Raise your hand if you want to be more productive. (Raising our hands over here!

That’s the thing about productivity — nobody really needs to extol its values. It’s not that you don’t know the importance of being more productive, right? It’s just that, well, it seems like being more productive will take a whole lot more time and energy; time and energy that you don’t have.

And yet, those of us who are most often worried about the time incorporating more productive habits might take . . . are often those who need to implement these habits the most. We are the ones who always feel busy, the ones who always feel stressed, the ones who always feel we never get enough done — and yet it feels like we never stop doing.

(Raising our hands again.)

Productivity doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) be another to-do on your list! Daily productivity — productivity that is personal to you and is incorporated into your every day — comes from intentionally looking at how and where you’re spending your time now, and making choices that reflect the way you actually want to live. 

Productivity is what happens when you intentionally design your life, and then take the action steps to start living that way.

It requires reflection and intention. Because incorporating productivity into your life is a systemic change; a deep dive into the very foundation on which you live your life — on how you live your life. 

It’s not another to-do; it’s a how you do. And doing it right means making space for what truly matters.

In her book Off the Clock, Laura Vanderkam shares that: “Honoring time requires embracing certain truths: that time is precious and time is plentiful. Time is finite, so we must make smart choices about it. But time is also abundant: there is enough for anything that truly matters.”

And, if you can believe it, even your “have-to-dos” can often be traced back to what matters most. 

That yearly checkup for your kid? It might not seem like something you want to do, but if you care about the health and well-being of your family (which of course you do), then it’s a priority. 

That presentation for your team might not be high on your list of exciting to-dos, but if it means you get to further develop in your career and make deeper connections with your colleagues, you might see how it could be well worth your time and attention.

Not every “to-do” will be connected to your idea of time freedom, of course. Not every action item on your list will include drinking mai tais on a tropical beach, either!

But if you take the time to consider consciously what you have to do (and what you don’t), you can tie every to-do back to the things you value . . . and you can focus your time on only the things that matter to you, whether it’s being a mom or drinking mai tais. (Or both!)

In The Productivity Project, author Chris Bailey, shares that he thinks, “ . . . productivity tactics exist to help you accomplish everything you have to do in less time, so you can carve out more time for what’s actually important and meaningful in your life.”

In other words, you gain time simply by not wasting it; time that you can put into living the best version of your life — the one you’ve designed.

This month on the Day Designer blog, we’ll share more tips to help you tame your time and make the most of your hours so you can spend the majority of it doing what matters most to you.

Why is it important to you to be more productive? Let us know how daily productivity might help you live your well-designed life in the comments below.