HOW TO BE MORE PRODUCTIVE?

Mums, I have been feeling terribly frustrated about my unproductivity these last three weeks, so I started to review some self-help and motivational books to give me back some energy, motivation and discipline. Of course, that motivation and action comes mainly inside ourselves but reading or hearing something inspirational can be a good step to be more productive again.

I also found the reason I was feeling so tired during this time. Guess what? I am pregnant again! It was not in our plans but once it happened here we go again, four years at home. I will have to organize a new schedule, so I can make things happen after the new member of the family comes.

So let’s talk about the subject of this post.

HOW TO BE MORE PRODUCTIVE?

>Make a to-do list/goals list

Before any step, you must know the path you are taking, the direction that you want to follow.

Make a list with your main goals, with what you intend to do and with what you seek.

This is the first important step: to find a purpose and outline the main tasks you need to complete to achieve it.

>Time journal

A time journal is a detailed record of your day (and detailed means that. Even when you go to the bathroom or the number of hours you are watching tv or reading an email must be registered).

You should record, at least, every half an hour or even less, to have a real perception about how you are spending your time and where you can get time from to make it more productive.

For example, instead of spending half an hour watching youtube videos about funny cats, you could use that time to improve a skill, read about a subject that interests you or work on something or even build your own video with funny cats.

A journal time can be written manually or you can use apps. Nowadays there are good ones, tracking what you are doing in your laptop or mobile phone and they report with precision how much time you spent in activities like talking on the phone, going to Facebook, writing an email, etc.

Two examples of apps for time tracking are Timely and Rescue Time.

Example of how a time journal can be made:

12h00-6h00 a.m. – sleeping

6h03-6h10 a.m. – bathroom

6h10-6h30 a.m. – Make and eat breakfast

6h30-6h40 a.m. – dress up, wash teeth and comb hair

6h40-6h42 a.m. – kiss bye-bye family

6h42-7h00 a.m. – walk to the bus stop/wait for the bus

7h00-7h30 a.m. – going to work (inside the bus)

7h30-7h40 a.m. – walk to the office and sit in the desk office (…) and so on.

As Michal Stawicki says in his book Master Your Time in 10 Minutes a Day:

Most people believe they already know precisely how they use their time. Most people are wrong.

There are dangers you should be aware of that come with keeping a time journal. By being conscious about tracking your time, you may find yourself changing your behavior just to make a more impressive journal. For a couple of weeks you may limit your unproductive activities and then, as soon as you finish the tracking exercise, slip back into old, less effective habits.

So, you must be honest with yourself when making the time journal and try to commit to the tasks you proposed yourself to do. This can be a big help to be more productive.

>Be organized

To be organized is very important, in order to be productive in any task.

From housework to the office or even at school, be organized is one of the strongest pillars that can take you further and save you a considerable amount of time.

Imagine for moments you were blind. You would need to have things in a fixed place, ordered in a way you could find them immediately, without thinking twice where did you put your keys, your clothes or your notebook.

It also implies that you give priority to some activities, instead of others. You must check what are the most important tasks for you to finish first and what tasks could give you more time to complete others. As I mentioned in a previous article, while you are cooking lunch, you can do other activities like making the bed or vacuum the house. This way, instead of making just one activity at a time you can do several at once and save many minutes or even hours at the end of the month.

>Walk a few steps at a time

It happens regularly that at a certain moment we are enthusiastic and we feel we can complete a task fast. However, it is also common that after that feeling, if we do not achieve our goal we feel frustration and many times we give up.

To avoid this, it is better to “walk a few steps at a time”. Do not try to do it all at once, but complete your tasks in parts. You complete one small step, then another one, until you have reached your main goal. You will find enduring results and the probabilities to get frustrated and give up are much less.

>Speed reading

Have you ever tried to do speed reading?

I am from Europe and around here we are not used to learning speed reading at schools. For that reason, many of us have not even heard about it before.

The first time I have heard about fast reading was through my husband (he comes from America).

When you read more in less time, you can definitely be more productive. You can learn more in less time and you can also do more with that new information you have.

For that reason, I considered this one of the most effective ways to be more productive. Even when you are doing an internet search it can help.

To have an idea just check this video I took from youtube about speed reading tips:

>Typing faster

This is another good tip to be more productive. When you are typing in the computer, you can do it faster if you learn how to type without looking to the keyboard.

There are very good apps for free around there for learning this skill and also video tutorials, like this:

>Sunlight

It is proved in several studies that sunlight boosts productivity at work.

In a study named Why We Need More Nature at Work: Effects of Natural Elements and Sunlight on Employee Mental Health and Work Attitudes, it was evaluated how workers were affected or not by sunlight and nature in their office.

The study concluded that

Exposure to natural elements is associated with decreased levels of diastolic blood pressure, depression, and anxiety, and increased attentional capacity (…) Exposure to natural elements (e.g., green spaces) can reduce the impact of stress, increase psychological well-being, and support recovery from illness.

So, if you want to increase your creativity, another important tip is working surrounded by windows; have plants or a view to a nice landscape and the results can surprise you.

If you have other tips concerning how to be more productive, do not hesitate in leaving a comment.