Adding in the right and filtering out the wrong.
A Whole Lot of Nothing
I hit a bit of a ceiling earlier this year. I was burnt out, stressed out and freaking out. I was dealing with a lot of changes and just wasn’t feeling like myself.
I think a huge part of the problem wasn’t that I was busy but that I had a to-do list with no strict appointments. I was working constantly and would have a 2 page to-do list but with no order to it. I had this Google Doc called “To-do list” and I would just add things to it whenever I thought of something new I needed to do.
(I will give myself brownie points for using a Google Doc that I could access anywhere.)
To do lists have always made me feel better and more relaxed but I was just in the vicious circle of having a list, creating a new one then creating a new one and trying to combine them and just on and on.
That’s when it hit me. I was doing a lot of nothing. I was spending hours trying to keep up with Facebook Blogger Group threads, trying hard to engage but needed to lock it down!
You might find it interesting that I started feeling more together when I added more to my schedule. Let me explain because it’s a little tricky.
Beefing Up My Schedule
Instead of saying. “I’m going to work on ‘blog stuff’ tonight,” I would say something like, “From 7 to 7:30 I’m going to make the graphic for Monday’s post. Then I’m going to respond to any comments in my blog cue and add 10 tweets to buffed,” see what I mean. Specific and in order tasks, not just let me hit up this to-do list.
I also actually added more to my plate. Before my birthday I decided that I wanted to start living a healthier lifestyle and part of that meant going back to the gym. I made the choice to go to at least 3 classes a week, I have a gym at my apartment complex if I wanted to just do cardio or lift weights I could do it there for free (or rather I already pay for it in my rent). If I wanted to go to classes that meant, I had to build them into my schedule and work around them. There is on average about 20 people in each class I go to, I don’t think my Zumba instructor would be okay with moving class just for me, “Hey Dia needs to finish a blog post so we’re gonna start 20 minutes late. Just hold tight.”
If I had plans after the gym then I knew that meant I had to finish up work during lunch or that I’d need to get up early the next day.
I started setting aside certain times for activities and giving myself a defined list of tasks to do in that time frame.
I am all for spontaneity (okay maybe planned spontaneity…if that’s a thing.)
I am all for randomly being saying, “Let’s go to Chicago tomorrow!” (I’ve done it.) But it’s a lot easier to be spontaneous when you aren’t super behind on your work. Planning ahead to do things you really want to do or need to get done helps.
So my biggest tip, find a system that works for you, I am obsessed with Todoist (but more about that later) and it works for me because I almost always have my phone nearby and it’s easy and simple.
Find the system that works for you:
Do you never miss an appointment? Then setting dates with yourself and not just others might be the way to go. I did this all the time before I started using Todoist. I’d remember I needed to call my credit card company while I was at work and would set an event on my Google Calendar to call at 6.
Do you like alarms?
I know some bloggers who set an alarm for each task during their work sessions. They give something a certain time frame like 15 minutes or an hour and then when the alarm goes off start working on the next task.
Do you use a day planner?
I don’t mean do you have one you write in occasionally and look at once a week? I mean do you have one you check daily and stay on top of?
What about an app?
Are you on the phone all the time? Are you the type of person who is driven crazy by a blinking light and feel obligated to see who wants what?
I could build you a great schedule but if you don’t put it into play it won’t matter. You have to make the decision to put it into action.
Tips for productivity
Give yourself a deadline & make it official!
Nothing gives me swift kick in the bum like a hard deadline. I’m not talking about I really want to finish my e-course this weekend. Nope. I mean straight up tell people exactly when to expect the e-course. Remember to set a realistic date. Don’t say I’m going to make a custom surfboard from scratch in an hour, instead figure out how long it might realisticlly take you and say something like, Look for pictures of my new surfboard December 1st.
Nothing says official like putting it online or displaying it. Let’s be honest no one likes egg on their face and if you post it on the fridge, share something on social media, write a blog post about it.
Bring in the reinforcements.
I remember wanting to do my e-course, Define Your Brand, Define Your Niche for the longest time. I would occasionally take notes but never really make the jump to sit down and get it started. Then I was on a video chat with my friend Brittney from BrittneyLLynn.com and she told me, “Just pick a date and do it!” And had I never had that conversation with Brittney I would probably still be waiting to get that damn thing launched. I definitely wouldn’t be working on my first paid video course. Find someone who is doing what you want to do and build that support system.
[bctt tweet=”Under promise and over deliver.” username=”Diadoll”]
Plan for wiggle room
In my experience things never go as planned, but that’s not this horribly negative statement, in fact sometimes they can go better. If you want to lose 10 pounds and your trainer says you can do that in 5 weeks, make your goal for 6, you don’t know if you might twist your ankle and lose a week at the gym or you have too much cake. There is a business saying I really think applies here, “Under promise and over deliver.” I’m not saying set just pathetic goals like, “I want to lose 2 pounds this month” if your trainer told you, you could do 10, I’m just saying give yourself some cushion. I tend to have an official date that I want to accomplish a certain goal by and then an ideal date which is a little sooner, I shoot for this day but don’t beat myself up if I don’t hit it.
Want to make your work sessions even more productive? Download my Task Crusher Worksheet!
Whatever your goals are I hope you kick their butt! So tell me, what is your organization tools of choice? Does a set schedule help you or overwhelm you? Tell me in the comments!