How to...

Productivity… oh where do you hide?

Hey guys,

Today has been a pretty productive day for me- a rarity I know! But it got me thinking, why-oh-why can I not be this productive everyday? I mean with a Masters, two postal courses and two main blogs; I’m not exactly bored of things to do! So I started thinking about what I did differently today!

Firstly I wrote a to-do list!

It sounds time consuming and pointless if you know everything you have to do but there is something extremely satisfying about crossing off point after point on your list until it dwindles down to nothing.

There are of course other benefits; you can visualise what you have left to do, organise and prioritise instead of simply doing whichever task pops into your head next, and you can group tasks together!

Like today I had a variety of items I needed to print for several different assignments; briefs and materials that went with several tasks I wanted to complete, and a few pieces of general stuff. Instead of waiting until I got to the task to go and print I simply did a batch print using my list and it saved me walking over to the printer a gazillion times! 🙂

Okay, sometimes funky stationary really helps! So search for something a little motivational!

Importantly, I didn’t create an overly long to-do list! I had three large tasks on the list and then split the tasks into smaller tasks to complete as I went along. Then I threw on a few smaller tasks on the end (like prep dinner, create assessment table, and print postal course homework for posting) so that I feel like I am accomplishing more!

Secondly (since I was mainly doing academic work today) I organised all my material depending on the tasks; I split my printing, any notes, other print-outs etc… into piles so I didn’t have to waste time between tasks finding those niddly pieces of paper that seem to vanish the moment you need them!


Smoothly moving from one task to another prevented the stalling that usually results in some form of procrastination!

Thirdly, I didn’t do a too detailed plan- think a task will take you 15 minutes? Better give yourself an extra 10 minutes, personally I cannot be dealing with the hassle and frankly the stress of sticking to such harsh time restrictions! I find that I start sacrificing quality to ensure that I complete my task in time, when I have a whole day, why place such restrictions?

Okay, there are benefits of such restrictions; such as for those who spend too long over small tasks to put off doing the larger tasks (I have done this many times!) and for those with smaller time frames to work in might find planning for every 15 minutes to be useful.

Just remember that if you do decide to plan to this extent:

  1. Don’t stress if a task takes longer than expected!
  2. Plan some breaks! You need to eat, step away from the computer or textbook, and let your mind relax!
  3. Expect the unexpected! Think you have the whole day to yourself? What will you do if family pop over? Create those back up plans!

This leads me on nicely to the last thing I did today!

I did not lock myself away from everyone!

Why is there such a belief that productivity and solidarity must coincide? I have spent majority of today sat at the kitchen table as the rest of the family hovered around; children, parents, and yes even annoying siblings!

I took those five minutes to have conversations with them and even spent time playing with my niece and nephew when I needed a break! A break is productivity’s friend- trust me! 🙂 Those five minutes recharge your batteries and let your eyes relax long enough that you no longer feel tired!

But I must admit, I did end some conversations a little early by mentioning the amount of work I have left to do!

On a note of food and drink…

Yes I drink coffee and tea while I am working, however I do try and drink plenty of water! The colder the better when it comes to water (and yes sometimes I bung a few slices of lemon in there!), I usually have a nice jug filled with ice ready for me to pour.

Now food wise, I tend to snack on something small while I am working (well while I am doing academic work at least), usually fruit or biscuits- fruit if your my weightwatchers leader ;-). However, I do make sure that I stop for my meals- now me getting much work done before breakfast is… unlikely, but lunch and dinner are definitely stopped for!

So tell me guys, how do you make yourself productive? Leave me a comment below on your tips and tricks of productivity!

Helen x


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