New year, new goals, even more drive to succeed. I know that new year’s resolutions are kind of cheesy and everyone is like, ‘I can’t wait for the new year for a fresh start,’ when you could technically start anytime, but I love the new year. After the year that I had in 2018 (see my 2018 recap post), I’m more than ready for 2019.
This year is for sure going to be my year. I’m heading into 2019 with the greatest man by my side, amazing friends and family, and an unbelievable group of people cheering me on. I have so many aspirations for 2019, and mark my words, I’m going to reach them, but in order to do so I need to be super productive! One of my number one goals this year is to make the most of my days. I want to be intentional with each hour of my weekdays so that I am getting the most done that I possibly can, correctly.
GET YOUR MINDSET RIGHT
When it comes to being productive, your mindset and the atmosphere you’re in has a lot to do with it. I can only do certain types of tasks in specific settings. For example, I love getting out and going to coffee shops when I need to write. I pop in headphones, turn on some music and write away. When I’m at work in my office, I make sure that my planner is laid out, have my devices plugged up and I listen to podcasts, music and YouTube videos while I do simpler tasks.
If I’m home and working from my room, I either work at my desk or in bed (bad, I know). The only tasks that I can do while sitting in bed are mindless things like editing photos, catching up on Instagram and more. I definitely don’t suggest trying to do important tasks that require you to give your full attention and work quickly while sitting in bed. This is my ‘relaxing time’ because I’ll do these simple tasks why I watch tv!
If there are very important deadlines to meet at the moment, then my mind kicks it into high gear. I work great under pressure and in a time crunch. While I’m not recommending to procrastinate, sometimes I feel like working with time restraints helps me get my mindset right and complete tasks more efficiently. I’ll talk more about this later in the post.
If you’re starting a task that is more on the creative side, take a few moments to get inspired. My personal favorite outlets for this are Pinterest, scrolling through the explore page on Instagram, read a book, flip through a magazine or listen to a podcast. This is something I love to do to get mind in a place that is ready to create.
For you, it may be different! If this isn’t something you do already, play around with it and try different things depending on the task at hand. When I’m doing a more technical task that doesn’t require a creative mindset, I’ll just make myself comfortable and turn on some music to keep me from being distracted by noises and such.
FIND YOUR PERFECT PLANNER
This is huge. I never go anywhere without my planner, seriously. My planner is my Bible and life saver. If it’s not written down in my planner, it’s most likely not getting done. It’s taken me a long time, and lots of trial and error, to find the perfect planner for me. The one that I love the most and have been using for years is The Happy Planner. If you’re interested in reading how I use that planner and why I love it, check out my plan with me blog post.
The key to finding the perfect planner for you is to figure out what you need to accomplish. Are you someone who just wants to keep track of important dates and events? Or are you someone who need to completely map out your days down to the hours? Do you like a structured planner that lays it all out for you? Or do you prefer to have open space to plan your days accordingly?
For me, I prefer a more open layout, which is why I am obsessed with The Happy Planner because I am able to create a unique layout each week with stickers and colorful pens. No week or day is the same for me, so I love that I can use some days to write my lists down, or some days to list important times that I need to remember. I also tend to get bored with things, so with the creative freedom of the planner it’s almost like I’m able to have a new one each week — it never gets boring!
If you’re looking for more structure, The Start Planners are great because they have layouts by the day or week that are mapped out by the hour. This planner is also great for those who have specific goals and project that they’re working on. I suggest looking online at Pinterest or blog posts that compare planners, go into a Michael’s or Barnes and Noble and flip through a few before making the decision.
TIME BATCH YOUR DAYS
This is something new that I learned from The Skinny Confidential and it’s such an amazing idea! Basically, you’re going to sit down and look at the overall tasks that you do on a weekly basis. I’ll give you an example of how I time batch for my blog now. The tasks that I do on a weekly basis are write blog posts, edit all blog and Instagram photos, plan out my Instagram, shoot content, film/edit any video content and then work on the logistics behind it all like emails and brand partnerships.
Now, I spend one day writing all of my blog content, one day is spent editing all of the photos/video, one day I shoot/film any content, and one day is spent planning the content calendar for the month/week and handling logistics.
This is a great technique because it doesn’t require you to be constantly shifting your mindset from task to task, which in return wastes time. By scheduling your tasks for a day of the week, you already prepare your mind for it in advance.
If you want to time batch on a daily basis rather than a weekly basis due to the tasks you have at hand, then you will create an hourly schedule to complete your tasks. For example, spend the beginning part of the morning going through emails and responding to those that need attention and then switch to the most important task of the day. If you’re time batching by day, when you chose the order, make sure that the most important or time consuming task is completed first so that you’re not too mentally exhausted by the time you get to it.
One tool that I have started using to help enforce my time batching is the time cube. It works if you batch by the week or on a daily basis. Basically, you’re going to want to assign a time limit to each task. You will then set the time cube to that time and get to work. Once your time is up, it’s time to move on to the next task. If you don’t complete the task at hand, you know now that you’ll need to adjust your schedule for the next time and find a time to finish the task.
I love this technique because it forces me to beat the clock, and I understand that this isn’t for everyone. If I just sit down to work on a task and don’t give myself a time to complete it, then I’ll take my sweet time and get distracted along the way. You don’t necessarily need the time cube, you could easily set a timer on your computer, phone or watch, but you’ve got to make sure to not get distracted!
CREATE LISTS EVERY DAY
This is something I can’t live without doing. I make multiple lists a day and it’s something that helps me cope with anxiety, stress and allows me to have a visual when it comes to my days. I make lists for packing, work, the blog, things around the house, shopping, etc. If you want to ease into these tips, start with list making. If you’re like me and you love office supplies, go to TJ Maxx or HomeGoods and grab a few inexpensive notepads that have daily and weekly layouts. This will be your fun incentive!
Now that I’ve given you my 5 tips to optimize your productivity, share one of your tips below! I’m always looking for ways to be the best version of myself and make the most out of my days.