Ahhh, the art of having a productive week.
Do you ever feel like you are constantly busy but you never get anything done?
You start the day with a long to-do list and by the end of the day, you only have half the list checked off?
It’s hilarious because most people make it to the end of the day and can’t even remember what stole their time.
Well, I have good news and bad news. The bad news is you’re not the best at being productive, but the good news is that it’s a simple fix.
Trust me, productivity is easy once you understand it, I know because I have been in your shoes (walked in them for years).
Not only am I ready to teach you how to have a productive day, I am going to guarantee that you have a productive week. Are you ready? Let’s dive in headfirst.
What is a Productive Week?
This question seems stupid, and yes I know you aren’t incompetent. I am using this question as an exercise to shift your mindset (there is a method to my madness).
Most people think high productivity is getting the most amount of things done in a short amount of time.
That is absolutely not the case and it is the main reason why most people feel they are getting nothing done.
Productivity is accomplishing the right things. That’s it, do not overcomplicate this definition. Productivity actually has nothing to do with time because time is something we can not control.
Unless you are Father time, I wouldn’t worry about controlling something that is out of your hands. If you focus your attention on accomplishing what needs to get done everything else will fall into place.
A productive week is progressing towards the goals you set out in the beginning of the week, simple right (told you this would be easy). Now let me give you some tips on skyrocketing your productivity.
Tips For a Productive Week
Have you ever tried making breakfast, checking your email, packing your work bag, feeding the dog, and making your to-do list all at the same time?
It may sound like you are getting a lot done here but in reality, this is a nightmare.
The chances of you burning your pancakes, missing an important email, and remembering you don’t even own a dog are now dangerously high.
Multitasking is one of the main causes of low productivity. Our brain can not give multiple tasks the same attention unless the attention level is lowered.
Once you lower the attention level the likelihood of accomplishing each task is lowered. Studies have shown that multitasking can reduce your productivity by as much as 40%.
So no you aren’t getting a lot done, you are getting less done by focusing on more things. So instead of trying to think of everything at once try and take it one step at a time.
If the first thing on your to-do list is to make breakfast, just focus on breakfast. It makes more sense than having to make breakfast twice because you were reading emails.
Limit Screen Time
I hate how much technology is integrated into our daily lives (she says as she types on her laptop that she couldn’t live without).
We get so easily distracted by social media, online shopping, youtube videos, television, and so many other things designed to keep our attention.
It has been proven that nearly half of American adults use their phones for a total of 11 hours a day. Absolutely insane.
You may not be at 11 hours but you most likely use your phone too much. It is literally eating your time.
If you want to guarantee yourself a productive week, then limit your screen time.
I make it a mission to keep my screen time lower than 1 hour every day. This prevents you from grabbing your phone for non-essential reasons.
You will start using your phone as a tool instead of a distraction. It will be hard, it will be painful, but it will be for good.
Shorten your to-do list
Long to-do lists are not the key to productivity. When was the last time you looked at a long to-do list and said “Wow how blessed am I to have all this work.”
Never in a million years, and if you do say that I have a few to-do lists I would love to email you. Long to-do lists stress us out and kill motivation before we even get started.
But did you know short to-do lists are extremely motivating? You only see a few tasks and you are like “Wow that’s it, I can handle that.”
So start the day by making a to-do list with three things. Something big that needs to get done and two small things that should get done.
Something Big: Clean kitchen
Something Small: Check email
Something Small: Make breakfast
It is that easy, and once you complete it you can make a new list. No one said you could not make multiple to-do lists in a day. I typically go through about 3-4 of these lists a day. So I get done with about 4 major tasks and 8 smaller tasks.
It is a simple way to get multiple things done without feeling like you are drowning in to-do lists you can never accomplish.
Recommended Post – Poor Time Management 101: The Complete Guide to Better Time Management
Say No to Irrelevant Tasks
Start prioritizing your tasks over everything else. And I mean EVERYTHING else.
I’m sure you have been in a scenario where you are extremely busy and someone asks you to do them a favor.
You say yes because you are a kind person (then you secretly hate yourself for being so nice).
This is a bad habit. People will often come to you to get things off their to-do list, which happens frequently.
Stop being the go-to yes person for everyone because that’s why you’re so busy but you feel like you’re getting nothing done.
It’s because you are not prioritizing what needs to get done.
If you are busy on a particular day and someone asks you for a favor, politely tell them that you are unable to help out at this time.
Suggest another time when you are less busy to even soften the blow of saying no.
This may sound like a hard task (especially if you are a people pleaser like used to be) but this will save you a lot of trouble.
Doing extra tasking that is not your responsibility is preventing you from getting the right things done.
So tell them, no (it’s your life, you fully have that choice).
Take short breaks
WAIT! Before you take out the pitchfork and torch let me explain.
Breaks are essential if you want to be more productive. Half the battle of productivity is managing your attention.
If you force your brain to focus on multiple tasks for long periods without a break you will get burnt out.
When you get burnt out you end up taking breaks that are about 3 or 4 hours, even worse you just call it quits for the day.
To prevent this burnout from happening, you need to take short breaks. This will increase your attentiveness which will decrease the amount of time/energy spent on a task.
You don’t want to end up just staring at your laptop when you should have been writing that email that you said you were going to send 3 days ago (yea I’m calling people out).
The Pomodoro method is a good place to start if you have no system for taking breaks.
Simply work for 25 minutes without interruption then take a 5-minute break. Rinse and repeat 3 more times.
After the 4th session, take a restorative break of about 15min to 30min. Then restart the process.
I love this method because it makes work feel less daunting. It’s hard for us to say “I’m going to work for 3 hours uninterrupted.”
But these small breaks make the work easy and digestible. Give it a try.
Organize Your Week
I hate how many decisions I have to make in a week. What am I going to wear, what am I going to eat, when am I going to leave my apartment for class on Monday.
It’s too much and it’s part of the reason I am mentally exhausted before I even start my day.
So I decided to shake things up. I started making all of those decisions at the top of the week.
I pick out all my outfits, I write out my schedule for each day, and I plan each meal (sometimes I go as far as meal prepping for the week, I know y’all I’m wild like that).
But making all of these little decisions at the beginning of the week will make each day A LOT easier.
Trust me, if you want to have a productive week then try this out.
First, choose a day (I do Sunday) to sit down and make all the little decisions you spend so much time on each day.
Write what you are going to wear, what’s for dinner each night, what time you will wake up, write down whatever you need to free your mind.
Get Sufficient sleep
Please sleep. I can’t say it enough. Only getting 5-6hrs a night is not only terrible for your health but it decreases your ability to focus.
It is scientifically proven that 5-6hrs of sleep will result in a 19% loss of productivity compared to 7-8hrs of sleep.
People typically think “If I wake up earlier I will have more time in the day so I will get more done.”
This is not true if you are not sleeping enough.
If you are exhausted the entire day you will decrease your efficiency on every task, so the chances of you getting all of your tasks accomplished are low.
But if you just sleep for one extra hour or two you are more efficient when you are awake. So you will end up saving more time by sleeping more.
So do yourself a favor and hit snooze (it feels great when you do).
Protect the start and end of your day
This is vital. You need to protect your morning and night routine with your life.
This may sound like a waste of your time but the start and end of your day heavily affects your productivity.
It provides a lot of motivation because you have something that excites you every day.
Doing monotonous tasks each day with no sense of joy will get real old real quick unless you make relaxation mandatory.
Getting up in the morning and starting your day with a good breakfast, a nice workout, and the matcha tea you love will make all the difference.
Ending your night with a nice dinner, some television, and a hot shower also sounds great.
You can do whatever you want at the beginning and end of your day because that is your time.
This increases productivity because you are fully recharged when it is time to do work.
You won’t feel the need to relax during the day when it’s time to work because you are energized.
So take the time out to focus on yourself so you can be more efficient during the day.
Visualize the End
It’s hard to find motivation. But there is something that always motivates me, being done.
Sometimes that’s all you need to think of to get to the end.
“It has to end at some point.”
Just imagine how great you are going to feel knowing you got everything done that day.
You will almost be able to taste the pure satisfaction of accomplishment.
So hold on to that feeling throughout the day so you can make the wild fantasy of checking that last box on your to-do list a reality (I know my word choice is getting dramatic but let me live a little).
Recommended Post – How To Easily Make a Vision Board on Pinterest
Find some inspiration
Other than holding on tight to the feeling of being done (squeeze tight like you want it to pop), find some extra inspiration.
This will come in many different forms depending on your personality.
Some people respond to waking up and reading some inspirational quotes.
Some people like to listen to an empowering playlist while working out.
I created a vision board on Pinterest that I wake up and look at each morning. It helps remind me what is important and what I am working towards every day (plus it only takes a few minutes to make).
Find something that works for you, it will make a world of a difference.
Get up and get inspired so you have the motivation to have a productive week.
Now Go Have a Successful Week
Wow, that was a lot. Wasn’t expecting this to be long so let me do you a favor and wrap this up tight (Insert wrapping joke here, don’t judge me my creative juice box is empty).
When trying to be productive only focus on YOUR tasks, try to stay motivated, and take good care of your body.
Follow those 3 pieces of advice and you are well on your way to a productive week.
Try some of the tips and tricks I gave you, then comment down below and tell me how it worked out.
Also if you have any of your own productivity tips, comment down below, I would love to hear them.
(If you loved any of my jokes, give me a giant head and say something in the comment section.)
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