, which turns into being more productive.
  6. What are you doing that you shouldn’t be? – What are you doing that should be on someone else’s plate? Maybe it isn’t your task, or perhaps it is something you should be delegating.
  7. Where will you waste time today? You probably know where/when/what you will waste time on today. Think about this in advance. It could be the daily gossip session at work, a game on your phone, or surfing the web. What can you do to avoid these time wasters?
  8. What new habit do you need to practice (DO) today? You are what you do today. What habit do you need to do today (and every day?) Don’t put it off. Read that book, fit that workout in… Whatever yours is… get it done.
  9. What step toward your goals will you take today? BIG Goals are done day-by-day and step-by-step. Among all the hustle and bustle of the day, what step forward toward your goals will you take?
  10. What will you learn today? If you are not learning each day, you are becoming obsolete. What will you learn during the course of your day?

Ready for a Productive Day

When you are ready for your day, you’re in a position to be proactive instead of just reacting to what life throws in your path today.

Ask yourself these 10 questions each day… before you head out the door.

Question: Which productivity question do you need to answer today? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Invest just 10 minutes a day toward the right ideas, behaviors and strategies to finally be more productive at work…so you can spend less time there! 31 Days, 31 Ways: Daily Tips for Time Management Mastery is my time management course, containing 31 powerful daily lessons and 31 actionable exercises designed to help you take action, reduce stress, and reclaim your time. Click here to learn more.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Hey Craig,

    Thanks for the gentle reminder that productivity is more of a state of thought than a destination. Ever changing and unfolding into the base needs for productivity(habits.) I believe too many people overlook the power that our habits have over us and neglect tending to themselves and the garden that is their mind.

    Too few people focus on the smaller actions we commit without even thinking about them. Not too dissimilar to how all those daily trips to the local coffee shop, that most people make without really thinking too much, end up costing them ridiculous amounts of money over time.

    I’ve recently managed to get my old whiteboard setup in our living room(where my computer is) and I’ve been using it as my daily to-do list. The majority of the time the same reoccurring tasks show up(dishes, laundry, etc since I am more of a stay at home dad than anything else!) but it FORCES YOU TO THINK about the future, where you are headed, what you can do to course correct, and where you might be lacking.

    We often don’t take enough time to stop, think, and become aware of ourselves even though humans are naturally self-aware. One of our greatest qualities is being able to think about thinking and we squander it regularly.

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  • Anthony English

    Awesome list. I love the one about “where will you waste time?” I’ve converted your questions into a PDF with some writing space to answer each question. Hope it helps. http://goo.gl/TIYJye

  • Hi Craig,
    I always love your lists for the unexpected gems I find there, and this one is no exception. I liked the one about the task you wouldn’t have done, and also the one about where you will waste time. I’m hoping that if we think about these ahead of time, we’ll nip them in the bud? All in all, one of your best lists. Thanks for your encouragement with these great tips. — SallyE

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  • Michael Gregory II

    Planning my productivity is a MUST. I seem to get so many taskers that it eventually becomes annoying and I’m unable to plan them all out. I mean I did find some useful tips that helped me now, which I described in my post about developing time management skills: http://www.michaelgregoryii.com/2014/10/15/developing-time-management-skills/ if you’d like to check it out. But sometimes I find it enjoyable to try something new out and test other people systems to see how they could handle over a dozen task on a given day period. When we start realizing how little time we have, it sort of make the phrase, “Time is Money” into a whole new essence. Most of us desire to improve our personal lives and professional lives, and to balance the two could be quite tiresome sometimes.

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  • Ksenia Austin

    Thank you Craig! “What are you doing that you shouldn’t be?” – it was a first I’ve asked myself, when understood, that something in my work was going wrong. Then I began to try different project management software, like asana.com or http://casual.pm (allows track dependencies between different tasks and plan work more effectively). This way I understood, that the prioritizing is the most important thing you can make with your to-do list 🙂

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  • Kevin Peter

    The world has evolved into a highly competitive workplace and doing more in the 24 hour slot is an advantage to become more productive. Not always a time tracker tool helps.
    Stop a moment and think – Do I have to do everything around here? These questions mentioned in the article surely is an eye opener!

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