Managing a full-time job, an almost full-time job, home, and family can get overwhelming. I generally have a mini-breakdown once a week where I have to tidy my entire house before I can get anything done because even the slightest distraction will throw me off. There are a few productivity tips that I live by to make things a little less stressful and get a little more done. Here are the changes that I make to be more productive.
Related: Genius Ways To Find Time in the Day
The Best Productivity Tips To Get More Done
Learn To Love Lists
Making and writing lists are seriously the only things that keep me sane. The first thing I check in the morning on my phone and the last thing before bed is my list. Mentally, I know that I won’t forget important things that are on my mind when I’m headed to bed because they are written down in a safe place so I’m free to sleep peacefully. Keep a list is one of the best productivity tips that I have.
Physical or Digital Lists
Some people stronger prefer one over the other. I’m the worst kind of person because I prefer both. There are days that I live by my digital lists and other times that I need the satisfaction of physically crossing things off. This is the day planner I’m currently using and I really like it. It’s big (which I like) but still lightweight.
For my work tasks, I find that digital works best since I’m often sharing with my team. I use the app “WunderList” which is great because 1) It’s free, 2) I can share lists with people, and 3) It syncs from my phone to my computer so it’s always accessible and has a free desktop app. Wunderlist also gives me the ability to assign task ownership of a shared list and set deadlines and reminders. I highly recommend it!
Update: Wunderlist got bought out by Microsoft and they kinda killed the app. Microsoft’s To Do is not the same app. Boo!
Fortunately, I discovered an alternate that’s pretty great. The Zenkit To Do. It’s basically a Wunderlist replacement and the free version does plenty.
If you love digital planners – you have to check out my recommendation for my iPad here.
Types of Lists
I make lists for literally everything. No, really – everything! I currently have 12 active lists including Groceries, Work To-Dos, Email Newsletter Ideas, Shots Needed for Blog Posts, Editorial content ideas, house chores, and my personal favorite – my “honeydew” list. A coworker told me about this years ago and I’ve adopted the practice in my home. The “honeydew” list is a list of things that I want Sahir to do around the house… i.e. “honey (can you please) do…” It’s literally labeled “Honeydew” on our joint list and I highly recommend it if you have a partner.
Limited “Dead” Time to Help Productivity
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I started really taking advantage of my “dead” time. I define “dead” time as time can be used to multitask i.e. a long commute or washing dishes. Note: This is not the same as downtime – which I think is extremely important and should be scheduled into your day, every day.
My commute consisted of listening to music and has since turned into a time where I learn about interesting topics from podcasts like “The Daily” “Hidden Brains” and “GoalDigger”. Remember my post about my favorite podcasts? I use this time to learn more about myself, my business, or for sheer entertainment. If I’m not listening to a podcast, I’m usually listening to an audiobook. Want to know how to get audiobooks for free – legally? Check out this post here.
My husband hates re-runs, I, on the other hand, could watch Friends reruns for the rest of my life and be fine with it. BUT we both work with background noise and he recently started playing documentaries on Netflix while we work. So far we are big fans of Planet Earth which is fantastic for working or eating dinner and The 13TH – but warning The 13TH is incredible and will suck you in and you will be mind-blown. Highly recommend.
This one is the hardest for me and something I actively struggle with. I don’t know if it’s the millennial blood in my veins, but if I’m not doing 2 things at once something feels off. I’ve learned that this is counterproductive and I need to organize my time in a better way.
Use a Timer
I’m bad at getting sidetracked, so I got help! Meet Focus Keeper! The app that follows the Pomodoro technique is a time management method designed by some dude named Francesco Cirillo in the late 80s that basically breaks down work into small intervals. Focus for 25 minutes, reward yourself with 5 minutes of Buzzfeed, Instagram, (insert your guilty pleasure here) time. It’s been proven to boost productivity and it’s what I swear by during my workday.
Final Note on Productivity Tips
Productivity is tough and especially in times like these. Keep your mind at ease by doing things that make you make you happy, feel accomplished, and take care of your mental and physical health. Productivity tips are everywhere, but it’s what you do with them that matters.