Each day we have list of things to do. Projects we are in the middle of, tasks we need to get accomplished and responsibilities that we need to manage. It may seem like a huge undertaking to find the motivation to be productive. Sometimes starting is simply the hardest part. With so much to do in our lives now-a-days it’s no wonder why we are always so busy. How do we get past busy and get productive? The answer lies in creating a plan. Here are the top 6 productivity tips on how you can craft a plan that will lead to down a path where the end goal is rewarding.
WRITE IT DOWN
Why are you trying to remember all that? Simply write it down! Putting all your thoughts on paper will allow you to get everything you need to do out of your head. Using a planner will help corral your daily chores and help you manage all your scheduled events. Some may consider it downright foolish to spend time restating the obvious. I know I have to go to the bank. I am aware that I have to do the laundry. Yes all that lives in your brain taking up valuable space. There is a clarity that comes with knowing you no longer have to remember that certain aspect of your life. It is a freeing feeling, when you realize that a particular piece of knowledge does not need to be stored in your brain. It is safely written in a place where you can reference is at a later time when you really need it.
This is the art of making a list of everything that pops into your head and writing it all down. It could be errands you have to run, appointments you need to make, projects you want to work on, all of it! This is the place where you just get it out of your head. Truthfully I have never been keen on that word brain dump, however, I know it has been commonly used. I like to consider it to be mine to be a master list.
I do this is two waves.
Wave 1: Throughout the day, it something flies into my head I grab my planner and make a note of it. If for some reason my planner is not available (few and far between) I put it into the notes section of my phone or jot it in my notebook I carry in my handbag. Either way I always have a notepad with me just in case I need to write something down.
Wave 2: Before bed I clear mind mind. I add anything I need to do the following day to my master list. There. Out of my head and I now I can focus on spending time with my family or snuggling with the dogs. This keeps me from lying in be at night and thinking about all the things I have to do the next day.
Writing down all your thoughts will help you clear your mind and help guide a plan for the next day of things that you have to accomplish. This will give you much needed and deserved head space. Ah, so calm!
Now that everything is written down in one place where you can see start to see an overall view of your day and week so you can plan accordingly. You can take this master list and start to create an organization of your thoughts. This will help you see what tasks you can undertake all at one time. A task is something you can accomplish in one or two easy steps. A task would be, to go to the post office and buy stamps. Another example would be call a friend and set up a lunch date. Those are simple and easy chores you can check off your to do list with minimal effort.
The first part of organizing your to-do’s will be looking and your schedule and choosing a day you will able to perform these items. Next, take a look at each assignment and decide what you can bundle together. If you need to go to store and pick up laundry detergent but you also have to return an item at a store in the same shopping plaza, boom! You could do those two errands within the same trip. By simply taking a few moments and laying out a “plan of attack” your chores are carried out with less stress and save you time.
Let’s face it. Somethings are way more important than others. By having everything mapped out in front of you because you were oh so smart and wrote it all down, you will now be able to see things that need your upmost attention. Those certain tasks or projects that have some type of deadline or an importance attached to them. These automatically may need to go to the top of the pile. If you really need to make that payment or call the groomer because the dogs really need a bath, (wait what, yes I really need to do that) those are items that need to be done above any other task on your list. By giving each task a value on when it needs to be done will help you finish all those paramount activities.
CREATE TIME BLOCKS
There is no greater feeling then getting something accomplished. Whether is it cleaning the house, crushing that project or finally fishing that book that you wanted to, it just feels good! You know when you are in the zone. No I am not talking about Auto Zone, but when you just throw yourself into what you are doing. Sometimes you don’t even look at the clock. That is know as time blocking. Here is a great article that explains that in greater detail.
There is another alternative which is just as good and that is scheduling a certain amount of time for you to stay focused on what you need to do. For instance, you can say between 9AM – 11AM, you decide you are going to clean the house. You have given this specified amount of time to that particular assignment. And that my friends it what you do. Clean the house. Nothing else but that, until the allotted time is over.
Squirrel! If you have seen the movie UP you know exactly what that mean. In the movie, an adorable dog would be focused on his conversation and in true dog fashion a squirrel would run by and that would take his attention away. At the exact moment he would yell Squirrel! How many times a day do you scream squirrel? We can be so easily distracted. Making a concentrated effort to reduce those interferences will allow you to be more productive. Some ideas could include, keeping the TV off, not answering the phone, or browsing the internet. You may want to hold off on checking your email or scrolling through your social media pages. If people are the cause of your diversion then politely tell them that for the next few hours you will be unavailable and you will get back with them at a later time. It is hard to stay focused however it is possible with a little roadmap of what you will and won’t allow into your allotted time. The benefits will outweigh the temporary stimulus.
We are all human. There are moments when you just need to take a breath and be in present moment. There is nothing wrong with that. Know your limits. A marathon runner does not decide hey I am going to run 10K tomorrow. There is training involved which takes time and patience. Sometime in this life we are just too hard on ourselves. So don’t be. Be you, because that is perfect. Striving for goals and productivity is good as long as you know your limits and do it in a healthy manner.
Busy is always going to happen but being productive does not have to be hard work. With these top tips you will be able to steamroll your way through anything that crosses your path.
Write down everything you need to accomplish.
Organize those thoughts by putting together like items.
Prioritize to make sure the crucial work gets done first.
Create time blocks to allot an exact time frame the task or project will be completed.
Reduce distractions by minimizing other influences so you can stay focused on the chosen endeavor.
Take breaks and know your limits.