I'm kinda obsessed with time management and 'hacks' for productivity. I can spend (waste) hours looking at this new method garunteed to shave 5 hours off your workweek, oh or this one about 7 habits only the most succesful people share. It's easy to be lured in by those promises. If there's one resource we have that's always in demand, it's our time. So why would anyone not want to figure out the best way to use their time?
Well, unfortunately there isn't a one-size fits all option for that. People operate in different ways and what works for me, might not work for you. If you're a morning person or a night person (or like me, some kind of perpetually exhausted pigeon eating breadcrumbs) then there are different peak times. Some people love bullet journalling and keeping planners (MEEEE!!) and some people find them distracting and irritating. Spending time on my planner is one of the biggest ways I procrastinate, BUT I love taking the time to write out to dos and putting together what my day looks like. So, in other words, people are complicated.
So this is not a get-time-quick or a only-the-best-do-this-one-crazy-trick kinda post. Instead, I'm just going to talk about some of the things that have worked for me. I'll even mention things that didn't work for me, or only worked for a little while because there are a wide range of options out there when it comes to being productive.
1. Pomodoro. So the pomodoro method is very simple, you set a timer (there are a ton of free apps if you want one) for 25 minutes and focus on your task for the entire 25 minutes. Then you get a five minute, repeat with a longer break of 15 minutes thrown in after working for an hour.
What's great about this? This is one of the best ways to just get me writing (I'm writing this post with a timer clocking down. 13 minutes to go!) because 25 minutes doesn't sound intimidating. It's also fun to race myself and see how much I can get done before the timer goes off.
What's not so great? Getting the app set up, and staring at the clock can tend to hand you up.
2. Single-Tasking. Seriously this combined with the pomodoro technique have made the biggest difference in how I get my work done both at my day job and in my writing. Focusing on a single task, not popping over to check Facebook or Twitter, or text a friend, but really, truly focusing makes tasks go a whole lot faster. Despite what you may think about yourself (everyone thinks they're a great multi-tasker) brains just don't do so well when switching between multiple tasks. Ever had someone interupt you while you're writing? How long does it take you to get back into the zone?
What's great about this? Seriously, everything. Try it and see if it works for you.
What's not so great? Life is filled with distractions: email, Facebook, phone, spouse, roommate, kid, dog, cat, package delivery, phone call, and your own thoughts. This is a damn hard thing to accomplish.
3. Eat the frog.
Do the hardest or worst thing on your agenda first thing in the morning because then nothing else seems so bad, I mean what could be worse than eating a live frog? Ugh.
What's great about this? You feel super accomplished first thing!
What's not so great? I've found that many frogs have a lot of tadpoles left behind that end up taking up the rest of the day.
4. Bullet Journal/Planners
Bullet journaling is a simple method of tracking your tasks, life and anything else you want. It's a planner and diary all in one. They're a great way to keep a record of what was going on in your life at any particular point. Planners, likewise, can be a great way to track, plan and account for your time. (Also, there are a ton of cute stickers you can use to personalize them. I LOVE STICKERS)
What's great about this? Keep track of your time, get that surge of satisfaction when you check something off, and see what's coming up on your calendar.
What's not so great? It's easy to get caught up in the prepping of the planner/journal and not ever use it! The best of intentions don't mean you'll actually use it.
5. Setting alarms/calendar events.
One of the great things about people basically always having a phone on them is that it's perfect for setting alarms to remind yourself of things. 12:00 writing time, set calendar event and alarm for every day and profit in the delicious word piles that will rain down on you.
What's great about this? A perfect reminder of daily activities. Not just for writing, but for bed time, medicine time, and more.
What's not so great about this? Want to know what's so easy to turn off that I've done it without really waking up? Alarms.
So those are 5 common tips that have/have not worked for me. I'm slowing lowering the amount of time I spend reading about how to be more productive and instead, try to just get things done!
(Ha post finished with 1 minute and 32 seconds left on my Pomodoro timer! BAM!)