Hello there everyone! Before I launch into this week’s blog post I just wanted to announce publicly that I will be writing a blog post on here once a week on Wednesday’s so I hope you’ll all look forward to that! After writing my first post I also managed to get two followers who are both lovely ladies and wanted to say thanks to Abigail and Meg for the support! I didn’t expect to have any readers yet so this is a wonderful surprise, anyway onto the post!
Disclaimer: I am in NO way affiliated with any of products or services I link in this article. I just enjoy and recommend them to my readers and hope you all like them as much as me!
So last week I was working like a machine and managed to finish a four week project for university in just 6 days of solid work. I wasn’t working for 12 hours a day either, I did around 3 hours work a day and made sure everything was done to the best quality I’m capable of and I wanted to share the tips of my process with you in case it can help any of you out if you’re feeling overwhelmed with a project.
1. Keep a bullet journal or notebook next to you – I’m a huge fan of my bullet journal and believe it’s one of the best tools I have for staying productive. I use it to record the steps I need to take in my projects, how many Pomodoro’s I’ve done and I can write any ideas or tasks I need to do whilst I’m in the middle of my work. I much prefer to these things in a physical notebook or on a post it note because it doesn’t interrupt my workflow by exiting out the program I’m currently using and at a glance I can see all the progress I’ve made during the day or the week.
2. Use the Pomodoro technique – The Pomodoro method has drastically improved my productivity and workflow and I wouldn’t work without doing it now. You can read up about it here but the simplified version of it is you do solid, focused work for 25 minutes then break for 5 minutes and repeat until you finish your fourth then you take a longer break. Before I used this technique I would work solidly without many breaks for the day and it would burn me out really bad. This technique gives me the chance to take breaks and remain super productive so I’d totally recommend giving it a try if you haven’t before! When I started doing the Pomodoro technique I used the Tomato Timer to keep track of my time but I recently discovered the app Forest and have been using that instead. Use whatever works best for you! Some people may find 25 minutes is too little time or too much so feel free to adapt it to your needs, I find 25 minutes works perfectly for me.
3. Be aware of your most productive time of the day – Something I learned from the Seanwes podcast is that you can accomplish more in 2 hours of focused work than 8 hours of unfocused work and this has proved true so many times for me. This step may take a bit of experimentation since it will be different for everyone. My peak time is from 1pm – 4:30pm and this was the time all my work took place each day. For some people it may happen as soon as you wake up or sometime during the evening. The most important thing to consider is that you have NO interruptions during this time so that you can have a period of pure focused time. Also make sure you’re mindful of how long your product streak can last, mine is 3 to 3 and half hours and then I take a longer break in the evening.
4. Disable notifications on your computer + mobile devices – This step may have you quickly breaking to into a sweat if you’re anything like I used to be. I used to always want to know and act immediately when receiving any notification whether it’s a message or an e-mail but turning off all the notifications on my devices has been so helpful for my productivity. Along with the fact you’re not in reactive mode as soon as that ding happens, you can remain in your focused frame of mind until you finish for the day. I use my Pomodoro breaks to check these things and if I have anything that needs responding to, I jot it down in my bullet journal and return to it when I’m done working.
5. Write down your biggest tasks for the next day – This was another tip I borrowed from Sean and it’s been so helpful to me! When you finish your work for the day, review everything you accomplished and then decide what are the most important tasks for you to do tomorrow and write them down. I normally write these down on a post it note, stick it to my desk and than transcribe them into my bullet journal in the morning the next day. This keeps the momentum of work you had going on during the day going and carries it over to the next day. Sometimes my task can be just one big thing (e.g finishing a logo design) or it can be a few smaller tasks. It’s important to be realistic with this too! Don’t go over 5 tasks if you know you won’t be able to finish them, you don’t want to go breaking your streak!
Those are definitely my top 5 tips for staying productive! I hope they help you out, give you some ideas for your work process and help you hustle even harder! Are there any tools, apps or techniques you use to keep productive yourselves? I’d love to hear them if you do!