I’ve had a rocky relationship with productivity over the years. Strange thing to have a relationship with at all but honestly, productivity has had me wrapped around its little finger like a jealous, over protective, toxic boyfriend at times. I’m a very Type A sort of person, I struggle with not being productive and feel like I need to be doing, doing, doing all the damn time. I spoke more about this in a post I wrote a couple of years ago called always being the go girl but thankfully I’ve come a long way since then.
“So if you’ve had such a rocky relationship with productivity, what makes you qualified to give us advice?”
Well, nothing, technically. You can’t get a qualification in productivity. But I have learnt a lot about what works, what doesn’t and what you shouldn’t even bother wasting your time on over the last few years. I’m never not going to be a go-girl but when it comes to getting shit done, it really is a matter of working smarter and not harder. No amount of blog views or praise from your boss is worth beating yourself to the ground over.
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Increasing productivity doesn’t have to involve a great big overhaul of your life. You don’t need to hire a life coach or turn to healing crystals in order to get into the right mindset (although if you want to do that too, that’s totally cool) so here are some super easy tips to help increase productivity:
Categorize and prioritize
A to-do list is your first point of call when it comes to productivity. Lists have changed my life. But there’s no use having one great big massive list with 200 things on it. That’s not going to make you want to be productive, that’s going to make you want to wrap up in your duvet and watch Netflix. Categorize your to-do lists into sections (e.g blogging, personal, errands etc) and highlight the tasks of the most importance.
Break down your tasks
And any particularly big or overwhelming tasks on that list can be broken down too. For example, if I’m faced with a particularly long and important sponsored post I have to write, I tend to break it down into sections. Writing the post, checking the SEO of the post, taking photos, editing photos etc. One big task becomes 4 smaller, more manageable tasks.
You know me, I’m the most organised person on the internet (or so I like to think) so I would reiterate this point until you can bare me no longer. Nothing bad ever comes from being organised. Being organised saves a heck of a lot of time and effort which you could be spending doing something else (like your actual work?) Try and organise your space, your laptop, your life a little more and you’ll find your productivity increase.
Have a tidy space
Probably should have put this one at the beginning but I find having a tidy space to work in one of the most important elements of being and staying productive. I work from home and my work “area” (which granted, is sometimes my bed) can often get very messy. The first thing I do in the morning, before I do any sort of work, is tidy up.
Shut off distractions
If there’s an important task that needs doing, the best way to get it done is to just get it done. But in today’s digital world, that’s not always so easy. Consider setting app limits on your phone to avoid scrolling aimlessly through social media, put the TV remote in another room, hide your book and just get. it. done.
Eat, drink enough water and move your body
You can’t be productive if you’re running on empty. Don’t under any circumstances neglect yourself for the sake of ticking off a to-do list. I know when we’re frantically trying to get ahead and stay ahead, we just want to keep going but I urge you to make sure you eat lunch, keep your water bottle topped up and if you can, make time to move your body throughout the day. I do Yoga every morning and always feel better for it.
Make time to read other blogs, watch an interesting documentary, go for a walk in nature or anything that inspires you to keep going. There’s been days where I’ve got on my laptop at 9 in the morning and not looked at anything else for 7 hours. I feel cross-eyed, headachey and utterly rubbish afterwards because I’ve not taken the time to look at the big picture, get involved and engaged.
Don’t beat yourself up
Some days, it just ain’t going to happen. And that’s that. Nothing and no amount of “how to increase productivity!” blog posts will make you more productive. And that’s okay. Learn to accept it and move on. We can’t always be productive 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Remember there’s always tomorrow
And if you find yourself in that mindset, remember that there’s always tomorrow. Most things on your list likely don’t need to be ticked off this very second. So do what you can, accept defeat (because there’s nothing wrong with that – got an entire blog post coming about this!) and do it tomorrow.