I get a lot done in a day – I workout, I practice language, I read, I write, I do a full work day, I spend time catching up with friends and family,, I drink three liters of water, I have a religious skincare routine, and usually am still getting about 7 hours of sleep per night.
Over the course of a week, I fit in even more – work on my blog, working on my new business, progress on my long term goals, social events, running errands, meal prepping/cooking, cleaning, and laundry.
I don’t list out all of these things to brag, I list them out to provide context as to what the texture of my day to day and week to week end up looking like. Because there would be no way for me to get all of this done if my real talent weren’t time management.
First of all, I’ve never been a procrastinator – I was always that kid who did homework as soon as it was assigned. I have been an obsessive planner and organizer all my life.
So to be fair, although I’ve never had to fight an uphill battle against my nature to get things done, there are a few extra things I’ve learned along the way that almost anyone can apply to try and get more done in a day.
- The Lists – I keep many different lists because it allows me to get all my tasks and thoughts out of my head and then I’m never in danger of forgetting anything. The most common lists I keep are as follows –
- The Daily To-Do List – I make this every night before bed and doing it every night at that time allows my mind freedom to sleep without worrying I will forget something by morning. This list includes mundane things, work things, as well as don’t-forget-this things.
- The Planner – I keep a planner to allow me to look ahead on a monthly and weekly basis. The Daily List is always built from the planner.
- Miscellaneous – I also keep other lists on my phone for wish list items, books I want to read, and recommendations I receive. It allows me to keep it all in one place, refer to them when I need it and once again – not forget anything!I
- Productive Distraction – If I’m feeling a bit distracted at work, or my mind needs a break from a task. I will switch to working on one of my personal projects for 15 or twenty minutes. Rather than scrolling through social media or distracting my coworkers by chatting them up, I will work on my blog, work on some writing, or follow up on things for my external projects during this mini-break. When I return to my day job tasks, I am more efficient, but I also fit in some of my own goals in the process. Even this post was written during a couple of those little spurts.
- Prioritize your Time – This is a more advanced build off of the to do list item. Usually there are things that are more important to get done in a day. You have deadlines, meetings or other commitments that are more fixed as opposed to other work. I tend to block off specific times to get these done. Meetings are easy – block off the meeting time, plus whatever time you need to prep. If you have a deliverable due, block off a relative time block for the five days preceding to work on it and make sure it’s good to go. You get the idea. Certain things in life deserve more attention and that’s important to know and plan for. USE YOUR CALENDAR to your advantage!
- Habits – The reason I’m able to work out, read, write, drink water, study language, and take care of my skin every single day is because those things are all habits for me at this point. If you make the things that are super important to you a habit, then you start breaking down barriers to doing them all the time. Your body will want to work out, your mind will want to spend some time on writing, etc because, without it, your day will feel strange.
- Get Up Early – I know, I know, I’m obnoxious. The reason I add this in though is because usually mornings are the only guaranteed uninterrupted time we can get in a day. I’m up by about 5:15 every morning during the week and usually by 8am on weekends. A vast majority of the things I listed above are done between this time and when I go to work because I don’t have to answer to anyone else at this hour. Evenings may be easier on your sleep schedule but for me they are harder to stick to. Evenings get consumed with social events or reacting to things that happened throughout the day, and the things we wanted to do before fall by the wayside.
At the end of the day though, you do YOU. I cannot stress this enough. I have a different brain and predisposition that you do. So what works for me may not work for you. Maybe you already think you’re getting everything you need done. Maybe you’re more productive at nights or on weekends, or your goals are way different. Do some of your own research, there are tons of productivity tips out there, and try some out. Maybe blocking social media on timers helps you. Maybe working out after 10pm is easier for you rather than working out at 5:15am like me. As long as you’re getting done what YOU want to get done, then you’re on the right track and you don’t need my tips or anyone else’s.