Top 5 Productivity Boosting Tips
My Top 5 Productivity Boosting Tips: How to Get More Done!
Life gets busy. It can get downright overwhelming some days. Somehow, some way, I manage to get a lot accomplished and stay on top of the tasks, errands, and chores that demand my time and attention. I’m not saying I do it all and do it all well, every single day. But for the most part I manage to keep up with the house, kids, schedule, and meals on a regular basis. And still make time for my workout and a cup of coffee. That’s a #fitmom win right there, and it’s all possible with the top 5 productivity boosting tips below.
There are 5 key practices I’ve adopted over the years that make productivity come so much easier. Do these 5 things and I guarantee you’ll get more done each day, and it’ll seem almost effortless. My top 5 productivity boosting tips will keep your motivation and energy levels high, and help you tackle your day!
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1. Make a to-do list.
I can’t extoll the virtues of having a to-do list enough! If there’s something you need to do or somewhere you need to be, write it down! If you don’t, you run a higher risk of things falling through the cracks.
Bills that need paid, emails that need sent, grocery orders that need picked up, workouts that need completed, laundry that needs folded, library books that need to be returned…it ALL goes on the to-do list. This way you’re never wondering what you’re forgetting, or what to do next. Your objectives are right there in front of you, ready to be completed and crossed off. To-do lists encourage you to be intentional with your time.
For some, a long to-do list can be a bit overwhelming. Just keep in mind that a lot of the items you’ve listed are reminders, and some are quick and easy tasks. If you’d be more comfortable prioritizing your list to focus on your big-picture goals more than the day-to-day, that works, too. Make 2 columns, put big-picture stuff on the left, and everything else (that still needs done, no matter how small or minor) on the right.
2. Don’t sit down.
This might sound extreme, but bear with me and listen closely. Action creates motivation, not the other way around. It’s easier to work on a task to completion than it is to start it in the first place.
So don’t let yourself stagnate. Keep a keen eye on your to-do list, and keep moving. Don’t plant your butt in a chair and distract yourself from getting shit done. Because once you sit down it’s that much harder to get back up. Pretty soon the window of time you had to be productive closes, and you’ve got nothing to show for it.
3. Put down the phone.
Nothing is a bigger time waster than scrolling through mindless, pointless shit on the internet. And nothing holds a candle to the raging time-wasting inferno dumpster fire that is social media.
Checking and rechecking emails, scrolling biased news, and getting sucked in by asinine comment threads are all good ways to ruin your chances of getting anything done.
If you struggle to free yourself from your phone, you will struggle to be productive. Turning off app notifications or putting your phone on silent helps. Try leaving your phone on the charger in another room, or even implement dedicated screen time to keep yourself in check.
Time is precious and must be budgeted properly. Do yourself a favor and limit your screen time.
4. Delay gratification.
Looking forward to sitting down with your afternoon cup of coffee? Great! Just make sure you’ve earned it. Maybe this sounds harsh, but glance at that to-do list real quick before you brew that joe. What have you accomplished today? What still needs done?
I will often be ready to sit down with my afternoon coffee and chocolate fix protein bar, and then realize I could quickly and easily knock out 1-2 more small tasks before I take my break. And I’m always happy I did. It’s like I enjoy my coffee that much more when I know I don’t have that appointment to schedule or thing to clean waiting for me when the mug is empty.
5. Workout first.
When your window of productive time hits, always, if you haven’t already, move your body first. Before anything and everything else. This is big, people. Being active has a plethora of physical and mental health benefits. Exercising gives your body and mind the energy and clarity to be productive.
I don’t care how much laundry there is to put away or how many phone calls you need to make. Whatever it is, workout first. Everything else will get done and fall into place. And you’ll feel like a million accomplished bucks doing it, because you’re a total and utter badass who got her workout in today. Mic drop.
Your workout will make you feel amazing, and ready to take on the rest of your to-do list. Once you get your blood pumping and endorphins flowing you’ll want to keep moving.
BONUS Tip #6. Utilize small pockets of time.
Don’t look at the clock and choose to do nothing because there’s “only” however-many minutes until this or that. You can accomplish more in 5-15 minutes than you think if you just buckle down and begin.
Great for tasks, both big and small
These little pockets of time are perfect for getting little nagging tasks out of your hair. Often these are the to-dos that are quick and easy to complete, but maybe they’re tedious or dreaded tasks. They may not be high on the priority list, but they sure feel good to have done. For me, things like filing paperwork or wiping down the microwave fall under this category. And I can usually get them done, start to finish, in just a few minutes.
Also, these short windows of time are great for getting the ball rolling on other, bigger tasks. Because once you leave the starting line you’ll eventually pass the finish line, whether it’s 2 minutes from now or sometime later in the week. You just gotta get started.
Don’t throw this time away!
Starting a project when you only have 10 minutes to work might not be intuitive, but it really makes sense when you think about it. Not only is starting not as daunting when you’re going into it knowing you’re only going to spend a few minutes doing it, but it’s soooo much easier to pick up where you left off later on than it is to get going in the first place.
There you have it: My top 5 productivity boosting tips! What’s your best tip for getting more done? I’d love to hear it in the comments. Curious how I put my top 5 productivity boosting tips into action? Keep reading!
What my typical day looks like, practicing my Top 5 Productivity Boosting Tips:
Now that school has started, I have a whole two-and-a-half glorious hours to myself 4x/week. Actually having some time to myself has been great, and I seem to fill up nearly every minute accomplishing something. Because who knows what the rest of the day will look like once the ankle-biters are back home!
I have a to-do list.
Example of my morning to-dos:
- Laundry S D F A
- R-lunch, snack, water, mask, math hw, library books
- D-snack, water, mask, photo, drop off snack
- Empty DW
- R-spelling, sight, math, reading
In the morning, after washing my face and getting dressed, I typically start a load of laundry before getting the kids their breakfasts. Then I pack their lunches, snacks, and water bottles, and make sure their backpacks are ready to go. If there are any library books or homework that need turned in I have it written on my to-do list as a reminder. I’ll empty the dishwasher while quizzing my son on spelling and sight words while he eats. All of this is on my task list for the day, and is crossed or checked off when it’s done. Then I make and eat my own breakfast.
Notes on my to-do list system
- The SDFA after “Laundry” stands for Start, Dry, Fold, Away. I cross through the S when I start a load in the washer, the D when I transfer the load into the dryer, the F after I fold it, and the A when I put it away. Then, and only then, does the box next to “Laundry” get checked off. This prevents me from forgetting a load in the washer or dryer, and motivates me to keep things moving so I can cross it off the list
- The list behind my kids’ initials are reminders for what I need to pack or complete. Each thing gets crossed through as they get taken care of, and when they’re all crossed out I can check the box. I do the same for packing for an outing. For example:
- Zoo Entry 10 am – stroller, lunches, snacks, waters, masks, sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, fanny pack, zoo membership card, quarters/pennies
I workout first.
Exercise is always on my to-do list:
After school drop-off, I come straight home and workout. I grab my water and head directly to my workout space. The only exception here, is if the washing machine is done I’ll transfer the clothes to the dryer. I have to walk through my laundry room to enter the house from the garage, so it’s not out of the way. If I’m heading to the actual gym I usually put all my gear, water, and post-workout snack in the passenger seat of my car after I get the kids’ backpacks ready. That way I can head directly to the gym after school drop-off.
I don’t sit down.
Examples of items on my daily to-do lists:
- X PWR
- Take out trash – baths, kitchen, recycling, dog poop
- Amazon return to Kohl’s
- Kid papers
- Post blog
- Meal plan to K
- Call dentist
When I’m done training, I mark it off my to-do list and see what else needs to be done. Some days it’s picking up dog poop and taking out the trash, sometimes it’s running errands, often it’s the usual chores. Maybe it’s bookkeeping, filing, and organizing. I usually have blog writing, editing, and posting on my lists, as well. I pick what to do based on priority, time, and mood, and get down to business.
I put down the phone.
I keep moving until it’s time for school pick-up #1 for the day, and from that point on I do what I can in whatever pockets of time my daughter allows while she eats lunch and has quiet time in her room. This used to be nap time, but I think those are all but phased out now. Excuse me while I whimper and cower in the corner.
But anyway, I could just scroll away on my phone when my daughter is occupied and distracted, but what a waste of time that would be! Don’t get me wrong, I’m on my phone a lot, however, when I have a lot of unchecked boxes on my to-do list I save the bulk of my mindless phone time for my downtime in the evenings.
That being said, if my daughter and I hit the park or library, or “huggle” time in front of the TV, I’ll have my phone to work on blogging or make any calls/send any emails I might have on my to-do list. I’ll bring my laptop to our playroom sometimes, too, or pick items from my to-do list I can do in/around there, like fold laundry or dust.
I delay gratification.
Around 2:30 pm I start to think about my afternoon coffee and snack. Afternoon coffee is a vibe, y’all. It’s not like I need the caffeine to get through the rest of the day. In fact, I’ve been drinking decaf after noon for months now. But, it’s what the coffee represents for me. I made it to nap/quiet time, people! I prioritized my physical and mental well-being by working out, doing yoga, or resting, depending on the day. My chores are done. Business has been taken care of. I deserve a break.
Or do I? I check that list again, and make sure anything I could easily check off has been done. Some things on my to-do list are specific for after school or in the evening, and that’s okay! Because I did all, or most, of what I set out to do before school-pickup #2. So I brew my cup of happiness and bust out my chocolately gooey protein bar goodness and sit my ass down for a spell.
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I utilize short pockets of time.
I gather my daughter and we head to pick brother up from school. The kids like some snack and TV time if they don’t have any activities right away, so there’s more time for me to write, start dinner, or straighten up. There’s 1000 interruptions, sure, but it’s still progress.
Once my husband is home we have dinner, clean up, and have family time. If there’s more to do before the kids’ bedtime, or I just want to relax with my after-dinner Diet Dr. Pepper, I take advantage of my husband being around and let him take the kids on.
After the kids are in bed is my real veg-out time. I’ll shower and grab a snack, and watch football or [insert streaming network here] with my husband until it’s time to go to bed. Exciting stuff. Honestly, I’m looking at my phone A LOT while sitting in front of the TV, between writing and editing, checking weather, scrolling Instagram, and online shopping.
And that’s a wrap!
That’s that! A day in the life of me. Sad, but true. Seriously, though, I accomplish a lot considering my days are chaotic and interrupted by a million places to be. These strategies work, and work well. If you are struggling to be productive, please do yourself a favor and give these tips and try. Let me know how they work for you! Give yourself time to get into the routine and form these habits. It’ll be time well-spent, I assure you.
Follow me on Instagram to see how, what, and when I fit everything into my day with purpose and intention. Pin this post to your organization board to help you keep your days moving smoothly and yourself feeling accomplished!
Thanks for reading my Top 5 Productivity Boosting Tips!
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