How to be More Productive

ways to be more productive

It's almost the end of the year. Yes, check your calendar! So you're probably thinking about all the things you wanted to do for the new year and what you have actually accomplished. But this is certainly not the time to give up on your goals. This is the time to give all you've got to accomplish them. But in order to be successful, you need discipline and will power to be more productive and take advantage of the 24 hours in a day, while still getting some sleep.

So just in time for back to school, a time where kids and grown ups like to freshen up for the last half of the year, I decided to write my top tips to be more productive:

Find your "Prime Time"

Stop fighting with yourself to become a morning person. If you are a night person, embrace it! You should always find time to do the work you need to do. Just remember to prioritize your tasks and don't compromise your sleeping schedule for anything. 

Use the "Pomodoro Technique"

I found this technique on Pinterest a few months ago and it has been life changing! I like to see it as a game and the results are coming in (hello two #OfflineSaturdays!) Here's how to practice it:

  1. Make a to-do list.
  2. Identify your priorities.
  3. Select one priority task.
  4. Set a timer for 20 minutes and work on that task until the alarm comes off.
  5. Set a timer for 5 minutes and take a break to do whatever you want. 
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 three more times. 
  7. Once you finish the first time slot, take a long break (15-30 minutes). 
  8. Start all over again until you finish all your tasks. 

Tip: Use some noise cancelling headphones and listen to instrumental music. Here's what I've been listening for concentration lately. 

Exercise

Run, do yoga, Crossfit or even walk your dog, first thing in the morning. Whatever you do, try to move for at least 30 minutes a day and you'll see how you'll start being more productive. Exercise is self-care and if you care about yourself first thing in the morning, you'll have the right mindset to do what you need to do to reach your goals. 

Also, if you need a creativity boost, workout outside!

Plan your weeks

I have been obsessed with agendas since school days, and I have been going back and forth with several systems to find what the planner community likes to call #PlannerPeace. I found that the weekly/ hourly format is the best one for me since I can see the full spectrum and feel more in control of my tasks.

Adding a to-do list section to your agenda is also a good trick to keep your tasks in check. That way if you didn't get something done during that week, you can reschedule it for the next one. Helps you keep your priorities in check too.

Here are some agendas you can buy for some serious inspo:

Find a hobby

Find something that you enjoying doing more than job and your work days will go by faster. You should always feel excited about something and having a hobby will help you have something to look forward to everyday. 

Set goals with a due date

I learned this the hard way: Goals without due dates are just dreams. Once you have a goal in mind, set a due date and write it down in your calendar so you can visualize it as a priority. Just like birthdays, anniversaries and work presentations, this will let your mind know that what you have planned is important. And depending on how important this goal is for you, you can even create a time table with all the action plans you need to tackle in order to achieve it. 

Sounds complicated, but once you have that roadmap, all you have to do is schedule your tasks for each week until you reach your goal. All it takes is a little sacrifice and determination. 

Start Before you're ready

This is something that I learned from my favorite Youtube Star/ Life Coach, Alex Beadon, which I interviewed a while back. If you keep telling yourself that you need to be ready in order to start something you will never do. So if you have something in mind, just go for it. Do something today that will make that goal a little closer to you tomorrow. And I'm not talking about research, I'm talking about tangible actions like buying that domain name or contacting your first supplier. In Nike's words: Just do it!

Excuses are the antonym of productivity. 

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The bottom line is: Set your priorities and get moving! 

Until next time, 

María Elena