PRODUCTIVITY MADE SIMPLE: 7 EASY WAYS TO MAKE PROGRESS TOWARDS YOUR GOALS

We all start of the beginning of the year with plenty of goals in mind, most of which we want to achieve as soon as we can – which is awesome! I think that we should all have things we look forward to and things we want to accomplish. But all the dreaming and goal setting is the easy part. Creating a step-by-step plan to begin working towards your goals is ehhh somewhat easy. But, when it comes down to keeping yourself accountable and staying productive and consistent about reaching your goals…now that is the hardest part, in my humble opinion.

Making sure I follow through in doing what I tell myself I want to achieve is hard because, frankly, being your own boss is hard. I find that when you have no one else to be accountable to but yourself you may give yourself a few too many passes to push things off for a lot longer than if you were working on completing something for someone else. Do you agree? Which is why I compiled a list of what helps me stay productive through those moments (and days) when my dreams just seem to big or too cumbersome to achieve.


Make lists


I keep a running list of the things I know I need to do. I do this for my personal life - like doing laundry, blow drying my hair (all of you curly hair girls out there know that this task needs to be planned out!), doing my nails and the list goes on. I also do this for Ninel Studio – I have a list for updates I need to make to the website, a list for candle production (what I need to make, inventory lists), a list for planning my editorial calendar for the blog and a list for bigger projects down the road. Having a place that you can refer to when you need a high-level view of the things you need to get done will give you a little boost of energy to start working.


Use time blocks wisely


This strategy has really done wonders for me. Blocking out time to do specific tasks is a really great way to stay productive. If I know I have an hour in my day to spare I try to put it to good use. For example, as I am writing this blog post, I literally just got home from work and will be picked up in 45 minutes to run a few errands (i.e. shopping) so I got right to it and started writing this blog. Every minute counts. When I get back later tonight I will block out one more hour to edit this post and schedule it for publishing.


Plan your day


This is like the idea of using time blocks wisely in that we need to plan the day out. Yes, sometimes things come up and we cannot stick to a strict schedule but having at least a rough idea of what we want to accomplish the next day will help up stay on track and continue to move things forward. All you need is 10 to 15 minutes to sit down and write down what you want to accomplish the next day. This is a great way to get a head start on your day!


Use the Pomodoro technique


I must admit that I don’t always remember to do this and it is mostly because I am in and out of meetings for the better part of my day and I feel that the Pomodoro technique allows for best results if you have a good chunk of uninterrupted time on your hands (say around 2-3 hours). The basic idea of this technique is to work in 25 minute increments and take a 5-minute break and do this repeatedly for as long as you need to in order to accomplish whatever task you are working through. This technique is AMAZING – the times I can implement it I feel my productivity increase dramatically.


Skip the multi-tasking


Trying to focus on more than one thing at once really does not work for a lot of people. It certainly doesn’t for me, especially, if I am working on something that requires my undivided attention. I know it can be difficult to not reply to that email that just came in, after all, it will only take two seconds, right? Wrong! Breaking your focus to reply to that one email that will only take two seconds means that you are very likely to lose your train of thought and it may take you a while before you get back into the swing of things. This will slow down your productivity, big time. So, my advice here is to focus on your task at hand, the email can wait.


Listen to music


I like to listen to upbeat instrumentals to get me working a little bit faster. One thing I cannot do is listen to music with words while I am trying to write a blog post or draft an email – so music like electronica is pretty much my go to these days. Am I the only one?


2-minute rule


I incorporated this into my personal and professional life a few years ago and have not looked back since. The 2-minute rule means that if you have a task that will only take 2 minutes to do – just do it. But if it will take longer than that you should schedule some time to do it. The only time I do not use this technique is, as mentioned above, if I am already in the middle of something and a quick task comes across my desk. But aside from that, the 2-minute rule is fantastic a getting those little things that come up throughout the day out of sight and out of mind as quickly as possible.

There you have it – those are the ways/methods I use to stay productive and stay on track of my goals in my day to day life. Like I said in the beginning of this post, having dreams and goals is easy – making sure we work towards them one task at a time is hard if we do not feel motivated enough to do so. I hope one or all the techniques I have listed help you stay motivated and productive to reach your goals. Happy 2017!

Now your turn! Do have any other tips and techniques that help you stay productive to reach your goals? Do share below!

8 TIPS TO SIMPLIFY AND BALANCE OUT YOUR LIFE

Life is full of distractions and never ending to-do lists and chores that are essential to keeping your life moving forward but these things can sometimes take over our lives and leave us feeling like we are in a middle of a whirlwind tunnel. BUT the good news is that there is light at the end of the tunnel and there is hope if we can figure out the ways we can make our lives simpler to manage.  I would even venture out to say that a big piece of the struggle I find in myself but also in those around me comes down to basic time management skills.


Make a list of your values


There is always and there will always be things to do and people to see, which is great! But we have all been through exhausting days and weeks and overtime that can prove to be unhealthy for your health (on several levels). My point here is that having a clear understanding of what your values are whether they be your family, friends, career, religion, whatever they are just be aware of them and if you ever have to pick one event that falls in your values category and one that doesn’t the choice just became that much simpler.


Declutter


I have been a huge proponent of declutter-ization (if that’s even a word!) here on the blog. I went through a huge declutter exercise on my wardrobe about 6 months ago and I must say that after the whole ordeal was over it felt amazing (even though the process was a whole different story). Having gotten rid of so many clothing options that I never even wore has dramatically cut down on the amount of time I spend even thinking about what I am going to wear. But also note that the idea of decluttering goes way beyond a wardrobe – decluttering your office, your car, your kitchen, your bathroom, your laundry room. Go through these places and get rid of anything you did not even remember you had. Rule of thumb here is: the less number of options you have the easier the choice.


Get rid of debt


Owing money to anyone can feel like a constant burden on your shoulders and is also mentally draining. Not to mention that, having debt can delay certain goals in your life like purchasing a home.  Having a healthy financial life will seriously make decision making that much simpler


Unsubscribe


If your email inbox looks anything like mine then you are used to getting promotional emails every five minutes from stores you have shopped at once in the last 3 years. I have been unsubscribing from those emails as much as I can this has decreased the amount of unnecessary emails I receive throughout the day which also allows me to devote more time to the more important things that come through my inbox.


Eat healthy meals and exercise


This may not seem like it belongs on this list but yes, my friend, it does. Eating healthy is a necessity for your body and the happier your body feels the healthier your mind will feel and the more productive you will be with your time and attention span. So, the better your body feels the more of a positive impact that will have in other aspects of your life.  You can also never ever go wrong in doing some type of exercise – pick a time a day that works for YOU – and think about all of the positives that are coming out of getting your blood flowing and your heart pumping.


Make your own lunch


I usually (meaning 3-4 times a week) make my own lunch the night before and bring it to work. This has not only saved me a lot of money but it has also eliminated the difficult (and sometimes unhealthy) decision of wondering what I’ll eat for lunch. I’ll also have to admit that I’m not all of that creative when it comes to preparing lunch for myself and often stick to a few of my signature dishes that I can whip up in 20 minutes or less.


Keep your wallet organized


Knowing what you do and no not have in your wallet will save you so much time when at a checkout counter. I used to have a messy wallet full of coupons and receipts but I have done away with all of that madness. I now keep receipts in an enveloped a keep in a drawer at home and coupons neatly tucked away in my Ink Well Press planner.


Run all of your errands at once


I run my errands on either Saturday mornings or Sunday mornings while most people are probably still sleeping or just waking up. I know, it may sound a little crazy BUT it feel so good when you have run your errands for the week before noon time and then you have the rest of the day to yourself. This may take a little bit of planning on your part but overtime it will become so easy you will never be able to go back to running small errands throughout the week.

What changes have you incorporated into your life to make is more simple and manageable? What are you hoping to change? Do share below!