Productivity

In an earlier post I touched on productivity, so am going to go a bit more indepth on that subject.

1. A ‘set in stone’ schedule can be so helpful. If you set up a notebook with daily, weekly, monthly, and even seasonal routines (and stick to them), these routines will become ingrained like second nature to you. If you know daily/weekly what needs done, and you make a schedule every week with these as the base and build on that, adding things as needed, you have a path to follow. That’s the biggest hurdle for most people, not knowing where to begin.

2. Do not set unrealistic goals.
Add things to your daily schedule AFTER the basics are listed. For example, if you have a weekly all day, early a.m. to late p.m. day full of meetings or whatever, don’t schedule a “to do” list that will also take all day. If you find you have extra time, begin on tomorrow’s schedule. Guaranteed one of your days is going to be too full with things taking longer than planned, so this will give you a jumpstart on those days!
Do not set up expectations that are impossible to meet, that is self-defeating.

3. Schedule a ‘catchup’ day weekly or monthly, whatever works for you. You know how often you fall behind so know how much extra time you need.
I have found this is immensely helpful! Don’t let anyone interfere with that day, no reason to explain, just tell them “no, that day will not work for me” and schedule for a different day. Simple as that.

4. Work on what comes easiest at the time and you will accomplish more naturally; don’t try to force yourself to go against the grain, that will just make you miserable and less effective.
Example: my mind is more quick in the morning, so detailed jobs are scheduled for then. Later in the day, for me, it’s best to do mindless or repetitive tasks. That is how I plan my days. Your mileage may vary 🙂

5. Make your life easy by putting things where you will use them. Our menu calendar is kept where it’s seen every morning so we don’t forget if something needs taken from the freezer for dinner that night. The grocery list is on a hook in the pantry rather than my desk so items can be added immediately when supply is low rather than try to put together a list from memory later.

6. Don’t be afraid of doing things differently If a ‘To Do’ list works better in a different format, don’t be afraid to switch! Try putting errands on a post-it notepad so when you leave you can stick the list to your steering wheel. No more forgotten stops, which saves gas (no more special trips for one errand) as well as lower stress. Once you’ve put it on a list, whether on paper or digital, it no longer has to take up space in your own memory.

Here are some websites with helpful tips:

  • Pomodoro Technique are helpful with their Cheat Sheet, To Do, and Activity Inventory worksheets. It helps keep you on task by breaking large tasks down to small bites at a time and keeps distractions at a minimum by documenting distractions. I wrote about them in my first Week in Review post.
  • The Flylady’s Control Journal, which you can build yourself, is helpful if it is housework that has you buried. Some of it can be used in other areas of life. Just use what you need of the journal and ignore the rest. Ironically, her site is quite cluttered.
  • Use Printable Calendars to make sure you don’t forget any important tasks, and they’re also a way to see what you’ve accomplished.
    If none of these 22 templates fit your needs, do a google search for “calendar templates”.
  • On the topic of calendars, sometimes it’s best to have multiple ones. I use one solely for holidays, birthdays, anniversaries etc. It’s kept in a binder with pockets for cards purchased or made ahead of time. This way no special days are forgotten.

    I have a two week menu calendar for dinners on the hallway wall, as well as seasonal and monthly calendars for household chores in my “to do” binder. As things come due, these items are written to a to do list for that day or week. And of course there’s the daily/weekly calendar.

Productivity can be increased in so many small ways, which overall can make a big difference.

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