Uplevel Your Productivity
PRODUCTIVITY. It’s such a buzz word these days considering that we live in a world where busyness seems to be some sort of a status symbol. I can guarantee that the most common response to “Hey, how are ya?!” will most likely be, “SOOO BUSY!”.
We pride ourselves on having so much to do all the time, yet despite doing things seven days a week, it seems as though we can never truly get everything done.
Recently, I read Tim Ferriss’ The 4 Hour Work Week, and came across a few quotes that stuck with me around this topic:
“Focus on being productive instead of busy.”
“Doing something unimportant well does not make it important. Requiring a lot of time does not make a task important.”
“It’s easy to get caught in a flood of minutiae, and the key to not feeling rushed is remembering that lack of time is actually a lack of priorities.”
These words hit me because over the last few months, or if I’m being honest, for most of 2019, I’ve felt like I’ve been in a huge productivity funk. I find myself working seven days a week, yet it feels like I’m running the hamster wheel getting the bare minimum done, and never really working on bigger picture things. It’s an incredibly frustrating feeling.
Part of me knows that I’m quite hard on myself, but another part of me knows that I can do better.
So I decided to do something about it: I launched a campaign on Instagram called #GETOUTTADATFUNK which is all about getting yourself out of any funk, rut, or overall BLEH feeling you’ve been stuck in.
Week One’s focus was all about (drum roll please!) PRODUCTIVITY!
The ask: set some attainable goals, or even just one goal, for the week in order to get some SHIT DONE! For example, that could be committing to waking up early, working out a certain amount of times throughout the week, getting something done you’ve been putting off for awhile, or scheduling in something into your calendar besides work, like self care or starting a new hobby.
After completing week one of the challenge, I’ll admit that I didn’t perfectly achieve every single goal that I set out to accomplish, but that being said, I absolutely had a much more focused, organized, and productive week than ever before. I am super proud of myself for that! I know that productivity is a muscle that I need to keep developing, so I’m excited to take what I learned during this first week, and continue onwards.
Here are the five most important tips and tricks that helped me become more intentional about my to-dos rather than drowning in a sea of random tasks.
1. Create a to-do list the night before
This is a total game changer! I’m used to waking up and knowing I have a bajillion things to do, and just kinda starting on whatever comes to mind first, and then feeling a sense of overwhelm take over me as the day goes on. If you make a to-do list the night before (and bonus points, list things in order of priority and/or batch tasks) you will wake up and feel so much more focused and clear headed.
2. Wake up early
Waking up early is tough AF, especially if you work for yourself like I do, which means there’s no real specific reason to get your ass out of bed. And I’ll admit, 2019 has been the year of sleep for me. I kid you not, I could easily let myself sleep for 10-12 hours a night, which is absolutely insane. Despite loving sleep, I’ve been allowing myself way too much of it, which is why I set the goal to get to bed between 10-11pm each night, and wake up sometime between 6 and 6:30am each morning. Though it’s absolutely been tough for me to make this change, it has helped immensely in terms of allowing me to create a day where I can get more done than I’m used to. Plus getting around 7-8 hours of sleep has proved to be absolutely enough for me!
3. Time blocking
Oh my gosh, do I looove me some time blocking! Never heard of it? Time blocking is the practice of taking your schedule and to-dos and assigning them each a specific and designated amount of time in your calendar. It’s easy to write up a list of things you need to get done, but until you start to assign an amount of time to each of those tasks and scheduling them into your calendar as if they are meetings, it’s going to be challenging to get a lot of it done in an efficient amount of time.
4. Keep track of the daily/almost daily goals you have
Want to wake up by a certain time each day? Workout a certain amount of times during the week? Journal every other morning? Keep a notepad in your phone so you can check off each time you get something done. It feels good to see a visual representation of what you’re accomplishing day to day!
As you can see, I was more successful with some things like waking up and working out, and less successful with others like journaling. And that’s ok! This is all a learning process, and it’s ok to not be perfect.
5. Cross off something you’ve been putting off for awhile
I’m super guilty of procrastinating for a looong time on certain things, especially if they’re not particularly urgent. I get annoyed at myself because these tasks take up space in my mind, yet I choose to continually push them off. So that being said, get something done that you’ve been meaning to do for awhile, and feel the weight on your shoulders start to lift!
Bonus Tips from the Pros:
“I get a change of scenery if I am feeling stuck. Taking a walk outside, working from a coffee shop or even just a different spot in the office can often help me gain a fresh perspective on what I’m working on.”
“Batch tasks and work off of to do lists. Organize them by the type of mental state you’ll be in. I set aside specific time to do all admin stuff, whether it be email, accounting, taxes, and focus on that for a couple of hours. And then during a separate chunk of time, work on creative tasks like writing, editing, photographing. The reason is that it’s hard to switch your mind out of those modes when you’re toggling between tasks all the time!”
“Invest in a planner that you'll love to write your schedule in. Whether it's a bullet journal or a structured planner, challenge yourself to write in it every single week, once a week for a full month. There's nothing like a planner to keep you organized and structured!”
“I turn DO NOT DISTURB on my phone and computer when I really need to focus on some work. This helps to keep those pesky notifications from distracting me throughout that work block.
Another productivity tip that's helpful for me since I work from home is to do "co-working" sessions with people via Google Hangout or Facetime. Working at home by yourself can feel pretty lonely at times and having someone online working with you can help feel like you're working with someone from a remote office.”
I hope you guys found these tips useful, and if you have any of your own tips or resources that you’d like to share, leave ‘em in the comments below!