Try as I might, I’m not always great at being productive. There are days that go from epic to do lists to hours of suddenly catching up on my dvr. And as much I’d love to smash out goals every day, I also know that sometimes you just need to do nothing. But for those days where the to do list rules my life, I’ve developed a few tricks. These are the things that help me make the most of my working time. And they are the things that keep me on task and in the zone. So let’s chat about my 5 tips for being productive & getting things done.
Close Your Email
I read a post ages ago from Caroline Hirons about managing your email. For her it comes down to having designated times of the day where she looks at her email. It’s not an all day thing where she’s constantly checking her phone. Personally, when I know I need to focus, I make it a point to close the program on my phone or computer. If it helps, you can always take off the notification that tells you how many emails you have waiting. I’m someone who likes to deal with things when they pop up. So if I see them, then I’m tempted to deal with it then. But on days like today where I want to knock out a few posts and do a chunk of editing, I know the best way to start is to close my email.
Use A Timer App
Over the years, I’ve read a few articles that have suggested this one. For some people, you might find using a stop watch app helpful. Press start when you start working and stop when you’re done. If you really want to know how long you’re being productive, this is a great way to find out. Occasionally, I’ll pick up this method if I want to know how long I can stay focused. But my favorite choice of late is an app named Forest*. You set a timer and it lets you grow a tree. Every time you check your phone, you’ll killing the tree. Which for me is rather motivating to keep my phone down. There used to be one that donated to a water certain cause and that was even better. But if I want to spend 30 minutes editing or 40 minutes reading, I’ll set the timer, turn my phone over and go.
Keep A Note Pad
My first job after college was working for a bank. Super random but I learned a lot. The job itself required a great deal of organization and the ability to just power through work. And my obsession with lists was incredible helpful. It’s a task I still use today. If I know I need to spend time working on one task, I always have my bullet journal next to me. This way if I suddenly think of 3 things I need to buy or something I need to do, I can write it and forget about it. Now, I’m not so concerned about remembering my task and I can come back to it later.
Pick Your Playlist
If you’ve ever studied psychology, you’ll have heard of Pavlov’s dogs. And without diving into, the basics involve how your brain associates certain noises with certain activities. So when it comes to my background noise, I’m very picky. I’ve been playing piano for years and play with a band regularly these days. But as much as I love music, I can find it incredibly distracting when I’m trying to write. My brain attempts to pick apart notes and predict where the song is going. So instead of using my favorite piano playlist, I opt for a beach waves soundtrack or other white noise. Whatever your music, if you can find a playlist that suits you, use it only for those work times. Your brain will begin to associate it with being productive and it essentially creates your own little work zone. Thanks Pavlov!
Make A Schedule
And last but not least, making a schedule always helps me be more productive. If I feel like I have a million things to do or I just need to focus in on one or two things, I make a mini schedule. This could even be breaking down a blog post into little bits over the course of two hours. When I start to see things on paper, I can figure out how much time each task will really take. And I also build in a bit of rest/mindless internet wandering time. Before you know it, you’ll be organized and smashing out all the tasks you need to be done.
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