7 Ways to be More Productive

Hi friends! How’s the morning treating you? Hope you enjoyed the goat cheese queso recipe. 🙂 Today I thought we could share some planning and productivity tips with each theory. 

This is something I’ve had some questions about lately, and I thought I’d share since I always love to hear what strategies help others make the most out of their day. To be honest, I thrive on a modest amount of procrastination. Nothing makes me work harder than knowing something is DUE, and I tend to do the best work and have laser focus under pressure. I’ll complete small tasks along the way, but the night before a big project is due is when you’ll really find me cranking along. (Hi, night before Summer Shape Up. Every. Time.) I’m also easily overwhelmed, and if I have too much going on, I’ll find myself avoiding things. For this reason, I really have to motivate myself to keep momentum going so I don’t find myself beneath a mountain of looming deadlines and untouched work. 

At the same time, I’m pretty organized because there’s a lot going on around here. I work from home and out of the home, so I make sure the kiddos are taken care of, get the most out of my work time, plan for the nights where I teach (usually the Pilot is home), with preschool, extra activities, doctors’ appointments, and the necessary chores for our family and house.

Here are some of the things that have helped me to stay on top of things: (for the most part. Things still fall down the cracks every now and again haha)

Ways to be more productive

To-do lists for life. I make sure to include the absolutely essential tasks, and the ones that can be pushed back. My Erin Condren planner holds it all, even though I’ll admit that I liked the old design better, with blank spaces instead of hour-by-hour. Each night, I write down everything that needs to be done the next day and check for deadlines and appointments. I don’t usually schedule it by the hour -I’ll just notate class or appointment times- but instead focus on time blocks. 

If it takes less than 2 minutes, do it. I used to let tiny tasks hang over my head, and would spend more time worrying about them than it would actually take to just get them over with. Now I tell myself if it takes less than two minutes, do it now. 

Eat that frog. I got this idea from Brian Tracy -he is inspirational and has a pleasant voice for his audiobooks. I highly recommend this one and this one– and take care of the task I dread the most first. This is weird, but I don’t enjoy invoicing. Even though one would think a quick request for payment you earned would be NBD, the acts of putting them together and sending them off feels tedious. Per Brian Tracy’s suggestion, I get the things I don’t necessary love out of the way first. This way, you’re not spending mental energy on the dreaded task. Also, you’ll start the day off feeling like you accomplished something important, and the rest of the to-dos seem more pleasurable that way. 

Have one or two big goals for the week. On the top of each weekly page in my planner, I’ll write 1-2 more intimidating things I want to accomplish. (Like “Send in tax stuff,” “Renew personal training certification,” “Reorganize blog pages.” etc.) These are things that might take longer to finish, or may require multiple pieces or correspondence, so I’ll do a little each day (usually late at night) to get the bigger things taken care of.

Eliminate distractions and try to avoid multitasking. I think as women we all tend to multitask here and there (and sometimes you have to), but I find that focusing on one thing at a time allows me to actually complete these things, instead of having bits and pieces all over the place and nothing to really show for my efforts. I love the Amy Porterfield podcast, and she recently discussed her morning  “Tiger Time.”(When I first heard this phrase, I thought maybe it involved yoga tiger breaths, but sadly, no.) Four solid hours in the am are strictly dedicated to content creation. No emails, no meetings, no Facebook groups or social media distractions; just content. By doing this, she’s able to stay in the zone and really work on developing quality material for her courses, blog, live videos and podcasts. I starting implementing my own mini “tiger time” around here (during P’s first nap) and spend that entire first time block dedicated to content creation (like this post!).

Make a list of ideas. I have an ongoing list of ideas I’d like to create or implement, and when I’m looking for something to do or find myself lacking inspiration, I refer to these lists. They help me to stay on track and keep my eye on the larger goals (like the blog revamp I’ve been scheming for the past year. If you have anything you’d like to see for the revamp, please let me know!). 

Take breaks to avoid burnout, and do something for you (even something very small) each day. This is SO important. I love working from home, and feel very fortunate to have flexible and portable work, but when you mom + work from home, it can be easy to feel like you’re working all day. (Even when it’s fun work!) I plan at least 15 minutes each day just for myself, whether it’s reading a book, painting my nails, a walk, watching a show, catching up with a friend, or enjoying a glass of wine with the Pilot. Just a small bit of downtime always refreshes me, and I find that I’m way more productive. 

What are your tips for productivity? What do you do to stay organized? I always love hearing your tips and advice!

xoxo

Gina 

Similar: why I don’t believe in balance.

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Comments

  1. I’m not sure I could survive without to-do lists. Plus the satisfaction of getting to check something off is great! Great list!

  2. Great advice!! I work well under pressure too. I have been known to clean my whole house top to bottom to avoid stuff I don’t want to do. 😉

  3. Oh, I LOVE that you mentioned Brian Tracy! He is actually my client and lives here in San Diego!

    He also has great advice on the 80-20 rule, which is basically how 20% of your tasks account for 80% of your results. So you should make sure you’re prioritizing the tasks that will yield the most results, and save the smaller ones for once those are done.

  4. Thank you for this great post, Gina! I have been reading your blog for a long time and have always thought that you and I have a similar way of approaching tasks and time. I live by the 2 minute rule for small tasks, blocks of focused time for creative work, and also have a majorly “pressure-provoked” personality. I much prefer that characterization (learned from a Myers Briggs test!) over “procrastinator” because we make.(sh)it.happen. and inspire others to the finish line 🙂

  5. I need to listen to that podcast! I can’t tell you how perfect this is for me today. This morning during my workout I was thinking how I’m just too all over the place. I think it comes down to multitasking too much. Between nutrition school, teaching fitness & swim, freelance work and starting a practice, it’s a lot. I have to stay laser focused and get better at prioritizing. I also find taking deliberate breaks helps me feel renewed and ready to take things on like a boss!

  6. i love the tiger time advice! thank you.
    and i remember when you first mentioned “eat the frog” 😉

  7. this is soooo good! especially during the summer time when I only want to soak up all the sun!! 🙂

  8. Staying organized is key for me! I just wrote a post on how I map out my week yesterday, I think you would enjoy it! http://www.livehalffullblog.com/2016/06/06/map-week-success/

  9. Such great tips! I somehow missed your goat cheese queso recipe?! must save that one!

  10. all seven of these are so valuable. once upon a time I was a serial procrastinator and, while like you I thrive on moderate procrastination, i learned over time that a similar process (especially lists…a million lists) and more productivity made me much happier.

    thanks for sharing!

  11. Why is puttering around Pinterest and hoping everything I need to get done will magically happen by itself not on this list? It’s my main strategy for getting things done . . . 😉

    Such a good article for someone like me. Thanks!

  12. These are all exceptional tips. I always tend to put the dreaded things on the back burner. Getting them out of the way first is best. Thanks xo Lauren

  13. Jessie Reeves says:

    Eat That Frog- such a great book! Lists are my favorite thing. The 2 minute rule- YES.

    I’m trying to use my planner to monitor my goals/progress more closely. Gretchin Rubin says “We manage what we monitor.” So I’m finding ways to monitor goals I set for myself. Laura Vanderkam is also an expert and a great person to read for time management tips, 168 Hours, amazing.

  14. ALL THE LISTS.
    Seriously. I don’t usually need the list to remind me of tasks/projects, but having it all “outside my cabesa” and organized on paper makes me feel so much more in control and capable of tackling it all.

    I’m a multitasking addict and re-learning how to focus on one project at a time is HARD for me, but that’s one of my big goals for the year – stop multitasking and start MONOTASKING. It’s still uncomfortable and feels unproductive in the moment, but I find it makes me more productive and that makes me feel 10x better than the rush of multitasking!

  15. I love this so much. I ALWAYS wonder how you get it all done. AND I will tell you my tip, is having a nanny/babysitter for 4 hours a week just for me to be creative distraction free. xoxoo LOVE YOU!

  16. love love love my Erin Condren planner! I’m a list on paper kind of girl all the way.

  17. I needed this. I am having a difficult time focusing and getting stuff done. Working from home will gave me doing chores instead of what I need to be doing. I work for myself so I need to crack down and focus.

    • Fitnessista says:

      yeah it’s really tough. this is why i HAVE to get out of the house to work at least 1-2 times a week. otherwise i just see chores around me and it stresses me out

  18. Multitasking, I do that a lot. Haha! Will try to avoid that from now on and focus to one thing only. Thanks for the tips! Will surely keep them in mind. 🙂

  19. My ultimate productivity hack is having a “not to do” list. I picked up the idea from Ross Training Blog to keep a list of things that you’re NOT going to do. In essence, it’s the opposite of having a to-do list, which helps you get rid of the unimportant things you keep doing so you can free up some time for the important ones. My “not to do” list is pretty short, thankfully. As of the moment, there’s only one item on the list, and it’s “Don’t go on Facebook.” 😉

  20. Awesome post 🙂 Also great minds… hahaha! Today I also wrote about productivity!

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