Do you often get to the end of your day and realize you’re exhausted but you haven’t really got anything done? Sure you did stuff throughout the day, but you didn’t actually accomplish much. You weren’t productive.
It’s a pretty crappy realization that can lead you into a spiral of stress and nasty self-judgments.
I’ve been caught up in that spiral on more than one occasion and it SUCKS!
I used to think it meant I lacked time management skills and self-discipline–that I needed to cultivate willpower and just make myself do the important things.
Being productive is about cultivating habits and arranging your day in a way that supports and facilitates your goals.
Here are 7 productivity boosting habits that help me stay on track with the tasks that are important to me – whether I’m feeling like Superwoman or Slothwoman!
1. Plan your day
If you don’t know exactly what you want to do, it’ll be hard to stay on track and focused on the important stuff. Make sure to plan your day (ideally the night before) so that you know what your priorities are, what you’re not going to do (this is super important!), when you’re going to do each priority item on your to-do list, and when you’re going have breaks, free time, and time for errands, chores and other daily tasks.
I’ve found that making a written plan, setting deadlines, and blocking off time in my schedule for work, fun, chores, and rest helps me track my progress and keep on top of my to-dos without becoming exhausted. If you need help figuring out what tasks you need and want to focus on, be sure to check out my post on managing your tasks to defeat overwhelm (there’s also a free worksheet to help you).
2. Start your day with some positivity
The way your day starts out can often set the tone for the rest of your day. If you get up feeling crappy, it can seriously impact your confidence, motivation and productivity. Avoid negative news reports (try reading the Good News Network instead) and other stressors like getting up late and reading work emails. Spend a few moments thinking about all the things your grateful for and how you want to feel throughout the day. Try some affirmations or a guided visualization.
Do whatever you need to do to feel energized, enthusiastic and hopeful for the day ahead. For more ideas on how to start your day off with some positivity and tranquility, check out my guest post over at Savvy Mums Business.
3. Turn off distractions
Identify your biggest distractions and get rid of them. Eradicate anything that could pull your attention away from what you need to be doing. Turn off your notifications, set your phone to airplane mode, work in a notebook rather than on your laptop—do everything you can to prevent distractions.
Check out Rescue Time or do a pen & paper time audit to find out how you’re using your time and identify your biggest time-sucks. If you’re susceptible to the Facebook rabbit hole, try using a browser extension like News Feed Eradicator to block your news feed while you’re working.
4. Set boundaries
Make sure people know when you’re working and can’t be disturbed or called upon to do things for them or help out with events and other activities that would get in the way of your productivity. If they don’t know about your schedule or ask you for something anyway, politely decline. Just. Say. No.
Make appointments with yourself in your calendar and planner so that you can easily say no because you are already busy. Decide what you’re willing to do and not willing to do and stick to your guns!
5. Keep your workspace tidy and organized
It’s hard to feel inspired to work when you’re at risk of being buried by a mountain of clutter or when it takes 10 minutes to find a file in your Google Drive. Get rid of the physical and digital clutter and create a system so that you know where things are and you can find them quickly and easily.
You don’t have to become a minimalist or transform your office into one of those drool-worthy Pinterest images in order to boost your productivity. Just make your work area look and feel comfortable, calm, and inviting.
6. Check-in with your accountability buddy
Having to check-in with someone to let them know how you’re doing and what progress you made can really help motivate you to stay on task and get things done—especially if your accountability partner is the kind who’ll keep you aware of potential consequences and ask you tough questions to find out why you didn’t do what you said you’d do, what’s hindering your productivity, and what you need to do differently.
Your accountability buddy can also support and encourage you when you’re feeling stuck or unmotivated, and they can often help you figure out solutions when you get stuck. If you don’t have an accountability partner yet, come on over to my Rock Your Blog & Biz Facebook group and find one!
7. Incorporate self-care activities
If you don’t prioritize your well-being and take care of yourself, you’ll burn out. Your stress levels will skyrocket and your productivity will plummet. You might get loads of things checked off your to-do list in the short term, but you won’t be able to maintain that momentum in the long term. You’ll exhaust yourself, make yourself sick, and start making mistakes and overlooking things. Make sure you include self-care in your daily plan.
And by “self-care” I don’t mean things that cost money or require hours and hours of time. I mean simple things that nourish you physically and mentally. Drink enough water, eat healthy foods, take regular breaks, adhere to set work hours, avoid toxic people, etc. For more ideas on practicing self-care, check out these self-care posts here and here and sign up for my free Self-love Booster e-course.