Lets talk productivity! This is such an important topic for everyone, but has especially become more and more important now that I work for myself. It seems like the more I try and tackle my days lately, the busier I become. Productivity is something that I struggle with and it's not because I don't love what I do, but because my mind is always racing and thinking of one million things as apposed to just focusing on the task at hand and worrying about everything else later. The point being, there are TONS of distractions in this world and I want to find a way for us all to conquer them together whether you work for yourself or in a normal office environment. I truly believe that there are some key things in this world that cause more distraction than good, especially during the work day. So, lets tackle them together and all get WAY more done in our days. Ready, set, GOOO.
1. Your phone/the internet
I'm 100000000% guilty of this one. My phone is probably my number one distraction. Its so easy to just pick up your phone and go down that Instagram rabbit hole that we are all so good at (LOL). When it comes time to really focus and have solid work time, I think that turning my phone on silent is a great solution. And maybe try putting it away instead of having it always sitting right next to you. Lately, I've been putting it across the room to charge when I need to get stuff done because out of sight, out of mind.
Do you ever have a big project and you just keep saying to yourself that you'll work on it later because you're almost afraid to get started? Happens to me WAY too often. I don't know why, but I always have the mindset that I'm not going to run out of hours in the day and then all of a sudden my husband is coming home from work and I need to make dinner and do one million other things that aren't work related. I think that scheduling tasks throughout the day is really helpful and can force you to get things done. Make your own deadlines. Make your own deadlines before your project or assignment is even due so that you can hit personal deadlines and won't be swamped to complete everything at once or last minute. The longer you wait, the more stressed you'll be. I have started giving my own work deadlines before the actual due date and it has helped tremendously. Try it, I promise you'll be pleasantly surprised.
3. A never-ending to-do list
I think that it's important to make to-do lists that are specific to the work week, but also to the specific day. M-F should have their own page of to-do's. That way you can prioritize what's most important and leave the rest for other days. This way you won't get burnt out of doing everything at once. The one thing that I struggle with the most when working from home is that I have a to-do list for work and one for home. And how do we get them both done?! It's so important to keep these lists separate. Even when you work for yourself you need to treat the workday like you would an actual 9 to 5. Make sure you're hitting your work to-do's before you move onto your home to-do's. I typically give myself a break at lunch to eat and then do some things around the house before getting back to work and then of course at the end of the day. Make sure you choose the most important tasks first for each day. It's really hard, but I promise it will make your life A LOT easier.
4. Not having a routine
Whether you're working for yourself or going into the office make sure you ALWAYS have a routine. I truly believe that a routine makes you feel better and can start your day off on the right foot. I totally agree that when I follow my usual routine I feel happier and get more tasks done throughout the day. Having a routine doesn't also have to mean that you're a morning person because I will be the first to admit that I am not! I would much rather sleep in and stay up late, but that's just me. Everyone is different and you have to do what's right for you, but starting your day with a routine no matter what time it is when your alarm goes off is so important. I am actually writing an entire blog post on my morning routine so stay tuned.
5. Lack of work-life balance
I have seen so many people struggle with this and it's something that I think I have really worked hard at over the years and so does my husband. We both absolutely love spending quality time together at the end of the day so we rarely pull out our computers after dinner. Even if you don't have a family, it's still SO important to not lose yourself to your work. We all need breaks, so go spend time with your significant other, family or friends and take time to not think about anything work-related. It's so important to unplug and this is something that I think everyone can work harder at. I promise your brain will thank you when it comes back inspired and recharged.
What makes you more productive? I'd love to hear!