It’s a nice thought to think that soon the weather will be warm and the days will be longer and we’ll be soaking up all the spring and summer sun.
However, we’re still in winter, and many of us are feeling those winter blues.
You know, where you struggle to get out of bed, all you want to do is lounge around in sweatpants and eat everything in sight.
Seriously though, when we feel like we’re in a slump like this, it can be difficult to have productive days, or to get much of anything done.
You shouldn’t beat yourself up too much if you feel like this, because quite frankly, you’re not alone. And truth be told, there are things that you can do to help you boost those productivity levels.
Some of these productivity hacks are things so simple, you’ll wonder why you weren’t already doing them.
So, with that being said, let’s talk about some productivity hacks that will help you make the most of your day, every day.
Do What You Can To Prepare The Night Before
This one is a pretty obvious one. If you know you have a busy day ahead, do what you can the night before to make it so that you can immediately get moving in the morning. We’re talking about laying out your outfit for the next day, getting what you can ready for your breakfast, shower and maybe even do your hair the night before. There’s a lot of things in our morning routine that we can easily do the night before, and no matter how small these tasks may be, they definitely add up to give ourselves more time in the morning.
Set Your Alarm For Just A Bit Earlier
I know, I know. The thought of waking up any earlier than we have to is absolutely dreadful. However, you’d be surprised what an extra half hour or hour can do. At the very least, even if you stay in bed (but awake) for that half hour, you’re giving your mind and body a little bit of extra time to wake up. So that when you do get out of bed, it won’t be a total shock to your system, and you’ll be more alert and ready for the day.
Make A To-Do List
Again, a super obvious one, but also one that can easily be looked over. Sometimes just seeing things written down on paper, or in a notepad on your phone can help you get through your list of things to-do a bit easier. Before you panic, we know that sometimes seeing things listed out can be overwhelming and make it seem like your list is never ending and you’ll never get it all done. However, you’d be surprised how motivated you will feel once your start knocking one or two tasks off that list. Before you know it, you’ll be checking off that last item for the day and you’ll feel the weight of the world lifted off your shoulders.
Don’t Check Your Email First Thing In The Morning
This one really applies to work days. Many of us (myself included) get into the habit of checking our email first thing in the morning. Then, without realizing it, hours pass as we are taking the time to answer all of these emails. Before we know it, it’s noon and we’ve accomplished nothing but go through our email. Instead, you should get situated for the day by listing out all of the tasks you need to complete for that work day – starting with the most time sensitive. If there are any deadlines you have that are quickly approaching, take care of that task before opening up your email. This will lead us into our next point…
Prioritize Things That Are Time Sensitive
Procrastination can be our absolute worst enemy. We’ve all been guilty at some point or another of laying around flipping through the channels, or staying in bed a bit too long and then suddenly realizing we have something to do that needs to be done soon. Then we feel overwhelmed and like the world is ending – or is that just me? In any case, this is why writing out a to-do list can be helpful, because then it lets you see at a glance what it is that is time sensitive and needs to be done sooner, rather than later. Because getting that most urgent of tasks done first, means that we’ll have a calmer mind as we get through the rest of the things we need to do for the day. And this doesn’t just apply to work, but can be applicable for any day (like those house chore days!).
Give Yourself A Timed Schedule
Sometimes a certain task can end up taking way longer than anticipated, throwing off the whole rest of our day and causing us to not be able to get done all of the things we wanted to get done that day. Giving ourselves a timed schedule can help in that regard. Now, I’m not talking about an hour by hour itinerary of your day (unless you operate better that way, in that case, more power to you). What I’m talking about is breaking your day up into different day parts. For example, maybe the morning is for administrative work like making phone calls to schedule doctors appointments, or paying bills. Then, the afternoon is for cleaning up the house, and the evening for cooking dinner and, finally, relaxing. There are ways to make sure you have enough time in the day to do the things you want to do, without driving yourself crazy.
Avoid Any Distractions
Technology can be super great. I mean, we literally have access to the world in our hands with cellphones, laptops, tablets, what have you. On the flip side, they can also be complete productivity killers. They can be SO distracting. I don’t know about anybody else, but I often find my mind wandering off while doing things and will find myself picking up my phone and opening up Instagram or TikTok. I have to tell myself to knock it off. If you’re like this, too, you’ve got to learn to discipline yourself to avoid this distraction. Sometimes you just have to hide your phone away to make it easier to complete a task. Admittedly, I’ve even hidden my phone across the room while I sit and write this article. Because I know if it were right next to me, I’d be reaching for it every few minutes and it would take much longer to get done writing.
Don’t Be Afraid To Say ‘No’
This one may be the hardest of all the productivity hacks. We may often feel as though our to-do list is never ending, and that things are forever being added to it. Sometimes this is unavoidable and we just HAVE to do certain things. However, we shouldn’t be afraid to say no to some things as well. If you’re being asked by someone to do something that doesn’t serve you or benefit you or your future – say no. Sure, it’s always good to do favors for people and help others out, and I’m not saying to not do that. But it’s not the end of the world to say no once in a while. If a person truly gets mad at you for saying no because you just don’t have the capacity (whether it be time capacity, financial capacity, or even emotional or mental capacity), then you shouldn’t care to please that person anyway.
Plan Ahead For The Long-Term
In an effort to avoid procrastination and the element of surprise, try and plan ahead for the long-term. Go ahead and grab that handy, dandy planner of yours and look ahead and the coming days, weeks or even months. If you know that there is a reoccurring task on your to-do list, such as weekly sports practices for your kids, or monthly doctors appointments – write it down. That way you can plan for accommodations in advance. This will help you have peace of mind, knowing what the coming days are to bring, and won’t leave your scrambling on the day of.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for help! There is absolutely no shame in asking for help once in a while. No one should ever be expected to be able to do it all. Make a chores list for your kids to help alleviate some of the cleaning tasks that need to get done, or maybe make a carpool schedule with your children’s friend’s parents and rotate who drives the kids to soccer practice each week. Asking for help will help you free up some time to get through other tasks on your list, and will even help you free up some time for some much needed, much deserved self-care. Because after all, if we can’t take care of ourselves, how are we supposed to take care of everything else we have to do.