As I was sitting in front of my computer yesterday morning , I realized that I really, really did not have time to get everything on my to do list done. I quickly got overwhelmed when I realized there was not enough time in the day, and that I needed to start being more productive.
This of course got me thinking about all the other days and times I end up with way too many things to do and not enough time to do them in….Which is usually multiple days a week. When I get overwhelmed and not sure where to start I end up procrastinating so it’s a vicious cycle. Today I wanted to provide you with a few tidbits I have learned along the way to help you maximize your time and get things done. Let’s get after it. Here are 7 tips for being more productive.
1.) Don’t over commit:
The first step to getting things done actually occurs before the day even begins. If you overcommit to things, you are already setting yourself up for failure. I know especially here in the south it’s hard to say no to people, activities, and opportunities. We are just so dang nice, yall. Bless it. Sometimes though, it’s just not worth it. I have had to back off of some of my work because I was simply getting too overwhelmed, overworked, and overtired. I started taking it out on my family and it wasn’t pretty. No amount of money is worth that, my friends! Take a step back and look at your week, or have someone impartial look with you to help identify if you have too much going on, and if something can be passed off to someone else. When asked to do a project or participate in something, don’t immediately say yes. It’s ok to say “let me get back to you,” or even “sorry I can’t this time!”
2.) Choose you work environment carefully:
This is one of the ones I really have problems with. My “office” is in my house, which is often a mess. Now, I typically work at the kitchen table, which is super klassy with a “k”. I know, you all had this grand illusion of me sitting at my computer desk, with my race medals and a sign that says “boss babe” up on a shelf nearby, surrounded by files and notepads full of amazing blog ideas and pictures in cute frames. Heh. No no, I work at the kitchen table hand me down from when I was 4 years old, surrounded by toys, pens with no ink in them, and sticky notes that I can’t even read because my handwriting is THAT bad. Ok, we are getting off track here… This has pros (I can multi task, I’m closer to the snacks), and cons (I can turn on the TV and get easily distracted, I see all the things that I can piddle with in the kitchen and living room, gives me a divided mind). So choose your environment wisely when trying to get things done!
3.) Plan/schedule in advance:
I use a combination of a paper planner and my Google calendar. I put important deadlines and appointments in the Google calendar which sends alerts to my phone, and every day type things mainly for Emma Kate’s schedule in my paper planner. I am also a big fan of daily lists, they help keep me on track and knock out the big stuff I need to get done that day. My brain can only hold so many things before something falls out of it. I have learned that just because I say “I will remember xyz” does not mean it will actually happen. This has gotten exponentially worse since having my child. Mom brain is a real thing. I have left my groceries in the car after getting home, and I have thrown away clothes instead of putting them in the hamper. I hang my head in shame. Oh, and I promise my calendar doesn’t really look like this. Oh how I wish. This is just an old picture.
4.) Plan breaks:
This is not only for your mental health but for your physical health. I spend a lot of time in front of the computer writing, so I need stretch/walk breaks just as much as mental breaks. I tend to do short bursts of work then move on to something else. For instance, I will put on a load of laundry, wash some dishes, then sit down at the computer and catch up on emails. Then it’s switch the laundry over, take out the dog, and do some squats before getting back on the computer and writing my next blog post. I’m constantly jumping around because my attention span is like that of a gnat. The only problem is sometimes my “breaks” end up being too long and I tend to flutter to too many flowers and not really get anything done. Thanks Instagram.
5.) Discover how you work best:
Sit down and take a few minutes thinking about how you personally work best. Some prefer background noise, while someone else may need complete silence. You may work best in big chunks of time, knocking something out while your spouse works best in little spurts before moving on to something else. Figure out your work “style”, and then do everything you can to make it happen. If you work in an office cubicle, you may need to wear some headphones to drown out noise. If you are at home with kids, prioritize the things you can get done while they are awake, and then save the things you really need to focus on for naptime.
Again, make a list, make a list, MAKE A LIST! There is something so satisfying about crossing something off of a list isn’t there? Pick the three to five most important things that MUST GET DONE TODAY and put those in bold letters at the top of your list. Then add a few more things underneath in regular lettering that you would love to get done, but if you don’t it’s not the end of the world. Groceries and bringing my child to school fall under the MUST DO. Note to self.
7.) Reward yourself…after your work is done:
Plan a reward for getting your list completed, but be careful to not reward yourself until AFTER you get your work done. It can be something like stopping at Starbucks on the way home from work, taking a bubble bath or a long walk by yourself, a pedicure, or picking up your favorite take out for dinner. Or, you can wait and reward yourself on the weekend if you make it through all five days of getting everything done that you were supposed to that week. I try to stay away from food related rewards, but sometimes they are necessary.
Related: Get paid to be healthy
QOTD: What tips do you have for being more productive?