Good Tuesday morning!
Let me start this post off by telling you that I am the QUEEN of “busy.” And by busy, I mean staying busy with things that can prove to be seriously unproductive by days end if I don’t make a conscious effort to stay f o c u s e d.
Many times I’ll think about my daily activities and notice that while I’m busy- I’m busy doing things that are actually distracting me from being productive. If I know I’ve got a deadline to make and I know that I’ve got X amount of time to get it done, I’ll fill that X amount of time with all.the.things and scramble to meet my deadline at the last minute.
I noticed that this pattern seemed to occur more than I cared to admit- and so one day, I dug a little deeper into the topic of productivity. You know that old phrase “work smart, not hard?” Well, “working smart” is subjective for different people but my dad uses it quite frequently and for the longest time I couldn’t understand what the phrase was all about. And then I got to thinking about the obvious: We literally share the same amount of hours in a day to get things done so something has got to give when it comes to productivity.
Being busy does not necessarily mean being productive. Being productive means to work smarter instead of harder.
And when you work smarter, you’re eliminating all the “filler” that can turn into HOURS of being busy yet unproductive.
For me, especially since I’m a Realtor without a strict 9-5 schedule, I took this to heart and sat down to identify all the things that kept me “OMG SOOO BUSY” and “OMG what did I DO all day!?”
Here are 5 things I discovered that hinder my productivity:
Keeping multiple tabs open at one time on my laptop is DETRIMENTAL. I’ll bounce back and forth between tabs and an hour or so will pass before I even realize what I was looking for/looking up/ etc..
Checking in on Facebook/Instagram/Social Media etc on phone during the day is a great way to turn a few minutes into a few hours. Not to mention, checking my email in my bed keeps me awake and then makes me tired the next morning…
Staying in my pajamas instead of changing into clothes when I work from home actually makes me less productive with my work…
If I don’t work out in the morning, I typically don’t work out at all…
Clutter is suffocating, especially unorganized paperwork.
… let’s face it, I could go on and on but I’ll stop there.
In the midst of this, I realized that I’ve already tackled the first step, and that is to identify exactly what distracts me from getting necessary things done. What is so distracting in your life that keeps you from being productive?
Once you’ve figured that out, come up with a plan.
Here’s what I decided once I was ready to work smarter and not harder:
Two tab open at a time, three if absolutely necessary. For me, any more keeps me totally distracted from the task at hand.
I don’t look at my phone at night. I’ve heard that many people will set theirs across the room or in the bathroom or somewhere where they won’t be tempted, but I decided to keep mine on the nightstand. I use the alarm function and I want it nearby in case there is some emergency so it makes sense to keep it there but I made a conscious effort to not touch it after I set it down. My sleep has improved, my husband appreciates it and I’ve been reading at night much more.
I’ve established a morning routine. While the word “routine” is not part of my innate vocabulary/genetic makeup/middle child personality, I realized that I’m exactly the type of person who needs one. I don’t “thrive” on a routine but I’m much more productive on one so I quickly learned that if I was going to be successful, I needed to create routines and stick to them. So for me, I work out in the mornings (I do 30 min Pilates videos online- Blogilates is my favorite) and then shower and get ready. I do this because I don’t like to “get ready” and then change back into yoga pants and get sweaty later. Pajamas to workout clothes to real clothes makes the most sense to me- and working out in the AM makes me feel better for the rest of the day.
I tidy up spaces daily before they turn to chaos. My office/car/closet/ etc was always either spotless or a complete wreck. There was just no happy medium. If I just take a few minutes at the end of each day to pick up/tidy up/declutter/throw old papers away/etc regularly, life runs that much smoother. 🙂
I’ll use my daily planner to block schedule my day. This habit was created out of necessity in order to make for more productive days and I probably do this well because I grew up with block scheduling in school, but if I create a start and stop time for activities I get them done.
Why does staying focused and on track have to be such a challenge!? At least admitting to it is the first step…
Have a wonderful day, friends! Let me know in the comments below what you think- I would love to hear the tips and tricks you use to make your days more productive. XO