Samstag, 25. August 2018

my top 10 productivity tips 📝

Summer is almost over and everyone is slowly getting back into the swing of things – therefore I figured, I’d share some tips with you that help me be productive.
Of course they’re not THE universal truth and might not even work for you, so feel free to pick and chose, take what works for you and leave what doesn’t. Also keep in mind, that your level of productivity shouldn’t have an influence on how you feel about yourself. Of course, getting your tasks done and having all the items on your to-do-list ticked off by the end of the day, is a great feeling, but it shouldn’t affect you in such a strong way that you feel shitty about yourself whenever you don’t manage to do ALL THE THINGS. But more on that later. 💕

01 clean space, clean mind

Something that has been true for me since school, is that I can’t concentrate on anything when I’m surrounded by a disorganised mess. When I had to study for an exam, I usually started by picking up my room before I got on with my actual revision, because I couldn’t focus on anything when I saw the state my room was in from the corner of my eye.
I’m not a messy teenager anymore but Capital N Neat. Honestly. It sometimes scares me. 😂 But although my room is always neat and tidy, my desk can get a bit disorganised over the course of one day. I always make sure to clean it when I’m finished, so that I can start fresh and motivated and with a tidy desk the next day. Whenever I leave the picking up part to the next day, I tend to procrastinate and find myself getting distracted which leads to not starting with my work as early has I had planned to. #frustrating #much

02 comfy clothes

One of the reasons I hardly ever went to the library to study and write my essays during my uni years, was that I couldn’t sit there in my tracksuit bottoms, an old t-shirt and warm wollen socks. I’m not saying you should wake up, roll over and start working in your PJs, but you should wear something you feel comfortable and good in. I’ve read about an author once who said she got dressed up to write and that she did her best work when she was wearing something really extra and had nice make-up on. Whatever floats your boat, I guess. I for my part have to wear said comfy lounge wear, which I change into after a shower in the morning. I don’t believe in working from bed, that’s why I get up (reasonably) early and then sit at my desk (after some fresh air and said shower) – which brings me to my next point.

03 exercise and fresh air

I’m a morning person. Always have been. I get up around 7 every day, put on my work-out clothes and go for a run or a brisk walk. I need to sweat and get my heart rate up at least once a day – preferably in the morning, because it energizes and prepares me for the day. I totally get that there are people who couldn’t, for the life of them, work out in the morning and would much rather do it in the evening. Again: Find what works best for you. I tend to do Yoga in the evening, after I’ve finished my work, because (although it can be very sweaty and physically demanding) Yoga helps me to get out of my head and into my body, which is perfect to wind down in the evening.

04 start as early as possible find your most productive time of day

Something that ties in with my previous point, is to find your most productive time of day and make sure to really utilize that period of time. For me, again, it’s the morning and the hours before noon. As soon as the afternoon comes around, my productivity level drops and continues to decrease until I’m practically useless by around 6pm. 🐙 In my school and uni days, I could manage to do some more work again after dinner between 8 and 10/11pm, because that was when I had kind of regained my energy after an afternoon slump, but nowadays I just call it a day at around 5 or 6pm.
I think it’s really important to get to know oneself and find out what time of day is the best to work productively. Because when you know that maybe the early morning isn’t the time for you, you can stop beating yourself up about not getting anything done before noon. 🤷🏻‍♀️
In my experience, getting up early and starting work as soon as possible, prevents me from getting side tracked or in a slump.

05 plan and make (realistic) to do lists

To-do-lists are great tools to outline your day’s work, but can also have a demotivating effect when you cram them with too many tasks. I usually have two lists: A general one with things that need to happen – in the upcoming week or month – and a second list with all the things I want to get done that day. I make sure to check the first-mentioned list continuously and transfer items onto my daily to-do-lists.
I usually start out with the most important tasks every day, or with the one(s) that take the least amount of time, because those are the ones I usually procrastinate and push from one day to the next. Paying a bill for example takes what, three minutes, so get it out of the way before you get stuck into something that’ll take three hours.
When it comes to planning I usually try to tackle the most important things in the beginning of the week. I know from experience that unexpected, miscellaneous tasks tend to pile up during the work week, so I try to keep the end of the week relatively free for those.

06 schedule breaks

Speaking of planning: This also includes breaks and down time of course. When it’s on the list, it has to get done, even if it is a breakfast or tea break. I actually take breaks around the same time every day so that I a) have something to look forward to and b) don’t run away from tasks with the excuse of “needing a break”. I also try to not get distracted during my breaks, because the longer they are, the harder it is for me to get back into what I was doing before. That being said, I also always make sure to complete a task or come to some sort of sensible closure within a task before taking a break. When I was writing my dissertation for example, I always finished the paragraph or the chapter before taking a break, because when I didn’t, it took me around 15-30 minutes to find my way back into the thought I was having before my lunch or tea break.

07 drink enough water

Wow, groundbreaking, I know. Hydration is essential for your brain or it will stop working. Maybe not immediately as in brain dead, but it definitely won’t be too keen on concentrating and helping you with whatever it is you’re doing. Having enough water on your desk/in reach is very important in my experience. If you have to get up to get „a glass of water“ you’ll find yourself getting up to get „a glass of water“ fifteen times a day, which is nice in terms of moving your body and stuff, but it is also called procrastinating. So, put two big bottles of water on your desk and only get up when you have to pee. 🚽

08 don’t forget to eat (right)

I’m not a big fan of labelling different foods as good or bad. Eating should be something positive and fun and not associated with restrictions. So, when it comes to doing any kind of work, I found out for myself that there is food that helps me stay on top of my game and other food that makes me feel rather sleepy and sluggish. The latter is perfect for when I’m done for the day and looking forward to something warming and nutritious – potato soup just popped into my mind (because I’m looking forward to autumn so much. 😭)
During the day, I try to eat lots of fruit, wholemeal bread with avocado or some sort of spread, a wrap filled with salad, avocado, tofu etc. and so on. But again: Find what works best for you!

09 essentials in reach – everything distracting out of reach

Sticky notes, lip balm, highlighter pens, tissues, even more pens, notebooks etc. There’re a lot of things I reach for and need when I’m doing any kind of work on my laptop/at my desk. When I don’t keep the stuff near me, but have to get up and find it somewhere first, I usually get slowed down and potentially distracted. For example, when I have to go to the bathroom to get my lip balm, I will definitely find five things to do on my way there, in the bathroom itself, and on my way back again and oh look there are pigeons outside my window I could feed them let me get some sunflower seeds from the kitchen and record a short video and talk to them and I should really water those dry looking plants and gosh the window is dirty just let me quickly… Actual hours can pass without you doing one bit just because you had to “quickly get something”, honestly.
And whilst you’re surrounded by all the highlighter pens and chewing gums and lip balms, try to put stuff that distracts you (your phone, maybe?) as far away as possible. I sometimes need my phone for the things I’m working on, but when I do not, I put it under my notebook or something so that it’s more of an effort to get to it, which usually gives me a few seconds to ask myself if I really need to check my phone, or if I’m just trying to distract myself from what I‘m actually supposed to do.

10 cut yourself some slack

The last point is the most important one when it comes to being productive: Yes, try to do your best, but „your best“ comes in different shapes and forms every day. We’re cyclic beings who aren’t able to show up in the exact same way every day. We have good and bad days and that’s fine. Your self worth isn’t tied to the amount of work you’ve managed (or haven’t managed) to do in one day. Just try your best. And when you for example feel that today’s just not your day, then know that tomorrow will be better/different, keep on going and be kind to yourself in the process. You’ll do better tomorrow, I’m sure.

With that being said, I’ll leave you to whatever it is you have to get done. I hope you found something that’s useful to you – good luck and take good care (of yourselves)! ⭐️

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