Are you struggling to get anything done? Have your days drifted steadily by while you sit motionless with your head a fog? Is your to-do list growing faster than your nails thanks to your 4-week overdue manicure? Don’t worry, It’s not too late to take charge and get s*** done!
Today I’m going to show you 22 ways you can be more productive by creating your very own productivity system that works every time. Say goodbye to feelings of overwhelm and defeat and say hello to success and triumph. Show that to-do list who’s boss once and for all.
Do you ever wonder how some people can get so much done in one day? Do you picture them frantically running about with sweat trickling down their foreheads and their hair all a mess?
That stereotype actually couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, the opposite is likely more accurate.
Productivity is being able to make the most of your time by creating systems and habits that allow you to get stuff done in the simplest way possible and with the least amount of distractions.
In other words, work smarter, not harder.
That’s part of the secret and will become your key to success. First, however, you must figure out a formula that works for you and your unique situation that allows you to do just that.
Tell me if this scenario seems familiar to you…
You grab a cup of coffee your cell phone and your to-do list. Sit down at your desk to begin working on chipping away at that list.
Then you turn on your computer and see that you have 31 new emails, so you open up your email app. You start clicking through, deleting all the junk mail, then you come across an email for Bath & Body Works who are having a 30% off sale and free shipping for orders over $50. You click through the link and head over to their site and begin browsing for your favorite 3-wick candle.
Fast forward 45 minutes…
You’re all done shopping and when you come up for air, you remember that you were going to work on some of your to-dos. You grab that list and see a vague checklist of items you need to complete. Where to begin though? Hmm…
Since your list is pretty obscure, you end up wasting more time trying to figure out where to begin. Eventually, a first logical step is determined and you soon find yourself off and running.
1 hour later…
This is when you decide you need a break to refocus, so you go grab a snack and another cup of coffee. While you’re in the kitchen you start looking at your phone notifications, then spend the next 30 minutes(yeah right, more like an hour) looking at your Instagram feed and posting a pic of your coffee break. But wait a minute, what was it we were working on again?
If this sounds exactly like you, then, girl we need to talk!
First off you need to know that in order for these tips to work for you, you’re going to have to plan ahead. Some of these tasks will require you to have other systems in place in order for them to help you out. Work on getting those done first then we’ll talk about the other ways you can be more productive.
Let’s make a plan: 22 Ways you can be more productive
Write Your To-do List
This will be a simple list of all the tasks you want/need to do.
Break each task from your to-do list down into bite-sized chunks.
Now take all those to-dos and write out the steps it will take you to get them done. If one is to declutter your closet, then those steps would be like this:
- Go through clothes – put ones I haven’t worn in 6 months in a donate pile
- Do the same things with shoes, scarves, and belts
- Organize clothes by season
- Organize clothes by color
- Buy totes or closet organizers
You get the idea. Now do that with all the items on your list to create a detailed task list.
Create a Morning Routine
Having a morning routine will help get you in the right mindset for the day ahead. A good routine includes time for reflection and preparation. If you’d like to learn more about how to make a morning routine check out this article 4 No-fuss Steps to Creating a Morning Routine.
Create a Nighttime Routine
Writing out your to-do list, setting out your clothes, as well as getting your coffee ready the night before will make your morning easier. A good nighttime routine should also include tasks that help you get into a relaxed state of mind like reading, taking a hot bath, or meditating. If you want to learn more about how to start a nighttime routine this article A Step by Step Guide to Creating an Awesome Nighttime Routine
Clean and Organize Your Workspace
Whatever your task, having your space prepared and tidy will start you off on the right foot. If you’re working at your desk, be sure it’s not covered with yesterday’s coffee cup and last night’s cookie crumbs. Use desk organizers to keep all the little things in their place and your desktop free from clutter.
Make a Daily Schedule
It’s a good idea to map out a schedule for yourself. It can be basic with just things like wake up at 8:00, eat breakfast at 9:00, do chores at 10:00, and so on if you want. I recommend using time blocks and filling them with specific tasks to ensure you are clear on what you will be doing, and so you’ll know when the task is complete.
Use a Planner
Planners are an essential way to schedule tasks, to-do lists, appointments, goals, and plans.
They are also a great place to just empty your head. Keeping everything in your brain prevents you from being able to truly focus because you’re going to be worried about an upcoming appointment or that you forgot to pay your electric bill.
Get it all down in your planner and leave it.
I highly recommend Erin Condren Life Planners because not only are they gorgeous they are also very useful, and you can decorate them with stickers which are awesome!
If you’d rather have a more basic planner, this is a good one too.
Evaluate your Energy Levels
Knowing when your energy levels are highest is the key to knowing when certain tasks should be scheduled. You want to be working on tasks that require a lot of energy or brainpower at a time when you are feeling your best. Good luck figuring out your budget at 8pm if you’re focus is already spent.
Now let’s discuss all the other tips.
Keep your phone on silent or just leave it in another room altogether. Having notifications grabbing your attention all day will pull you away from your task and cause you to lose your train of thought. A simple text message can cost you a good 30 minutes of precious work time. Do yourself a favor and leave your phone somewhere else.
If you can work while listening to music, great(I totally cannot do this), just be sure the music isn’t acting as more of a distraction than a help.
Try to isolate yourself whenever possible. I know this is hard to believe, but your kids aren’t trying to distract you, but if they keep coming in to ask you a question every 5 minutes, there’s no way you’re going to get anything done. Start a timer and set them up with something to keep them occupied and let them know that you are not to be disturbed until the timer goes off.
Set a Daily Goal
Go over your to-do list and create a goal for yourself for the day. Then when you’re planning out your daily tasks, including all the steps needed to reach that goal. Reaching your daily goal will help motivate you to keep it up each day.
When creating your to-do list put items in order of importance. Since you’ll definitely have some tasks you can’t do until you finish other ones, be sure your list makes sense. Other items might have a time restriction as well, so be thinking about that too.
Set a limit on how often you are going to check your email while you’re working. For instance, you might decide to only check it right before you begin and then again once you’re done. Or maybe you want to check it once an hour. Whatever you decide, try to stick to it.
Schedule in Breaks
It’s important to give yourself a break at least once every hour of work, it’s even more beneficial if you take a break every 30 minutes. Get up from your chair, stretch your body, refill your drink, have some water, grab a light snack, check on your kids, etc. Another great way to spend your break is to step outside and sit in the sun or just breathe in the fresh air. Take about 5-10 minutes, then get back to work. These short breaks will help you stay energized and will actually make it easier for you to stay focused on your work.