2020 the year our routines were flipped upside down, so maybe you need to improve productivity. You’re not alone.
Maybe you found yourself suddenly working from home.
Juggling work and taking care of kids in the same house.
Trying to manage new kid schedules, work schedules and more.
Whatever 2020 has brought you just a quick reminder that you are strong and capable of handling everything that comes your way.
Hopefully, you’ve seen this!
But, I know no matter how capable we are, the idea of being productive and getting sh*t done is still always top of our mind.
And this isn’t about “go go go”.
This isn’t about burning out.
This is about finding a rhythm that works for you, crossing off those important tasks on your to-do list that moves your life forward.
Everyone’s definition of productivity will be different and that’s amazing.
I could have given you 30 ways to improve your productivity, but do you need another list of 30 things to do? Absolutely NOT!
The focus of this resource is to three shifts and changes you can make today to improve your schedule, your day to day and overall mindset about what’s possible for you.If you’re looking for a little “take-home” guide, you can download additional tips in my Free Productivity Guide here
A Note About Time
We all have the same hours in a day.
No, this isn’t a kindergarten lesson (what can I say I have a four-year-old), but I know you need this reminder.
How we use our time matters, but what matters more is how we view the time available to us.
When we start to talk about productivity we slip into the mindset of, “Let me get as much done as possible!”
This is where burnout comes in. The goal is not to do it all, it’s about prioritizing our time, doing what we love and making sure what we’re dedicating our time too is in alignment with our higher vision of our life.
Yes, you have to work…I get it!
Yes, the kids have stuff they need to get too…I get it!
Yes, you have housework…I get it!
But, everything is a choice and if you’re feeling strapped by all the things you have the power to restructure your schedule.
If you find yourself constantly thinking, “There are not enough hours in the day!”
“I wish I had 3 more hours before bed!”
“I don’t have enough time!”
It’s time to look at where your current time is going.
No amount of productivity tips will fix your relationship with time, you have to look at your schedule, where you’re dedicating your time and ask yourself, “Is this important?” or “How can I outsource or pass this on to someone else (aka get it off my plate)?”
If you want a BIG time management kick in the pants, then listen to episode 4 where I share my top Time Management Hacks. LISTEN HERE
3 Ways To Improve Productivity
What we want when it comes to productivity work is to not work harder, but work smarter. The goal is to use systems that streamline our daily tasks and allow us to do more without stressing the F out all the time.
In other words, keep it simple.
PRODUCTIVITY TIP #1: Embrace The Big 3
This is a test in keeping it simple. Can you choose just 3 things to focus on every single day? I know you can, but it might feel like a stretch.
Our task lists are overwhelming because we’re trying to do way too much in the time available to us. When we do this we find ourselves drained, stressed and have very little time for our self-care, or dare I say FUN.
What would happen if every day you chose just 3 main tasks for the day? If you get them done and have time then you do more, but at the end of the day you’re only must do are those 3 tasks.
When we streamline our tasks and focus on 3 main goals, we give ourselves space to clearly focus on what needs to be done rather than pulling our attention into a million different directions.
Imagine if you focused on one thing at a time? I know what a concept!
I promise if you can give 100% of your energy and focus on one task at a time rather than 25% here and 25% there and 25% on something else you’ll find you actually save time!
YOUR GOAL: Choose 3 main focuses daily.
Bonus Tip – I use Trello to organize my weekly tasks. It’s a great tool to write out your Big 3 and then other tasks on your mind. If you get the Big 3 complete and want to attack those, great, but if you decide to close up shop for the day you can simply drag and drop them to the next day.
PRODUCTIVITY TIP #2: Schedule It
I have a little saying at my business Brandmerry.com – If it’s not scheduled it won’t happen.
If someone tells me they need something, they better put it on the calendar.
If I agree to something and it’s not on the calendar it’s out of my mind in .2 seconds.
We have a lot going on. We have our own schedules, schedules for our families, the work schedule, etc… and this is why calendars were invented.
It’s time to embrace this beautiful piece of technology and get EVERYTHING, I mean EVERYTHING, on that calendar.
Get in the habit of not only using your calendar for meetings and appointments, but also your tasks throughout the day.
For instance, as an entrepreneur, I schedule my client calls, time to write blog posts, time to create videos, etc. This not only keeps me on a schedule that best serves me and my energy, but also makes sure my time is protected.
If I don’t schedule my own tasks, then my calendar is a free for all and anyone can jump into MY time. Remember, productivity is about prioritizing your time and nothing does that better than your calendar.
Did I mention it’s also a great practice in taking ownership of your time? Because it is!
YOUR GOAL: Put everything on your calendar to start. I’m talking meal prep, drive times, work meetings, workouts, etc… As you get familiar with time blocking you might be able to ease up on things like dinner, but if it works for you then keep going.
Bonus Tip – My husband and I share a calendar. So, he knows what I have going on and vice versa every single day. This is awesome for when one of us needs uninterrupted time and we can better schedule our time as a family.
PRODUCTIVITY TIP #3: Plan Ahead, Please
We’ve taken the step to streamline your tasks by focusing on the Big 3.
You’ve revamped your calendar, took back ownership of your time, and got everything scheduled.
Now, it’s about planning ahead. I LOVE THIS trick and use it every single day in my business and life.
Remember, how I mentioned Trello above? Well, my weekly schedule is organized on Trello where I have a column for every day of the week.
Before I go to bed I organize my column for the next day. I make sure my Big 3 are listed and any prep work I need to do gets done the night before.
This prep work could mean getting files ready, making sure I know where everything is, making sure everything is on my calendar or just looking through my list for tomorrow to get clear on where my energy is going to go.
This prep work takes no more than ten minutes but saves me so much time every single day. I get to just get in there and get to work which is so freeing.
Yes, I just said planning ahead can lead to more freedom and it’s true!
YOUR GOAL: Schedule at least 10 minutes every day to prep for the following day.
Bonus Tip – Get your partner and kids on the same page as well by letting them know what’s on the agenda for tomorrow!
I know these three strategies will help you improve productivity, but this isn’t the end all be all.
There are tons of tools and resources, like apps and schedulers that can help you even more, but a strong foundation is necessary for any of that to work. These three strategies will give you this solid foundation.
If you’re looking for more tips check our my Free Productivity Guide here
If you suddenly find yourself working from home with kids, then make sure to tune into Episode 6 where I share my top tips for Working From Home With Kids. Listen Here