Something I often hear, is how common it is for people to procrastinate or overlook the things they “needed to get done.” We all have things we want to accomplish, but everyone has things they “need to get done.” Whether it be reading books, writing a paper, studying for a test, cooking dinner, making the kid’s lunches, getting a work out in, or finishing a presentation for next week’s business trip…we all have stuff to do. Life is busy, and so are you!
I want to share some simple tips that have helped me become more productive. Everyone is different, so feel free to take or leave whichever you please. Each of these methods has helped myself, or someone I know accomplish tasks at a more efficient level in one way or another. So, they are battle tested! Let’s get right into it!
Tip #1 – Prioritize and Eliminate
I ask every client that I work with to try this. This WILL help anyone and everyone that chooses to follow through with this task. First, take a piece of paper and draw 7 columns. Each column represents a day of the week. Next, fill each column with all the things you do regularly. Simply write down what you do hour by hour, for each day of the week. Do this for all 7 days. Begin at the time you wake up, and end at the time you go to sleep.
This is helpful for a few reasons:
1. It allows you to see if you have a consistent, healthy sleep pattern (FYI sleep is important, but that is a whole separate topic…)
2. This will show you how much time you spend doing things that are wasteful or are taking too much of your time.
3. This will help reveal gaps of time where things could be getting accomplished (if you do in fact, have any free time!)
From here, you can isolate activities that need to be removed, replaced, or added to your daily/weekly schedule. Be sure to make time for rest and recovery, as well as time with loved ones. Family is a top priority.
Tip #2 - Write things down
One of the simplest, most effective ways to be more productive is to make a list of things to do, and check things off the list as you go. Again, everyone is different! Some may prefer to follow a daily to-do list, while others may operate more efficiently on a weekly to-do list. Whichever method you prefer, the act of writing these tasks down and following each one makes things easier. This also allows you to list them based on priority level. After all, painting the guest bathroom may not be as important to you, as changing the oil in your car when it is 1500 miles past due!
I prefer a daily to-do list. I am easily distracted and I tend to want to accomplish a thousand things each day. This helps me to keep the list at a realistic length, as well as stay productive throughout the entire day. I also use an electronic calendar for meetings, client sessions, etc. When other people are involved, a calendar is very important to use. I need to respect other people’s time and commitment, so I make my daily list based around what is already on the calendar.
Tip # 3 - Meal Prep
If I had it my way, everyone would meal prep on a regular basis. This is one of the single most effective things I have done for myself (thank you Juan Martinez at West Texas Strength) and I want to explain why I say that. By prepping my meals for 10 days at a time, I was able to
1. EAT HEALTHIER - I cook my own food. I know exactly what I am eating and how much I am eating for every meal. I am not a chef and it is easy to do.
2. SAVE MONEY - Eating healthy is not more expensive. This is a myth. I will tell you how to do this on a low- income budget FOR FREE. Message me on social media or through my website and I got you covered. Seriously, just ask!
3. SAVE TIME – I spend 3-4 hours every two weeks cooking meals for the next 14 days. I have a small kitchen, so many of you could probably accomplish more in less time. No time spent driving to restaurants. No time waiting for my food. This allows me to get more work done and relax more as well.
The impact of these 3 simple things, is extremely powerful. By being transparent with ourselves about our time, giving our bodies proper nutrition, and setting hand written goals; we dramatically increase our chances of becoming more successful. A study from the CDC shows that students achieve a higher level of academic achievement when they eat healthy. In a study on goal-setting led by psychologist Dr Gail Matthews, results show that we are 42% more likely to achieve our goals if we write them down. The results from these studies are just the tip of the iceberg. The benefits keep rolling in…from increased self-confidence, to better overall mental health, you can’t lose! Finally, something I encounter with almost every individual who comes to me for guidance, is the amount of time they are losing each day/week to wasteful activities. When we put everything down in front of us, it’s like they discover a secret they were keeping from themselves. Do yourself a favor: get honest with yourself!