Get more done in less time, overcome procrastination and become a master at time management with these 5 super simple productivity tips that I’ve been using in my daily routine for the past 10 years…
Ahhhh… that elusive state of mind we all strive for… productivity.
We all know what it feels like to be UN-productive. Ironically, even sitting down to do this article on productivity was something I put off until the very last minute because every time I sat down to do it…
I’d find myself distracted by something else.
It is no secret that it’s far too easy to become distracted these days, more than ever before. Thanks to social media, emails, text messages, and the millions of other notifications we get sent to our smartphone on a daily basis that seriously de-rail our productivity train.
But it’s not just smartphones to blame…
The truth is the human mind is literally wired for a constant state of distraction.
In a recent study, two Harvard psychologists found that the human mind is actually wired for this state of continuous distraction – it found that we spend around 47 percent of every waking hour “mind wandering.”
Yep. You know what I’m talking about here… one minute you’re working, and the next minute you’re thinking about that time you embarrassed yourself by falling out of your desk in French class in the 5th Grade…
So this begs the question: Are we doomed to deal with chronic procrastination and unproductivity forever?!
Now, while I do believe that procrastination breeds productivity –– you know what I’m talking about. When you leave something to the last minute there’s nothing like the looming pressure of a fast-approaching deadline to get those keys tapping…
But the cycle between procrastination and the mad-dash to get things done in time isn’t exactly sustainable, nor does it breed your best work.
Luckily, I’m here to tell you that there are some mindful habits that you can EASILY implement into your daily routine to dramatically improve your focus, productivity, and even your overall quality of life...
And these habits are even more insanely important to master once you become your own boss and no one is around to kick your butt into gear but you…
After being a freelance copywriter for over 10 years, I’ve developed a pretty good system for maximizing my own productivity and getting more done on a daily basis
So in today’s blog, I’m going to share with you the 5 things I do every single day, to breeze through my to-do lists and produce my best quality work—even when I’m feeling super unmotivated to work, like I was today…
Plus I’ll share some words of wisdom from my Posse community on how they get into flow when the procrastination bug bites…
And make sure to read till the end for a super juicy BONUS TIP which is honestly the key to not just boosting productivity but also living a fulfilled and satisfied work-from-home life…
So buckle up and get ready because we’re about to shift into GSD mode.
Hey guys, what’s up – it’s Alex!
Coming at ya this week with an article to help you smash your to-do lists, wow your clients, and truly live your best life by working smarter, not harder 😉
If you’re a self-identified, chronic procrastinator leave a comment below to let me know you’re here.
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Alright, now before we dive into my tips I think it’s important to actually define productivity. Because we know we all want it, but what IS IT exactly.
According to the good ol’ Google, productivity is “the effectiveness of productive effort as measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input.”
Yes, productivity is a quantitative measurement that you can’t actually neatly quantify at all…
And can you ever be 100% productive?
How do you gauge productivity? Well, how productive you feel you are and how accomplished you feel at the end of each day are directly related to your individual goals and expectations.
Maybe you spend an entire day brainstorming seemingly useless ideas that will actually someday lead to a multi-million dollar product launch or lead you to start an 8-figure business…
While on the surface it might not seem like you accomplished much that day, you’ve actually done quite a lot of very important work!
I’m a firm believer that there’s a time and place for everything in work. A time for brainstorming, a time for planning, a time for implementation, and a time for review.
So the very first step in maximizing your productivity is to release the impossible expectations of constant hustle and grind. Life is about balance, and that is true when it comes to work too.
Not every day will be an “implementation day” and that’s okay! Learn to recognize the value in brainstorming and planning days too!
So with that in mind, here my 5 productivity tips…
1. Ease Into Your Mornings
Alright, now first things first. You need to make sure that you’re starting each and every working day with the right state of mind. Which is easier said than done when you consider the stress and chaos that most of us encounter during our morning routines.
Maybe you spilled your coffee all over a white shirt this morning, or maybe you were up all night with a screaming baby… maybe you’re going through some personal stuff or maybe the first thing you saw this morning was a mean email or text message…
All of these things can sabotage your productivity for the day before you ever get started.
So something I like to do before I sit down to work, is first remove all distractions—I put my phone on Do Not Disturb—honestly just doing just this one thing can make the biggest impact on your productivity.
Then I go to the kitchen, make myself a cup of coffee… then spend 10-15 minutes sitting either in silence alone or connecting with my partner, Jaxon. I like to ease into my mornings so my setpoint for the day is slow, steady, and mindful, not rushed or stressed.
I sip my coffee, listen to the birds or watch the fireplace—depending on the time of year—and I take some deep breaths while planning my day ahead. This allows me to regulate my nervous system, calm myself down from anything that was hectic or stressful during the morning, and focus my energy on the work ahead of me. Even if all you have is 5 mins, I highly recommend you do this.
2. Time Block Your Day
This is key to maximizing your productivity… find out when you work best!
Morning, afternoon, evening, or night—and then time block your day accordingly.
This is how I time block my days: I reserve time for creative brilliance, time for handling project and admin tasks, and time for meetings.
And because I know that I produce my best work in the mornings – that is when I dedicate my time to being creative. So the mornings are typically when I get the most writing, content creation, and client work done.
Then as I move into the afternoon, my creative fire starts to dwindle out a bit and I move into more of a “left-brain” state. So that’s when I’ll do any editing, responding to social comments and emails, or administrative tasks like sending invoices, paying bills, etc.
Then I’ll schedule any meetings for the last few hours of my day.
Everyone has a different creative time though—so start to experiment with your workflow and take notice of when you’re at your creative best. Then schedule everything else AROUND that. Protect your creative time fiercely.
3. Make A List Of MIT’s
This is something that I do religiously!
Mapping out my MIT’s – or most important tasks – really helps me to prioritize what I need to get done on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
Every Monday, I jot down my MIT’s for the week, then assign days to accomplish each task.
I like to separate my daily tasks by the 1-3-5 rule. 1 big task – like say, writing a particular piece of copy – 3 medium tasks – which could be reviewing work or getting into the studio to a video – and 5 small tasks – which could be as simple as responding to an email that’s been sitting in my inbox awhile or scheduling a call.
I start at the top, doing the big (or most difficult tasks first) and then work my way down through the medium tasks, and ending my day with the small tasks.
This helps to make sure that my creativity and energy tank is full when I need it most, for the big task!
If you wait to do the hardest thing until later, your tank will be empty, and not only will it be more difficult for you to focus on the task, but it will take longer too! This is when I feel the most unproductive… when I get to the end of the day and I still haven’t done the big thing on my to-do list.
4. Try The Pomodoro Technique
The biggest secret to being productive?… Taking lots of breaks!
Which I know, I know, I know… it feels very contradictory. But give it a try. I’d recommend using the Pomodoro Technique…
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down work into small bursts of intervals, separated by short breaks.
Traditionally this technique is done with 25 minutes of working, followed by a 5-minute break.
The genius behind this technique is that it makes a big task much less daunting. I mean just the thought of sitting down to write an entire sales page can be so overwhelming that you put it off for… weeks… right?
But when you approach it from the mindset of, “I just need to work on it for 25 minutes,” it becomes a lot less overwhelming, and you’re way less likely to procrastinate!
The key to this method is actually taking a break. So actually standing up, leaving your desk, maybe making a quick healthy bite to eat! If your “break” involves checking emails and replying to work inquiries… then it isn’t really a break, is it?
Now, of course, there are exceptions to this rule… every writer knows the importance of flow state. When you’re in it, you don’t dare break it – or else you risk the chance of not re-entering it!
If my 25-minute timer goes off, but I’m in the middle of a juicy flow state I will keep working instead of taking a break, then I’ll take a longer 15-30 minute break when I feel my flow starting to dwindle.
You can set your own timer or you can use one of the many free Pomodoro timers online.
5. Work On One Thing At A Time
Multitasking might seem like an efficient way to get more things done, but studies show that multitasking can actually decrease your productivity by 40%!
This is because constantly switching from one task to another is stressful on the brain, resulting in less efficient focus and a lower quality of work.
If you have multiple things to do in one day, this is where your MIT list comes in handy. Learning to prioritize your workflow is one of the most important things any entrepreneur can do.
If you really want to shave time off your tasks, following a few tips like learning keyboard shortcuts can save you tons of time. That has been a total game-changer for me!
Before I sat down to write this article I was feeling SUPER unmotivated so I asked the Posse over on Instagram for some advice…
You guys shared so many incredible productivity tips with me! Here are just a few…
Mara says Meditation helps her.
Romit says, “Change your state, revisit your why, and visualize the consequences of procrastination.”
Natasha says, “Do a sweaty HIIT workout, write a gratitude list, or put a timer on!”
Lucie says, “Go out for a walk in nature (with your doggy if you have one).”
Anna says “Just start writing badly, action first and motivation second.”
And Jenson says “Take a mid-day shower!” Love that idea because all the best ideas come to me in the shower!
Thanks for your tips Posse! And if you have any productivity tips I missed, drop them below.
And now for the juicy bonus tip I promised you….
BONUS TIP: Do Something You ENJOY
Ah, yes the cliche that if you do what you love, then you’ll never work a day in your life…
There’s so much truth to that statement. When you’re doing something that you genuinely enjoy doing, then you’re less likely to dread the day ahead.
Being happy at work and loving what you do is a serious productivity booster that actually enhances performance. In fact, according to this study from the University of Southern California, it’s proven that people who enjoy their jobs are more likely to be optimistic, motivated, learn faster, make fewer mistakes, and better business decisions.
So this really is the secret recipe to not only more success in your career, but more fulfillment in your life…
And while we won’t always enjoy every single task we have to do in a day, if you’re feeling the procrastination gremlin starting to rear its ugly head, start your day by doing the task you enjoy most FIRST! It’s a good way to kickstart your engine and start getting things done.
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Good luck. Until next time, I’m Alex. Ciao for now.