Want to know the things to do to make your day as productive as possible? Check out this list of 7 tips that will increase your productivity through goal setting, time blocking, and use of motivational tools!
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As a work at home mom, I am constantly looking for ways to make my time and energy more productive. I'm just like so many parents out there, trying to juggle work, kids, homes, meal planning, and actually having a little bit of a life between all that. 🙂 Adulting is tough sometimes, guys!
So, when push comes to shove and I can tell that my time is just not being used very effectively, it's time to pull out the big guns - my seven big rules for transforming my time and energy. With these rules, I start using efforts so much more effectively and can really get things done in a meaningful (and much quicker) way!
Write down a goal before you ever start trying to be productive.
Goal setting is one of the absolute backbones of productivity. You can't underestimate the power of a good goal. But don't just think about what you need to accomplish; write it down. Writing something on a piece of paper can be incredibly useful in willing a goal into a reality.
You can click here to download the printable above for free!
This printable is one of my absolute favorite ways to write down and organize a goal. With this sheet, you can think of your "big picture" goal, break that big picture down into smaller individual pieces of the goal, and write down action steps that will help you complete your big picture goal.
Lets say, for example, you wanted to clean out your attic. Your big picture goal would be "Clean out the attic in 4 months." You smaller individual goals might look something like...
- "Organize and purge holiday decor."
- "Organize and donate old clothing."
- "Make sections of the attic for each category of storage."
Then, for the first individual goal, action steps would be something like...
- "Make sure all holiday decor is separated into boxes by holiday."
- "Throw out or donate decor that is no longer being used."
- "Label all boxes and sort by holiday."
You get the idea - I like to start big and work smaller until I've broken my big goal down into things that can easily go on a to do list. I recommend displaying this sheet of paper somewhere prominently in your home - on the fridge, on a pin board, even taped to the wall in your office - to keep the goal fresh in your mind.
The printable you see above is from The Year of Intent - it's my mega collection of productivity planner printables that let you create a planner that fits your needs! It's available by clicking here.
Set a deadline.
I think we all have goals in our mind that are "someday" goals. I call them that because, let's be honest - they're not really even on your radar to accomplish yet. And that's ok! Having long-term goals is a great thing and gives you something to work toward. However, if you are serious about accomplishing a goal sooner than later, you've got to give it a deadline.
I briefly touched on this above, but by setting a deadline for a specific goal, your making that goal finite. You're telling yourself that it's not a "someday" goal - it's a "1 week," "6 month," or even "2019" goal. From there, you can start breaking it down into individual action steps (like I talked about above) and knock it out in the time period you've given yourself.
Now, a note on this - don't be too hard on yourself if/when you miss a goal's deadline. It happens. Reassess, figure out what went wrong with making that deadline, and begin working on setting a new deadline that might be a little more realistic this time around. The point of giving yourself a deadline is to actually kick yourself into gear for taking that goal from a dream to a reality!
Use checklists to break big goals down into easy-to-complete chunks.
I am a huge, massive believer in checklists. Seeing a big goal on a piece of paper is motivating; seeing small steps that can actually be accomplished in an hour or two is much more powerful.
(From The Year of Intent)
When making a checklist to accomplish your goals, I recommend being specific and making tasks that can be completed in around an hour or so. Let's say, for example, your big goal is to write a book. You wouldn't put "write a book" on your checklist - that's way too overwhelming! You're going to see that on a list, probably roll your eyes, and ignore it.
Instead, making small action steps that will register as doable with you - that makes it so much more likely they'll be completed. Instead of putting "write a book" on your checklist, maybe put "write 1,500 words" on your checklist once or twice a week. That registers as doable in your brain and seems like something you can actually tackle - therefore, you will at least attempt it.
Also make sure you're specific when making your checklists. Don't put "clean the bathroom" on your checklist - instead, write "clean the toilet," "wipe down the sinks," "wash linens," and "clean the tub and shower." This helps you recognize that these tasks can be done easily (instead of one overwhelming task) and if needed, lets you at least complete part of your task (instead of the "all of nothing" approach).
Block your time off daily to dedicate certain hours to certain tasks.
I love this tip - it's helped me be so much more productive every day! I have dedicated periods of time each day for certain tasks. I have an hour every morning (8-9am) that's dedicated to exercise - if at all possible, I'm doing nothing else but dedicating myself 100% to a workout during this time. I have two hours each morning (10am-noon) dedicated to blog/work things (as well as about an hour each afternoon), and even a couple of 30 minute chunks each day dedicated to completing my cleaning checklist.
I think it's also important to dedicate certain blocks of time to rest and relaxation. I try my absolute best to be done with "work" stuff by the time my daughter comes home each afternoon. That way, my time after school is dedicated to my kids. I also work in a chunk of time each day, even if it's only 30 minutes, to do nothing. That's so important for my mental well-being! Nobody is meant to work 100% of the time - it's important to take care of yourself too, which means some time is meant for not being productive.
Employ the "try for 5" rule.
What about those times when you're just completely unmotivated to do anything? It happens to the best of us. That's when I love using something called the "try for 5" rule. When I know I need to be productive but just don't have it in me, I make myself work on the task at hand for 5 minutes. If I'm still not feeling it after 5 minutes, I let it go for the time being.
More often than not, that little bit of time will motivate me to keep going on my task. If it doesn't, that's a good indicator that I probably need to hang up that particular project for the day. I really like to be into what I'm doing - that motivation and drive really shows in your work. By waiting until your passion shows through a project, you get such better quality work!
Remember why you're doing a task in the first place.
Every single task, no matter what, has a "why." You might want to clean out your attic to make more efficient usage of your space and resources. You might want to write a book to share your thoughts with the world or to accomplish something you've always wanted to do. There are so many different "whys" that are so personal - only you can tell yourself the why for each goal!
But, I do recommend going through each of your big goals and assessing why you're doing it. If you can't think of a logical reason you have that goal on your list, you might want to sit down and really assess whether or not it should be there. After all, if there isn't a why, it's probably not going to benefit you.
Arm yourself with the tools you need to succeed.
Alright, I'll admit - I'm naturally one of the most scatter-brained people in the world. Seriously, no joke - the girl that runs an home organization and productivity blog can't naturally keep up with her thoughts! I think that's why I'm so passionate about sharing how I organize my time and resources...I know so many people out there are the same way, and I love to help others succeed in making their home the happiest and most productive place possible.
So, in order to organize my scattered mind efficiently, I need tools to succeed. Lots of them. That's why I created The Year of Intent for those who need an organized (and pretty) organization system of their own!
The Year of Intent is a collection of over 60 planner printables that covers so many different planning categories, including budget tools, time management, goal setting, and even home project planning. I've tried to include just about every planning tool needed to organize a busy schedule. The best part of this planner is that you get to pick and choose what pages are needed - create a planner that fits your needs! You can check out more of The Year of Intent by clicking here.
I'd love to hear some of your best productivity tips in the comments!