Your toddler’s asleep, you have a blog post to write, or maybe another deadline for work, and you know you should utilize your time wisely, but there’s the couch and it is so inviting.
What is it about doing absolutely nothing that is so appealing? To be honest, when I just sit around all day I feel like I have wasted my time and end up feeling worse. Even I get sucked into catching up on my DVR and before I know it, 3 hours have passed and it’s time to go and waste another 45 minutes in car rider line.
Well, not anymore! When I am intentional with my time and set a plan for the day, I am much more productive and in a better mood come evening. This is a win-win for everyone. Just ask my kids.
There truly is magic in setting your to-do list the night before. When you plan ahead, you are saving yourself the headache of what comes next and from missing out on an important task.
Planning ahead also means setting your priorities. When everything is written down, the morning is free to begin taking actionable steps toward your to-do list and goals for the day.
How many times have you wasted 30 minutes in the morning (when you could be getting dressed for the day, or feeding the kids) writing out your to-do list? Or, if you do not rely on a to-do list, I encourage you to try it!
By writing your to-do list the night before, you might even get a better nights rest because you won’t constantly think about what is to come. Just write it down and move on, until morning of course.
Start the day with exercise or meditation
The mornings that I get in a workout always seem to go smoother and are much more productive. Exercise not only releases endorphins and creates a better and more relaxed mood, but you are also eliminating unwanted stress.
Mornings can be tough enough as it is, so take time for yourself each morning and set the tone for your day. Maybe try journaling or diving into a quick devotional; whatever puts you in that mindset you need to have a great day.
Make an effort to wake up an hour before your kids to get in a workout, or read a few chapters from your personal development book. If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way.
Fit in pockets during the day
Unless the task at hand is completely pressing, not everything has to be done all at once. Focus on one task at a time. By trying to multitask with too many things, it’s easy to lose sight of the end goal and to become completely overwhelmed, giving up altogether.
If you only have 10 minutes in the morning to fold laundry, then focus on just folding the towels and putting them away. If you only have 20 minutes during your lunch time, then I would recommend completing a task that can be done quickly and efficiently. For instance, get those thank you cards written during that time, or create your pin graphics for your next blog post – whatever it is that you planned the night before!
Allowing yourself to focus on the task at hand (and not 5 things at once) will help you to complete the task with quality work, rather than completing it simply to meet your deadline. Take advantage of the free time you have so you can move from task to task and be as productive as possible.
Whether you work for yourself or have a boss you answer to, you likely have some form of deadline to meet. This should be no different with housework or other deadlines around the house. If there is something that needs to be done, make sure you write the deadline next to it (on your handy dandy to-do list, of course) and follow through.
When I have a big task to complete, I not only have it written down on paper with a deadline, but I also let my husband or a close friend know so they can hold me accountable as well. If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way. Pretty sure I already said that. But it’s true!
Similar to above, take breaks if necessary. When you sit down to work on a task, set your timer for 30 minutes, work until the timer goes off, take a 5 minute break and repeat. Breaking up your time can keep your mind fresh and engaged.
This should go without saying, but I really don’t believe it when people say they need music on, or the television noise in the background while they are working. Those are simply creating a distraction from completing what needs to be done.
If you have an office job and it’s consistently busy throughout the day, try to get to work a little early to eliminate distractions, or have a working lunch. If you work from home, find an area in the home that is quiet and has enough space for you to lay everything out.
I work from home with a 3 year old, so if there is a post I need to finish, or any other task really, I make sure she is content and engaged in whatever it is she is doing, and plan accordingly. Life happens, and things don’t always go as planned, but when you utilize your time wisely, you are more likely to accomplish your goals.
Motivation is a very very small part of the process. Motivation will disappear at some point. You must be disciplined. For instance if I want to lose 5 pounds – I can read all of the articles on the best diets and exercises to follow and feel extremely motivated after reading each one, but if I don’t follow through, it’s all for nothing. That is why a plan with actionable steps is necessary to reach your goals.
By creating a to-do list, you are setting goals for yourself for the day ahead. Within those goals, set your priorities and order of importance, and select a deadline to add a sense of urgency. Eliminate all distractions and stay focused.
How do you maintain productivity during the day? Do you keep a list and mark things off, or do you just wing it?