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by Journals to Freedom July 19, 2021 6 min read
Whether you're a stay at home mom who wants to get things done or an entrepreneur who has customers to serve, productivity is about efficiency - getting more done in less time. When you increase your productivity, you increase your free time. You increase your profits if they’re tied to your productivity.
And quite often, your success and sense of satisfaction increases as well. Being more productive isn’t always intuitive. It helps to learn the tactics the most successful entrepreneurs use.
Before you go to bed each night, make sure to sit down at your planner or calendar and write down your to-do list and tasks for the next day. Identify the goals you want to achieve, the tasks you need to finish, and schedule your time. This tactic is effective for several reasons. First, it supports you to get a good night’s sleep. It’s much easier to leave the day’s stress behind you when you have your day planned. It helps clear your mind so you can relax.
Additionally, when you take time at night to plan your upcoming day, you’re able to start the day with a clear itinerary. You can hit the ground running so to speak and start making your day productive as soon as you wake up.
You can use many planning systems. Find one that works for you. It doesn’t matter if you use a notebook and embrace bullet journaling/planning or if you love technology and use a mobile app to keep you on track. Find a system that supports you to schedule your time and create task lists.
My personal favorite is the printable Be Intentional Binder. It's 48-pages of tools that will help you learn to turn your intentions into accountability. You'll learn to focus on what is important, use your time wisely, and be intentional and precise with your decisions and actions
Google calendar is a simple, and free, technology that you can use from your computer, on your phone, and anywhere there is an internet connection.
When are you most energized, productive, and able to focus? For many the answer is “first thing in the morning,” but that isn’t always the case. Some people don’t really hit full stride until after lunch and night owls are more productive when it’s dark. Find your time and schedule your priority tasks during this time.
I already know that I'm a night owl. I feel more energized and focused during night. Plus, in the day time I'm making sure my house doesn't burn down (kids, husband, pets...LOL!!)
Okay, so let's say you are more productive in the morning. You get up and spend an hour on email. Is that the best task for that time? Set priorities for your day. What is most important for you to get done tomorrow? (Remember, you’re planning the night before.) What tasks will have the biggest impact on your day’s success? What tasks will help you achieve your goals? Focus on those tasks during your most productive time of day.
The printable Be Intentional Binder has templates to help you plan for daily productivity, set your priorities, and more.
For my printables business, my top priorities are Pinterest content, creating new printables, and helpful blog articles (like this one!), but I have a myriad of other tasks that are important as well. Each day/week I choose what I need to focus on, for me that's usually on a rotating schedule.
So you can see how planning and prioritizing is super important!
Goals help you stay motivated to be productive. It really helps to have a “reason why” behind your actions. And goals help you break down your daily tasks into steps and milestones. A milestone is a mini goal.
For example, if you are creating a new printable planner, a milestone might be to list out all the pages you want to create for the planner, pick your design style, images, fonts and colors, create the layouts, proofread, and so on.
Milestones help keep the motivation high and keep you accountable.
One of the biggest productivity busters are those pesky interruptions. You know, when the phone rings, your child knocks on the office door, or you "accidentally" visit Facebook in the middle of a project.
Create protected time. Hang up your DND sign. Leverage technology to block distractions like phone calls and Facebook. Stay Focused is a Chrome extension that’s completely free and helps you minimize distractions like social media and email.
I find that using the time blocking technique is helpful for both task-oriented focus sessions and minimizing distractions.
Set a specific amount of time to accomplish important tasks. For example, if your first task of the day is to plan your content for the next month, give yourself an hour, or less, to get the job done. Set an egg timer or use the alarm on your phone. Setting a timer helps you stay focused. And if you set the timer for less time, it forces you to move through the task with speed.
For example, if you would like to block an hour for content planning, give yourself 30-45 minutes instead. You’ll work quickly and effectively to get done in time. And if you schedule something for right after, you won’t be able to run over you’ll have to get it done in your allotted time.
If you are one of those people who always has ideas coming at you, instead of getting distracted by your amazing and brilliant new idea, jot it down in your notebook. This also works well when you remember something that you want to do or must do. Just jot it down on the paper and get back to what you were doing. If you’re a digital person, you might use a note taking application like Evernote or simple Notepad that probably came installed on your phone.
Sometimes, I'll even send a text message to myself, leave it unread, and when I get home I'll write all of the information into my projects binder.
Just like you have a most productive time of day, you also have a time of day where you have less energy, are easily distracted, and don’t feel as productive. This is when you should schedule administrative tasks, which aren’t directly connected to profits or a goal. For many, the best time of day for administrative work is the afternoon. It’s also a great time to plan your next day. Then you can leave work at work and enjoy the rest of the day with your friends and family.
You can’t be productive 100% of the time. Focus on work when you’re at work and commit to focusing on fun, friends, and family when you’re not working.
Finally, perfection is a productivity killer. Don’t try to make it perfect. It’ll take ten times longer than it should. Instead, focus on what is important and leverage the help of others to make it the best it can be. Continuing with the example of creating a new printable, just create. No, I'm not saying skip the spell check and proofreading.
What I mean is, don't create the whole printable and then want to scrap it and start over because it's not "good enough". Don’t worry about perfection, and then leverage feedback from beta readers, friends, family, etc. to make it the best it can be. Your job is to first focus on getting the project done.
Our culture seems to make us think if we are not doing something productive we aren't successful. I'm here to tell you that is simply not true.
It is just as important to REST. I'm not talking about get your 8 hours of sleep. I'm talking take time to DO NOTHING. Recharge.
Burn out is real, and it sucks. There are actual health benefits to doing nothing. So make sure to plan for that too!
Want to make time to binge your favorite show? Do it. Want to take time to play in your garden? Do it.
What are the things or activities that recharge you? Coloring, playing solitaire, pleasure cooking? Do it.
It’s also important to remember that while you can embrace these 12 tips to be more productive, one of the best ways to ensure consistent productivity is to take good care of yourself. Exercise, get enough sleep, and fuel your body with nutritious foods. Then, you’ll have the mental and physical energy to integrate these tips into your day.
Being more productive is about setting goals and priorities. It’s about creating systems that support you to succeed and leveraging both technology and the skills of others to ease your burden. And it’s about recognizing your personal productivity style and needs. To your success and limitless productivity!
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