Honestly, I’m a world class procrastinator! For some reason, even if I try to plan ahead of time, my creative juices run dry. I can’t seem to get to the place I need to be to get my best work done if I do it ahead of time. However, that’s not to say that I’m not productive. I am super productive once I start, though I’m not sure if that’s because I have to be when I am on a time crunch! Though I’m a hard worker, I find myself battling with productivity because of the mental block I have with doing things ahead of time, which is why I have some tactics for easy productivity hacks to keep busy each day.
However, everyone is different! What works for me may not work for you, but it’s all about trial and error until you figure it out. And there’s nothing wrong with trying to change your productivity habits.
Have a Morning Routine
All you parents out there know how hectic mornings with kids can be! “Where are your shoes? Why didn’t you tell me this project was due before right now? Why aren’t you eating breakfast? No, I don’t know where your coat is? Why are all the lights on?!”
However, a hectic morning routine is still a routine and can help you get on track with your day. For me, making coffee, getting the kids up, having breakfast, and dropping them off is a part of my morning routine. Once I’m home I can make another cup of coffee, settle into my office, scroll through social media, and make a daily plan that helps me stay productive. It’s a lot more hectic than it looks on paper, but it helps keep me on track.
Make All the Lists!
Let’s just say if I don’t write something down, it’s gone forever. Lists keep me productive in that they help me to remember what needs to be done. Sometimes my lists are scribbled on the back of a notebook or jotted down on a sticky note. They aren’t organized, and may not be legible to anyone else, but it does help steer me in a direction of productivity when I’m trying to remember what needs to be done that day.
My tip is to write things down in the moment, because if you’re like me, you’ll surely forget. I also use lists to remember wins when I think of them, and feelings when I’m in the moment so I can write about them later. Don’t get caught up in whether or not your lists are perfect, just keep them in whatever way is easiest for you.
Brainstorming is one of the most beneficial tools for me when it comes to shaping an idea, seeing how I want something to work, or deciding if something is a bad idea. It’s why my office has a ton of giant whiteboards, and why my team knows that I need them to bounce ideas off of in order to get my ideas fleshed out. If you’re having an unproductive day, try a brainstorming session. Call someone just to chat their ear off, write all of your ideas down on a whiteboard, or use your own method of brainstorming. For some people, jump-starting their creative juices can happen when listening to a podcast or going for a run.
It’s hard to be productive when you’re not feeling inspired, so find ways to get your creative juices flowing.
Find Your Best Hours
Not everyone has the luxury of working when they want to work. Some people work a regular 9-5. Some people have hours that fluctuate. Some have to work when their kids are at school. However, you can still work to find the best hours for you within those constraints and work to be super productive during those times. I’ve found that daytime hours after my kids go to school are best for meetings and calls while nighttime hours after my kids go to bed are best for my own personal productivity hours. I’m unbothered, I have fewer emails to respond to, and I have more time to focus.
If you have to work during the hours that aren’t great for your productivity, work on things that don’t require as much concentration like answering emails or completing tedious tasks. Try to do your busy work in your least favorite hours, and your most creative and detailed work in your favorite hours.
I don’t or can’t always practice what I preach, but staying productive is a journey for many types of careers. From an entrepreneurial standpoint, it’s the difference between getting a paycheck and not getting one at all!
It’s a delicate balance, but these hacks can help lead you in the right direction.
Do you have some productivity hacks that work best for you? I want to hear them!