Adulting is hard. Not only is it hard, sometimes it seems downright impossible. There just never seems to be enough hours in the day to get things done. Of course there are the things you HAVE to get done, like go to work, take the kids to school, and do the laundry so you have something clean to wear tomorrow, but when that’s all said and done, where’s the time to do the things you actually WANT to do??
Over the last several months, I’ve been learning what my new life is like as a mom, wife, employee, and myself. I threw that last one in there because until I started to get a handle on how to get things done and still have time for me, I kind of lost myself. That’s ultimately what led me to make a shift in my daily life to make sure I could increase my productivity. I’m happy to say, not only am I now more productive, but I’m much happier since I’ve gotten into a routine and have actually found some ‘me’ time each day.
If you need a little boost in your routine and could use some more ‘me’ time, here are a few tips to help you increase your productivity.
1 – Make a list.
Make a list of all the things you HAVE to get done so you can check them off as you go.
Create your list the night before so you can devote a bit of time to really thinking about what you need to accomplish the next day. And while it is tempting to put absolutely everything you can think of on your to-do list for the next day, it’s important to limit it to no more than a handful of items so you’re not setting yourself up for failure of overwhelm.
2 – Don’t sit down.
Once you sit down you fall in to the distraction trap that will suck you in for longer than you planned.
When you’re busy working around the house and trying to get things checked off your list, it’s perfectly natural to want to sit down and take a quick break. This is especially true if you’re completely crushing your to-do list. The problem with this is that when you’ve got that momentum going, sitting down even for a moment is like slamming on the brakes and will make it that much harder to get going again. Not to mention, in this day and age it’s hard to just sit down ‘for a moment’ thanks to the constant pull on our attention by technology. You may intend to only sit down for five minutes, but 45 minutes later you find yourself still scrolling through Facebook or Pinterest (of course I’m not speaking from experience here or anything, ahem 🙂 ).
3 – Limit multi-tasking.
“Don’t half-ass two things, whole-ass one thing.” -Ron Swanson
Somehow we’ve been conditioned to feel like if multi-tasking = productive. That’s not always true. In fact it’s often time the opposite. When you’re trying to work on too many things at once, the quality of your work can suffer and it can also take much longer to complete each task, or potentially create the need for re-work. A good example of this would be if you’ve ever tried to type while talking on the phone. When most people do this, the result is sometimes like playing MadLibs – words that are said in the conversation end up being typed and vice versa. Depending on who you’re talking to or what you’re typing, this could result in a lot of confusion and you’ll likely have to do it all over again.
4 – Do your work BEFORE you have fun.
You mom was on to something when she said “You have to do your homework before you can go outside and play.”
When you’re an adult you think you’ve got it all figured out – you can have fun whenever you want and clean your room when you feel like it. That is, until you realize you have no clean clothes to wear on your next adventure. By prioritizing the ‘have to do’ items above the ‘want to do’ items on your list, you’re setting yourself up for ultimate productivity. You’ll essentially be in a mindset to get through all of the ‘have to do’ items so you can have more time for the ‘want to do’ items.
5 – Don’t procrastinate (too much).
Procrastination isn’t usually a good thing, but sometimes it gives us the kick in the pants we need to get things done.
Deadlines are what most adults unfortunately have to work with – presentation due for work by Wednesday, kid’s science fair project due on Thursday, in-laws coming for the weekend on Saturday, etc… Because being a busy adult means lots of deadlines, we’re frequently faced with competing tasks which almost always forces us to procrastinate on something. So if there are any items on your to-do list that don’t have a particular time they need to completed by, establish one. This will help ensure the task will get done as opposed to constantly being moved to the bottom of the list.