Hello SOTGC community,
There was a time in my life when I felt like I let people down. There were too many things to do and not enough time. I always thought I could find the time or just work a little harder, but too many times I would miss a deadline or something would fall through the cracks. It was a stressful time for me, and probably for the people I worked with too. I am actually pretty productive most of the time, or so I thought.
After I had my son I wanted to make sure that I didn’t let anyone down again, especially him. That meant I had to do some assessing, rearranging, and changing. Now, almost 2 years later, I have discovered a few things about how to be more productive in a way that isn’t just about getting things done, but also lowering stress, strengthening relationships and feeling fulfilled.
I want to share them with you now in the hopes that they help you in the same way they have helped me.
Before we jump into the list, I want you to know that this isn’t just about fancy tools,
This list is about helping you find out what makes you tick, what gives you energy and what motivates you and those around you. All of this can help you not only become more productive, but also more confident and less stressed.
Ok, drum roll please, here they are…
1. Find out where you get your energy: I recently created an infographic that helps you assess and understand what pumps you up and what drains you and those around you. Too often we continue to put ourselves in situations that drain our energy; the more you know about where you get your energy from, the better you can get at putting yourself in those situations. Check out the infographic here
2. Find out when you do your best work: There is an awesome site called ProductiveFlourishing, and one thing they offer is a free Productivity Heat-Map. It helps you assess when you are most productive. For instance, I do my best work between 9 and 11am and 9 to 10pm. Once I figured this out, I made sure I placed the important stuff during those times. Get the Productivity Heat Map here
3. Set Your Priorities DAILY: The same site mentioned above has some awesome free daily planners. They have different versions depending on how you work best. Every morning I spend 15 minutes filling out my Daily Productivity Planner. If it doesn’t fit on the planner, then I look to put it in my calendar for another time. This helps me make sure I am not over scheduling or overpromising. Get the free daily planners here
4. Empty your head before bed: There is nothing worse than not being able to go to sleep because there is too much on your mind. And if you don’t get good sleep, you won’t be productive the next day. The simplest way to take care of this is to keep a pad of paper next to your bed and write down anything that is swirling around in your mind. When you get up in the morning, you have all your reminders right there and you can use that to assess what you need to tackle at what time.
5. Get a Timer: You probably have one of these on your phone, or you can go old school and get a fun hourglass timer like me (ok, I only use this when I am feeling silly). If you are anything like me, you could spend hours researching a post topic or just brainstorming. That’s great if you allotted yourself that time, but if you only gave yourself 1 hour to blog, then going overtime cuts into other activities. Having a timer keeps you focused. So make sure you keep track of how much time you are spending on each task. If you are thinking about blogging, here is a great post with resources to get started.
6. Build in travel time: I can’t tell you how many times I have stressed out because one meeting bumps up to another and I end up being late and stressed. Now I include travel time in my schedule for everything, including dropping off and picking up my son from daycare. Don’t clump it into the task; make it its own separate item. It may seem silly, but doing this in my calendar has cut down on a lot of stress in my life, and in turn it has made me more productive.
7. Assess your order of operations: Once you know where you get your energy, try to plan morning tasks that will get you excited to start the day. If you need to answer some important (but stressful) emails in the morning to make sure they get done, you can start by spending a few minutes watching a motivational video, doing a little yoga, or some meditation. Starting the day with something that makes you happy and invigorated helps you tackle the stuff that’s not so fun. If you aren’t sure what to start with, here is my favorite motivational video
8. Value other people: Sometimes when we are running around trying to be productive, we forget that other people can help us get things done, or they can hold us back. The best way to get other people to help you is to value them. The most important part of this is to understand that value comes in many forms and sometimes from the most unlikely places. There is a great Mentor Checklist that helps you uncover all of the different people that have helped you in different ways. And yes, I consider almost everyone around me a mentor, because anyone can help me move forward and grow. There are 9 types of mentors on the checklist. The list helps you realize how much value people actually provide in your life.
9. Cultivate the right relationships: This one isn’t always easy, but WOW can it help you be more productive. A good place to start is to take a look at your current relationships and assess whether you have the right relationship balance in your life. You can do this by taking the Relationships Checklist Challenge. You can get the checklist here
It all comes down to finding what we enjoy, what energizes us, what motivates us and what will help us to thrive. You can download all of the apps in the world and unless you understand how you work and how you interact with others, you won’t be able to use those tools to their fullest extent.
The good news is that you don’t have to change who you are to be more productive. You just have to understand who you are and what makes you tick. Hopefully the ideas and tools above can help you do just that.
If you thought this post was valuable make sure you join my email list here for additional resources, content and support delivered right to your inbox.