Monday, January 7, 2013

Simplified Productivity

Productivity is a constant struggle for me, as I'm sure with a lot of other people. We are always right on the edge of being super productive or a bit behind in our calendars and on our lists. And while I actually think that this struggle is ok and possibly even natural in today's busy world, I know and understand the need to try and get ahead, or at least caught up. 
Which is why I've made a little list of tips that I've found help me stay more productive. These aren't the end-all, almighty and only ways to promote productivity, but they are just a few of the things that have helped me. 
First of all, if you don't have the selfcontrol app, I'd just go ahead and download that. It's probably my number one favorite app of all time. SO dang helpful. It turns off all of the websites that eat up your time, like Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, etc., and shuts them down for as long as you need. Anywhere from 1 hour to over 24 hours, just depending on how long you need to be productive. Even if you restart your computer, the app is still working. It's crazy. 
I use this during my "office hours", the time I've allotted for that day to get anything for my blog, shop or homework done. I usually set them three hours at a time and reward myself with a 30 minute break after that's up. Then, back to it. 
Second, I recommend writing your to-do list the night before, and set aside realistic time frames to get each task done. I know it sounds silly, but it really does help. I allot two thirty minute periods during the morning and afternoon to emails. If I go over either one of those time slots, I stop, and move on to my next task, and just make sure that I've scheduled time to work on email again the next day. 
Third, I personally like using pen and paper to make my to-do lists, but even if you use some kind of app on your phone or something like TeuxDeux, I think the most important part of having that list is to cross things off or check the box that it's done. It helps you feel like you're actually working and getting things done and makes that list feel more manageable. And I also like to break the bigger tasks down into smaller ones, just so I feel like I'm getting even more done, hehe. It's all about tricking yourself into feeling as productive as you're actually being. 
Fourth, I feel that the most important (and hardest thing) for me to realize over the past few weeks is to have a barrier between "work hours" and "after hours". Not saying that I don't still sometimes work late into the night, but I've definitely tried to cut down the times a week that I'm working well past midnight for no reason other than I am still just working. Deadlines are one thing, but just because? That's just silly. Didn't finish everything on your list for the day? Unless you're under a legitimate deadline, I'd say go ahead and see the second rule, and just move things around. 
Fifth, Don't be afraid to toss out your current productivity plan & try something else. I feel like no one talks about all of those failed attempts at being more productive and better organized. I get picked on quite a bit by family and friends who laugh about how many different planners, journals, notebooks, list-makers, etc. that I have. Some bought, some made. I could fill a bookstore with all of the failed or tossed aside ideas. I jump back and forth between planners, constantly write and rewrite my lists, etc. And I know I'm not the only crazy person out there. But no one really talks about it because no one wants to fail at productivity or organization, right? But, I say, that it's completely ok and probably not unhealthy to jump around and not make up your mind or try new things. It's YOUR plan, YOUR productivity, YOUR organization. Figure out what works for YOU. Take a few points from me, from your neighbor & any one else that you think has a good idea, mash all that up, add a bit of your own goodies & boom. You'll have something that you love.  
So what have you tried? What are you currently using? Do you love it or are you like me and in constant look-out for an even better productivity & organization plan? Hope you have a wonderful day, m'dears! 


  1. Being a 3rd year art student I right now feel like I have about 25 to do lists on the go at once what with all the self promotion work, contacting artists, personal work, uni work, blogging etc.
    If I didnt have my many notebooks and my diary I dont know what would happen...

    And I have selfcontrol on right now! though i should block it from bloglovin and blogger really... oops! haha

    Very good advice, I agree with all points made :)

    josie x

  2. These are really great suggestions! I like to make lists and use a calendar, but I can get so easily distracted. I especially love the idea of making my to-do list the night before, which seems like it would put my mind at ease when trying to fall asleep.

  3. These are such great ideas. That app sounds perfect for me- I get so distracted!


  4. Excellent post! I think that particularly the fifth point is important. If it's not working, do something else! Or go back to the previous one, or whatever feels helpful! I wanted to use something similar to filofax where I could customise the inside, but that particular system was waaay above budget, and there wasn't really any alternative option for me. So I'm currently using a cheap notebook where I make the date pages myself. It works quite okay, but it's not optimal, because it takes so long to do everything by hand... And I didn't want to do the whole year all at once, since I wasn't sure exactly what I'd need space for! So now I'm looking for some way to make/buy a cover so I could just design the pages on the computer and print what I need ^_^ Haven't yet had time to sit down and do proper research though, but your pinterest board is great inspiration!
    It's also key for me to make my plans and to-do's the day before, otherwise I end up starting too late, because I procrastinate with the planning, haha.

  5. That selfcontrol app sounds incredibly helpful, will have to give it a go. And agreed! Just ticking off a box or crossing something off of a to-do list is incredibly motivating!

  6. I love apps like selfcontrol! I have a few that will 100% shut off the internet, or do it in chunks (40 min work/10 min break, for example), or shut it off after a certain time (60 minutes on all "fun" internetting). Love em.

    I'm excited to see what type of planner I end up with this year. I tend to switch around a lot! I had an Erin Condren Life planner last year, which I adored, but I might be looking into a cheaper option at a store like Target this year... we'll see!

  7. Really really great ideas! I have had my etsy shop 5 years and JUST this year have started doing all these things. It's amazing what you can get done when your focused. All your work is so lovely!


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