Who doesn’t want to get more done in a day? When I first started my business I had a newborn and my oldest was only 22 months. I have struggled with productivity! But over the years and trying this and trying that I’ve discovered 10 strategies that have really upped my productivity to the point that when I go to bed I’m satisfied that I accomplished all that I could with the time God came me. So I want to share them with you. They’re not hard and the best part is you’ll start seeing results immediately!
1) Get Enough Sleep
I decided to do this one first because we all know we need more sleep. Unfortunately knowing and doing can be very different. Going to bed at 10 o’clock was not only a habit I needed to work on but it was also a mindset I needed to change. After I put the kids to bed I would be exhausted but suddenly at 10 pm when I needed to go to bed I was wide awake and didn’t want to go. I totally reminded myself of when I was a teenager and my parents made me go to bed when I didn’t want to. Except this time I wasn’t rebelling against my parents I was doing it to myself and the only one who suffered was me! And I get it, there’s always a million things to do, get the kids lunches ready, finish that blog post, do those dishes etc etc. The thing is there was a huge difference in my productivity the next day. If I got to bed on time I wasn’t sluggish and more happy to dive in into the day. On those days where I stayed up late I had a hard time jumping into work and found that it was hard to focus and stay focused. So the moral of the story…go to bed early and you’ll be surprised what you can accomplish the next day. The world isn’t going to end if you don’t finish that load of laundry!
2) Your To-Do List
I love lists! It’s part of how my organizational brain works – doing things on the fly is not my style J
That being said creating a to-do list helps to keep you focused on what you need to accomplish in a day and also keeps distractions that are going to pop-up from claiming your day. There’s that moment in between tasks that screams distraction. You know what I mean – you finish one job and suddenly you’re not sure what you should do next and the next thing you know a ½ hours gone by and you’ve done nothing. I find having a to-do list helps me transition from one task to the next with little time being wasted in between.
So before you go to bed take a couple of minutes and make a list of everything you have to accomplish. This can include business as well as personal since again there are only so many hours in a day and you need to be in bed by 10 pm!
After you’ve made your list go through it careful and prioritize which ones are the most important and the ones you absolutely need to accomplish. Now that you’ve highlighted those items give each of them a number; 1 being the most important. Those are going to be the tasks you do first starting with number 1.
3) Work in 90 Minute Chunks
Research shows that your brain can only focus for 90 to120 minutes before it needs a break with 90 minutes being optimal. So work on a task for 90 minutes then let yourself recharge and take a 10 minute walk, dance to your favourite song, or just get out of the office to reset. WARNING: This is not the time to check your Facebook or email account. You’ve only got 10 minutes so get up and stretch, move around but don’t spend that time in front of your computer!
4) Plan on the Unexpected
There’s nothing worse than setting yourself up for failure. Your to-do list should be achievable but you also need to make allowances for the unexpected. For instance, a unscheduled client call that results in immediate work, or you get a call from the school to pick up your child because she’s sick, you get my point.
The worse thing you can do at this point is stress out. When you’re stressed out your body doesn’t let you concentrate on anything else so you’re productivity takes a nose dive. And remember on your to-do list you’ve marked the most important items you need to do so if that all you’re able to get done, I’d call that a success!
If you’re having an overall bad day check out my blog on My Top 10 Bible Verses to Keep You Focused and Uplifted. Sometimes it’s all about a mindset shift.
5) The Big Picture
Being productive to me means that you have an end goal that you are working towards. It’s not just about getting “stuff” done but more about going in the right direction. Are you achieving the business goals that you’ve set out?
To make sure you’re heading in the right direction every 3-6 months evaluate what you’ve done and if you accomplished your last set of goals or close to it. Sometimes without meaning to we can get off in the wrong direction so it’s good to check in and make sure you’re hitting your goals. This also helps your to-do lists to be as laser focused as possible.
6) Take Advantage of Tools
With the all the hats entrepreneurs are wearing today it only makes sense to take advantage of the tools that are out there to make our lives easier and ramp up our productivity.
Whether it’s to help us with our website, graphic design or productivity there are tools to help. If you’d like to know My Top 10 Free Tools that I wouldn’t want to live without you can download it below.
7) Reward Yourself
Are brains are wired for rewards so why not give in? Think about it; women willingly go through child birth because at the end they get a baby. So if the incentive is right you’ll do what you have to, to get it. So when you’ve had an awesome week where you accomplished a lot why not treat yourself. Just knowing that you’re going to do or get something if you accomplish the tasks on your to-do list can be enough to help push you through it. It can be a shopping treat, or a night out with friends or even that long awaited date night with your hubby. As long as it’s something you really want and you can only have it, if you accomplish what you set out to do in the week. As I tell my kids there are always consequences to our actions, some good and some bad so why not make it a good one!
8) Set Up Your Workplace
Is your office or workplace set-up for productivity? Are you easily distracted by papers on your desk? If so, only have papers on your desk that pertain to what you’re currently working on. Tell your family that when the door is closed they don’t disturb. Be honest with what distracts you and then remove it.
It can also help to use different places for different functions. For instance I do the bulk of my work at my desk but when I want to be more creative I’ll sit in my comfy chair that has a little desk beside it to work at. Sometimes when you’re having a blockage of any kind it’s good to change your surroundings. Change it up a bit.
9) Your Devotion
What better way to start your day than to spend some time with the God who created you. Giving God the best part of your day will energize you and get in alignment with His will.
Colossians 3: 23-34 says
Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and the Master you are serving is Christ.
What could be a better motivator!?!
10) Be Militant
Your inbox is filled with other people’s agendas! Don’t let their agenda ruin your agenda. Your email and your social channels, like Facebook, are huge distractions and time-suckers. You might have plans to just jump on Facebook for a minute to see how your latest post is doing but I guarantee you’ll be there a lot longer.
Be strict with yourself about how many times a day you be checking your email and social channels. For example, I check my email 3x/day – once when I get up, during my lunch break and once after supper. My social channels I’m on more since one of my core business services is social media but I stay away from my personal accounts during work hours. If you don’t believe me for 1 week write down every time you check your email and social channels and for how long – I’m sure you’ll be surprised!
BONUS PRODUCTIVITY TIP:
This tip you might not like to hear but the truth will set you free! I’ve recently given up TV (at the 30 day mark I’ll write a blog post telling you how it’s going ;)). I realized that I had a mindset that when I wanted “down time” that it was always me plunking down in front of the TV for 1- 2 hours. This sometimes made havoc with me getting to bed at 10 pm. I read an article about Netflix and that they believe they’re only competition is sleep. Have you ever noticed that you can’t just watch one episode on Netflix; it’s kinda like you just can’t have one chip? Netflix does this on purpose; they want you to spend hours watching shows when you get home from work – they don’t care if you’re sleep deprived the next day and they sure as heck don’t care about your productivity!
So I decided that I needed to change from that mindset to a more productive mindset, I mean I have a pile of books I really want to read but I never to seem to have time to get to them. The kids have toys that they have been waiting for me to sew up those holes in them. And the thing is I love to read and I love doing things for my kids and family, so why not do that instead? And on top of that I love to write so now I get to write extra stuff without the feeling of a timeline that happens during work hours.
And so I erased my Netflix profile and told my husband I wouldn’t be watching TV with him again!
So there you have it 10 easy ways to ramp up your productivity today plus one bonus! As a mom with two young kids I’ve learned the importance of getting things done when the times available.
If you have any other productivity tips please share in the comments area!
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