If you know me, you know I’m one of those people that likes to keep busy. Whether that be working part time jobs, doing side hustles, writing in my blog, or just making time for volunteering or a social life! People always ask me how I manage to wear so many hats and still find time for things I enjoy.
Here are my productivity tips and tricks that help me stay focused and able to accomplish a variety of things!
Productivity Tip #1: Lists
Yes, I’m a list-er. I make a daily to-do list and when my life feels real chaotic, a weekly one too. For one, it feels good to accomplish things and cross things off of my list as the day goes on. Two, the way I remember all of the things I have to do or things I want to look up is to write them all down in one place. I have a notepad that is just for my lists at work and I use my notes section on my phone to keep track of things I want to look up at some point. My lists look like this
Productivity Tip #2: Set Timers
It’s very easy to get distracted by what’s going on around you -be it social media, social life, your friends and family, etc. When I know I have a lot to do or when I’m trying to focus on a task and get things accomplished, I set a timer on my phone or computer. I’ll set a timer for 20, 30, 45 mins or an hour -depending on exactly how much I have to do- and during that time I don’t use my phone, I don’t surf the web, check Facebook, anything. I laser focus on the task at hand until that timer goes off. Once it goes off, I give myself 10 minutes to do any of those things and then I set another timer. I work in these intervals because they’re realistic. I know I probably won’t sit at the computer for hours without glancing at my phone or browsing the web or whatever. But, it’s much easier to accomplish daunting tasks for me when I work in ‘interval mode’.
Productivity Tip #3: Schedule
Schedule days and times for specific things. I usually work on my blog on Sundays, look up the random stuff on my ‘look up list’ on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and focus on my main goal the other days during my free time. This way, I make sure i’m spreading my time out wisely but still making time for each thing that’s important to me! I find that when I call myself looking up things as I think of them, or reading books when I see them, I get lost in that world and then hours later i’ve got nothing done that NEEDED to be done! Being able to dedicate specific days to these not as important things allows me the time I need to search endlessly and not feel guilty about it!
Productivity Tip #4: Go Somewhere else
I don’t know about you, but it’s nearly impossible for me to complete work, papers, and other daunting tasks while at home. When I’m at home, I get extremely distracted. I’ll call myself writing a proposal, and next thing you know i’ve rearranged my closet, deep cleaned my bathroom and created new ideas/recipes for dinner – and still won’t have the proposal done. It’s something about my house that just screams ‘ DO SOMETHING ELSE’ lol. I’ve become a frequent at my local Starbucks and Whole Foods because 1) Free WiFi and 2) I’m super focused and get SO much accomplished there! If you find yourself getting easily distracted at home or at work, try finding somewhere else to go. The library has worked sometimes for me, but can often get pretty crowded and thus distracting once again. But it’s worth a try!
Productivity Tip #5: Pay attention to your body
I admit, sometimes I do bite off more than I can chew. I recognize that when I do that, I become a bit more irritable, a bit flustered with daily tasks, things start to clutter in my room (and if you know me you know i’m a neat freak!) and I find myself extremely exhausted. I know these things about myself because of trial and error. When I find myself doing these things, I know its a signal that I need to take a step back and reassess the things I’m trying to do. Sometimes that means taking a ‘personal day’ to play catch up on self-care, or finding ways to better juggle what I have going on. (There’s more about how I rearranged my lifestyle while I was in grad school here. )
Have you tried these tips before? What do you to keep yourself focused? let me know in the comments!