The funny thing is, I’ve been procrastinating on writing this blog post all week. For some reason (probably the gloomy weather), I can’t seem to get into the blogging groove. But a few cups of java later, I’m finally here committing to this post, to check yet another task off my to-do list.
Those who know me personally, especially colleagues, would say that I’m a very productive worker and rarely find me procrastinating. I’m one of those weirdo’s that feels strangely satisfied when I physically check an item off my to-do list. I’m a lover of lists, schedules, and due dates which I can thank my Type A personality for. Lists, schedules, and due dates are especially important to me in this season of life as we juggle full time jobs, building a home, and managing a blog. Today on Sweet and Saving I’m sharing 12 tips that keep me sane…I mean keep me productive.
Get a day planner
It seems so simple but I always start off my week by creating a to-do list in my day planner. It’s something that I look at everyday to see if I’m on track for accomplishing my goals. Creating a to-do list lets you visually see what you need to accomplish and what you have accomplished allowing you to measure your level of productivity. This is where tracking your time also comes in handy. Tracking what you did in a day can help you evaluate where you spent your time and where in your day you can re-allocate time.
When creating your to-do list, prioritize items from most important to least important and items you can’t wait to get started on verses tasks you dread. Naturally, you will want to start with the items you can’t wait to get started on, regardless of the level of importance. BUT instead, I like to start my day off by tackling the tasks that I dread so they are out of sight and out of mind allowing me to completely focus on my priority tasks.
If you’re an old colleague of mine and reading this your are probably chuckling to yourself because you know how much I obsess over deadlines. Deadlines keep me on track in my professional and personal life. I set deadlines for almost everything! But they key is being accountable to those deadlines.
Remove the distractions
Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, it’s a never ending battle for my attention. When you need to hammer down and get things done, you need to remove the distractions. Put your phone down, turn off the TV and attack the task at hand. If you lack self control, there are some great apps such as Moment which tracks how much time you spend on your phone so you can actually see how much time is wasted on apps like Facebook and Instagram. I also love apps like Offtime which temporarily block those mobile distractions so you can buckle down and get to work.
Identify your most productive time of the day
Hands down, I am a morning person. In the morning’s I am alert, awake and ready to rock the day. Therefore, when it comes to getting important tasks done, I always schedule these tasks first thing. My hubby on the other hand is NOT a morning person and he works best in the afternoon once he’s had a few hours to wake up. Identify your productive hours and plan your schedule around that time.
Organize your life
From your physical space to mental space, the key to productivity is organization. Before I can get any serious work done I need my physical work space to be cleaned and organized as well as my mental space which is accomplished through effective planning and scheduling. Figure out an organization system that works for you, so you can efficiently and effectively use your time.
Do you feel like there are never enough hours in the day to accomplish your to-do list? Join the club! While challenging for us control freaks, delegating tasks to colleagues, kids, spouses, friends, etc. can take a big load off your shoulders and can help you accomplish things a lot quicker. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Create a motivation playlist
Sometimes even a hot cup of java can’t get the motivation rolling. That’s when I turn to a motivation playlist, especially when it comes to tasks like cleaning, cooking, and laundry. Find some tunes that get you moving and feeling good to put you in your work groove.
We all need accountability in our lives (which is why I love deadlines). My spouse is the absolute best accountability partner for me because he knows my capabilities and pushes me when needed. Find that person in your life that can help keep you on track and steer you in the right direction. There are also some great accountability apps such as Asana and Goal Wizard so you have accountability at your fingertips.
Take a break
This may seem counter intuitive and counter productive, but when the to-do list is never ending sometimes you just need to take a step back, relax, and refresh. Taking a mental and physical break can rejuvenate your mind making you more focused and more productive. This is a known and proven fact…so give it a try!