Struggling to be productive and get shit done? Here are some tips and tricks on how to beat procrastination and get productive.
Tip number one, you need to find out when you work best. Do you find yourself slacking in the morning and just non-stop in the afternoon/evening or are you the opposite? I’m more of an AM hard worker and afternoon chiller. But whichever works best to you. If you find yourself an AM worker, then start then and try to get everything important done in the morning. Whereas if you’re more of a PM worker than do the easy tasks in the morning or just chill and then work full power in the afternoon.
My next tip is to wake up earlier. Wake up an hour earlier than you need to and work on your goals. Work on the things that are important to you. This could be anything, but having an extra hour towards your goal is the best way to achieve them.
Prioritise is the next thing you need to learn how to do. You need to know what your priorities are and what needs to be done and when for. This can be for anything, work and personal priorities. It might help to write everything down you need to do and figure out which one’s need to be done first. Then do that! Do the main job you need to do, no matter how big or small.
My fourth tip is to make a master to-do list. This is a to-do list for EVERYTHING in life. I find it best to have one for my work and then one personal one. Start by writing everything you can think of on a piece of paper. Including anything that is important or can just be forgotten easily, for example on mine is to print some holiday photos, fix a ring that broke, etc. My work master list has everything I need to do to grow my business. Then write this list down with check boxes, either in your phone, journal, diary or a piece of paper you can stick on the fridge or wall. Anywhere that you will see and look at easily. A lot of mine are tasks that don’t have a deadline, but when I have a spare half an hour I can sort them out and tick them off. You need to get into the habit of writing tasks down in your master to-do list. This will help you be able to think clearly without everything running around your head.
Next, you need to do a daily to-do list. This will have all the tasks that you need to do for the day on. EVERYTHING!!! Do this every night and it will help you have a clear idea of what the day holds for you. You will know exactly what you need to do. This list can be added on throughout the day and don’t worry if your day changes or things pop up, that’s just life. For my daily list, I like to do it in a journal and in the evening when I’m writing my list of the next day I will ensure whatever didn’t get done that day has been transferred over to my list for the next day. This is a great way to ensure that you forget nothing. On my daily list, I also like to ensure that I take every task and write it down in the smallest steps possible so that I know exactly what is needed and feeling more accomplished, leading to me being more motivated. I also try to do the list in the order of what I will be completing first, so the first thing on my list is always to have a large glass of water and shower. I have found colour coding my list to be very helpful and useful. Pick three of your favourite colours and set a key for them. This could be red for important tasks, green for short tasks, and blue for deadlined tasks. Whatever key you chose and just make it work for you. You can then either write in that colour or highlight or just add a dot next to it. Then you will be able to easily distinguish certain tasks and know what ones you should be doing next or what ones you need to ensure you finish that day. Always do something to distinguish when your tasks are done, this will help you feel more accomplished throughout the day. It could be highlighting them when done, ticking the box or crossing them out. Whatever suits you and works to help you stay motivated.
Two-minute tasks. Whenever a task comes up that is two minutes or less DO IT. Do it there and then and you won’t have to think of it again. It is the best and quickest way to ensure that everything is done and dusted without having to keep reminding yourself of it.
Start and complete is the next tip and is an important one that can often be overlooked. When you start a task, make sure you complete it. Try not to leave things half-finished or just incomplete. It is much easier just to finish them up, or at least get to a point that is completed in a sense. Think of it as reading a book, you would never read half a page and just leave it until next time, you would either finish the page or if you’re like me finish the chapter. Do the same with your tasks, don’t leave them halfway through the page. It will often be hard to pick them up again if you leave them like this.
I always find it much easier to be productive when my space is tidy. This can be a quick little five minutes tidy before you work on your to-do list or a big tidy of the house to make you feel complete. It is often one of the first things on my to-do list. My workspace for my blog is an office that is through a door in my bedroom, so I always find it a little distracting if I know my bedroom is messy, even if the door is closed. So before I sit down and start working on my to-do list, I like to put on a timer and a song I like and do a really quick run around tidying the room. This helps me stay productive and concentrate on the work I need to get done.
Drink lots and eat healthily! When you drink lots of water and eat healthy foods, it gives you more energy. This is such an important part of productivity that lots of people forget about, but think about it when you eat healthily you’re often getting more done and feeling better throughout the day. Also, DRINK AS MUCH WATER AS POSSIBLE. Drinking water solves so many problems from getting clearer skin to not being as tired. If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrating!! When I’m working in my office, I like to fix myself a healthy snack and ensure my water bottle is full to the brim! Keep drinking throughout your day and make it a habit to drink 6-8 glasses a day and more in the sun. This will help you overall be healthier and get more done!
Fresh air should also not be forgotten. Fresh air is great for you and you need to ensure you get enough outside time throughout your day. This could mean sitting outside and drinking your morning coffee or going for a walk to clear your head. This time outside will help to wake you up and get you feeling fresh, especially if you’re going for an early morning walk. I love getting up early and having a sunrise chilly walk to wake me up. It could be my favourite part of the day. Take this time to listen to a podcast, enjoy some music or just listen to the birds chirping. Have a little of you time, it’s important.
The next step I have only recently come across and it has changed my days. When you are picking your outfit the night before or the morning of whatever works best, ensures you are picking something you love! And ensure it is an outfit that you hopefully don’t have to change throughout the day. For example, what I used to do was put on a pair of joggers and a hoodie (my comfies) and then end up getting changed to pop to the shops or if something comes up, this is a time-waster and more washing to be done. Instead, now I pick outfits the night before that I can wear all day as well as being comfortable in. This is saving me a little more time each day and also meaning that if I need to quickly run out the house I’m ready. My favourite choices at the moment are a T-shirt with a dress on top, it means if it’s a cooler day I can put a long sleeve on or on a warmer day just leave the t-shirt off. Whatever you wear ensures you love it and are comfortable.
The next step is caffeine. This is also something that I have never really got into. As a big disappointment to England, I’m an English girl that just doesn’t drink tea! I don’t really enjoy many hot drinks with only liking hot chocolates and the occasional tea (just to dunk my biscuits). But recently I have had a couple of energy drinks and can completely see why people drink coffee! I don’t suggest having caffeine every day as it can become something you rely on, but on those days when you’re just too tired or have so much to do a caffeine drink will help through. This will help you concentrate and get things done, just ensure you don’t drink too much or it will have your thoughts running riot and end up not being able to concentrate as you’re just thinking too much! You can also incorporate this into your fresh air by walking to a coffee shop or just sitting under the sky with a hot drink.
I always live by the five-second rule. This rule is when you know you have to do something but don’t want to get started you count down from five and at one you need to get up and crack on. No excuses. I also use the five-second rule with many other things in my life, such as dropping food on the floor (well before Corona came about) and getting off social media. You can use the count down to start or stop anything and you need and do it with no excuses.
Tip number 14 is to leave your phone alone. Turn off notifications or just leave your phone elsewhere. This will help you stay focused and be less distracted by social media and time-wasting apps. What I like to do every now and then is delete any apps that are just taking up space. This helps me clear my phone and have less to look at throughout the day. Another great thing I do is block my social media. When I’m working, I put blockers on all of my social media platforms, this helps me stay true and not go on my phone. I also set app limits on my social media as it’s easy to scroll hours at a time without even realising it, this helps me be more aware of how long I am actually spending on social media. I used to be scrolling on TikTok and then look at the time and not even notice that I had used something like 3 hours of my day! Personally, I don’t turn my notifications off and leave my phone elsewhere as I need to have my phone on at all times for my other job, but I turn my phone over so that I can’t see any notifications when I get them and this helps me stay focused. This is the best thing to do when you need your phone on you at all times, such as if you have children you can’t really leave your phone as you need to be reached for any emergencies.
Checklist templates. This is something I started a while ago as I would write the same lists every week. I now have a template for any list that is the same and needed every week, such as weekly cleaning, food shopping, a list of different dinners and lunches. I add and take away things from the lists, but overall they pretty much stay the same. I then use these lists and tick things off as I go and just restart them at the end, ready for the next week. This is a big time saver and will also help you know what you need to do without thinking of it each week. My food shopping list is full of the basics I have week in week out and then I just add a few things to the bottom for recipes I want to try or make. I am available for making these checklist templates for any situation needed. Feel free to message me with anything you need and I will get back to you. This also applies to any help you want on trying to get your life in order.
Decisions are important in life and at the start of your day you have many choices to make such as what to wear, what to have for breakfast, when you need to leave. If there are little ones in your household, you have to do all of that for them too. And the decisions just don’t stop! So what I have found to work is by taking some decisions and getting them ready the night before. Such as picking an outfit and packing my bag. On the days that I am going to work, I ensure that my lunch is packed and ready to go the night before as well, as it can easily be forgotten and rushed. Also, pick out what you are having for dinner that evening, so that is one less thing running around your head. Minimising decisions is the act of making you not work so hard for the day, with everything already decided you don’t need to be distracted and have your mind wandering throughout the day. So try to minimise all the decisions for the day by preparing them either the night before or even plan out the week on a Sunday to help for a fresh, easy start.
My next tip is to batch your tasks. Batch your tasks together if they are similar, this will help with getting more done as you don’t have to keep switching jobs and getting distracted along the way. For example, when I need to make a pin for Pinterest I will make five at a time and then schedule them all once they are done, rather than switching between jobs and wasting a bit of time doing so. It will also help you concentrate on the tasks you need to do without thinking of the next steps you need to take. This will overall help you get more done and more out of your day. This also applies to any errands you need to run. Try to get them done all at once so that you don’t need to pop out a few times a day. Once you’re out of the house if you can get every errand done for the day it will save you time and allow you to get more out of your day. This might involve you needing to plan your week and days. Which is my next step.
Plan your weeks! Get a calendar or use the apps on your phone to plan your weeks. Sort out everything you need to do for that week and pick the days you need to get them done. It will help you save time in the long run, such as if you know you need to go food shopping as well as go to the post office and to pick a gift out, try to put it all in one day to save more trips throughout the week, overall saving you time and petrol! It will also help to show you what days are busier than the others so you can try to spread out your work or give yourself the afternoon off by getting more done in the morning. I use google calendar and find it so helpful as you can have different calendars put together such as I have a work calendar and a personal one but they both can show up and show me how busy my weeks will be.
Schedule everything you can before it is needed. I like to get this done as it helps me know that certain things are done and ready for the week ahead. If you have to post on social media, this is super helpful. You can schedule everything for the week so you have less to do and think about throughout the day. It also helps to ensure that things aren’t going up late or just not at all. An example of this is for my blog, I like to ensure that the post is written before Wednesday afternoon and then I will schedule it to be posted for 9 am on Thursday. This helps as I don’t need to log on and post it myself on Thursday, so even if something comes up and I’m busy on Thursday, I know it is up and available for everyone to read.
Another thing I like to do is set the mood. I like to ensure that the mood for the day is a positive and happy one. I know this can’t always happen, but most of the time it can. This helps me get more done throughout my days and feel good along the way. This can be anything that makes you happy. A few examples are meditation, exercise, singing or dancing, lighting candles, putting some music on, doing your makeup or just having a nice breakfast to start the day. Something that really helps me focus and gets all of my work done is music, but not my favourite playlist. I stay focused when I have music with no words on. This helps me concentrate on the work I’m doing without stopping for a dance break when my favourite songs come on.
At the end of the day clear your desk or workspace or just even your handbag after a day at work. This helps to have a tidy space ready for the next day. It won’t even take too long. This also helps if you work from home as I know how tempting it is to log back on and do a bit of work in the evening (my downtime). Once you clear your workspace, don’t go back to it until the next day. You need downtime to relax and it will help you be more productive the next day.
My final tip is to be positive. When you are positive you can get more done and just feel better about life. I know this isn’t always possible as life can get shit. But try to brush everything off and positively look at life. If you have had a bad day try to get some sleep and wake up feeling positive about the next day. Don’t forget your thoughts are YOURS and you CONTROL them so don’t let them get you down. And remember, there’s always a rainbow after a little rain.
I hope these tips and tricks help you get more done and be productive. If you need any support or help feel free to message me and I will be more than happy to help you with your journey.
Don’t forget to collect moments of happiness throughout your day.