Staying productive is not an easy thing to accomplish all day every day. Sometimes I’ll have productivity streaks where I’ll be super productive for a few hours and then skrrrt, not doing shit for the rest of the day. NOT GOOD. So I’ve put together my master list of productivity tips and tricks to help everyone out there who struggles with staying productive for longer than a few hours at a time, like me!
#1 – Start off by making a list of SEVEN tasks that you need to get done TODAY. No more, no less. Seven things that you need to get done TODAY. And only for today. Don’t make a week long list of what you need to get done because that turns into procrastinating. So every morning make a list of the 7 (seven) things that you need to get done today. And be realistic. Don’t list an entire project like renovating your kitchen or refinishing a piece of furniture. List one or two steps in the overall project that you can get done today like “prime kitchen cabinets for painting” or “use paint stripper to remove old paint”.
Here’s a real life example of my list from yesterday:
#2 – Stimulants. You need stimulants to get you going. Not hardcore drugs, but like a coffee or some caffeinated tea to wake you up and get your productivity juices flowing. You can also wake up and do some morning yoga and sip on some water with lemon and mint to wake you up in a more natural way. Whatever floats your productivity boat.
#3 – Google Calendar. Plan out your entire day on Google Calendar. I plan everything out on mine and have it on my phone and my computer so I always know what I’m supposed to be doing and when. Plus GC will also send you a notification when it’s time to do something, to your phone AND computer so you’ll be sure to get it. I color-code everything so I can even take a quick glance and relatively know what I’m supposed to be doing. I even mark down when I’m supposed to be driving on my calendar so I stay organized and don’t over-book myself.
Here are the colors I use to organize my Google Calendar:
- Lavender – driving times
- Sage – skincare
- Red – appointments, meetings, or deadlines (can’t miss, v important)
- Yellow – breakfast, lunch, dinner
- Custom Pink – blog tasks
- Peacock – work tasks (for my 9-5 job)
- Flamingo – Google Calendar (yes I even mark in my GC when I need to plan out my GC)
- Grape – work on Instagram (catch up on comments, likes, DM’s, plan new IG posts, etc.)
- Blueberry – events/parties
- Gray – errands and chores (pick up dry cleaning, clean the house, go to pharmacy, etc.)
Here’s what my Google Calendar looks like:
#4 – Keep a planner in your purse and have with you at all times. This is where I write down my seven daily tasks that I need to do, meetings, deadlines, conference calls, appointments, travel, events, etc. so that I can easily keep track of everything at once. I seriously live out of my planner or else I would be lost 24/7. I’m a BIG fan of lists because I think physically writing something down makes it more permanent and important. Like when people ask for something in writing so they know that it’s legit. That’s what I use my planner for. Just writing out all of my lists and my appointments and events so that it’s all in writing and I have to do whatever it is.
This is the 17-Month Academic Planner that I use and it is seriously the best! There’s room for everything in here and there’s like a million journal pages in the back so plenty of room for my lists!
#5 – Time blocking. Time blocking is so important for staying productive throughout the day. Google Calendar helps you time block your day but you should also set timers for your time blocked tasks. Obviously you can’t time block driving or a meeting for work like “oh sorry my timer went off I have to pull over and stop driving now” or “sorry I time blocked this important meeting with my boss and my timer went off so I have to leave”. But time blocking things like answering emails, time you spend on social media, time you spend cleaning out your closet, etc. will help you stay productive and not let one task eat up your entire day. And reversed, it will also help you stay on that one task for however long you’ve timed it so that you don’t jump around between tasks. Set your timer and only focus on that ONE task for the amount of time and only that ONE task.
I use this time cube when I’m at home to help me stay on track and not jump around between multiple tasks at once. I’ll also use the timer on my Apple Watch while I’m at work if I can’t have an alarm go off every 30 minutes.
#6 – Multitask if you can! If you’re getting a pedicure, catch up on your emails while you sit there or read that article your boss asked you for notes on. Listen to a podcast while you cook dinner. Whiten your teeth while you drive to work in the morning. Catch up on social media while you walk on the treadmill. Multitask on things that you can actually do at the same time without having to stop one and do the other. Don’t try to multitask things that use the same kind of brain power like typing two emails at once. That’s impossible. And again, don’t start one task then start another task, then move on to starting another task. You still have three unfinished tasks. Multitask with different senses: eat while you listen, walk while you talk, etc.
#7 – Know when to quit. I know I just went on and on about not starting another task before you’ve finished another, but there are some projects or tasks that are way too big to sit down and work on from start to finish. If something is really difficult and you’re just having the worst time trying to get it all done and it’s taking up wayyy too much of your time, then quit and take a break and circle back to it later. Who the f*ck cares. You’re losing productivity if you’re just sitting there working on the same project for hours and hours and not making any progress. Plus, it’s probably stressing you out. Take a walk, eat a snack, finish a really quick, easy task on your list and then use that motivation to work on the hard task again.
These are my tried and true productivity tips and tricks that help me stay on top of things and get all my shit done that needs to get done. I have such a hard time staying productive and not falling into the rabbit hole and taking a Buzzfeed quiz to find out which poptart I am or organizing all of my Pinterest boards when I have a pile of stuff that needs to be completed. Am I the only one that does that?!
But these productivity tips really help me stay focused and get everything done so I can take all the Buzzfeed quizzes AFTER I get my shit done and not be distracted!
What are your productivity tips and tricks?!