5 Tips to Increase Productivity

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We all need more hours in our day.  We all need ways to get us moving, get us motivated, and get our work done.  I work from home with a 4 year old and a 2 year old.  I have blocks of time set aside for working and I try not to work outside of those blocks, so I need a solid plan to keep me as focused as possible.  These are the top 5 things I do in my crazy house.  If they work for me, then they will work for you!

WORKOUT FIRST THING IN THE MORNING

Get up.  Wash your face, brush your teeth, and drink a glass of water.  Then get to it.  Do not check your phone.  Do not turn on your computer.  Get to it and don’t look back until you have been at it for at least 30 minutes.  

Not only is exercise good for your health, it is also great for your mind.  I take morning runs and sometimes do yoga.  During this time, I think about what I need to do for the day.  I think about problems that need to be addressed or try to work through issues in my head.  Exercise is mindless work.  It is a great time to focus inwardly and get really good thoughts circulating. The next step is up to you, but I get done, drink water, then sit down and make my to do list before taking a shower.  Since all the thoughts were swirling around in my head, I want to get them on paper as soon as possible.  Yes, I use paper (the PUSH GOAL day planner to be exact.)

 

MAKE A TO DO LIST BEFORE BEGINNING WORK

Brainstorm what the TOP 3 priorities are for the day.  These are the things that MUST get done TODAY.  If these things do not get done, the entire day will be shot.  These are the tasks that other tasks build on.  Once, you get these duties on your list, list other work related goals that you need to accomplish within 2-3 days.  These are tasks that need to get done, but if they are not done today, it will not ruin your work flow.  Maybe they become tomorrow’s top 3, but today they are ok to get to later.  Last, in a separate section, list the household/outside of work things you need to do.  This can be cleaning, kids activities, dinner plans, pickups at the cleaners, etc.  

At this point, I also make a rough schedule.  More about that when I talk about breaks.

 

TURN ON YOUR MUSIC AND PUT ON YOUR BLINDERS

Since I work from home with kids running around, this is dangerous but it still must be done!  I would assume that working in an office is no different with all of the chatter buzzing around.  Choose a music that you can mindlessly listen to with a good upbeat.  I personally listen to Afternoon Acoustic on Spotify.  I do not listen to any of these songs any other time than when I am in ‘the zone’.  I don’t know if that is important, but it is how it works out for me.  

Blinders on means no phone alerts, no texting, no pms, NO FACEBOOK!  I wear an apple watch, so I can see who is texting or calling but do not have access to my phone.  If it is my kids school, I answer.  Otherwise, I let it go.  I have disabled any and all alerts that might pop up on my desktop to distract me while I am working.  This may sound extreme to some, but do not worry.  I have a method to my madness.  Read on….

 

TAKE SCHEDULED BREAKS - SET A TIMER

Earlier, I mentioned the rough schedule.  I make a rough outline of what must be done in order to accomplish my goals for the day, as well as remember the outside of work things that need to be done.  I ALWAYS leave 10 - 30 minutes open between blocks of time.  I use this time to get up and walk around, check my phone, use the bathroom, and refill my water.  Since I work from home and still have Stay At Home Mom duties, I also schedule in pick up times, playdates, grocery shopping, etc.  This keeps me on track because it can be so easy to let those things take the day over without getting any work done.  This is my schedule for today, in case you need it visualized:

Work on Blog              6:30-7:30

Breakfast/Clean up      7:30-8:00

M School                      8:00-9:30 (getting dressed, drop off, come home)

Work on Blog              9:30 - 11:30

M School                     11:30-12:30 (pick up)

Clean                            1:00 - 2:00 (Today, my task is cleaning bathrooms)

M Dance Class             2:00-4:00

Work ( research)           4:00 - 5:30

Family time                  5:30-8:30

Work (Reply to all SM interactions)     8:30-10:30

It is a crazy schedule and it is never the same thing twice, but if I write it out everyday fresh, life is MUCH easier! I also set alarms on my phone for each stopping point (7:30, 11:30, 5:30, 10:30 in example) so that I can stay on track.  It is so easy to say “Just one more minute and I can get this done” and it turns into 15-20 minutes….and I am off track with the day's tasks!  As mentioned earlier, as soon as my work time is up I pick up my phone and check missed calls and messages.  I only scroll my personal facebook after all my work is done.

 

MARK TASKS OFF LIST WITH A RED MARKER

This may sound silly, but seriously...DO IT!  The sense of accomplishment when physically marking things off of a list is HUGE!  When I kept my list on my phone and would check something off, it would disappear...but there are still a list there with lots of stuff.  Now, when I mark off with a red marker, I can glance at my list and see how much I have accomplished!  It is motivating to see what you can do in a day.  I use red, just because of the WOW factor.  You could use black or purple, but there is just something about red that says “HA!  I HAVE DEFEATED YOU EVIL TO DO LIST!”  No?...maybe that is just me!

Do you have a tip/trick that works for you?  Please share below!