Have you ever looked at your mile-long to-do list and thought, “How am I going to get all of this done?!” Your girl is guilty. Being an independent business owner, blogger, and full-time college student can make my calendar look chock-full. Prioritizing has to be a priority, and I’ve done some experimenting with my organization and time management. Here are my top 7 secrets for a more productive day:
1. Make your bed.
I know, you’re rolling your eyes at me. But really, if you make your bed in the mornings, you’re a) less likely to get back into it and b) more likely to be in a productive mindset. It makes everything nice and clean and you’ll immediately feel accomplished and ready to conquer the day.
2. Use a planner.
Having everything written down will make it so much easier to know what needs to be done each day, and you’ll never forget an appointment again! Never used a planner before? Start by writing down everything you know you have to do. When do you have classes? When do you work? When is your brother’s game or sister’s dance recital? Then fill in the gaps with things like homework, downtime, and lunch dates. If you want to get real fancy, color code it (my C/Type A personality is ALL over this).
3. Determine Your 6 Most Important Things.
What are the 6 most important things that MUST be done today? Write them down. Maybe you need to do the laundry that’s been piling up, or maybe you need to mail your cousin’s birthday card, write a paper, go to the grocery, or renew your gym membership. Once you have your 6 most important things, prioritize them. What tasks are time- sensitive? What tasks are going to take more time and effort? Eat the frog first. Doing the hardest or most daunting thing first gets it out of the way and off your mind! And remember — busy does not always mean productive.
4. Use the Pomodoro Technique.
“Pomodoro” is the Italian word for “tomato,” and this technique is named for those kitchen timers that are shaped like tomatoes. But don’t worry, you don’t need to hunt one down, just use the timer on your phone! Work in 25 minute increments, and take a 5 minute break between each work session. After 4 work sessions, take a longer break, maybe 15-30 minutes. I use this technique with everything: housework, writing papers, making business calls, you name it. You’ll surprise yourself with how much you can accomplish in 25 minutes! Plus, having a timer keeping you accountable helps limit your temptation to scroll through social media when you should be working.
5. Work Out in the Morning.
Trust me on this one. Morning workouts get you energized and help you focus on the rest of your day. If I procrastinate my workout, I either think about it while I should be focusing on other tasks or decide I’ll do it later and then never do. When I started committing to my workout in the mornings, I noticed I felt better — physically and mentally — throughout my day.
6. Get Up Earlier — Which Means Go to Bed Earlier
Okay, I know you’re rolling your eyes at me again. But really. Getting up earlier gives you SO much more time in your day to be productive. Think of how much you could get done with just 15, 20, 30 more minutes, even an hour more, in the morning. You might even have time to fit in that morning workout we just talked about! Start small and build up to it. But be aware, getting up early while still getting a healthy amount of sleep means going to bed earlier. Which brings me to…
7. Give Yourself Time to Unwind.
How many of you are on GO from the second your feet hit the ground in the morning? Allowing yourself time to wind down after a busy (and hopefully, productive) day is a must for good sleep. Do something you love, whether it’s starting that book you’ve been meaning to read, writing in a journal, or putting on a face mask. Your brain needs time to relax so you can relax and sleep well. Take care of yourself!
I hope these tips help you be your best every day! Comment below which is your favorite and what you do to unwind!