Believe it or not, being productive is not a skill that comes easily to most people. Some people are born with the knack of staying on task and avoiding procrastination, and some people simply are not.
One thing I want to clarify is that being productive does not mean running around, stressing, and trying to add more and more to our plates in order to feel like we are doing more. It’s actually the opposite! Being productive brings finding balance and clarity in what we need to get done and working intelligently to accomplish those tasks before moving onto something else. Have you ever heard of the phrase, “work smarter, not harder”? That is what I mean. When you work intelligently to accomplish the to-dos on your list and focus solely on that one task at a time, I can almost guarantee you that you will remain productive until you’re done!
We’re creeping up to Christmas and are officially in the busiest week of the year. And it’s during times like this, with crazy, nonstop schedules and lists the only grow longer not shorter, where I believe we need to take a step back and BREATHE. I know, it sounds crazy but trust me!
In order for us to be productive with our to-do lists, holiday season or not, we need to be able to feel grounded and at peace. It’s during these times of peace and balance when we feel the best about ourselves and the situations we run into. We feel more energized, we have more clarity, and we have a more positive attitude towards all of the tasks that we have.
Can you relate to that? I know that for me, as a single mother, I find I am most productive when I am most organized and clear headed. And I have especially noticed it the past few weeks leading up to the holiday weekend. Sometimes it takes me sitting down, mapping out my thoughts and updating my schedule, and organizing the various obstacles I may have but even the time that it takes me to do that saves me time in the long run!
Other than breathing and finding peace within the chaos, I also think it is very important to braindump! Yep, you read right. Brain-dumping is when we culminate a list of things we need to get done. Literally dumping the never ending, running, to-do list that is in our brain onto a piece of paper. This gives us the opportunity to delineate what tasks are urgent and must get done before moving onto anything else, which tasks are important but can wait, and which tasks are not nearly as important and could possibly be passed off to someone else to do. By doing this, we are able to feel more at ease and less high-strung.
Once the brain-dumping has taken place and we have divided up the tasks by level of importance, we now need to block out time on our schedule of how and when we will fit them in. One very important priority of a High Performer is blocking out time for every tasks that needs to be done during the day. From major projects to when we will fit in our workout or a lunch break, by “blocking” the time directly into your schedule, you are creating a habit of diligence within productivity.
Culminating groundedness, brain-dumping all of the tasks that need to get done and dividing them by levels of urgency, and then blocking out this time appropriately on your schedule, you will be left with a greater peace of mind as well as more free time to use accordingly. For me it will be extra time spent this weekend with my children and family. For you it may be the same or it may be to just sit and relax with a good book. However you choose to use the free time is not what is important. What is important is that you DO use it and that you work on creating it by being productive.
On top of the above tips, remember to always fuel your body with nutrient dense foods and water, to exercise multiple times a week, and to get plenty of sleep. These are JUST as important in improving your productivity level as anything else.
You can find more details about these productivity hacks and how to implement them into your life on my most recent podcast.