if your system of productivity is waking up and making a to-do list of 1,567 items, then this post is for you. you’re only getting through a very small fraction of things on your list and probably feeling unaccomplished at the end of the day. plus, i’d bet money that anxiety drove you to create the list, but not completing it makes you even more anxious.
our brains are like the auto play feature on youtube. without guidance, they switch from task to task. if you’re lucky, things are at least correlated. if you’re not, you’ve probably spent lots of time watching cute cat videos of facebook.
in order to get control of your productivity, you have to be gentle with yourself. remember every task is not weighed the same.
spring clean within: how to declutter your productivity
limit your to-do list to three things
i know, i know, you’re very busy. girl, we all are. the best way to slay dragons and tackle your to-do list is to be intentional and practical. on sundays, i do a massive brain dump of everything i have to do for the week ahead. i then pull the top three most important things from that list to focus on each day. if i’ve completed my big three, and i’m still feeling productive, then i pull additional tasks from the list. breaking things into digestible bites allows me to prioritize what’s most important while also feeling a sense of accomplishment.
your emails can wait
emails are just a mechanism to get work done. i see so many people sitting behind their desks all day, sending and responding to emails. this compulsion removes the focus from what’s most important — the work you’re communicating about in your email. don’t fall for the trap. fit your emails around your to-do list. for example, i check my email first thing in the morning, before lunch and the last 30 minutes of my work day. this way, i’m not distracted throughout the day and can actually accomplish more important tasks.
schedule thinking/reading/writing time
stepping away from your email gives you time to think, read and write. most professional positions value at least one, if not all these skills. treat time dedicated to what may seem like more fuzzy tasks as precious as appointments and meetings. if not, it’s easy to privilege things that aren’t an investment in yourself or career.
take breaks every 45 minutes
humans aren’t built to sit down for hours and stare at computer screens. it’s bad for our posture and overall health. plus, it kills our focus. according to research, taking a 15 minute break every 45 minutes actually increases our productivity. it’s like pressing reset on our brains.
give bullet journaling a try
my bullet journal changed my life. no bullshit. there’s a full post on my love for this system coming soon. in the meantime, just know it’s everything. it’s where i track my appointments, to-do list, habits, daily gratitude log and so much more. the best part is all you need is a simple notebook and a pen. there are loads of resources online to get you started.
the moral of the story: work smarter, not harder. we spend so much time either procrastinating or spinning our wheels until we fail to actually get shit done.
productivity and self-care go hand in hand. becoming more efficient at managing life and work gives you room to focus on what truly matters — you. hopefully, these five tips will not only declutter your productivity, but also help your pursuit of self-care.