Some days are more productive than others, am I right? There are some days that by dinner time I am patting myself on the back because I wrote a few chapters, wrote a blog article, did some research and chatted with my readers on line. Yea me!
And then there are those other days…the days when I sit and stare at the blinking cursor, distracted by Netflix (what are you binge watching these days?) or music or invites to lunch or, or, or, or…fill in the blank. I hate those days. I crawl under the covers and think, “Lisa, what did you do today? Not a blessed thing. Ugh.”
Well, if you have ever struggled with productively these three tips are going to help you out – guaranteed!
- Eat that frog. Have you read Brian Tracy’s book on procrastination? Love , love, love it. The writing is real and relatable and the suggestions are perfect, the best one being to eat the biggest, hairiest, most disgusting frog first thing in the morning. By that Tracy means, that you attack the biggest goal that has been haunting you first thing while you are fresh – just get it out of the way. The temptation is to do a few quick things; drop off the dry cleaning, answer emails, check Facebook and Twitter (oops, two hours lost there) and get to the big goal once you have crossed a few things off your list.
Nope. Tracy says to get that big goal done first. It is usually a task you don’t enjoy; paying the bills, writing a blog post, writing a press release, developing your marketing plan. Whatever that big hairy frog is – do it first. You’ll feel so great about yourself, you will be motivated to continue down the list of things to do and be wildly productive.
- Eat your food. I have a bit of an eating theme going on here; it is close to lunch time. When you sit down to do your work, whether it is writing a new chapter, editing a chapter, working on marketing your self-published book or paying bills, you are bound to get hungry or thirsty during the process. Rather than leave your stomach’s desires up to chance and run the risk of being distracted in the kitchen, never to do another thing on your list – have a few snacks and drinks at your desk.
Nutritionist Dana James offers seven snack ideas that will provide instant energy in an Elle Magazine article.
- Flax seed crackers with honey: dip 10 mini flax seed crackers in honey or spread honey on one large flax seed cracker for a hunger quenching and healthy snack.
- Brazil nuts with cacao nibs and coconut flakes: Replace your trail mix with this metabolism-boosting blend. Brazil nuts are the richest dietary source of selenium, which helps boost the metabolism for greater energy levels. Cacao nibs have more antioxidant flavonoids than any other food plus they add a delicious hint of chocolate to the mix. Coconut flakes keep your energy levels up for longer.
Or frankly, I just like a small handful of peanuts or raw veggies with dip and a large bottle of water.
- Eat the time effectively. Okay, this time the eating theme doesn’t work (where are those snacks?) but the idea with time is that it is finite; you can’t bargain with a higher being for more hours in the day, so schedule your time accordingly.
Use a kitchen timer to help you stay on task and then set time increments small enough so that you are focused. Saying to yourself that you’ll spend the next three hours writing is like a New Year’s Resolution – forgotten fifteen minutes in.
So set the timer for 20 minutes or 10 minutes; nothing longer than 30 minutes and then assign a task to that time block. You can endure anything for 30 minutes, even that big ugly frog. And remember to schedule reward time after you have completed a few of your more challenging or taxing assignments. You can even indulge in social media and Netflix if you use a timer. Bargain with yourself. If you drop the ball, the only person who loses is you.
Already doing these three things and still struggling to be productive? There are a million articles on the web that offer even more ideas:
Forbes Women 24 Ways to be More Productive
Buzz Feed: 17 Easy Ways to be Insanely Productive
Life Hack: 11 Ways to be Productive And Happy
Those are just a few examples but here is the real truth…you can read about how to be productive all day long, but until you start to change your daily behaviors, you will still struggle. You will still have those great days and those not so great days. You are in control of your day. How will you eat those hours?
Bottom Line: It feels good to be productive. Examine the last really productive day you had; what did you do differently? Try to incorporate that process into your daily life. Did you get up earlier? Did you wait to work after everyone had gone to bed? Did you use a to-do list? Find the best solution for you and then replicate those actions each and every day!