The irony of me writing this post is not lost on me. I think I was born a procrastinator, and to some extent, I think I will always be one. It was a STRUGGLE when I got married and realized I really needed to take care of someone else and I was not able to just eat chips and popcorn for supper (shhh… don’t tell my parents)
And over the years I’ve gotten slightly better. And especially in 2018, I am working on being more productive, not settling in at night to spend hours watching TV and truly focusing on what is important. This is no easy feat for me and I’m going to fail regularly and often, but progress is still moving towards a goal. We kid ourselves when we think that our New Years Resolutions are going to be achieved 100%, but progress should be celebrated.
Anyways, I wanted to share some of the ways that I’ve been able to get more done in a day.
Write a To-Do List
Well, duh. You need a to-do list. It tells you what to do. Plan out a realistic amount that you want to accomplish for the day and feel the sense of accomplishment that comes from being able to cross it off. Also, make sure that you write it in small tasks. Don’t write “Clean the house” instead write “Clean the bathrooom, do the dishes, dust the living room” all as separate points that you can cross off. There are few greater joys in life than being able to cross items off your list, so don’t deprive yourself of that joy!
Schedule Productive Breaks
Sometimes I think that I’ll be more productive if I can just keep going for long periods of time. I currently take school online, so I like to think that if I do school for 4 hours straight, then I will be able to get the most done. The reality is that my brain does not stay on for 4 hours straight. I need to get up and do something else for a while and then get back to it. I’ve found that if I schedule breaks, then I am more motivated to try to get more done before my break. The 20 minutes before my break are probably my most productive because I want to get as much done as possible and truly be able to enjoy my break.
Save Your Distractions for Later
This may be the one thing that I’ve done that has made me twice as productive as I have been in the past. I keep my to-do list near me when I’m doing work at home, and every time that I want to search for something, or check the price of something online, or even think of a chore that I have to do, I write it on my list and do it later. Instead of telling myself that “I’ll just look this up really quick,” I write it on my to-do list. I am often surprised at the end of the day the things that I thought were so important to look up during my work time, I don’t even bother to search it. For example, while doing school about a week ago, I really wanted to look up mousepads on Etsy. So, I wrote it on my list, but by the end of the day, I could not have cared less about Etsy’s mousepads. But in that moment I could’ve easily been sucked into a hole where I searched for endless things on Etsy and wasted time, but instead, I just worked!
Have a Reward For Yourself When You Complete a Task
Eat a snack, take a Facebook break, or search for those Etsy mousepads when you are done with a task. It will seem like a terrible, neverending list otherwise, and soon you’ll be complaining on Twitter about how difficult it is to be an adult. Figure out a small treat for yourself that you can have when you complete a task.
Of course you need coffee to be productive. This is a given.
Just kidding, but make sure that you have energy to keep going. Whether it be tea, coffee, a good nights sleep or a good breakfast (more on this later) make sure that you have the energy to do what you need to do. Take care of yourself and your body to make sure that you don’t feel lethargic all day long. When you’re tired, it’s 24 times more difficult to be productive. This is a stat that I just made up, but let’s just say that it’s true.
In 2018 I’ve started to eat breakfast. This is kind of a big deal for me because for years I haven’t. I don’t like having to do something as soon as I wake up. But, I have noticed a significant difference in my mental clarity and my attitude if I have some good food in me beforehand. So eat food and you’ll be able to do more. Boom.
Write Inspirational Notes to Yourself
My wonderful friend got me a hexagon whiteboard for Christmas, and I have it sitting on my desk, and I wrote, “You are AWESOME, now act like it.” It’s slightly embarrassing to admit that I write notes to myself, but sometimes, when I don’t feel like I can read one more page, I look on my whiteboard and keep going. Whatever you gotta do to make sure that the stuff gets done.
When You Need a Break, Set a Timer
To save myself from getting a sucked into a social media hole that takes 20 minutes to get out of, I always set a timer for 5 minutes when I take a break. These aren’t my scheduled productive breaks, but the breaks that I need for when I can’t think straight anymore and my brain just needs a second to reset. These breaks can easily take way too much time, so set a timer and focus on what you really want to check, like whether it is cat videos on YouTube, or checking Snap stories, choose wisely because you only have time for one.
Don’t Quit Until the List is Done
Remember at the beginning of this when I said you needed a realistic list at the beginning of the day? Don’t put too many things on that list or you will never go to bed (or you’ll give up before you’re done). I use to assume that I would be done with my work by 4 pm every day, regardless of how much stuff I got done in that time. Not anymore! I have to get the stuff done on my list before I can sit down and crochet/knit/paint/read blogs/make ridiculous comments on Twitter. Or at least that’s what I try to do. I have to admit, sometimes I really don’t want to do the dishes before I go to bed, but I’m working on it.
These are the little things that I’ve done that have made a huge difference in the amount of stuff that I get done every day. What do you do to be more productive?