Matt de avella

4 Practical ways To Have a Productive Day

If you are a productive Greasemonkey like me, the biggest obsession you have is to get the most out of your day.

But, usually, things just dont get done.

This leads to guilt, which in turn leads to indulging in some form of distraction to get away with that guilt.

But we can’t live like this, can we?

In this vicious cycle of guilt and stress.

So, how do you plan you’re day so that you remain in-fragile?

So that, even if things come up, you can still refocus to get the important tasks done.

Here are some of the mental models that continue to help me be more productive 

Highlight of the day

Every morning, I look at my tasks, and I star-mark one task each day, which will be my highlight of the day. The idea is to have one important task for the day, so that even if nothing else gets done, the day still feels productive.

I usually aim to complete the highlight of the day before 11 AM, but timings change pretty often.

Now, I know having just one important task for the day feels counterproductive,  but what about doing the most important task each day for the next 5 years? 

Also, you can always do more, the highlight of the day just gives you the most important tasks to focus on and eventually heals that guilt of not being productive.

Even if you just complete the highlight, you are getting 1% better each day, and that’s all that matters.

Time Blocking

To-do lists are great to have, but when you  don’t give your tasks a time and place  to live , they  never get done.

If you just want to “workout”, thats never going to happen, 

But, if you want to go for a run, at 8 AM for 30 mins, that might actually happen.

Because now your tasks have a time and place to live.

So, open your calendar, and block time for each task that you do.  

Create White Space 

When you start using your calendar, the one mistake you will make is when your calendar looks something like this 

And this type of organisation does not help, because if you move end to end with each task,  the moment something takes longer than it’s supposed to, your whole schedule will go off track and guilt and stress will come riding your way.

So, what we want is to just show 3-5 core tasks that take up your day, the tasks that are the most important, so that you have more white space in your calendar.

The more white space you have, the less stressed you are and the more free you are for doing the things you want to.

The Perfect calendar is not when nothing can be added, but when nothing can be removed

Negative Visualisation

No matter how productive and disciplined we are , sometimes  we  don’t have the perfect productive day.

Sometimes it’s due to external obligations, spontaneous adventures or just the need to take a break.

So, what do we do here?

Well we do something called Premeditatio Malorum, or in less fancy terms, negative Visualisation.

When you block time in your calendar, ask yourself,

What are the possible distractions and obligations that can prevent me from doing what I have planned to do?

This practice helps you minimise the decisions you make when you are on the plane. The fewer decisions you make while executing the better and after you perform.

And remember all these practices do work, but sometimes, you will still end the day feeling unproductive and low, and in those times, remember, that it’s okay!

Try to reflect as to why you feel like this,  this awareness will help you more than productivity ever will.


Let me know in the comments if you choose to try any of these frameworks.

Until next time,

Pushkar Singh

Thumbnail Credits – https://www.mattdavella.com/

2 thoughts on “4 Practical ways To Have a Productive Day”

  1. Subhashrey Prabakaran

    Wow! Im reading this at 2.30 am. And I wish I was productive too. Haha will surely try out these tips to tomorrow:)

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