Let’s have real talk for a second. I am a creative by nature. All sorts of tests and mental boxes will tell you that I am equally left and right-brained but often, my right brain tends to win and it likes to frequent La La Land. I know my gifts. Productivity just doesn’t happen to be one of them.
However, like anything that we are given at birth, it can be learned. Muscles don’t happen overnight and neither does aptitude , it takes perseverance. So in 2017, out of sanity and necessity, I’ve decided to stretch my productivity muscles. Why? I got a lot going on.
But, so do you. So I wanted to share a few tips and tricks I have implemented in the past few weeks that have boosted my productivity, which in turn has boosted my positivity. Because, well, doesn’t it feel good to get sh*t done?
TOP 5 PRODUCTIVITY HACKS for the Busy Human
- Get visual! I am a huge fan of lists. I will make notes, digital lists, and Google docs galore on my phone but nothing compares to tried and true pen and paper for me. I make a list in the morning of a few tasks that I want to get done in each of these categories: Personal, Professional and Passion/Purpose.
- Personal – These tasks are geared towards daily goals that I want to accomplish every day, like working out and personal development. Today’s list has 5 tasks: 1. Workout 2. At least 30 min. of personal development reading 3. 30 min of fun reading 4. 1 hour unplugged from everything 5. 30 of fun learning (like preparing for an upcoming trip or shopping for an upcoming trip or could just be Pinterest)
- Professional – These are tasks that are of course geared towards your professional well-being. We all know we have a certain number of hours we have to work in a day, so some of these task may vary to you daily if you have work related tasks needing to be on here. My current job has work that comes and goes, so I don’t put specifics down for that. Instead I look at tasks needed for my freelancing or the advancement of my career. Today’s list has 5 tasks: 1. 30 minutes of Professional Development 2. 30 min of focused learning on how to advance social media platforms 3. Deck outlines 4. 1 hour on Beachbody planning 5. Develop social media presentation
- Passion/Purpose – Okay this is where it gets a little more fun in my lists. I’ve designated this section of my planning for tasks that will benefit me and my purpose moving forward. These are goals that look towards the future. I only have two on my list today: 1. Write this blog. 2. Outline my next podcast (it’s a secret)
Before we get any further in this list, I want to be very clear. These productivity hacks need to be tailored to YOU and your schedule otherwise they will not work. I know the amount of things that I can get done before I am at capacity, figure out what yours are and create your list within those parameters. If you can only get 3 things done in one day, get them done! This is for YOU!
2. Get Real! This method of productivity is only going to work if it is geared towards what works for you. Here are a few tips to figure out what that looks like for you right now:
1. Set goals. This is your time to get real with yourself about what you care about. So one of the things I don’t care about is how clean my room is or how clean my car is. So, instead of stressing out about it everyday I set aside one hour on my weekend to deal with the mess. I also don’t care about certain TV shows, so when they are on in the common spaces of the house, I will either leave the room or start reading a book instead of mindlessly scrolling through social media or watching something I don’t care about. My advice is to set daily, weekly , monthly and yearly goals.
2. Be realistic. It starts with what you care about. Now what do you have capacity for. This is where you have to start saying no and set priorities. I have had to drastically cut down the number of lunch/dinner/coffee meetings I do. I don’t have the extra money to spend and I don’t have the time. I will set stuff far in advance now instead of doing sporadic meetings because it is better for my well-being if I plan ahead. I also don’t take on stuff that I just don’t care about anymore. So be realistic about what you can accomplish in 24 hours.
3. Get Creative! I already talked to you about what works for me — lists, lists and more lists! I am an extremely visual person, you may not be. Digital apps or online software may work for you, use it! A productivity accountability partner may work best for you. You can check in once a day with them to rehash your day and the stuff you were able to get done. But, there are also only 24 hours in the day and 6-8 of them we spend sleeping and another 8 we usually spend working. Sometimes you have to get creative. Here are some things I do to fit my needs:
1.Use your commute! My commute to work everyday is 30 min., sometimes longer if I’m caught in traffic. So I listen to podcasts, audiobooks or return phone calls as a way to check things off my list instead of mindlessly listening to music. You will be surprised at how much more you will learn if you take back even half of those minutes.
2. Workout at home! I use to go to a gym. Not only was it expensive, but it was a huge time suck. It would be a 2.5 hour process if you counted commute time, workout time, shower time. That just didn’t work for me and I didn’t want to do it. It was super inconvenient. So, I made working out convenient and fun so that I wouldn’t have any excuses and I would want to do it! I purchased Beachbody On Demand and it not only saved me time it also saved me money! Now I workout everyday, get great results and it only takes me 30-45 minutes. Boom – 1.75 hours of my life back.
3. Prepare. This is huge. You have to have a plan. I will fly through the day and not feel like I’ve gotten anything accomplished if I don’t make a plan. So I plan my meals so I don’t waste money and calories eating out, I plan my events, I plan my productivity and my goals. Productivity is a success for those who plan. Guaranteed.
4. Get rewarded! So I don’t know about you, but I love to be rewarded. I like to feel accomplished. My productivity is no exemption of that. I want to make myself feel like I won the day! So I give myself little rewards. When I accomplish all of my daily tasks I may reward myself with a Netflix show or going to bed early because, yes, sleep is definitely a reward for me. When I accomplish weekly goals I might buy myself a new book or workout apparel item. Anything you can do to keep yourself motivated and accomplishing little tasks off your list. If you make it a chore you won’t want to do it, if you make if fun productivity can be a blast.
5. Check-in routinely. Part of learning how to be consistently productive is learning what works for you. You won’t learn that if you don’t take stock of the daily, weekly, monthly tasks you set out to do. I am fairly new at this whole shebang so I am doing daily check-ins with myself until it becomes a habit. This really helps me learn what I do and don’t care about and what are the main priorities in my life right now. I can tell you that my priorities are fluid for the most part but three things remain constant: relationships, faith and health and so I make sure those are built into my lists for the day. It may seem silly at first, you may think you have time for everything with being conscious of it, but when you start to take stock you will find that you might have to give some things up. That will be okay. So here are 3 things I use to gauge whether or not it should be a priority for me:
1. Do I care about it.
2. Does it add value.
3. Does it benefit the greater good.
Hope this helps you guys on your journey. Stay humble and hustle hard towards your purpose.