Update: This post was originally posted on 23rd August 2020 but after changing my website this post had to be re-published due to technical issues.
I don't know about you but there are days where I'm really motivated to get stuff done and then the day comes to an end and I don't feel like I've been very productive. I find it really frustrating as it's time I feel that I've wasted. It's not to say I've not done anything I just feel I should have accomplished more with my time.
Now I've previously written about keeping your motivation but I'm not meaning that here. I'm talking about sitting down with best intentions of all the things you're going to accomplish and then you get to the end of the day and haven't accomplished anything or very little.
During lock down my motivation hit an all time low and that did affect my productivity so the two are definitely linked. But what can you do when your motivation is fine but your productivity doesn't match up.
Well these are the four tips that I have found most useful, I don't always use all four at the same time but I often do.
I wrote about this in my post about motivation, and it's such a useful tool that it comes over on to my productivity list as well.
On a Sunday night before I go to bed I like to take 10 minutes to myself and write out a to-do-list for the following week. This list will have domestic as well as business tasks on it, and even tasks that I know I won't get to until the end or middle of the week goes on here.
I don't make the list pages long and I wouldn't recommend anyone does that as it will become over whelming and be counter intuitive. I tend to have between 10 and 15 items on the list, as I say this is a list that has both domestic items such as the ironing (I'll be the first to admit that I'm not the best for doing the ironing every week hence why it has to go on to the to-do-list) as well as business tasks like writing my next blog post. It's also for an entire week so things like going to the bank might be on it even though it's a Wednesday before I generally do a task like that.
As the week progresses I might add items to the list as things crop up. I might not get everything completed every week from my list but as long as I complete the majority of the tasks I'm happy. This tip really helps focus my mind on what I need to accomplish, especially on a Monday as I am not at my day job so it's the day I like to be the most productive on.
This is another tip from my post on motivation that has made it over here but again it's such a useful tool it has to come over to help with productivity.
Now I'm sure you've got your big goals and that you've broken them down into manageable bites that are maybe what you want to accomplish each quarter or month. But what I find useful is to have weekly goals as well as they focus my mind on what I want to achieve and so what I need to do that week.
At the moment my goals are geared towards building up my social media presence and getting more people over to my website and blog. Naturally as I am running this as a business I want it to start making money in the long run. However, as the saying goes Rome wasn't built in a day and if I was to focus on everything I need to do to make my business a financial success not only would my motivation evaporate but so would my productivity due to feeling overwhelmed. I know because I tried before, but when I focus on the baby steps and have weekly goals I am definitely more productive.
It's not to say that every week I reach my goals for that week but I can see progress being made.
This is one that I don't do every day but on the days I am at the day job I definitely use as it helps me know what I'm doing when and also when I can sit down to my to-do-list.
I have experimented with an old fashioned desk diary and using the calendar on my phone. I'm not sure either fully fit me, I like the ritual of writing down what's coming up but it bugged me when something changed and that days page would then be a mess. On the other hand I like the fact that I can allocate colours on the calendar on my phone and set alarms to remind me what I have coming up.
So after all is said, I did a year with a desk diary I have decided for the time being to just use the calendar on my phone. It's cheaper and it's always on me, I may at some point return to a desk diary but probably not until I am in the position to work from home full-time on my business.
But I digress the reason having a schedule helps with productivity is that it enables you to plan your day. And knowing not only when you can sit down to work on your tasks for the week but also how long you have helps focus your mind. Or at least it does for me.
Now this links into the tip about having a schedule and especially handy for when working at home. As like the schedule having a set amount of time to work on a particular task focuses your mind on what you are meant to be doing.
I find when I do this I am less likely to find myself being distracted by messages from friends or being tempted to scroll through social media. As when your business is online the temptation to just do a quick check suddenly ends up losing you half an hour of your precious time.
I am not saying that you shouldn't be on social media especially if it's linked into your business. On my post about motivation I wrote about networking and I do 99% of my networking via social media. But if it stops you getting on with your other tasks that you need to do whether that is for a business you run for yourself or other tasks that's when it becomes a problem. I schedule in time to be on social media and try to stick to that so I am able to network but also accomplish my other tasks.
Another advantage that I find to a timer is that when my daughter is at home with me she always want my attention. Which I do my best to give her but there are times when I need to work. This is where the timer has come into its own, I am able to say to her I will set the timer on my phone for x amount time and if she leaves me alone until it goes off I can then stop and play with her.
This usually keeps her happy and the times she comes up to me before the timer goes off I can point out the timer is still running and I will play with her once it has finished running down. And I make a point of closing my laptop when the timer goes off and playing with her. Not only does this allow me to get on with work but also lets my daughter know that although I have to work she is still the more important than work.
I hope these tips are helpful to you and will help you become more productive. Do you have any tips of your own that you find useful to help with productivity?