Uhh productivity, we all want to know how to become more productive and we all have different strategies that work for us. But getting shit done is a something we all want to be better at, here is the way I do it:
After years in the corporate world, where I have been working for some of the biggest companies and brands in the world, yes big conservative companies like L'Oreal (I worked as an e-commerce manager for the brand: The Body Shop), T-Fal/Tefal (I was their Nordic Digital Marketing Manager) and e.l.f Cosmetics (also Nordic Digital Marketing Manager) I have developed my own strategy on what works best for me, and it is very simple, I do not put too many things on my to-do list.
Write down your goals on your to-do list:
When the week is ending I always use the last hour of my working Friday to look at the tasks I did not finish and what new tasks I have for the next week, and I plan it and write it down. I am old school when it comes to to-do lists, I make my own pretty lists that I print and write on, you can download them for free in the bottom of this post when you sign up for my newsletter. So I print five to-do lists, one for each day. Then I only write three tasks that I need to finish that day but leaving room to add two more. But I never have more than five things on my list. Do you want to know why? Because I get unmotivated when I have 10 different things I need to get done in one day, it is often impossible and it will just tire me out before I am even started. When I have 3-5 things on my list it seems like it’s a job I can actually do. I also divide all of the tasks up, so I start with the most difficult and time-consuming tasks and end with the tasks I like the best. A to-do list on a normal day in my life could easily look like this:
- 1. Set up an embedded sign up form on the blog. This is a task that requires coding and a lot of messing around in the code files, and it can sometimes be something I spend a whole day doing. I am 100% a creative and communicative person, I love to write and create designs, so coding and testing and trying again and again when it is not working, is really something that can make me a bit unmotivated. Luckily practice makes perfect, and I tell myself that every time I do a task I think’s boring and difficult.
- 2. Fix minor errors that Google Console has detected. When you have a blog and/or a webshop you need to have Google Console set up. They send you an email when something is off on your site, so you can fix it. This is not the world’s most exciting task, but very necessary, so you can fix a broken link or replace an image you accidentally uploaded, that is causing your sites load-time to slow down.
- 3. Write a blog post about productivity. Now we are talking, this is more up my alley, writing about things that I love and that excites me. But a blog post still takes time, I am not one of these persons who can just write 2000 clever and interesting words down in no time, so this can take up a big chunk of my day too.
- 4. Create freebie graphics for new sign-ups. Yayy some of my favorite things in the world are to create graphics and be creative, this I can do in the afternoon with a cup of tea while listening to some of my favorite business podcasts.
So this is pretty much a normal day for me, it is tempting to make a loooong to-do lists but instead of becoming more productive it will cause you to be unmotivated and eventually burn out. And this is why we have come to the next thing on my: How to become more productive list.
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Make sure that you always have some exciting things on your to-do list:
This is why I plan out what I need to get done the Friday before a new week starts. My day has to be a mix of fun and less-fun tasks, so I have something to look forward to every day. As an example, on Fridays, I don’t do a lot of desk work except the planning for next week. That day is reserved for creating new recipes and shoot and photos of the food I am making, I sometimes do this with my son at home so we get a day together, and some times I do it alone. But it is nice to have that day to look forward to all week, it motivates me a lot.
Be grateful - celebrate your wins:
Yes I mean it, practice some self-care woman! If you like me hate setting up coding, but you manage to do it anyway, even though it took all day and you did not finish your other goals on your to-do list. Write down that you are happy and grateful for what you accomplished, instead of feeling bad that you didn’t manage to do all of the things on your list.
Use time blocking to be more productive:
Yes, I use time blocking to get started on my tasks and finish them faster, first I thought it would be stressful, but it works. It’s inspired by the famous Pomodoro technique, where it is recommended to spend only 25 minutes on a task and then have a break. This is not possible on all tasks, but it works for some. So take a look at your goals for the day and ask your self how much time you will use on each task. If you have a hard time getting started, set the timer on your smartphone, and I will promise you, it motivates you to get going.
How to avoid procrastination:
I procrastinate when I have a task that needs to be done that is difficult or just doesn’t know how to do it. I put it off until I simply can’t anymore, but if you are self-employed procrastination is, in my opinion, the most dangerous thing, because if you don’t have a boss who expects something to be done at a certain time, you can put of things forever and that is a killer when it comes to starting and maintaining your own business. But as I suggest, start with the tasks you like the least at the beginning of the day and at the beginning of the week, and Eat That Frog, as Brian Tracy writes in his book. Just get it over with so you can start doing the things you love. But you also have to remember that procrastination comes in many shapes and that there are different reasons for procrastination, it does not have to be laziness that hits you every time.
For myself, I always start out with a lot of energy and self-confidence, but as time goes by I begin to procrastinate because I start to think all kinds of sh… like: Why would anyone buy my posters? There are lots of talented artists making posters, or why would anyone buy an e-book from me about digital marketing? There are hundreds of digital marketers who have become self-employed and written an e-book. These negative thinkings kept me from following my dreams for years, and it was first after I became a mother I somehow managed to get so much self-confidence and strength to kick my self in the ass and tell myself that I am actually good at what I am doing, and even though there are others out there doing something similar to what I am doing, there is also room for me because I am actually pretty good at what I am doing. So the next time you get these negative thoughts and start putting things off, ask yourself if it wouldn’t be a good idea to keep going, because only you can make the things that you do, and who knows, maybe it’s much better than many of the things out there, you don’t know it until you tried it.
Put your phone away:
One more thing on the procrastination list, put your phone away while you are working, delete the Instagram app (I don’t have it on my phone anymore and I don’t miss it) and create some time for you to check emails, I always do it at the end of the day, if I do it in the morning where I am absolutely on top of my game, my whole morning can end up being used on writing emails and also check out less important emails.
I hope this little guide has helped you to be more motivated to plan out your day and thereby become more productive without becoming unmotivated and start procrastinating. These are easy tips you can begin with so you can become more and more productive and get a lot of things done. There are a lot of creative ways to become more productive, but planning out my days has been in fewer tasks has by far been one of the most effective for me. And are you in a complete rut where you are experiencing a potential burnout from working and planning too much, I would advise you to scale down and only have one goal every day on your to-do list, one little thing that you like to do and that you feel confident about doing, believe me, it helps! Because you will still have a feeling of accomplishing something and you are practicing self-care at the same time.
Do you want my free printables for your fancy to-do list? Just signup in the form below this blog post and you will receive a file that you can print and use for you daily/weekly planning
I have included room for you to write down notes every day in the free printable, if you, however, feel like writing more notes and diary about your day, check out my notebooks right here
Are you interested in reading more about productivity, procrastination, and stress, I can recommend these books for you to read:
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Who Wrote This Blog Post? Hi I am Line and welcome to my little universe, where I mix my knowledge and many years of experience in the corporate world, with my creative side. I blog about anything from how to start your own business, to how to make the best meals and snacks for toddlers, I also use this site to run my shop where you can buy bohemian posters for your home. Take a look around and send me an e-mail if you have any questions. You can also find me on Pinterest & Instagram.
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