Want to know how to be more productive at work and in life in general? I discovered something the other day and it’s kind of counterintuitive, but it really helped my productivity at work. I work from home and set my own schedule, so this may look a little different for you than it does for me, but the basic principle is still the same.
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My ONE Tip on How to Be More Productive at Work
Well, this is a tip for how to be more productive at work and at home, really, because you can apply it to different areas.
My #1 Productivity Tip: Leave your planner in another room.
If you know me, you know I’m planner-obsessed and pretty much glued to mine.
If you had suggested this idea of leaving my planner in another room to be more productive at work to me before I accidentally did it, I would’ve said you were crazy. Stick with me, though. I haven’t lost my mind.
You’re still going to use your planner, but you’ll be using it in a different way. Admittedly, this is easier to implement if you use a paper planner rather than one on your phone and if you work from a home office, but you can still do it. If you work for someone else and have to go to their office, just leave your planner across the room or in your bag.
Set Your Schedule Up
I set up a chunked schedule for myself that looked kind of like this:
- Morning routine
- Create (put this block during the time of day your mind performs best at the task you need to do)
- Lunch break
- General to-dos (I’ll include errands, tech-related stuff, work-related tasks I can do when I don’t need a lot of brain energy, etc…these get done in the afternoon/evening)
The time frames don’t really matter here. It’s whatever works best for you. Just take note of what your one to three priorities are and put those in the section where mine says “Create.” In my case, “create” means to write blog posts, design pins for Pinterest, outline and create courses and books, etc. I have a general idea of which project under that umbrella I want to work on during any given day or week.
That whole four-hour block of time to create in the mornings was inspired by the book, The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller. If you have a single goal in mind that you want to accomplish in a certain amount of time, make your version of my “Create” block all about taking the steps that will get you closer to that goal.
This method of planning and staying on track forces you to focus on one thing at a time, priorities first, without introducing unnecessary distractions. It makes you stop, engage your mind, and really put thought into what it is you’re supposed to be doing.
I feel less stressed out and anxious since getting used to this routine. At first, I felt the gnawing urge to go grab my planner from the other room, but I could feel the change in the way I approached each day happening. Something told me to stick it out, so I did.
Where Did This Idea Even Come From?
It started because I took my planner into the living room to set up my year. It’s a process and I didn’t finish it all in one night (big plans for the year, Lol).
My computer was still in my office, so when I sat there the next morning, I just opened it up and started working on the big thing I knew I needed to work on. All the little nagging chores around the house and tiny tasks that I normally would’ve taken time to write down when they popped into my mind were dismissed. Not that I didn’t intend to do them; it just wasn’t worth getting up, walking across the house, getting my planner, walking back, and writing them down.
Because I didn’t have a to-do list a mile long to look at and feel overwhelmed and paralyzed about, feeling pulled in 15 different directions at once, I was able to clear my mind and focus on one thing at a time–the most important things, the things in the forefront of my mind that I had already determined would be the best use of my time and most effective at getting me to my goals.
Keeping Your Mind Clear
All that mental chatter? Gone. The feeling of drowning in tasks? Gone. The ability to adhere to that “chunked” schedule I had created? There.
Having a planner for reference for later, when I’d knocked the obvious priorities out of the way kept me sane because I knew the list of things to do was there (and therefore didn’t need to be rattling around in my mind), but I didn’t keep looking at it every few minutes to refresh that feeling of dread that can come over you when a day seems too daunting.
It makes sense. It’s kind of like writing a to-do list or even journaling right before bed so you can empty your mind for sleep. That’s been one big key to avoiding insomnia for me since at least college.