I get so many messages over on instagram asking me how I stay motivated working for myself….and the answer is, it can be tough!
Sometimes I struggle to find any motivation and I avoid my work tasks which then build up and overwhelm me. And outside ‘the office’ I seem to have a list of tasks and chores but I can never find the time or energy for!
A lot of the time I have a tendency to over-work too. xameliax is my baby, my passion, and I work my little bottom off to make sure it flies. But that doesn’t always mean that I’m productive. Sometimes I get so eager with everything that needs to be done, I end up half-completing lots of tasks instead of fully ticking a few off my list. Or working too many hours and stretching myself so thin that I completely burn out.
Check out my article on millennial burnout in the April issue of my Lifestyle Magazine, The xax Edit.
None of this is productive.
But just how do we achieve ultimate productivity, get stuff done and not waste our precious time away?
Here are some of my productivity life hacks that help me boss the day…
Work Out Your Distractions
Are you a serial Instagram checker? Do you get bogged down in emails? Too busy chatting on Whatsapp to concentrate?!
Before we can start to hone our productivity skills we need to figure out what’s standing in our way!
If it’s social media then try putting your phone in another room so you’re not tempted to pick it up and scroll. Need to be near your phone for calls? Then set a time limit for your social apps in the Screen Time setting so you can only access them outside of office hours or for a limited spell each day.
If emails are getting you bogged down, then try setting two or three times a day dedicated to clearing your inbox. Shut down your email tab or turn them off on your phone and only look and answer mail during your allotted inbox time.
Don’t be afraid to turn your phone onto Do Not Disturb mode to avoid unnecessary texts and distractions. If you’re a social butterfly you can set a status update on Whatsapp to let people know you’re busy, or just chat to your friends and explain you may be a little slower than usual in replying as you’re focusing on cutting out distractions at work. They’ll all understand, and if it’s an emergency, two quick calls will throw your phone out of Do Not Disturb and alert you – so you don’t have to worry about missing the important stuff.
Eat The Frog First
This is an odd phrase and quite frankly I’m still not sure where I originally picked it up from but we’re rolling with it. Mark Twain once said:
If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.
Your frog is that thing on your to do list that’s the biggest, or the task you have absolutely no motivation for but know would make your day a whole lot easier if you just.got.it.done.
It usually gets pushed lower and lower on our lists as the day goes by and we do some serious procrastinating to avoid it until time runs out and we’re left feeling pretty useless.
By eating the frog first, you start your day accomplishing a BIG task and setting a precedent for the rest of the day. Look at what you’ve already ticked off your list you superstar you!
Eat Your Frog First.
The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management system from the 1980’s. It involves setting a timer and splitting your work into intervals with breaks in between, and it’s very effective!
Give it a go:
- Set a timer for 25 minutes
- Work on the task until your timer goes off
- Put a tick on a piece of paper (or a note on your phone) and take a break of 5 minutes
- Re-set your timer for 25 minutes and get to work
- After every four ‘ticks’ take a longer break of 30 minutes. When your break time is over, clear your ‘ticks’ and start from the beginning!
A lot of the time we’re falling at the first productivity hurdle. What’s that saying?
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
Most of us wander into the office or turn our laptops on in the morning and sit down to a sea of work without a plan. Cue several tea runs, lots of bumbling about and before you know it you’ve lost your first hour and are still no wiser on what you need to do today!
Each day before you leave or shut down that laptop, write a to do list and a plan for the day ahead. It can be flexible and you can change things around if more important things drop onto your desk or into your inbox, but you’ll have a plan that you can start working on as soon as you get into the office (or home from work if it’s house chores!).
And don’t worry, there will still be time for that morning cup of tea!
Prioritising your tasks is a great way to increase productivity and save yourself time.
How many things are on your ‘MUST DO’ list right now, that actually could wait until tomorrow?
The Eisenhower Box Technique is great for helping boost productivity by really making you think about what’s on your to do list.
There are four different categories on your list:
Things you don’t want to do, but need to do.
Things you want to do and need to do.
Things you want to do, but don’t need to do.
Things you don’t want to do, and don’t need to do.
This is a great way to really put your tasks into perspective and order them based off what needs to be done and what can realistically wait until another day. If you fill that list with non-essential tasks, you may end up being even less productive!
And finally one little bonus tip from me – don’t burn yourself out!
Be realistic with your tasks and don’t give yourself too much to do. You’re setting yourself up for failure and to be quite honest, life is too short to live most of it stressed out!
Work within your means….and seriously, stop mindlessly scrolling through insta!