Being unproductive sucks.
Not only does it mess with your business, it screws up your personal life.
When you put things off at work, it inevitably effects your mood. You’ll sleep like crap. You’ll wind up saying no to that much needed drink with your girlfriends, because you waited until the last possible second to complete your to do list, and now you have no time for fun.
When you work at home, being productive is freakin’ HARD.
At least five times a day I think “I could do this, ORRRRRRRRRR I could go watch a few episodes of The Good Wife on Netflix…”
Work typically wins out, but the struggle is real people.
It’s not only the fun things that distract me from getting my work done. It’s the laundry that needs to be done, or the school party that needs to be planned. It’s the workout DVD I know I should throw on, and the base boards that need to be dusted. It’s getting to Costco before all the rotisserie chickens are gone.
The six and a half hours while my 9 year old is at school is the only time I have to successfully get things done, and my to do list is never less than two pages long.
What’s a girl to do?
Get freakin’ serious about time management, that’s what.
Recently, a member of one of the Facebook groups I started posted this comment, “Seriously Kimberly Haydn how do you find the time to get everything done? I don’t know how you do it, but it’s auh-mazing!”, on a thread where I was talking about a new challenge I was launching, and it was one of the nicest compliments I’ve ever received.
Not because I want people to take note of how much I’m doing (though, it’s nice for that to be recognized, right?!), but because a year ago, I was constantly losing my battle when it came to procrastination, and I was always dropping the ball somewhere.
This comment reassured me that all my hard work, my lists, my plans, they helped me break the ugly overbooked and overworked pattern I fell into for far too long.
Do you ever feel like you are juggling a million different tasks, just waiting for the moment when you’re crushed by the weight of all that pressure?
I’m so over that feeling, and I want to take a load off your shoulders, too! Here are my favorite ways for designing a day where my productivity measures up to my expectations:
1. Eliminate Distractions
I used to listen to Spotify (my favorite music streaming site) all day long, until I realized I spent more time belting out Whitney Houston ballads than writing blog posts. Having background noise is important to me, but anything with words ends up distracting me. SO, I was thrilled when someone told me about Coffitivity! It’s a free site or iPhone app that makes your living room (or bathroom, wherever!) sound like your local coffee house. It’s just what I need to get things done quickly, without spending the day in uncomfortable silence.
If you work from home and your household chores distract you, schedule time to do them! Work for an hour straight, then give yourself ten minutes to get something done around the house. Repeat this all day if you need to.
2. Complete the Most Daunting Tasks First
Many people save the items on their list that they despise for last, which often means, they get put off for days. Having those crappy tasks hanging over our heads stinks! Instead, get them done first. This way, the rest of the day will be a piece of cake!
3. Give Yourself Breaks
Not only does taking breaks help eliminate distractions by allowing you to do the dishes or check your personal email, it keeps you inspired.
We’ve all had those days where we sit in front of the computer for hours on end, and wind up feeling like a zombie. It’s hard to get work done when you feel like an extra from The Walking Dead.
Set alarms! I set a timer for 60 minutes, and then give myself 10 minutes to get up and move. It could be to take a quick walk around the block with my dog, or play a game of UNO with my daughter, or stand in the kitchen and text a friend. It keeps me from burning out, and it has helped me not to feel so stiff at the end of the day!
4. Does This Help My Business?
Time is freakin’ money, honey! Be honest about what works for your business, and what doesn’t, and eliminate the things that aren’t giving you a sizable return.
Maybe you HATE Twitter, but are on it because everyone says you should be. You spend an hour each week scheduling Tweets, and another hour during the week finding conversations to chime in on and things to re-tweet, but you don’t ever feel like it gets you anywhere. STOP DOING IT! Seriously, just stop. (ppsst! If you’re not sure which social media platforms are right for your business, check out this post!)
If something feels like a total time suck, or you just plain don’t see something effecting your sales for the better, drop it. Even if it’s something you enjoy. Business isn’t personal, it’s about what’s working. You have better things to do than waste energy on things that aren’t helping you! Trust me, you’ll be better off focusing on things you like doing that actually bring you new clients.
5. Make it a Game
This is my favorite way to stay on track. I place bets on how quickly I can get mundane tasks done, and I reward myself often.
Give yourself 20 minutes to go into the Facebook groups you belong to add as many helpful comments as you can, and see if you can top your number each time. Set a timer for 30 minutes and hammer out as many emails as you can, and if you can clear your inbox, eat a piece of chocolate.
Winning feels good, and once your competitive drive kicks in distractions won’t phase you! You’ll suddenly have laser like focus, and you might just be surprised how much you can get done when you just sit down and vow to do it!
Want more tips on becoming a productive powerhouse? Check out these awesome resources:
8 Smart Things Super Productive People Do Each Morning
How to Overcome Procrastination
What are your favorite tips to cut through procrastination and get things done?
Photo Credit: celine nadeau via cc
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Kimberly Haydn I love this post *so* much!
Whoo-hoo! Glad you enjoyed it!