Have you seen the movie “The never-ending story”? I have the never-ending to-do list. It seems like the work is never done. Whether it is at home or at work. Whether it’s for me or for someone else. While I do not mind keeping busy, I have to confess, some tasks are more daunting than others. The key is to get these tasks out of the way so you can carve out time to do the things you love. It is like finding order out of chaos. Tips to improve productivity would definitely help.
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So here are some 10 tips to improve productivity that worked for me.
1. 40/15 METHOD: 40 minutes of work and 10-15 min of rest/recovery. The other 5 minute is buffer time just in case you are running behind. No one is perfect. Give yourself a little bit of slack. If you only have 3 hours to play with, divide those three hours into three things you absolutely have to get done.
A) Exercise: 30-40 min of workout and 15-20 min of hygiene.
B) Paperwork: 40 min of a home project such as tackling your mail pile. That pile might be growing. Give yourself 40 min to do as much as you can. Stop at 40 then regroup for your next project.
C) Meals: This can get tricky, by now you’re probably ready to sit down and relax, but you’re on a roll, so let’s keep going! This is assuming your fridge is full, and you know what to cook. In 20 minutes, you will use this time to wash, cut and season. I usually lay out my bake pans, preheat the oven, etc., while washing vegetables and cutting. 10 min to add seasoning and 10 minutes to place everything in the oven. There’s our 40 min. We have 20 min to either clean up (or relax; hopefully, the cleaning fairy will come to your rescue- this is where teaching kids to help and having a willing husband to help with the load is a blessing).
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To take the guesswork out of deciding what to cook and what to shop for, I use 5Dollar meal plans. Where I get a shopping list and quick to make recipes. If you’re into freezing meals for a quick and easy dinner after work, I have found that My Freeze Easy works well.
2. BATCH YOUR WORK: Another way to improve productivity during the day is to give yourself a specified timeline. Sometimes, minutes are not enough motivation. Another way is to list the tasks and block a specific amount of time to get these accomplished. If you’re like me, I’m semi-old school. I still like my post-its, highlighter, pens, and marker. I’d grab a post-it note and write my top 3 tasks I absolutely need to finish. Then, I place that puppy in front of my computer monitor, microwave or refrigerator door. Most of the time, it works. I cherish my small wins if I can cross out at least 1-2 on that list. Another day calls for another list.
Who does not love lists? When I was going through NP school, my online school platform was excellent! The modules are clearly laid out. It also contributes to improving productivity if you watch the videos or do the homework in each module. When you’re done with that module, you are able to check that particular and move on to the next one. Sounds simple right? The lesson here is never to underestimate the value of instant gratification.
4. FIND YOUR OPTIMUM PRODUCTIVE TIME: Is there any specific time of day where you find that you are most alert and have more energy? For me, it’s after a workout. I get the adrenaline rush and endorphins flowing. This is where I clean my house! My husband has learned to give me my space when I’m on a roll for any of these tasks. In order to improve productivity, on the other hand, I get what you call a “second wind.” When the kids are in bed, and the house is quiet, is the time I am able to sit down, read or write. Or anything the requires brain power. My work in progress is to shift this concentration of skill in the morning, it works on the weekend though.
5. START WITH A SPIRITUAL BOOST: Every day we find that there is so much noise in the current world we live in. There are so many expectations to fill multiple roles. Expectations either set on us by ourselves or by other people. Grab your Bible or meditation book, preferably early in the morning before the world wakes up. This is an excellent way to recharge your soul and improve productivity.
6. FOOD: Be cognizant of what you put in your body. If it’s going to be along day, protein offers you sustainable energy longer, than dealing with the blood sugar surge and crash that one often gets by ingesting simple carbs. On my marathon study sessions, I generally try to incorporate more protein into my meals, I also carry around a lot of protein bars in my mom purse. 5 dollar meals is definitely a tremendous time saver in that I can plan on having a high protein meal or snack for these marathons “get things done” sessions.
7. I also have to mention A GOOD CUP OF JAVA:
There is something about the smell of coffee. I personally prefer a good cup of mocha. Somedays I can tell how big of a container I need. Some days I don’t need it. I say this really is a personal preference.
8. MUSIC: Another tip is to invest in a good set of headphones! I say headphones ‘coz I rarely am in a quiet place to have my speakers blaring. A good set of noise-canceling headphones was my best friend while I was going to school. They are huge on my head, but it provides a visual of “do not disturb” image. What’s playing? I used to be productive with any music in the background; however, things have changed (must be age :). Look for Study music or alpha waves.
According to Psychology World,
“During periods of relaxation, while still awake, our brain waves become slower, increase in amplitude and become more synchronous. These types of waves are called alpha waves.”
I’ve personally listened to this, and it has helped me attain the concentration that I needed to improve productivity.
If you don’t want to carry around a big jug, grab a pretty and functional bottle, maybe even a personalized that you know you will continue to reach for over and over again. Yes, drink up!
10. GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK: Sometimes, you just have to realize that you are done! You are your own personal gauge of how much you can and should handle. It’s ok to relax if you have accomplished 3/4 of your to-do list. If you don’t feel right for some reason, it’s time to re-group and re-evaluate. Maybe you need more sleep and be ready for the next day. Either way, it’s ok.
What other tips you have found to help improve your productivity? Comment yours down below.
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