9 Ways To Be More Productive Right Now!
If you read last week’s post about how to stop feeling overwhelmed, then hopefully life no longer feels like trying to climb a mountain, whilst wearing a bikini, whilst on fire…
If that’s true, then I thought the next logical step would be to look at our productivity levels and stop our constant procrastination. It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s a safe space here, you can admit you are the Queen, or King, of the Procrastination Kingdoms, first of your name.
I mean, let’s face it, procrastinating and not being productive is probably what you got you feeling so overwhelmed in the first place!
So, now we’re over the sheer panic of overwhelm, let’s be more productive…
9 Ways To Be More Productive Right Now!
1) Work smarter – Not harder. If you constantly feel busy, but at the same time don’t feel like you’re achieving all that much, chances are you need to work a bit smarter. Also, who doesn’t want to work less and achieve more?
- 2-minute rule – This comes from David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done, (affiliate link). The rule is, if it takes two minutes, just do it, get it out of the way. Respond to an email, cancel a subscription, put a load of washing on.
- No multitasking – This just means you end up being “busy” but never actually achieving anything. No task will ever get your full attention because you’re always juggling ideas. Only move on to a new task when your current one is done.
- Take regular breaks – You can’t run at 100% all day, so by taking short regular breaks, your brain will remain focused and engaged, meaning you can work more productively, and for longer, if needed.
2) Stop punishing yourself – Often, we stop being productive when we expect too much of ourselves. You are more than capable of achieving anything you want to achieve, but it doesn’t all have to be done in a week.
- Take the pressure off – The more you pressure yourself, the more you will either resist or burn out. Instead of trying to achieve everything at once, just take small steps towards your goals each day. Your current self won’t feel so overwhelmed and your future self will thank you for it.
- Automate what you can – In a world where everything is online, make your life as simple as possible. Set up direct debits for your bills, sign up to subscription services for the products you use all the time, order your shopping online to be delivered, and use social media schedulers.
- Outsource what you can – Being productive doesn’t mean doing everything, it means doing the right things. Outsourcing doesn’t need to always cost money either. You can skill swap with people, ask for, and provide, favours.
Please remember though, that cost isn’t as important as your mental health. If cleaning stresses you out, get a cleaner, if there are parts of your work that affect you negatively, outsource them to a freelancer. You could eliminate huge burdens for less than you spend on avocados!
3) Be your future best friend – Do your future self a solid, and plan ahead of time. This will improve your productivity levels more than you know!
- Simplify your life – Stop letting your precious time be wasted by mundane decisions. Choose your outfits, plan your meals and schedule your to-do lists all ahead of time.
- Keep your space in order – Keep both your work area, and your home, clean and tidy. Working in a nice environment that your brain feels relaxed in, will massively improve your productivity levels.
- Eat the frog – Don’t keep letting the worst tasks on your do-to list follow you around like chains. Bite the bullet, do it and feel like a weight has been lifted.
4) Write it down – When you can literally see everything in front of you, you can rationalise your thoughts, and make a productive plan to tackle them all.
- To-do lists – These are the only things that stop me giving up and living in a cave sometimes! Each day, have an achievable to-do list that you can follow. This will make you more productive and stop you from procrastinating.
- Brain dump – I mentioned this in my post about how to improve your mental health. This exercise is brilliant to completely empty your mind of all the nagging thoughts and worries that bother you. Write them down and feel immediate relief.
- Give yourself deadlines – Now, this is not to pressure yourself, it’s just to give you something to work towards. Sometimes, without a clear cut-off point we can work on something for an eternity. Give yourself a realistic deadline and take small steps to work towards it.
5) Make it fun – You will be far more productive if you don’t feel like you’re missing out on life by working all of the time. If your work is fun, then you will actually want to do it.
- Double-up - Whilst you’re working at your desk, studying or travelling to and from, listen to a podcast, audio-book, or playlist.
- Schedule downtime – If you know that once you finish work, you have a hot bath, a recording of your favourite show, and a takeaway with your name on it, then you’re going to get that work done. Schedule something nice each day after your work to look forward to.
- Reward yourself – As humans, we’re pretty good at being mean about ourselves and dwelling on what we didn’t do. Shift that mindset and start celebrating everything you achieve, no matter how small. If you have a to-do list, and only do half of it, but tried your best, then celebrate that! This will make you feel good and more productive.
6) Change it up – Don’t get stuck in a rut. Keep your work fresh and exciting no matter what you do.
- Work from somewhere new – A change of scenery can make a huge difference to your productivity. Try a cafè, a library or even a bench in the park.
- Re-arrange your desk – If you’re a little more desk-bound, then mix it up. Change the position of it, give it a clean and add some flowers or photographs. Change your desktop background, update your stationery, or put your monitors in a new position.
- New routine – Don’t fall into the same uneventful cycle each day. It won’t inspire you, or make you more productive. Instead, shake up your routine and create one that makes you feel great. If you’re stuck, keep your eyes peeled for next Wednesday’s post!
7) Be strict – If you are going to improve your productivity, then give yourself a fighting chance!
- Out of office – If you have lots to do, block out time and get it done. As far as the world in concerned, you are unavailable. Don’t take on any more work until your current work is done. Respect your own schedule.
- No phone – When you’re working, leave your mobile in another room and don’t look at it until the tasks you’re working on are complete.
- No more than 3 goals at once – This is an important one. Goals are important to work towards, but too many will just leave you feeling overwhelmed and unproductive. Have 3 main goals you’re working towards and no more.
8) Just try – Sometimes, with all of the motivation and planning in the world, the only way to actually get things done, is to have a go.
- Start now – If you have been putting off work and making excuses, just start right now. Set a 10-minute timer and work solidly on one task for that time. By the end, you will probably feel motivated to do more, if not, you have taken a productive step in the right direction.
- 10-minute tidy – Can you tell I like a 10-minute window yet? I mentioned before about keeping a clean space in order to boost your productivity. I appreciate however, that this can feel a bit much if you’re stressed. So instead, set a 10-minute timer each day when you get home, and clean as much as you can. You will find your space remains much tidier.
- Challenge yourself – Set yourself a challenge to take a certain number of steps towards your goal by the end of the week. This is a quick and easy way to feel motivated and more productive.
9) Fulfil yourself – This goes back to making sure you don’t feel like you’re missing out by working hard. If you take care of you, you will take care of the rest.
- Plan fun into every day and weekend – Always have excitement in your life, whatever that means to you. Life is for living, no matter how busy you are.
- Self-care – If you don’t look after you, you will burn out and won’t be productive at all. Stuck with ways to do that? Try this!
- Work buddy – This will give you both a social side of your work, and an accountability partner. Have someone that’s working towards the same goals as you; a project at work, an exam, or content creation. Feeling like you’ve got support, will increase your productivity levels.
I really hope this post has helped you see that being productive really isn’t as overwhelming as it can often feel. These 9 easy ways can be actioned by you right now, without causing you any extra stress or pressure.
If ever you’re feeling like it’s all getting on top of you though, just take a few minutes to breathe, relax your shoulders and think about the little things you’re grateful for. Have a cup of tea and some quiet. You’re doing much, much better than you think. You will achieve what you’re working towards.
As always, tight squeezes! X
Question of the week – Where do you store your to-do lists? Journal, phone, back of your hand?