A few Fridays ago I left work feeling great. When I got home and was talking to my boyfriend about my week I found myself saying “I got so much done this week!” I realized then that I felt great because I had a productive week. Why was this week so much more productive than past weeks? In past weeks I had “little fails” and I made small adjustments in response to those. Those small adjustments accumulated and in that one week I was utilizing all the changes I made. This culminated in my most productive week ever.
It wasn’t something that I intentionally set out to do. But I continued doing them and now every week feels extremely productive.
Make A Schedule
I started by putting my obligations onto a calendar. You can do this electronically or go the old fashion route and get a Lily organizer (love those and def. about to get a new one). Once I put myself on a schedule I felt a lot more organized and less overwhelmed. Also, this is the sole reason why I have been posting to this blog regularly. #YoureWelcome
Sync and Check Your Calendar
I have hella meetings always. I deal with internal company meetings, as well as client negotiations on a regular basis. I began scheduling all of these meetings into my work calendar which I found to be very useful. However, I found that I was also making verbal commitments that occasionally conflicted with my calendar availability.
This led to me cancelling the later commitments because I would realize that I actually had to be in a meeting. This is both embarrassing and unprofessional. So I created a work and personal calendar, and I synced them to my phone. This allows me to see both my personal and professional commitments all at once.
Additionally, I got in the habit of checking my calendar first thing in the morning and every Sunday. That way I’m mentally prepared (and on time) for any early morning meetings that I may have scheduled. Additionally, I check my Monday commitments every Friday afternoon so that I can effectively prepare for an early morning Monday meeting.
This is very basic, and I know you’ve heard it a million times on a million different sites but I’m going to say it again here. Prepping your meals for the week will save you both time and money. I truly don’t do anything fancy when it comes to this because I personally hate meal prepping. I just make standard chicken and rice with some veggies, and I toss it in the fridge.
This saves me money which I love. But what I love the most is that I have a meal already prepared once I get home from work. So I can just toss it in the microwave and relax for the remainder of the night. When I didn’t meal prep I would either not eat (because laziness. don’t judge me.) or I would end up spending money on takeout.
I always feel like a good person after I’ve meal prepped, but I do still hate the process.
Check the Weather/Plan Your Outfit
After writing that heading I realized that I am my mom. Now I’m having a panic attack. My mom was right about everything. *rubs temples, shakes head* If you’re like me and you like to look cute for work, and you also take a little while to get ready in the morning then do yourself a favor and plan your outfit.
I don’t plan my outfits on Sunday for the whole week. I’m not a psychopath. But the night before I get a feel for the next days weather, and I pull two possible outfits. Why two? Because I’m indecisive. This alone saves me 30-45 minutes every morning.
Focus On One Task At A Time
Millennials are known for being the ultimate multi-taskers. We can write a report, listen to an album, and watch a season of Supernatural all at the same time. But just because we can multitask, does that mean we should? Nah.
I have a sticky note on my computer desktop (these are on both Windows and Macs). At the top of my sticky note I type a day of the week, and beneath that all the tasks I’d like to complete on that day. I work on the tasks one by one until I’ve completed them. As I complete them I delete them from the sticky note. At the end of the day any tasks I haven’t gotten to roll over to the following day.
This to-do list thing requires that you are good at prioritizing your projects. Obviously I won’t put something that needs urgent attention at the bottom of my list just because it came later. I would put it towards the top, complete it and then move on to the next.
The most important take away here is to complete one task before jumping into another.
This keeps me mentally organized and I find deleting tasks from the sticky note to be personally satisfying.
I used to be the “I’ll figure it out” kind of person. But I found that I waste so much time trying to figure out something I don’t understand. If you ask for clarification immediately you can get your task done much faster, which then allows you to move to your next task.
Schedule reminders into your phone. If you have a task that you have to do every week, or everyday throw a reminder into your phone. Some people schedule birth control reminders. I have reminders in my phone that reminds me to brush my cats and change my Brita filter (ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE ME). I scheduled those reminders for a time that I know I will always be at home. That way I won’t dismiss it and never get around to doing those things.
What do you guys do to increase your productivity? Do you keep a planner? Are you a list person? Let me know!