There’s something about having sunshine longer each day that gives us an edge toward having more time to get everything done. It’s beginning to stay lighter longer, so we trick ourselves to think we have more time to accomplish everything we want—yet in reality, it’s all a perception we create in our minds. The following simple tweaks can boost your productivity:

  • Daily action plan. Before going to bed, make your priority list for the next day. A simple action plan allows you to focus your attention on the three to five things you need to accomplish that day. Make a separate list for work, family and personal. Prioritize what is needed to move forward versus crossing off tasks that just maintain your life and keeps your head above water.
  • Set deadlines. To be more productive and effective, discipline yourself to work with a schedule. Deadlines are needed; otherwise, procrastination takes over. Would we ever file our taxes without April 15 marked on the calendar? Develop the habit of starting and finishing projects within a reasonable time frame.
  • Give yourself time. A great rule of thumb is never “hard schedule” more than half your day. When you have things scheduled back to back and your day starts off rough due to traffic, sick kids or your 9 a.m. appointment is running way behind, your 10 a.m. meeting is now pushed and your whole day is thrown off. When you can, control the cushion between scheduled appointments. Think through what you could do if you had 30 minutes between appointments.
  • Limit distractions. You’re not as effective if your mind and attention are scattered. Multitasking is not your friend. Turn off notifications on your phone because the minute you hear a bing, curiosity takes over. “It’s easier to avoid the temptation than to resist temptation.” Give yourself designated times throughout the day to check in with social media, the office and spouse.
  • Listen. Open your ears, rather than your mouth. By listening with more intent, you’ll be able to identify the opportunities and challenges that exist in front of you, thus making your day more streamlined and smoother.
  • Focus on what you can do now. Focus on what you can do right now with the information you have at hand. Make informed decisions and find a way to move forward.

Sunshine or darkness, it’s the same 24 hours in March as we had in December. What’s different is how you think about time. Choose to implement one or two of these tips. It’s that simple.