image via Sarah Klassen
The sun is shining, the beach is calling your name, and you’re feeling the pull of that warm summer breeze… Who wouldn’t want to ditch their daily duties and head outside? Made all the more appealing when you’re getting distracted and can’t seem to find your focus, it’s easy to put off work now and inevitably feel guilty later. Sound familiar? Whether you work for yourself, or just work from home, these 6 productivity tips will help you get down to business so you’ll have more time for fun in the sun!
1. Make a list: we know you’ve heard it before, but we’re telling you again for good reason! What’s more important than the list writing itself, is when you write it. Each night—either at the end of the workday or before you go to bed—make your list for the following day. This way, when you wake up in the morning you don’t need to wrack your brain for all those tasks you wanted to accomplish today. Having prepared your list in advance, you’re already set up to start working (and crossing things off!) on your most important task.
2. Make your bed: yes, you read that right. We’re not suggesting this so you’ll keep your house tidy—though that always helps us focus—but rather because it sets you up to accomplish the day’s goals. Starting out the day with one small task that is easily accomplished puts you in the perfect mindset to tackle your daily to-do list, especially when you’re feeling less than motivated. It doesn’t have to be making the bed, but any similarly quick and easy household chore is best because it won’t require much brainpower. After all, you want to save that for the big stuff!
3. Ignite your passion: as mentioned here, choosing to be passionate about what you do is just as important as discovering that passion. Feeling great about your daily work is an important part of productivity, and we’re the first to admit that sometimes the motivation wanes and the creative juices just aren’t flowing as freely as we’d like. That said, we’ve found that the following “Daily Alignment” exercise from Illuminated Mind works wonders!
- Step 1: In a notebook or a word document, write your deepest goal. What are you working towards? Think big picture, let the thoughts flow, and don’t worry about your grammar. It’s okay if everything is a jumble of broken sentences.
- Step 2: Now write your deepest reason why. What is the real motivator for attaining your goal? Whatever it is, it’s okay; you don’t need to justify it to anyone.
- Step 3: List all the reasons it is possible for you to achieve your deepest goal. Your reasons could be because you have the skills needed, you have financial support, you are an excellent marketer, etc… Only write them down if they are true, and keep writing until you feel excited or energized.
- Step 4: Dive right in to your most important task of the day.
(The key with this exercise is to keep writing until you feel a physical change in your body. Your heart might beat a little faster, or maybe you’ll feel a tingling in your toes—whatever it is, you’ll notice a change, so repeat the exercise until you get there.)
4. Break it up: your time, that is! Now that many of us spend long hours in front of a computer, taking little breaks throughout the day is the best way to rest your eyes and regain focus. If you find your concentration slipping or are getting stuck on a task, take a break and walk around the block. Sometimes all you need is a five-minute change of scenery to refresh your eyes and jog your creativity. We often bring a tape recorder along on our walks to capture inspiration wherever it hits.
5. Phone a friend: while we don’t suggest this for every day, a once a week or twice a month check-in with a good friend or family member provides outside perspective and a fresh point of view. When you’re working alone, it’s all too easy to get stuck in your head. Getting verbal is a really effective way of working out problems or roadblocks in your ideas and projects. Can’t find a listening ear when you need one? Read your notes out loud, or talk to a pet. A little chatter can go a long way!