Imagine if we were all those lean mean productive machines that only need automation and voila! Production to no end. That’d be pretty darn sweet.
But we are human, we have flaws, we need a special kind of care, not just lube and new screws.
How we stay productive comes uniquely to every single one of us and can be daunting at times—especially if you aren’t aware of your productivity style!
I do want to say this though: No amount of productivity hacks/shortcuts or apps will help you in a concrete way if you don’t go back to the fundamentals and ask yourself what’s at the core of you not being as productive as you could be.
That’s probably a good question we could all ask ourselves this week. ‘What’s really holding me back from getting things done?’ Is it your mindset? Your health? Are there bad habits to fix?
Once you give that a little thought here are a few strategies and things to remember to make staying productive more efficient and ultimately better for everyone involved.
Make a Detailed To-do List the Night Before
Back when I was a wee little thing my mother taught me a habit of picking out my school outfit every night before I went to bed. Needless to say, this led to a lot less “mom I missed the bus” and school tardies.
Same with my adulting duties now. Except there is no bus to ride (the ‘life’ bus maybe?). Making a nightly to-do list to plan for the day ahead saves me from so much idle blunder moments the day of.
What are idle blunder moments?
That’s when I mess around with my hair in the mirror after a shower trying to make a mental to-do list and trying to figure out what to do first, second, thiiiird….
When I ponder long and hard while drinking a glass of water what my best “grab the day by the bullhorns” strategy will be…for like half an hour.
But. Because I make a list and sort things out either by priority or whatever fits best for a certain time of day, I wake up in the morning and get right to it (That sounds really fast. Usually waking up in the morning is a slower progression 🙂 ).
I like writing my to-do lists differently than just a long list. I like grouping things in batches and getting a little creative with how I put them on paper. That way what I have to do seems more doable (not to mention more fun to look at) than just a looong list.
Drink Water/Eat/Sleep Repeat
This is a no brainer. Then again not. Because I’d be willing to bet you are faltering in at least one of the three.
But when the universe aligns aka you prioritize doing these things in your life, and doing them well, your days change. For the better. Simply. For the much much better.
Ehem…no more dehydration induced headaches after staring at a computer screen for 5 hours kind of better.
Take Interval Breaks
I dunno about you but I can only focus so much for a certain amount of time at a time…wait let me try again…
I don’t know about you but I can only focus for certain chunks of time, then I derail.
But that’s ok, totally normal.
You just have to pay attention to when this starts happening so you can step away, stretch, drink (water I mean), go for a short walk. I don’t know, blink even.
Have The Right Mindset
This probably sounds cheesy, but the right mindset can make or break your day. No, no the word I was looking for was cliché…it sounds cliché. But true.
If the first thing I tell myself in the morning is that I am fricking tired of everything and I don’t wanna do anything. Guess what? That’s exactly what happens… I don’t DO much of anything.
But if I wake up and tell myself that I am going to be productive then I end up building my dream house and ready to retire by the time 5 in the afternoon rolls around. Not quite. But that’s the idea.
Thoughts are powerful.
Procrastination Only Makes My Load Heavier
Let us all understand one thing together. Procrastination only makes things worse and makes your load hella heavier. Not doing something now that you know needs to get done will only make everything else you need to get done that much more of a hassle.
And this is when we half ass things because we are frantically trying to get it done all at once. Yikes.
Just tattoo ‘Do now, sleep later’ on your forehead. Your self will thank you. (disclaimer: please don’t do that)
Break Down Big Projects into Chunks
I used to force myself to do everything in one sitting for whatever task. I was convinced this was the best way I worked. I eventually realized this led to the fruits of my labor being half assed and not so juicy. Cue chunking. Do a little bit, take a break. Do a little more, take a break. Do, break. Do…oh hey look its done!
That’s usually how it goes. This gives me the chance to up the value of whatever it is I produce. Blog posts I’m looking at you.
A pair of freshly rested eyes that have stepped away to look at your project with renewed vigor never hurt anybody.
Getting The Logistical Set Up Out of The Way First
I like thinking of it this way: You know how in programming there is a frontend and a backend? The backend is all the messy little technical things that the programmer takes care of by using a certain computer language. This, in turn, leads to a seamless and efficient frontend.
The backend is there to help the bigger things, the frontend, come to life and function. The frontend is what the user interacts with—the pretty website you love, the database search site, the colors and clean links, etc.
All this to say, if the night before my workday I take care of backend tasks e.g. organize to do list, prep slow cooker dinner, gather materials I’ll need for that collage, group all those receipts in one folder, fill my water bottle, and make that fruit salad for that midafternoon snack, the front end will function much better the day of.
Everything is in its place and ready to be utilized to propel those big ideas forward efficiently.
Automation also helps with this. You know what? I’ll just make automation its own category.
Automation = Freedom To Be More Productive
As in buy the Romba, the automatic vacuum you’ve been waiting for your whole life! Here’s my affiliate link… I kid, I kid.
But in all seriousness, I like automating my bills as much as possible (hello paperless, ‘cus trees man). This is not to say I don’t know when my credit card payments are due but they are automatically drafted.
That’s one less deadline I have to keep in the back of my already-heavy head while I just sip kombucha and write legit content. Now THAT’S not a joke.
Do Similar Things Together
This is what I’ve seen many refer to as “batching”. A batch here, a batch there, a batch everywhere…for everything.
Simply. Check all your e-mails at one time in the morning, one time at noon, and one time in the evening. Reserve time to do all your writing together. Make space to edit those pictures all at once. Reserve a time when you can sit down and absorb all that business information in peace.
Doing this as opposed to, write one blog post, take the pictures for it, edit those, make the Pinterest pin, then do it all over again for the next post, can save you precious time.
Paying Attention The First Time
Man, still struggling with this. I have a habit of skimming something, then storing it and telling myself I’ll read it later. Or learning how to use something, then putting it away and telling myself I’ll learn it later.
What do I end up with before long? A lexicon of valuable information I need stored in my head that has turned into a now seemingly untackleable (is that a word?) heap.
It’s better if you pay attention the first time. It makes the most of your time and energy. It also helps your brain make a habit of not just halfway paying attention to all the things all the time. Then you are only sorta kinda aware of what’s happening. And that’s never good.
Being productive (like actually productive) can be daunting to say the least. Is there some sort of productive method or habit you guys have that isn’t much heard of that works?
Do you struggle with the production process? Call 1-800…nah just rant about it below. I’d love to hear your thoughts. 🙂