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Almost everybody struggles with how to be more productive in their life. We all have so much on our daily, weekly and monthly to-do lists that it never seems there are enough hours in a 24-hour day to possibly get it all done.
Getting to the end goal can feel like a mountain to climb. And while Miley appropriately reminds us that it is all about the climb, one has to feel minor wins along the way to motivate additional climbing. Whether it’s building a business, writing a book, planning an event or trying to get a new job, there are challenges in every step of getting to that end-goal and it can be overwhelming.
No matter how excited your are to accomplish a task, things can get in the way and you can easily become distracted or pulled in another direction. Below are 5 easy habits to incorporate get you on the road of how to be more productive.
5 Habits for Increased Productivity
1. Make a To-Do List and Pick One Thing On It
There’s no denying that a to-do list is one of THE most important items needed for successful productivity. However, many people’s to-do lists are too long and too broad. I am 100% guilty of this and am trying to do better. I think that it’s good to have a master to-do list for longer term goals and a short term to-do list for the baby steps required to accomplish those goals.
So look at your short term to-do list and select one thing. Ask yourself what is the most important thing I need to accomplish on this list today, and focus on that.
2. Clear the Clutter and Kondo It
It is difficult to concentrate on a task if you have distractions around. Most of us work at a desk on a computer so let’s break down how this work environment can be optimized for higher productivity. First, let’s focus on your desk, adopting Marie Kondo’s tidy-up approach to clearing clutter. Minimizing what you have on your desk is the first step to a more productive work environment.
It’s like all those pretty social media graphics you see all over blogs, Pinterest and Instagram. You know the ones with the nice laptop on a neat desk that has nothing but a pink rose in a vase and gold safety pins in a heart-shaped dish, and maybe a monogrammed throw pillow tucked in the corner.
These popular stock photos invoke feelings of joy and inspiration for most of us and that’s what you want to accomplish in your own work space. So clear away the unnecessary stack of bills, used soda cans and other nonsense and make your desk inviting.
Do the same with your computer screen. Organize your desktop files into folders or set your desktop display screen to a solid color instead of the family photo. Think about how you can clear away clutter and distractions, because every little thing is contributing to slowing you down.
3. Set a timer
Giving yourself a certain amount of time to finish a task is a good way to hold you accountable. Most people if given less time to do something are more likely to complete it. Feeling like you have all day to write a blog post will essentially create the space for that blog post to fill your entire day, which is what you’re trying to avoid. Setting a timer is also a good way to decrease the tendency to stray from said project because you got a text you couldn’t not look at. Decide how much time you’re going to devote to getting the task done and set a timer. 1 – 2 – 3 Go!
4. Do Similar Tasks at One Time
When you look at your monster to-do list it’s easy to feel like you’re all over the place. If you’re running a website you’ve got a vast array of tasks to do. And you’re likely utilizing several platforms to help you with organization or scheduling or both. And if you’re like me, you have so many tabs open in your browser that it makes even your head spin.
Jumping from Tailwind to WordPress to Canva to Zazzle all in one work session is going to make you feel scattered. It is more productive to pick one activity (say it’s writing blog posts) and write several in a row. Doing one task repetitively speeds things up and reduces slack time created from bouncing from one thing to another in a work session.
5. Take a Walk
To quote Drew Barrymore’s character Sophie Fisher from the movie, Music and Lyrics:
“Out on the streets you see things and you know, you hear things and eat things. It all sort of unlocks your mind.”
This is fantastic rom-com inspired advice to anyone feeling stuck creatively or otherwise. Sometimes you just need to step away and clear your head.
Get some fresh air and a different perspective. Go for a run or to the gym. All these things give fruit to new ideas which will energize you to get back to work.
Resources for Becoming More Productive
The Ultimate Productivity Bundle
As we’ve noted, sometimes the thing that holds us back is the process and not the plan. We can all use tips and tricks to beat inefficiency with our time. Stop holding yourself back from getting to your goals. Spring is just around the corner and we’re not even two months into the new year yet. So there is plenty of time to get your life in order to create the success you know you can achieve.
The digital Ultimate Productivity Bundle is packed with over $1,500 worth of productivity tips and tools. These include eBooks, eCourses, printables, and other great resources to help you get back on track. The bundle is available for only $37 now through February 25th. It includes resources to help with time and home management. It also has daily planners, goal setting planners, ways to increase productivity at work, as well as focusing on mindset and self-care.