I am all about productivity; I think my personality naturally lends itself to always be searching for a more productive methods. But sometimes in busy seasons, it becomes hard for me to catch up. In stark contrast however, is my natural lack of organization. Without any boundaries, my good intention or good ideas can easily become the best idea I never had. In college I struggled with this my first two years. It seemed like everyone around me had it together and I was up everything trying to finish assignments that I didn’t understand. So, I decided to stop the shame cycle perpetuated by the results I was receiving and integrated a couple of things in my life to keep me productive.
Whether you are in a professional career, side hustle, student, or stay at home, here are 5 tips to boost productivity! (Yeah, not as exciting as talking about my relationship fails but a good read nonetheless.)
- Get a calendar or organizational app and put everything on it! This is my life saver! I strongly recommend to any college freshman. I prefer to have a hardcopy calendar but your phone calendar will work just as well. If you’re not planning your working hours, you will lose time working on things that don’t matter. Put everything on your calendar (even personal things). I would prefer to make better use of my waking hours than to stay up until 4am because I’ve mismanaged my time. Trust me, you are more human this way.
- Break big tasks/projects into little chunks. Nothing is more overwhelming than seeing a big To-do at the top of my list with no action steps. Not only is it overwhelming, but it slows me down considerably. As a habit, I’ve learned to take big tasks or tasks that need to be organized over a long period of time and write out small steps on a sticky or my desk pad. If there are certain tasks that I need to be reminded of months from now, I create a calendar reminder with detailed instructions, contact info, and any other important info I would need to know. That way I’m getting a little done every day rather than having to set a huge chunk of time and get nowhere.
- Block time & batch projects. Going through college, most students naturally learn how to block out time. Combining that with batching will increase productivity. Batching is combining similar tasks that use similar resources. For example, I’ve started batching different days where I can take photos for the blog, edit, produce social media content, and time for research. Rather than search for pictures for each blog post, I batch a day to plan out the months posts and assign whether I would like to have a personal photo (as opposed to a stock photo) and what it will be. That way, when I’m out with friends or running errands, I can be mindful of taking good quality photos I can actually use.
- Ignore emails. When you are working on big projects or something that requires your attention, commit to not looking at your emails. This will keep you in the zone and make your work more productive than having to stop multiple times in a project. Some email apps will have notifications while you work. If you can’t completely ignore your emails, use the notification setting to preview and determine if an email is urgent.
- Work with your weaknesses. I will preach this concept till kingdom come! It has completely shifted my perspective. I am not a Type A person. Although I think I lie somewhere in the neutral zone between types, I think I more closely relate to all the type B’s out there! I naturally lean towards being unorganized and forgetful which can be a roadblock for my personality type. I often would become so frustrated with myself that I couldn’t just muster the discipline to be more productive. Instead of beating myself up to become something I’m not, I choose to work with my weaknesses. I create habits, routines and systems that help my strengths work with my weaknesses. When I have an idea, get instructions, or need to go back to something, I jot it down on my notepad a that precise moment. That way I don’t have to work to remember; its right there for me. I use apps like Slack or Planoly to remind me throughout the day. Ironically, because I have so many systems in place to bolster my weakness, people tend to think I’m naturally organized!
Hopefully these tips help you become more productive! If you have tips or habit you integrate, leave a comment below!
“If you organize your life around your passion, you can turn your passion into your story and then turn your story into something bigger―something that matters.”