I love to get the most out the day whenever I can, but all too often life gets in the way!
The best laid plans can backfire in the mess of daily life, and we can fall behind on the things that are important – or just those that need to get done.
But what’s the answer?
It’s twofold really – firstly to acknowledge that life WILL always get in the way, and secondly to make the time you do have really count.
It’s about being productive with whatever time you have – and getting as much done with as little hassle as possible.
Here are my top ways to be productive today – and I hope they help….
#1 – Remove Phone Distractions
You can’t always eliminate all distractions. Kids will need help, the door will need answering, and emergencies happen – but we can get rid of one of the main distractions we all have in our day – and that’s our mobile phone.
For example – in our always available digital lives we have notifications for everything. Facebook message? Text? News alert? I could go on….
Yes – we need to be able to answer the phone in case its the kids school or someone needs to get hold of you asap – but we don’t need to be stuck to it 24/7!
The easiest way to get these distractions out of our day is to turn those notifications off.
Right now – just do it!
You could go one step further and place your phone a little away from where you are so that you have to walk to look at it – this is an amazing trick that really works. You may not realise how often you actually check your phone, and how often you get distracted then my other things that pop up when you look at it.
Take this distraction away and you will stay focussed on what you are doing – getting it done more quickly in the process.
#2 – Question How You Are Doing Things…
Whenever you are doing a chore or a job of any kind – get into the habit of asking yourself a few questions: –
- Is there an easier way to do this?
- Does it have to be done at all?
- Can someone else do it or help with it?
You can very easily get stuck in a rut of doing things the same way day in day out, without really thinking about it.
Chances are that you can do something slightly differently and that will save time and hassle in the process.
#3 – Batch Your Jobs
It always saves time to do things in batches rather than one at a time – and that saving means you will be more productive without really doing anything differently!
Here are some examples of the types of jobs that can be collected together throughout the week/month so that you can do them all in one go: –
- Pay bills online (login to your bank once a week and do it all in one go)
- Make phone calls (you can make all calls while on a long walk one day a week, for example)
- Appointments in town (schedule them on same day one after the other)
- Shopping – do all shopping on one day so you only need to go to town once a week
- Ironing – don’t do things as you need them, do it all in one go (watch a film while you do it to make it more pleasant!)
Each one by itself may sound like a small win – but these all add up to huge gains over time…
#4 – Share The Load
If you can share jobs with other people it can really make things more streamlined. You don’t need to be doing it all yourself as no-one really will thank you for trying to be a superwoman/man, will they!
Here are some ideas of how you can share things so that you can focus on fewer things and get more done: –
- Share lifts for kids to school/after school clubs etc… – you could give yourself so much extra time by cutting your lifts in half, with which you could get some housework done, or prepare the evening meal etc…
- Delegate chores to everyone in your house – you all live there, so it makes sense that everyone does their bit to keep the house running well (age appropriate chores are perfect for kids to take on more responsibility)
- Split household jobs with your partner. If you both work it makes sense to split what you can between you so that it doesn’t fall on just one person to run the house.
- Hire help if you can afford it – a cleaner / gardener / ironer etc… could all take a little of the day to day chores away, leaving you to get on with the things that you need to do yourself.
So – which out of these first 4 things are you doing already? Which could you try to make life that little bit easier this week?
Maybe one of the next 5 will be what makes the difference for you – let’s keep going, shall we!…
#5 – Set A Timer
Most of us will take as long as we have to do a job.
By this I mean that if you have half an hour in the morning to clean the bathroom before the kids wake up, you will take half an hour.
However, if you challenge yourself to do it quicker, you can usually get things done faster without too much extra strain.
It simply focuses you to get it done…
I find that simply setting a timer for 10/15 mins gives me that boost of motivation to get things done, and I really hustle to do it.
Simply set the timer on your phone or your oven timer and get going – you may just surprise yourself in the process!
#6 – Plan Your Day The Night Before
If you think about the next day before you go to bed (either last thing in the evening or last thing in your working day), then your brain will start to prepare subconsciously, and you will wake up ready to tackle what you have ahead.
If you aren’t sure by this – think about when you wake up with no plan for the day – you usually spend half an hour to an hour (at best) working out what the best way to spend the day is, and therefore waste a lot of it in the process.
I like to look at my diary and check what appointments and scheduled items I have to do, and then work out what I can do around these (from my TO DO list) that is realistically going to fit.
Planning your day can also make you really think about all aspects of your life and helps you to create more balance – which can only be a good thing!
#7 – Do The Hardest Thing In Your Day First
Have you heard about eating a frog?
The basic premise is that if you get the very worst thing of your day done first, everything else seems a lot easier. If you spend your day dreading that difficult task and leave it to the end, you will find yourself delaying it and wasting time.
Always try and get the worst done first – then you can enjoy the rest of your day and get more done!
#8 – Look After Yourself
If you aren’t on top form, how can you expect to get lots done?
If you can do 3 things every day, you will be much more likely to be productive – and happier: –
- Eat healthily
- Sleep enough hours for you
- Exercise at least a little each day
#9 – Have A Routine
Of course – me being me I need a little routine in my life!
Routine does NOT have to be restricting, contrary to popular belief. In fact, it can free up more time to do the nicer things in life…
Just have a rough weekly schedule written out with any unmovable events (school, work, sleep etc…) blocked out.
The rest of the week is yours to do with how you like. It is then up to you to fill it with things that either help others or help yourself move towards their/your goals. But never forget that you are in charge of how you spend your time, and you can change things if it’s not working…
Seeing things written down really clarifies how you are spending your time, and makes you more focussed on trying to fit in what you really want to be doing with it.
#10 – Do It At The Best Time For You
We all have different body clocks. I work best later in the day – and do my best thinking at night, whereas my hubby works best in the early morning and switches off in the evening.
If we both tried doing our work at the same time – one of use would be working harder to try and get it done AGAINST how we were feeling.
That’s not going to help anyone, now, is it!?
So – think about when you work best, and if you can, schedule as much of your TO DO’s into that time as possible. You’ll get far more done, more easily, that way.
#11 – Reward Yourself
It’s always good to have something to look forward to after the work / errands / tasks are done. Giving yourself a reward (doesn’t have to be big) means that you are more likely to get things done more quickly. Productivity will soar, trust me!
WOW – lots to think about here, but all of them are pretty easy to try, so my request to you today is to choose one thing that you aren’t already doing, and try it for a week. See how much more productive you can be, and I’d love to hear how you get on so don’t forget to leave a comment below….
And if you want to take things a little further, why not try deleting a few things that are complete time wasters from your life, this post can help you out with that – so you have even more time to be more productive! – good luck…