5 Tips to Be & Remain Productive
Updated: Oct 23, 2020
Ever since I was in elementary school up until graduate school and work, I found it very hard to procrastinate. I don’t know if I was born with it, if I grew up around it at home, or if it just made me feel good. Either way, I still stick to it and let me tell you, it has earned me many achievements such as straight A’s in graduate school, the ability to work on important projects at work, and being admired by my colleagues. Trust me, I would not be running my own website, e-commerce store, YouTube channel, social media, working remotely, and blogging all on my own if I were no good at being productive. With that being said, here are the Top 5 Tips to be and remain productive:
Make a To-Do List to Help You Prioritize
I cannot stress this enough! Making a to-do list to you might sound pointless for many reasons. However, creating a to-do list allows you to SEE what it is you need to do. (I do mine every morning, so I can plan out my day). I can guarantee you that having a mental to-do list doesn’t always go too well. Why do you think that is? You don’t have it physically in front of you to prioritize, to check off, or to remember. I have two ways of making to-do lists: on paper and digitally. Get ahold of a cute notebook, planner, or even just loose paper. Having something that inspires you or that you like having will motivate you more on developing your to-do lists. Another option is using your smartphone, laptop, or tablet. Digital bullet journals are a thing now, maybe you can build from that. Use Apple’s Notes app, for instance. There are tons of apps out there that can help you be creative on your to-do lists. Once you have your to-do list, stick to it! Prioritize what is most urgent or important and start checking off as you go. Then treat yourself at the end of your accomplishment. You’ll deserve it.
Prioritizing is simply giving something more importance than something else. Once you have your physical To-Do List, you can begin ranking your tasks. How you prioritize them is up to you. Do you want to do the small, easy tasks first and get them out of the way? OR Do you want to tackle the time-consuming tasks that require more effort? You may also want to prioritize (small or big) tasks that have close due dates. Whatever your form of prioritizing, once you keep it consistent, it’ll come natural to you. Better yet, it will allow you to remain productive. This new skill that you continually strengthen, will make it more difficult for you to slack off. You will appreciate your time and energy more.
Turn Off as Many Distractions as You Can
I know, I know. This tip has many “buts” and “ifs”. Maybe you have to watch your children or maybe you live with noisy roommates. Whatever your situation, I highly suggest finding a way of turning that “off”. If you can find a quiet place to do your work, do it. Of course, only if you can. If you can’t, then turn off other distractions. Turn off social media, turn off the TV, and turn off your phone if you can. If you are a student doing homework, for example, you’ll finish quicker than if you had all your social media tabs opened next to your school assignment. Texts can wait. If it’s urgent, you’ll know. Let it “bing”. Once you are done, you can go back to checking your social media, it’ll still be there. Another distraction you can “turn off” are your worries. We are all human and we have thousands of things going on in our head. Relax, take a deep breath, clear your head for a bit and focus on your current task. If you want it done well, you’ll need to give it your full attention. You are your worst distraction.
Make It Fun
Being productive can be fun. It doesn’t have to be boring or “useless” (as I’ve heard some people term it). Put on some of your favorite music. Prepare some snacks and beverages. If applicable, wear clothes you like. Make yourself comfortable! I like to put on some relaxing beats, light up some candles to give the room a good smell, put on some yoga pants, grab some fruit and tea, and if you are a stationary freak like me, you’ll get your favorite pens, notebooks, sticky notes, etc. Whatever your tasks--school, work, home, internship, cooking, planning, organizing--make it fun. Your time is valuable and you want to enjoy everything you do.
Reward Yourself After Being Productive
I have always gone by the saying, “Work now, play later.” It makes sense. We go to work first (well for most of us), then we clock out and “play”. This is something I am glad I was taught by my parents at a very young age. I would get home from school, do all of my homework, then go out and play. I was able to enjoy my afternoons because I wasn’t worrying about finishing my homework. What if the game was just getting good? What if I did not realize I would need more time than usual on that math worksheet? I knew for myself I had done what was needed and now I could do as I’d like. Same thing should apply as we grow into adulthood. Hard work should be rewarded and celebrated! Go out for a drink (when it’s safe to do so again), watch your favorite streaming service like Netflix or Disney+, play video games, or just relax. I know, I know. Sometimes you are so worn out from being productive you have no more energy to do anything fun. That’s ok. At least you’ll feel good about yourself, trust me. You would feel tired but relieved that you did not leave everything at the last minute.
Just Do It!
Just. Do. It. I know the hardest thing about being productive is starting. Sometimes you are so overwhelmed with work you don’t even know where to initiate. That’s why you begin with a To-Do List. Once you have that visually clear, you can begin prioritizing and just get to it. With no distractions it will be easier to begin. Even if you begin on the wrong foot, at least you started. Keep pushing and you’ll get to where you need to be. Starting is better than not starting. Yes, that sounds very cliche and cheesy, but I think it is very true. It’s like many things in our lives: working out, starting up a conversation, diets, calling someone, getting ready, etc. You just have to do it! I’m sorry to tell you there is no magic or miracle around that. Just Do It!
I hope these 5 Tips inspire you to begin or continue being productive. Everyone has their own form of productivity, but if you can sprinkle in these tips, I’m sure you’ll gain strong skills within yourself you did not know you had. I hope you feel as satisfied and accomplished as I do when I follow my Top 5 Tips for productivity. Make these tips your own, but remember, no matter what, stick to a plan that creates optimal results and that makes you feel happy.
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