The Ultimate Guide to Being Productive
Updated: Oct 12
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For the past two years, I’ve been working from home as a freelance writer. It has been a year of highs and lows, filled with anxiety and uncertainty. Yet, I enjoy being in the comfort of my home, sitting at my desk, and working at my own pace.
Have you been struggling to work from home? Are you forced to work from home due to COVID?
Let me know your experiences in the comments; I’m curious to see how others are doing their work. Even if you are not working from home, I’m confident that you can benefit from being more productive. There is always more to learn because you know what?
MOST PEOPLE ARE NOT BORN PRODUCTIVE. PRODUCTIVITY IS A SKILL THAT CAN BE LEARNED AND MASTERED!
One of my biggest challenges has been STAYING FOCUSED and PRODUCTIVE throughout the day without getting too sidetracked. That’s the reason why I’ve done my research and decided to help others get back to work, to maximize productivity, and have more free time.
The internet is full of people who promise to give you secret formulas and the best tips to ensure you work as little as possible and get rich! But let’s be realistic. Most things in this world take hard work, time, and effort. Don’t feel discouraged when you don’t get enough stuff done in one day. There is a solution to this problem: BE MORE PRODUCTIVE THE NEXT DAY.
Well, ok, …easier said than done. But how do I become more productive? How can I manage my time more efficiently?
Trust the experts and learn from them. There are so many genuine hacks, helpful tips, and time-saving tools online; you can make your life easier with minimal financial investment. Can you buy productivity with money? Sure, it's a learnable skill.
Who doesn't want 1 or 2 hours of extra free time per week? You can do more reading, more gardening, more binging, more walking, spend more time with your friends and family. If you want to learn my 5 tips for becoming a more productive worker to create that free time for yourself, keep reading!
I've broken these productivity tips into 5 pieces of advice, or productivity hacks, whatever you prefer to call them.
TIP #1: ORGANIZE YOUR WORKSPACE
The first thing you do is create a plan. Think about how you are going to create a comfortable workspace. How can you improve your existing space? Do you need to buy some organizers? A new desk, perhaps? A more comfortable chair? Just think and write down the main things you want to do to get more organized.
· Clear off your desk completely.
· Use disinfecting cleaning wipes or solution to scrub off your desk and give it a deep clean.
· Place all papers, notebooks, and stationery into organizer boxes.
· Use a cup or metallic organizer for pens and pencils.
· Clean your electronic devices and place them on your desk.
· Put away any cables, chargers, USB sticks, etc. Only keep out what you need right now.
· Make sure there is no extra clutter on your desk. Only keep the essentials handy and place the rest out of sight.
Don’t forget about organizing your online world. Stay up to date with passwords, deadlines, work, and general online presence.
You can work from anywhere really, but I think you'll get more work done with a proper desk setup.
"The sofa is the enemy of productivity" - Demetri Martin
Do you agree?
I honestly get a lot of work done from the sofa or my bed. When my back and arms get tired, I move to a much comfier place and continue my work there. It's really all about feeling cozy and comfy while working. It will make the whole process more enjoyable and what you'll notice is that you can actually be productive and get work done while feeling as if you're lazing around.
So, my tip is to make the sofa a productivity ENABLER, not an enemy!
TIP #2: PLAN AND WRITE LISTS
Why is planning important?
· Well, if you plan you can be sure you don’t forget to do things.
· You can organize your day better.
· You can think ahead and make plans for the future.
I'm sure you've all heard people rave on about productivity hacks but have you actually implemented such a hack?
Yes, even implementing and putting a hack to work requires a small degree of planning.
Content Planning for Bloggers
Every blogger knows it takes time and effort to create content. Whether it’s blog posts, videos, audio content, or graphics, it’s not as simple as 1,2,3. You need a REAL content planning strategy. This is especially true for those who have to stick to upload schedules. If your readers expect a new blog post every Friday, you have to do the work ahead of time to have fresh content to post.
The best way to improve productivity is to write lists. If you write lists, you will feel less stressed out about forgetting. Here are a few examples of the types of lists you can write to get more done each day:
· To-do lists (daily)
· To-do lists (for a week)
· To-do lists (for the month ahead)
· Shopping lists
· Content lists
· Lists of things you need to order
· Lists of people you need to contact
· E-mail and contact info lists
· Long-term to-do lists
· Project lists
· Work task lists
· List of meetings
· List of random things you come upon
· Lists of useful resources
· Lists of ideas
TIP #3: SET REALISTIC GOALS
Be realistic when you set goals for yourself. Ask yourself these 3 questions:
How much work do I have to complete this week?
How much time do I have to complete my tasks?
Is this new task worth my while?
Try to be honest with yourself. Don't overburden yourself because the only things you'll actually accomplish is that you'll give yourself burnout, depression, and anxiety. It's a good idea to try to add more tasks to complete per day but they have to be doable and manageable.
start with short-term goals
pick one important goal first
give yourself micro-tasks
be specific with goals and avoid any general or broad goals
believe in yourself and your abilities to thrive
give yourself a pat on the back
accept failure and take it as part of the package
be okay with not getting everything done
The key to high productivity is strategic goal setting!
Highly productive and successful individuals are masters at setting the right goals. They think about what they want to achieve strategically, as opposed to compulsively. Even if the way to success is more difficult, they push through the hard stuff to achieve a worthy goal.
S.M.A.R.T GOAL SETTING
Have you heard about the s.m.a.r.t goal setting system? It's a highly effective goal-setting system or technique designed to help you weed through the unnecessary and focus on the essential goals. Here is what SMART stands for:
S - specific (is my goal specific enough?)
M - measurable (can I see results?)
A - achievable (is it truly do-able?)
R - realistic (can I make it work?)
T - timely (how long will it take?)
Before starting on a goal, evaluate it using the S.M.A.R.T method and see how you'll be able to achieve it and if it's a worthy pursuit.
TIP #4: CREATE SIMPLE MORNING ROUTINES
There's a common piece of wisdom that says 'good days begin with good mornings' and most of the time it's true!
Start by eating a healthy breakfast and having a nice cup of coffee or tea, whichever you fancy! You have no idea how many people underestimate the effect of a good morning meal. Not only will you feel energized and prepared to work, but you also won't get distracted by your tummy grumbling!
Consider having a delicious smoothie, yogurt, fruit bowl, granola bowls, eggs, or pancakes. For more delicious breakfast ideas, check out this cookbook full of healthy breakfast recipes.
If you prefer to exercise in the morning, get your workout done before you start working. A little exercise is always a good way to get inspired and ready for the day. Having a morning stretch, run, workout or any type of exercise has been proven to help make you feel better.
Here are some of the benefits of a morning workout:
feel more alert
stay more focused
feel less moody and depressed
have a better mood
feel more energized
regulate blood sugar
feel less stressed
lowers blood pressure
Give yourself a few minutes of "me-time" every single morning. I know that it's hard if you have kids and a busy lifestyle, but taking 5 minutes to think, breathe, and do some mental planning will make a noticeable difference. It's a great way to avoid morning stress and stress-related anxiety.
TIP #5: MANAGE YOUR TIME
Are you a procrastinator like me? Or perhaps you're a busy momma, with lots on her mind. I think you'll benefit from one of the ebooks included in the bundle. It's all about transforming yourself from a procrastinator to a highly productive person!
Now it's time for a handy productivity hack...
If you've ever read anything about productivity, you've probably come across the Pomodoro Technique.
What is it?
It's a time blocking technique meant to help you break down tasks into 25-minute blocks. When you focus on getting one task done, you're more focused and thus more productive than if you're mind is thinking about many things at once.
Each 25-minute session is followed by a 5-minute break. The breaks allow your mind to re-focus, relax, and prepare for the next block.
The goal of this method is to help you focus on 1 task. You want to avoid shifting your focus and multi-tasking to ensure your work is high quality and well done.
I applied this technique when writing this blog post and it was quite a good strategy for me. I spent my time focused on writing and stopped doing other side-tasks (like posting in FB). So, guess what? I wrote this post more quickly and spent A LOT LESS TIME PROCRASTINATING!
Want to be strict with yourself?
Grab yourself a Pomodoro Timer!
With a Pomodoro-inspired timer, you can know exactly when your time is up! You'll never feel like you're just working nonstop. It has a 25-minute work block and a 5-minute break period.
This technique is about breaking down your work into 25-minute blocks.
By breaking down tasks and segmenting your work time, you'll be able to focus more and get 10x more work done.
The mandatory 5-minute breaks are highly effective. You have no idea how useful these mini-breaks can be. Fixed-time intervals help our brains retain more information, keeping our minds efficient. This Pomodoro technique is also great for students who want to study more efficiently.