What do you do when your to-do list is a mile long, the laundry remains unfolded, and you still haven't watched last week's How To Get Away With Murder? Learning how to manage your time well is critical for maintaining productivity and motivation.
Today I'm sharing three simple steps on how to increase your productivity, one responsibility at a time. Will it solve all your life's problems? No, but I could tell you how last week's episode of HTGAWM ended (jokes, I wouldn't even do that to my worst enemy). Hopefully this post will give you a jumpstart to getting your stuff done, one baby step at a time.
USE TIME BLOCKS
If you have never heard of time blocking before, it's a simple, linear method of organizing your calendar. Time blocking is pretty much what it sounds like: blocking out your time by activities and to-do items. I personally find it very helpful as it forces me to set realistic expectations of how long each item should take and how much I can get done in an allotted amount of time. Usually I chunk out time in 1 or 2-hour blocks. Example for a student: 9:20-12:30 morning classes, 12:30-1pm: eat lunch, 1-2pm: respond to emails, 2-2:30pm: break, 2:30-4:30pm: research + begin essay, etc. I know this method may sound TOO simple to make a difference, but it really keeps you focused when you want to maximize your time.
Related: How to Have Your Best Morning Ever
DON'T SPLIT PENNIES
My only word of advice when using time blocks is not to split pennies. What do I mean by that? Do not try to wring out every single minute, rather, overestimate every activity. Especially when you are doing client work or working from home, there are always situations that pop up (phone call, distractions, etc,) so it's helpful to give yourself cushion time between each activity. Not only will it protect you from any mishaps, but if all goes smoothly, it will only help you stay ahead of your schedule.
REWARD YOURSELF FREQUENTLY
Our attention spans are pretty limited, especially when we are an arms-length away from social media, texting, emails, etc. Help yourself to stay engaged on the single task you are working on by rewarding yourself with frequent breaks. As much as we like to think we are skillful in multi-tasking, studies show that our brains move slower and comprehend less when trying to do more than one activity at once. Whether you do it by activity (finish 2 paragraphs of a blog post) or time (writing for 30 minutes), stop to give yourself a short break. Hopefully that will motivate you to compartmentalize your time and focus better.
Because I am such an over-achiever, I decided to add an extra tip: find accountability using technology. In today's modern age, it's easy to find an app or service dedicated to boosting productivity and organizing workload. Here are three apps to get you started:
- EVERNOTE: I'm sure you have heard of Evernote, but are you using it yet? Evernote is a user-friendly, clean platform to store all of your notes, lists, and ideas. Organized by notebooks and pages, you can store everything from brainstorm sessions or pasted images from inspired websites.
- TRELLO: I first discovered Trello from Jess Lively, and became super intrigued. Imagine if Pinteret had a baby with your To-Do list, and you have Trello. Trello helps you organize your multiple to-do lists as well as share it with other people in your community. Great if you have teammates or co-workers you are collaborating with!
- FREEDOM: Bonus points if you use this one. I haven't tried it yet, but essentially it's an app that disables you from accessing social media (or any of your guilty pleasures) during an allotted amount of time. It's an accountability to minimize distractions and get stuff done! Let me know if you try it. :)
ARE YOUR PRODUCTIVE JUICES FLOWING YET? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW IF YOU TRY ANY OF THE ABOVE STEPS OR IF YOU HAVE OTHER PRODUCTIVITY TIPS TO SHARE!
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