I always want to be productive but I’m very aware that I’ll do pretty much anything to avoid it at times. My mind wanders off and the next thing I know I’m behind on deadlines and I’ve just bought a load of clothes I don’t need or I’ve started planning a holiday that by tomorrow I’ll have changed my mind upon. Or I’ve just seen something shiny and it’s all gone kaput!
Here are some of my tips for staying productive;
Write a good list
I always write a list before bedtime as it helps me sleep. I always used to remember stuff before bedtime and assume (yes, assume!) I would still remember it in the morning. Never happens. Now I write a list at night and then first thing I’ll tackle the list into whether it’s important or not.
The best things with lists are when someone else has done the task even though you didn’t delegate it. That’s the best!
Oh Internet, you absolute time wasting tool. Or is that fool, oh no that’s me. Seriously – emails, twitter, Facebook, SongPop etc. The Internet will still be there when you come back and once it’s off you’ll be free to concentrate on what you really need to do.
Enjoy what you do
This isn’t always possible I’ll admit as there are some tasks that I absolutely HATE. I tend to focus on the ones I hate most first and save the nicer tasks to the end. If you leave the things you hate, you won’t do them. Trust me.
When is your productive time?
I’ve always longed for a 9-5 job after doing late nights and weekends. I am at my most productive between 6-8am – the world isn’t really awake yet and everything is quiet in the house, so I can get stuff done. Also I’m productive between 10pm – 2am, this is probably from the late night studying (the rush to get projects in the next day). I can still be productive during normal working hours but I get most of my blogging stuff done in the early mornings or late at night.
Carry a notepad
I’m always writing things down. My Notes app on my iPhone/iPad become full of ideas, thoughts, random songs, shopping items. This all helps to keep my list working and my brain not full of random pieces of information. Once it’s out of my mind I can concentrate better.
Clear your desk
“A tidy desk is a tidy mind”
I just cannot work in a mess. Sometimes I can get to my desk at home and it’s covered in receipts, post, work stuff, random wires and cables. I have to tidy it before I can concentrate.
Take a break
I love breaks. There is never enough of them. But you actually cannot stay productive all the time. Go for a walk, have a workout, meet friends for lunch – believe me you’ll come back to your tasks a lot fresher.
Some people need to have total silence when they work. I much prefer background noise but I can work in silence if I’m not working alone. I can work with the TV on but nothing too involving as I’d miss my TV programmes 😉
Set yourself a target in the morning with your list, if you get so many tasks done how can you reward yourself? Would it be a cheeky cupcake with your afternoon break or maybe treat yourself at the end of the week with a trip to buy something you really want. Why shouldn’t we reward ourselves for doing something good?
You can’t do everything, no matter how hard you try. There comes a time when you have to say “No, I’m sorry I cannot help with that”. There are tasks that will be beyond your control and only you can do them. But remember that saying no isn’t a bad thing. Also remember that you can delegate tasks, I do that a lot!
These are just some of the tips that keep me productive. Find what works for you and stick with it