Undoubtedly you have about 20 things (or more) going through your mind any given moment. You are committed to your goals but might feel a bit like you’re spinning your wheels sometimes. No matter how goal driven you are, we can all fall victim to a lack of productivity from time to time. Start implementing these productivity hacks to work smarter and not harder!
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How Can I Be So Busy And Not Be Productive?
There are so many reasons this can happen. The most common reason for you wondering why you are spending so much time and getting less than ideal results is time management and lack of productivity.
You are probably thinking about how there is no way that’s the case! Let me ask you this. Do you ever find yourself working on one task and thinking about another? When that happens do you find yourself distracted by the competing thoughts in your mind? This is so common. The key is having a system to organize your thoughts and work so you are more productive.
Lack of productivity leads to feelings of frustration and sometimes even defeat. No matter what it is you are trying to accomplish there is a slippery slope into being completely overwhelmed.
In the end, it’s all about having a system to organize all of the things you want to accomplish. The next most important thing is having a plan for how to handle the curve balls that come your way! You know they are coming so have a contingency plan for them.
Ok, let’s go ahead and dive into some SUPER easy ways to be more productive with these productivity hacks to work smarter not harder!
Have A Plan For Productivity
The idea of having a plan, in itself, is a no-brainer. The major problem you may be encountering is your plan is not actually written down anywhere.
It is WAY TOO EASY to deviate from the plan if you don’t have it right in front of you. You have a ton of things happening, coming up and tasks that you want to accomplish. It isn’t a surprise that you have a thousand things going through your mind all the time!
The power of looking at your plan for productivity for the day and physically checking things off as they are accomplished is truly a game changer. The sense of accomplishment after seeing all of the things you accomplished is so empowering. Not only does it remind you that you are getting some pretty amazing things done, it just feels great!
The best way to plan your day, week and month for productivity is to use both a daily planner and to-do lists! You may be thinking, “but it takes MORE time to do that. I’m trying to SAVE time!” Yes, this is true but once you start you will quickly find that the increase in your productivity every day will be so significant you will never go back!
This is my favorite productivity planner. It includes daily, weekly and monthly pages. You also get the to-do list in multiple formats so you can pick the one that works best for you. There is a brain dump page to keep you focused and even space to log your self care activity daily. It has a front and back cover that is gorgeous. Print it at home or at your local store.
This is HANDS DOWN the best productivity planner! Even better… it’s FREE!
Create A System For Organizing Your Time
This sounds WAY more complicated than it really is. Basically, you just need to look at the things you know you need to repeatedly. For example, if you are a blogger, you probably want to schedule two to three hours each week to review your analytics. You know this is something you need to do every week so go ahead and schedule that time every week at the same time.
The same principle applies regardless of what your focus is. If you know you need to pick your kids up every weekday at 3:00 and it takes 20 minutes to get there, block out an hour to do that.
You may have things you only do once every few weeks or once a month. Add those in as well.
Once you have set up times in your productivity planner for repeated events add in time for the other things you do on a daily basis. For example, you may need time to write blog posts, schedule your pins to go out and so on. You may want to schedule in time for cleaning or menu planning. Whatever it is, add that in too.
Basically keep going through this process until you have everything that needs to be done added.
IMPORTANT TIP: Only schedule out the first month as you are starting. You will find that following these tips will make you much more productive and things won’t take as long as they used to. Avoid doubling up on the time to create your productivity plan but focusing on the first month as you start.
Set Up Your Morning Routine To Increase Productivity
Having a morning routine will completely change the outcome of your day. This is one of the most impactful changes you can make in life.
I have been a HUGE believer in having a morning routine for a LOT of years. Literally all of the good things I have accomplished can be linked back to my morning routine. All it takes is a few days of really committing to having a healthy morning routine for success and you will never go back!
Having a morning routine means going through a specific series of events and/or processes with intention before you start the rest of your day. These things focus on your body, mind and spirit. If it sounds hokey, well… it may at first but you create your routine based on your own personal needs.
Starting your day off with your body and mind relaxed and focused on the day ahead is one of the easiest ways to impact your productivity. I have a whole post on Morning Routine For Success. Read it here. It has a free checklist to get you started on creating your personal morning routine.
Use To-Do Lists To Be More Productive
This will be short and sweet. It’s easy, just take a few minutes before you go to bed (this is really important) to make your to-do list for the next day.
Having your to-do list done makes it so much easier to focus on the tasks at hand when you are ready to start your day. This is such a simple thing and it makes all the difference in the world with your daily productivity.
Use Strategic Breaks To Increase Productivity
SO many people think that working non-stop is the best way to be productive. This is definitely not the case. There are a few reasons.
First, it’s really important to allow your mind to rest a bit as you go through the day. If you don’t give your mind a break you will find that everything takes longer and becomes more frustrating. Avoid the frustration and time sponge of overworking without breaks.
Second, it is important to be strategic about your breaks. If you are working on a task and are hitting a complete mental freeze, take a break. More often than not that is your brain telling you it needs a minute. Give it that and use the time to take a self care break, go for a quick walk, get something else done (there are always little things around just calling your name).
The key here is to give yourself breaks when you need them. Oh, and don’t forget to schedule in time for a healthy lunch! Your body will operate WAY better when it is properly fueled.
Multitasking Is NOT Productive
Contrary to popular belief, multi-tasking is not productive at all. You can only do so much at one time. I used to think I was GREAT at multitasking. Then I did some research as part of a college course on the lack of productivity when multitasking. YIKES! Let’s just say it was not good.
I still wasn’t sold so I followed this very plan (about 14 years ago)… and… ok, I had to admit the research was right. I didn’t like to admit it but there was no denying it. I was far more productive when I focused on one thing at a time.
Think of it this way. If your mind is trying to do multiple things at the same time it has less to give to each task. Logically it makes sense looking back on it. But I really believed I was way more productive when multitasking. I definitely learned that is so not the case.
The Most Productive People Are Goal Oriented
More than likely you know exactly what your goals are. If not, definitely sit down and come up with some goals. Focus on both short and long term goals.
What most people don’t do is revisit those goals as life changes. We all know that life throws us things that we were not expecting. Sometimes those changes alter our goals. They may not change completely, but it’s not uncommon to have a shift. Sometimes they do change completely.
As a leader and teacher, one of the things I always told my employees and students was, learning what you don’t want to do is just as, if not more, important than knowing what you DO want to do.
Revisit your goals and be sure your productivity planner and the tasks you are completing align with those goals. Oh, and don’t forget to include goals for all aspects of your life. Does cleaning your floors help you achieve your career goals? Probably not, but it undoubtedly affects your (and your families) self care. That’s important too.
Stay Focused For Productivity
There is nothing more distracting when working on a task than another task clouding your brain and productivity!
There is a simple fix for this! Write down whatever pops into your mind on your brain dump page (included in the productivity planner) and move on.
The reason your mind keeps going back to whatever it is that popped into your brain is it doesn’t want you to forget. Write it down and then add it to your productivity planner or to-do list for the next day.
Productive People Are Resourceful
Whether you are trying to find a solution to a new problem, attempting to accomplish a new task or delving into a new venture it’s important to use all the resources at your disposal.
First thing that comes to mind is Google. Yes, our dear friend Google that answers all the questions of the world. The important thing here is to ask the right question. If you aren’t finding what you are looking for, consider that you might be asking the wrong question.
Second, sometimes we need to lean on others for help. The best way to know if whatever the task is should be something you or someone else should do is this. Ask yourself, “Am I the only person that can do this?” More often than not the answer will be unequivocally, no.
The next question to ask yourself is, “Would the cost of someone else doing this be worth the time and money?” That answer will depend completely on what you are trying to accomplish.
Bloggers and Entrepreneurs, Fiverr is your friend! You can hire someone to do your email marketing, web design, web development (HUGE), and SO MUCH MORE. The cost is literally as low $25 depending on what you want done. I don’t know about you, but I am 100% OK with accepting that kind of help. See what Fiverr has to offer here.
The bottom line is take advantage of all of your resources to increase your productivity and ultimately work smarter not harder.
Action Drives Productivity
Finally, it is so important to remember that action will be what will ultimately lead you to the success that you seek.
I have been in business and leadership for over 20 years now. I know what it is to feel like “I just need to understand this a little bit better to feel comfortable taking action.” Here’s the reality folks, regardless of how much time you spend preparing there will be hurdles and failures.
You have done the research, you have prepared, don’t let fear of failure prevent you from taking action. No matter what it is you are planning. There comes the time when it is time to act.
One of my favorite quotes about failure is…
“Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly” ~ John F. Kennedy
My hardest job, hands down, was being the principal of a large high school. I learned more in the first year of that job than I did in all of my years working combined. I failed, I learned and I grew. Challenges and fear of failure can be paralyzing. It’s important to remember that giving in to the fear only increases fear of the thing itself.
Don’t be afraid to fail, folks. Our greatest success comes from what we learned through failure.
Productivity Hacks Work Smarter Not Harder
These productivity hacks will guide you through working smarter! Are you ready to start your journey to working smarter and not harder? Be sure to grab your free download of the Productivity Planner here. It has everything you need to follow this plan and start increasing your productivity today!
This post was all about productivity hacks to empower you to work smarter not harder!