The majority of the blogs I read are style blogs but I also absolutely love reading blogs that focus around business & lifestyle tips. I’m always trying to find ways to use my time more effectively (especially here in New York). Spring, to me, is a time where it’s vital to get a lot of important tasks accomplished because as soon as Summer arrives – there are a million and one distractions. So for today’s post, I wanted to share some ideas I’ve come across on how to be more productive. A concise lists of tips & tricks which have really been working for me as of late.
1.Write REALISTIC to-do lists.
The first and most obvious piece of advice you’ll see in any post similar to this is to start writing to-do lists. I’m a big to-do list fan (may have something to do with my journal/notebook obsession) but what I’ve really started to focus on lately is writing realistic to-do lists .To-do lists that will actually get done! I’m all for being optimistic about how much you can do but in reality, there are only so many hours in your day. I used to find that if I didn’t accomplish everything on my list for a particular day/week, I would be so disheartened which in turn made me even less productive. So now, I sit down at the weekends and write down my goals/tasks for the week ahead and then break these up into smaller tasks which I allocate between the weekdays. Also, I know it’s only a small thing but physically ticking off something when it’s done provides a crazy amount of motivation to keep going.
2. Learn to say NO.
When I first moved to New York in September, I literally said yes to everything that was going on. Events, dinners, happy-hour drinks, coffee meetings – literally anything which would get me out there meeting new people and networking. It was definitely very fun and in a way necessary after moving to a new city – but also very very tiring. Now that I work full time, as well as running Retro Flame, I have to be very choosy about what I say yes to. Of course, it’s important to pencil in downtime with friends (we always do fun stuff at the weekends) but in relation to all those other invitations/distractions, just ask yourself how beneficial will it actually be? What could you be doing instead?
3. Establish Routines.
I’m one of those people who loves having a routine but also loves having variety throughout my week. What I’m learning though is that by having a routine, you really do begin to use your time a lot wiser and in turn get A LOT more done. I’m finally getting into the swing of things at work and am starting to establish a routine which is working well for balancing work, my blog, a fitness/healthy eating routine and also time to just enjoy New York, in general. Very simple things like getting up a half hour earlier to do a 20-min run, preparing lunch the night before, using Sunday evenings to plan the week ahead (choosing outfits, scheduling meetings, apartment cleaning), spending 1 hour on Saturday mornings doing food shopping/laundry…I know they all seem like such small things, but if you know exactly when everything will be done, it avoids unnecessary last minute stress throughout your week. This definitely takes a while to perfect, so start small.
4. Schedule your day effectively.
I know everyone is different but, personally, I’m most productive first thing in the morning. I also seem to get a lot done in the evenings after about 8pm, but I’m undoubtedly most focused early morning. So what I try to do is schedule tasks/meetings which need a lot of focus in this time-frame. A lot of people wake up and immediately attack their emails and before they know it, they’ve already lost concentration as they’re about to face into the more difficult & often annoying tasks. So my advice is to get started with something which you mightn’t particularly love doing and then as soon as you have that done, you’ll know that the worst is behind you. It’s not always easy but it will pay off.
5. Surround yourself with the right people.
Lastly, I really believe that collaboration is a priority when it comes to being more productive. Not only should you be avoiding people who literally want to distract you every chance they can get (we all know them) but you should also be on the look out to team-up with people who can help you save time. So for example, about a year ago, I decided to begin working with a full-time photographer for my blog in order to save me time sorting through & editing photos. After working with both Julia (in Ireland) and Chrisitna (here in NYC) I’ve honestly saved hours & hours of time. I now use that sorting/editing time to work on other parts of my blog which I’m better at. Of course, this collaboration is an extra expense for me but I always believe that you have to invest into certain things in order to see results.
Hope you found this helpful? If you’re also in Spring-cleaning mode, you might find this closet clear-out post useful too.