Do you ever feel like there just simply aren’t enough hours in a day to achieve everything that you need to do, let alone the conquer your dreams? Well, you know what they say – you have the same number of hours in a day as Beyoncé, and while our lives may look quite different from Queen Bey’s there are certain things that most really productive people do. Being ‘busy’ is definitely not the same thing as being productive… So, here are my top tips for making your time count and boosting your productivity. And who doesn’t want to be more productive?
Make a to-do list. And write it down.
I’m a stickler for pen and paper – It helps me to remember things when I see them written in front of me and when I’m the one who has written them down. Way more efficient than trying to remember all of those little things you need to do. Plus, I love beautiful stationery and organizers – The Daily Edited and Kat Tanita’s collection are some of my faves.
While it’s helpful to write everything down, you’re going to benefit massively if you actually think about how you’re writing it down. Prioritize each morning, if that works for you, by writing a to-do list that will go right to the top of what you’ve got to do, and start with the biggest thing first. Once that one thing is out of the way, the rest of your day will seem easy.
Organize your calendar strategically.
If you have meetings or events to attend, or even errands to run, make sure you schedule them next to each other. I used to accept invitations and meetings haphazardly all over the week, before I realized I was wasting time putting on makeup, doing my hair and driving all over town just for one appointment – before I knew it the whole afternoon was gone. Now I make sure I pick two or three days a week to stack meetings, and I’m the same with shoots. (And no, I certainly don’t do my makeup when I’m just working from home!)
Don’t waste your commute.
Even if you’re not working while you’re on the move, engage in something useful, meaningful, or amusing. When I used to work at Vogue.com in London, I had an hour’s journey each way. I’d read novels, which really helped me escape from the fact I was on a crowded train or that it was a rainy Monday morning. I promise you’ll arrive at work more refreshed, positive and ready to be productive.
The internet and social media makes procrastinating easier than it’s ever been. So, when I have a big task at hand, I turn my ringer to silent and turn the notifications off my emails, or just leave my phone in another room – this was an absolute must for me when I was writing my book, Front Roe. If you know you’re easily distracted the best thing you can do is take away possible distractions – out of sight out of mind, right?
One of my New Year’s resolutions (read my resolutions for 2017 here): Say no to those things you don’t want or need to do. When you do fewer things, you have more time and energy for those things you care about and you’ll get more meaningful results. You can invest so much more of yourself into each thing when you cut out the unnecessary. So always ask yourself if you are doing too much, whether that thing really has to happen, whether it could happen less often, could you do it over the phone rather than in person? This can be applied to everything really – for example, unsubscribe from email newsletters you receive that you didn’t sign up for. Not only will this get rid of a lot of unnecessary content but it’s really satisfying.
Get up an hour early.
On the other hand… If you can set aside an extra hour to really focus on your work you will be amazed at how much more you can squeeze into your day. I am definitely a morning person so for me getting up an hour early is key. It is so satisfying to know that I’m getting things ticked off my list while the rest of the city is sleeping. Ask me to work into the night and I’m a sleepy mess. But each to their own – if you’re a night owl, then that could be your quiet time to power through the extra emails and to-do list.
Adopt the two-minute rule
When it seems like you have a hundred and one menial tasks piling up around you then adopt the two-minute rule: If it will take you less than two minutes, just do it. This can be used on almost everything, and once you start to apply it, you’ll soon see how many things you can actually tick of that to-do list.
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What do you guys do to stay productive? Tell me your tips in the comments below!