I’ve been thinking a lot about productivity these past couple of weeks. I have a freelance writing job that’s been driving me crazy with the edits they ask for. It might be time to fire this client . . . but I’m not quite there yet.
But . . . this client is impacting my productivity and therefore, how I feel about my day when the day is done.
I’m an avid reader of the inbox magazine “Early to Rise,” but not always a supporter of the idea of rising at 4 am to write. Although it may work well for a segment of the population, those of us with teenagers can’t work within those parameters.
Teenagers like to START talking at 10:30 or 11pm – or at least that’s when my teens tongues seem to be set loose. And, as a single parent, I can’t afford to overlook any of the times when they are ready and willing to share themselves with me.
So, what to do about my productivity?
A couple of weeks I talked about making a schedule for my day that included both sleep and exercise – both important if you want to continue to push yourself everday. Without the foundation your day will just fall apart.
Of course, I also believe that just a little dark chocolate is also part of the foundation of my day – but that’s another story 🙂
Here are some of the other truths about staying productive that I try to remember to incorporate into my every day:
1. GRACE – I won’t always have great days. In fact, there are times when I can’t seem to be very productive for an entire week. But I do give myself GRACE because I know that I’m not slacking off – I’m recharging.
2. Exercise is important! I workout for an hour every morning. This is my me time. During that time I might watch a video, a television show, check my email or just think. I do what FEELS good that day. I don’t stress about working during this hour unless it’s absolutely necessary to get through my day.
3. Do not overschedule your day. When my children were young I was careful not to overschedule them either. Although they all participated in sports or other after school activities they enjoyed – we were not running around 5 days a week. We ate dinner at the table every evening and gathered together as a family. This is important time for them and for me. It’s also part of recharging.
4. Use every potential piece of software and help you can use to be sure that your time is spent on the things that you do best. Leave the rest to the experts. My trouble is that I do enjoy doing a LOT of what goes into my business plan – but I’ve been paring down and eliminating what isn’t within my range of talent and expanding what is – this also makes me more productive.
5. Acknowledge that you don’t know everything. I’m amazed by the number of things that I’ve never even heard of – much less have a working knowledge about – and in my industry! But there are those who do know and there is always YouTube 🙂 Don’t stress over it. Acknowledge you can’t know everything and just move forward.
6. Set a big goal for every day and a couple small ones. Each day I have a “list of things to do” on Momentum [the Chrome extension I shared before] and I love having that list. I can cross of the items and the next day they disappear from the list.
7. Work in chunks. Sit down for 40 minutes every hour without distraction from your friends and family and get through those things on your list. When you are WORKING it is on things that make you money. Checking email doesn’t make money. Checking Facebook [unless it’s participating in a conversation on your business page!] doesn’t make you money. You know what is important and what isn’t important if you are brutally honest with yourself. Be BRUTALLY honest!
8. Take 10 minutes every hour to get water, check in with the people in the house with you, look outside, pedal your stationary bike or walk on a treadmill. You need to get the blood moving in your body to boost your creativity and productivity.
9. Work with music – but special kind of music. Don’t listen to new music or try to sing along with the song – no matter how well you know the song. Listen to music that is very familiar or which is instrumental. The music should be upbeat and motivating. You’ll be surprised how well your brain works with music!
10. And, don’t forget GRACE. If you get finished with one project for the day – celebrate! The more you celebrate your successes the more you’ll experience success. When you lament the failures – and spend time thinking about those – you’ll get more failure.
Although you might think you’ve heard these tricks before – the question is – do you use them?