When tasks and to-dos pile up it can become overwhelming and difficult to catch up; and if you’re anything like me, you might tend to procrastinate when you are overwhelmed. It can be hard to stay motivated when it feels like there is no end in sight. Below are the five steps that I take whenever my plate seems to be overfull.
Block at least ten minutes to sit down and do a brain dump. Sit down with your planner, notebook, or a loose piece of paper and write down everything that is on your mind. Tasks, appointments, reminders, notes, projects you want to start, chores, literally everything.
Take that list and prioritize your actionable items. If there is anything on your list that will take you less than 5 minutes, keep that on a list of its own. You will do those items as soon as you finish this planning session.
Time block the day and/or week. Calendar blocking is becoming a very popular method of time management and it’s something that I have resorted to, since high school, whenever I am feeling overwhelmed or behind. Take the tasks you have identified during your brain dump and block them into your calendar. Make sure to start by including a block, right after our done your planning session, to complete your list of 5-minute tasks. And make sure to give yourself 5 minutes per task, so if you have 4 -minute tasks plus 5 minutes for a short break. Therefore, this block should be 25 minutes long. Remember to include travel time, rest breaks, meals, and some buffer time.
Start with your list of tasks that will take 5 minutes or less each. Getting these done in quick succession will help boost your momentum and will motivate you to continue. Take a short 5-minute break.
Carry on through your day, keeping as close as possible to the schedule you blocked out but understand that it can be flexible if need be.
I hope these steps help you out when you feel like your to-do list is bigger than what you can handle. Remember, that simply is not true, you just need to prioritize and do what truly needs to be done first.
A common question that comes up in productivity spheres online is “how do I keep myself accountable?” Which is a great question. It is easy enough to be organized and make plans, but at the end of the day, if you’re not actually getting to your work, you’re not going to be productive. This can be especially difficult in society today due to the digitalization of literally everything. If your work requires you to be on a computer, it is only a matter of time before something on the internet pops up and takes your attention away from what you should be doing. Even without digitalization, it can be so easy to get distracted with things like food, your beloved pets, daydreaming, anything really.
In today’s post I offer you seven tips on how to avoid distractions and how to hold yourself accountable.
The first and one of the most effective tips I have for holding yourself accountable is to tell someone in your world that you’re going to do something. This can include telling your partner, a close friend, or even making a Twitter post. It’s best if you tell an actual person in your life because you can ask them to kindly follow up with you to make sure you have done what you originally set out to do.
My second tip for holding yourself accountable is in the same vein as the first tip, which is to find an accountability partner. This is a good option because it not only provides the other person with an incentive to work with you, but you can also be more sure that they will follow up because they are counting on you to do the same.
Use an app like Forest or some other timekeeping or Pomodoro app. There are so many options out there as far as time tracking apps go. Forest has been a favourite of mine for many years and I have purchased the full version of it at least twice, quite a testament as to how great it is. That said, it is a very inexpensive yet powerful app and it can be quite motivating. Other time tracking apps can help you to track your time, which can not only hold you accountable but it can also allow you to see where you spend your time and whether or not adjustments are needed.
Remove distractions whenever required. Use apps like Forest (deep focus feature) or Chrome extensions like BlockSite to help you remove distractions that you know will pull you away from your work. Oftentimes I’ll use Forest’s deep focus mode to ensure that I don’t use my phone when I should be working, occasionally I will use Blocksite to block YouTube because it is the biggest distraction for you. Take some time to reflect on your workflow and what is causing disruptions for you, then look for ways to remove the distraction.
Use a productivity system that forces you to migrate to-do items that you haven’t done, eventually, you’ll either get sick of migrating it and just do it or you’ll notice how long you’ve been putting it off and make time for it. For example, bullet journalling and calendar blocking force you to migrate items that you weren’t able to get to. This is especially effective if you use an analog productivity system because you won’t want to have to rewrite the same task over and over again.
Set goals for yourself that are attainable but still under a time constraint. You might even want to go as far as to plan a reward if the goal is achieved, similarly to how the CleverFox Planner does. Just remember, that any rewards you plan to give yourself shouldn’t work against the goal or any others. For example, if you also have a goal of getting more fit and healthy, it might not be a good idea to reward yourself with cake. Or, if you are trying to save money, it may not be ideal to set a reward that requires you to spend a large amount of money.
The last tip I have for you for holding yourself accountable is probably the most important and one that a lot of people don’t think about and that is to reflect on why you need to do something or what you will achieve by doing it and why you want to achieve that. For example, if you have a goal to lose 20 pounds, you will want to ask yourself “Why do I want to lose 20 pounds?”, make a list of the reasons. And don’t worry about the reasons being vain or selfish, it really doesn’t matter why as long as the ‘why’ matters to you. You might want to lose 20 pounds so you can fit into your favourite pair of jeans again, or maybe you want to improve your sex life, or maybe you’re worried about the long-term consequences of being overweight. Whatever it is, as long as it matters to you, it will motivate you to keep going.
At the end of the day, the only thing that can truly hold you accountable is you, but I do hope these tips have pointed you in the right direction on how to make that happen.
How you spend your mornings is so important to setting the tone for the rest of the day. This is why it is a good idea to get a productive start and thrive on that momentum.
Below is a list of 5 easy things you can do to help achieve a sense of accomplishment in the morning and set yourself up for a prodcuvitve day.
Drink a glass of water and eat a small meal or snack (unless your an intermittent faster or not into breakfast – but the water is a must). Drinking water quenches your thirst after 6-10 hours of being dehydrated from sleeping and, not drinking water. Your body and brain will be pleased with you. You will defog your brain and switch over to a high alert mode.
Do a mind sweep or a brain dump. It is hard to be productive when you have a list of to-dos and reminders swirling around in your mind. Start your morning by sitting down with your beverage of choice and your favourite notepad, and jot down pretty much everything that comes to mind. You want to empty out your brain. As soon as you get something on paper, your brain will ease up on the constant reminder, because you have implemented a fail-safe to avoid forgetting.
Set your intentions for the day. Now, exchange that notepad for your planner, phone app, journal, or whatever it is that you use to plan out your day. Setting your intentions for the day will increase the chance that you will do what you set out to do. Avoid making a long list of chores for yourself, your list should be attainable. I usually set out a maximum priority task, along with 2-3 high priority tasks. Your maximum priority task should be the unmissable task of the day, the task that, if completed, you will feel like you did what you needed to do today.
Get something done first thing (even if it’s small) in the morning to get your momentum going. This could be literally anything! Work on a personal development course, read a book, listen to a podcast, work on your side hustle, learn a new language or skill, clean, workout … literally, anything. This will make you feel productive and will inspire you to keep chopping away at your priority to-do list.
Do something that makes you happy. It’s a good idea to make sure you start the day off with something that makes you happy – this will contribute to attaining your perfect work-life balance and will make it so that you are looking forward to your mornings as opposed to dreading them and hitting the snooze button a hundred times. Small enjoyable things you can do in the morning can be, putting on your makeup, listening to music, hugging a loved one, snuggling a fur baby or whatever else puts a smile on your face.
Mornings can oftentimes be stressful. But, if you give yourself enough time to get ready for the day and do these 5 things every morning to maximize your productivity, you will find mornings can actually be quite enjoyable.
Is there anything that you do daily that contribute to your productivity? Let us know in the comments below!