I don’t know about you, but I can’t get enough of productivity tips and tricks.
I’m always looking for new ways to strategically fit more in my day, utilize a free five minutes here and there and in general, make my days more productive, smoother and happier.
Ready to be more productive? Here are 15 of my favorite little life hacks for your sanity, career, fitness and blog/biz.
1. Keep your phone on silent. At all times. Last year, someone clued me in to the fact that I could keep the sound off on my phone and still have my phone alarm wake me up every morning. Ever since then, my phone’s sound has been permanently off. Prior to that? My response to that dreadful email ping was Pavlovian. Hear the sound? Immediately check my phone. Feel stressed out. Reply. I grew to hate the sound so much that I’d cringe whenever I heard it. This little hack has been seriously life-changing.
2. Don’t start your day with emails. Is there any worse way to start the day than by checking and replying to emails? Gah! We have a limited number of hours in the day where we can expend our creative energy Why would you waste that precious time sifting through and replying to emails? Plus, emails are generally OTHER people’s priorities…tend to your own priorities before moving on to what everyone else wants/needs from you.
3. Wake up earlier. Clearly I’m a big fan of waking up early to get things done. But you don’t have to wake up at 4:45 a.m. to feel that impact. Even setting your clock back 15-20 minutes more than usual will help you get a little more done in the morning to start your day on a productive note.
4. Spend 15 minutes tidying your space on Sunday evenings. When clutter piles up in my space, clutter piles up in my head. I try to spend 15-20 minutes on Sunday evening before bed putting away my laundry, organizing any papers that piled up on my desk throughout the week and clearing room in my both my physical space and my mind for the week ahead.
5. Start your day with water…and keep that trend going all day long. I had no clue until a few years ago just how important hydration really is for a sane and happy life. Water is really an amazing thing; start your day with a glass, keep a big bottle at your desk during the day and be sure to refill it often to prevent that dreaded sluggish feeling from creeping in. Staying hydrated= more energy to tackle what’s important to you.
1. Prep for the following week on Friday afternoon. There’s no worse feeling on Monday morning than walking into the office with no plan of action. My best weeks generally happen when I come to work with a goal and a list of to-do’s that I know will help me get to that goal. That way, on Monday, I dive right into that most important task, rather than spending the first two hours of my day ramping up.
2. Pick out your outfit the night before. Ever been in this scenario? It’s five minutes before you *absolutely* have to leave for work and you’re tearing through your closest trying on outfit after outfit. Before you know it, half your wardrobe is out of your closet, you’re frustrated to no end and you hate what you have on. Not the best way to start the day. Have an idea of what you want to wear the night before- you can always change your mind, but the less decisions you have to make in the morning, the better.
3. Block time on your calendar for important, time-consuming projects. I don’t know about you, but at my office, we swear by our Outlook calendars. To plan meetings internally, the entire staff has access to our calendar to make scheduling easier. When I have an important or time-consuming project to work on, I block time on my calendar (for myself) so that I appear busy at that time (and not free for meetings) and therefore, gives me the time I need to really dive in to that specific project or assignment. You can try this for your personal life too! See next tip.
For Working Out
1. Schedule your workouts for the week on Sundays. Just like I plan appointments, meetings and social activities, I also schedule my workouts into my calendar and block time for them. If I don’t, you can bet they won’t happen. On Sunday evenings, I usually take a look at my calendar for the week ahead, decide when I’m going to yoga (and register for class online- another step to make sure I stay committed) and decide when I’m going to run/go to the gym. Just like I wouldn’t cancel plans with a friend on short notice, I try not to cancel my workouts too.
2. Lay out your clothes long before your workout. It’s super easy to roll over when your alarm rings for a 5 a.m. gym session because you have to find your favorite workout pants, dig your t-shirt out of the dryer and rummage through your drawers looking for a pair of socks. Make life easy on yourself by laying out your workout outfit, socks, sneakers and all, right next to your bed. Wake up, roll over, get dressed, walk out the door…all before you even have the chance to second guess yourself.
3. Change into your workout clothes before leaving work. If you’re not a morning gym go-er and struggle with motivation to work out after a long day, consider this. Put your workout clothes on before leaving work. Many people claim that getting out the door is the hardest part of ensuring you get to the gym, but for me, it’s putting on my workout clothes and sneakers. How many times have you come home with good intentions of going to the gym, but instead of putting on your sneakers, you change into your pajamas and land on the couch? Oops, guilty. By getting changed at work, you’re already a step ahead of the game, and since you’re already dressed for a workout, you might as well do it, right?
4. Clean your yoga mat (or other workout materials) directly after class. Is there an annoying post-workout task that you dread? For me, that’s wiping down my mat (hot yoga= super sweaty) and draping it over my railing to dry. It takes literally two minutes to complete, but it’s so much easier (read: I’m being lazy) to leave my mat rolled up and throw it on the floor of my room. But, as I learned yesterday, when you don’t clean your mat and you go to class four days later with a still sweaty Jessica-sized imprint on your mat…it can be quite embarrassing. Take the extra three minutes to do that one annoying thing.
1. Develop your plan of action the night before. Wake up with a plan for what you want to accomplish that day…no, not a whole to-do list of things. One item. What’s the one big item you need to get done to call your day a success? Figure that out and then get started right away. For example, when I know I need to publish a blog post, I try to brainstorm the topic the night before. That way in the morning, I jump right into writing…not staring blankly at my computer hoping inspiration strikes…and then getting distracted by other Internet things.
2. Answer emails in batches (and make it a game!). I have a love/hate relationship with email. I personally find email exciting…and I love hearing from those who read the blog, so I often invite in more email than normal. But as much as I love those emails, a full inbox can be overwhelming. I try to answer my emails in batches. I set a certain amount of time and try to answer as many emails as possible in that time period.
3. Schedule your social media on Monday morning. Are you promoting your blog/biz as much as you should be? To ensure I’m staying active promoting my work on social media, I spend 30 minutes on Monday mornings scheduling out content for the week on social media, tracking my social media/site numbers, recording blog mentions in a spreadsheet and taking care of other generally administrative blog tasks.
This isn’t rocket science, people. As you can see these life hacks really boil down to a few key lessons:
- Plan ahead for a more happy and productive you.
- A smooth Sunday evening and Monday morning set the tone for a positive week ahead.
- If it takes less than five minutes, just do it now.
What other little life hacks make you more productive? Share your tips in the comments below.
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