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Few things make me happier than the moment I can check off the final item on my to-do list.
If you’re reading this, I bet you either feel the same or are looking for inspiration on how you can increase productivity and get more done each day. Last week, I created a blog post discussing simple ways you can relieve stress. This post chronicles the next steps I take to make sure my productivity is up, and stays there.
This is basically my manifesto on work-at-home days. I keep all of these in mind as I work, and so when I feel overwhelmed or ineffective, I simply remind myself of the items this list. For the most part, most of the issues I run into while working have something to do with these. Just keeping a few productivity bylaws in mind has made a world of difference in my overall productivity!
a challenging but doable to-do list
I’ve found there’s an art to writing a to-do list. Too many tasks and you run yourself ragged trying to complete them all, and probably end the day frustrated and overwhelmed. But too few tasks and you spend more time waffling and scrolling than actually working. It may feel nice while it’s happening, but you’ll end the day feeling lame because you know you could have done more.
Here’s my formula for a perfect daily task list: 1 targeted task, 2 “working on it” tasks, and 3-5 quick tasks. My targeted task for the day is something I need to accomplish from start to finish. It will take a decent chunk of time, but it’s not something that will stretch over multiple days. My “working on it tasks” are smaller chunks of larger projects. I make a point to tackle two of these each day so that my projects keep moving along. Finally, my “quick tasks” are tasks that take 10 minutes or less to complete.
avoid overbooking your schedule
Your to-do list is only one part of you daily schedule. Those are the things you need to accomplish on your own, but it doesn’t account for the variables that come with other people in your life. I know you want to get a ton done each day, but it’s important to leave some wiggle room for things that pop up throughout the day. Also, I tend to shorten my list on days when I have events with other people. For example, if I have a call that should take 30 minutes, I’ll schedule in an hour because I anticipate it will run long. Although this may seem like wasted time to some, the extra breathing room has increased my productivity by taking some of the pressure off.
do your second-hardest task first
Productivity gurus will tell you to tackle your most difficult task first thing in the morning. Here’s the thing, I’m all for getting the worst misery out of the way, but that misery often takes a while. In the meantime, you haven’t checked anything off your list, which is arguably the best part of having a list in the first place. I like doing my second-hardest task first because it means I can get to the checking it off part faster, but I still feel like a I accomplished something worthwhile.
break down tasks into minuscule steps
You will never find “Write a blog post” on my to-do list. With everything that needs do be done, seeing that on my list is a real morale killer. For me, creating a blog post from start to finish entails about eight different steps, and each one gets it’s own designated check box. (Often found in a sub-list located on a sticky note.) This way, even if my one targeted task is to create a new blog post, I can still keep my motivation high and overwhelm low by giving myself a visual reminder of my progress.
let go of things that don’t bring results
Sometimes, less really is more. For a long time, I felt like I needed to do everything. And because I was so busy doing everything, I had no time to think about whether things were even helping my cause.
Take a good look at your daily tasks. I bet you’ll find one or two things that you do just because you think you should, because everybody else does them. Get rid of them for the time being. You can always add them back in later if you notice negative repercussions. But if you don’t see the positives now, then will you really see the negatives later?
allow yourself some flexibility
I know I’ve talked about calendar blocking in the past, and I want to clarify something. For me, calendar blocking doesn’t mean I dedicate specific time slots for specific tasks, and stick to them as strictly as I would with, say, a dentist appointment. Calendar blocking is a great way to visually gauge how all of your tasks will fit into your day, but it isn’t the dictator of how your day needs to go. I’ll often calendar block my tasks in one order, and actually do them in a completely different order, and that’s fine by me.
Forcing myself to do certain tasks at specific times feels like I’m being tortured my calendar. Instead, I allow myself flexibility to move through my to-do list in the order that I see fit.
step away from the screens
Time spent gazing at a screen gets less productive as time wares on. I can get off to a great start and accomplish a ton within the first 3 hours. But after that, I tend to end up spending more time staring into space than actually working. Why? Screens make my eyeballs tired, and somehow seem to make my brain tired too. Before I know it, I’m on Amazon shopping for lamps when I should be working.
So many tasks these days involve a computer screen, so I try to include non-computer tasks each day. I also have tasks that could be done on the computer that I intentionally choose to do on paper instead, such as planning and writing content, or even just reading a physical book instead of a digital one.
stop giving others dibs on your time
Seriously, put your phone in Do Not Disturb mode. I used to allow people to help themselves to my time and energy by immediately answering all phone calls, emails, and random requests. Eventually people come to expect that you will give them attention whenever they want it.
These days, my phone basically lives in Do Not Disturb mode. I suggest customizing your settings to make sure you can still receive calls, texts, and notifications that are actually important to you, but filter out everything else. You’ll be amazed at how much more you get done without the constant wondering when the phone will ring and what they’ll want this time.
get your environment & yourself in order
Get dressed in a real outfit and brush your hair. Tidy your bedroom and make your bed. Tidy your workspace before settling in with your coffee. Set your diffuser with some uplifting essential oils. All of these things just make you feel more put together. When you feel like you have your life in order, then you are more likely to take the steps necessary to keep it that way, which creates a positive cycle. That, I think, is the key behind manifestation.
show up on time for yourself
You show up on time for everybody else because you value their time. Do the same for yourself. Set appointments with yourself and keep them. Value your own time like you value everybody else’s and you’ll surprise yourself with just how productive you can be. So put on those noise canceling headphones and get to work!
SHOP MY PRODUCTIVITY FAVORITES
Post-it Super Sticky Notes
AmazonBasics Felt Tip Marker Pens
Zebra Pen Z-Grip Retractable Ball Point Pens
Fringe Studio Journal
Plant Therapy Lemon Essential Oil
Plant Therapy Peppermint Essential Oil
VicTsing Essential Oil Diffuser
Beats Studio3 Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones
That’s all for today!
Like this post? You’ll definitely enjoy this one too >> Calendar Blocking with Google Calendar || tips + strategies (how to plan your life)
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Till next time ♥︎
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FTC- Not sponsored by any brands mentioned. I purchase all products myself. All opinions are my own. Some links may be affiliated.