I wish I could start this blog by saying how much of a productive person I am and how much work I can get done in a day, but I would be completely lying as I am the worst when it comes to productivity. I think there can be a real stigma about productivity, especially if you find that you’re more productive on a night – like me!
The main tip is to not put too much pressure on yourself and to not feel guilty if you don’t complete a task!
This is my go-to when it comes to being productive, and it is an app which you can find on the app story called Flora. Basically, you set a length of time as to how long you need/want to be productive for, and then you close your phone off, and while you’re off your phone, you are ‘planting a tree’. If you go onto your phone your ‘tree dies’, so your little garden will have dead trees. This is an app I find really helpful because I don’t like to kill my trees, so I have no choice other than to not go on my phone.
I am fully aware of a few people that, when they are working - usually from home - they forget to take a break or even eat! It’s super important that no matter how important a task is that you remember to take a break otherwise you will feel yourself burning out, which can take such a toll on your mental health. When you do take breaks, remember to set a timer so you don’t find yourself sitting down and then realising you’ve been doing nothing for hours – taking breaks is important but so is being productive.
Put it Down On Paper
Stationary to me is one of the best things I can spend my money on when it comes to being productive, I almost see it as an investment into myself. Whether it’s a new notepad, to-do list, fancy highlighters, or pens, I feel like it helps me get into that mindset of getting stuff done. Even taking a scrap piece of paper and writing down everything you need to do for the day on it – or however you like to organise your tasks - is sufficient enough. For me, there’s nothing quite like being able to cross out a completed task.
When you are writing down your tasks, remember to keep them realistic and simple. Set yourself a goal of how many tasks you want to complete, and make sure to know that if you do leave any, that you won’t feel guilty or continue working to complete the list. If you want to complete a big task that you know will take up a lot of time, try and break down the big task into smaller ones.
This is definitely one I’m guilty at… sat there with 6 different tabs open alongside my work pretending that a scroll on social media and online shopping is productive when it isn’t. Keeping onto one task can be difficult for some, but if you find that you can do it, then try and stick with it as much as you can. Make sure you keep engaged with the task you’ve set yourself on and if you do find that you’re starting to stray away and lose concentration, then maybe it is time for a break!
Do the Most Dreaded Task First!
This one might be a little harder to get into, especially if you’ve been continuously putting the task at hand off, but just try and get it over and done with! If it’s a big project, break it down into smaller tasks so it doesn’t overwhelm you as much, and start from there. For example, if it’s a blog post you’ve been needing to write, start with a mind map or plan of what is going to be in the blog. Do this first thing, so then you have the rest of your day to motivate yourself with other things, rather than feel guilty when it comes to putting off your tasks. Like I said, even if you can’t finish it in one day, at least try and get started.
Ask For Help (If You Can!)
Disclaimer: Don’t go overboard with this one and make someone else do all your work!
It’s easy to think you shouldn’t ask others for help if you feel like you should be able to do the task, or worse, if you’re full of pride. If you’re in a position, such as a university project where you find yourself surrounded by peers and professors, if you need the help, ask for it! Asking for help can allow you to save tons of time and searching for hours on the web to answer your very niche university question, may not be an efficient use of your time, again, if you can, ask for help! If you find yourself in a situation where you don’t have anyone around you to help you, searching the web can be a great alternative, or go down to your local library and see if you can find any books to help. Even if it’s a personal task, you may find that someone has had the same idea as you and posted questions on social media or forums, so a quick google might save you hours of being stuck.
Just Remember To Not Let Your Pride Stand In the Way!
Increasing productivity is highly personalised and some tips that work for some, might not work for others. Identifying how you personally work is super important, but tools and tips aren’t the determining factor, it’s all about creating a good mindset and environment that allows you to get things done in a fun and not stressful way.