Well, the holidays are just about over. This week, I return to a world of working, writing and learning. As you might expect, it gets a little difficult trying to balance all of those things. So I decided to look into a few ideas when it comes to productivity. Basically, how am I going to do all of these things while still getting some free time? Well, I’m glad to say it worked, and I have now compiled a list of my favourite tips – the ideas that I’m sure will help me in this area. So, here they are!
1. Plan Your Days
This seems kind of obvious, but I can’t tell you how much difference this has made for me already. I’ve bought myself a gorgeous little daily planner, in which you can write what you intend to do each hour of the day. I go through, put in important things like work, exercise and sleep. Then any plans I have with friends or family. Whatever time is left, I use for thing like writing and studying. Of course, I also make sure to have some gaps, because nothing ever goes as planned. With this system, I’ve already seen a huge increase in productivity, and I’m not even back at work yet!
2. Apps are Your Friends
I love apps. Seriously, I have an app for nearly everything. I have an app which helps me make sure I drink enough water, an app that will tune a guitar for me, an app for keeping track of what movies I want to see… Seriously, I use apps for everything. But there are a few key one’s I’ve fallen in love with for Productivity. These being;
Swipes: This is basically a to-do list, but you can shift the tasks to any day you like. Don’t have enough time one day? Swipe it and hit the ‘tomorrow button’, or the ‘wednesday’ button, or the ‘this weekend’ button. You can also set up repeated tasks to come up at the same time every day/week/month. Perfect for people like me who forget little things like washing my clothes.
Asana: So this is a project management tool. I use it to, well, manage my projects. For example, right now I’m writing a book. For each project, there is a board, in which you can sort tasks into columns. So, I have a column for things I need to do, things I have started doing, things I have done, and things I need someone else to do. Basically, it helps me stop having to remember everything I have to do. And, bonus, checking things off is awesome.
PlannerPro: This is what I was using to map out my hours before I got an actual paper book to do it. If you’re an electronic person, then this is great. For me, nothing beats having an actual physical book in my hands and writing my tasks down.
3. Pomodoro Timers!
You may or may not have heard of the Pomodoro technique, but it basically goes like this; you work non stop for 25 minutes, then have a five minute break. Repeat 4 times, but the last time you get a 20 minute break. Everyone I know who has tried this has seen a huge increase in productivity during the work time. I have an app on my phone called Be Focused which keeps track of the time for me.
4. Set Your Goals
When I started writing this book, my goal was to write a book. Easy, right? Except that there’s actually a whole lot to writing a book. So instead, I’ve changed my goal. I intend to finish the first draft by the 1st of July. And to do that, I’m going to spend approximately 10 hours a week writing. See what I did there? Suddenly I have a much easier goal, a due date, and an idea of what I’m going to do to get there. Now I can go back to my planner and add 10 hours of writing time to my tasks for the week. Also, I’m pretty sure I’m going to get this manuscript done before the 1st of July. But if I give myself some extra time, then I’m going to be happy with finishing my goal ahead of time, rather than grumpy because I was late.
5. Do What Works For You
At the end of the day, we are all different. Which means that different techniques are going to work for us. The four things above seem to be working really well for me, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to work for you. So if you try a few of them and hate them, then go try something else.
If you’re interested in learning more about this stuff, I highly recommend ‘The Productivity Podcast’ by Paul Minors. Honestly, I learned pretty much everything on this list from that Podcast. And you can listen to podcasts while doing boring things, like the dishes. (Unless you enjoy doing the dishes. In which case, well, you do you.)
Let me know how you get on, and if you’ve got any great productivity ideas, tell me! I’d love to test them out.