Organized Charm: How to Get More Done Everyday

Sunday, December 14, 2014

How to Get More Done Everyday



There are a lot of things to like about the month of December. Christmas, for example. And Christmas music. And Christmas lights... and stockings and... SANTA! But if I had to choose one December thing that I could do without, it would be the cold weather!

Cold weather and I do not get along. And neither do I and these ridiculously short days... I need sunlight! And warm weather! And to be able to walk outside without putting on every piece of clothing I own. *sigh*

Ever since the November weather took a turn for the freezing (literally, I've already seen ice), my productivity has taken a turn for the nonexistent. Well, that just isn't going to work for me. I need a plan to get my life together, no matter what excuses I may make for myself (and believe me, I am never at a loss for a good excuse)! 

The Plan:


1. Write down everything that happens in your normal daily routine.

WHY: From the time you wake up, you have different little routines throughout the day. A morning routine, an after work routine, a dinner routine. And just because they are “routines” does not mean that they are GOOD ones! For example, I used to have a really *horrible* after work routine of putting my stuff down to “put away later” and spending about an hour on Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest. Once I wrote it down and realized how much time I was WASTING, I was able to clean that up real quick!

HOW: I don't know anyone who feels like they "have enough time"... you know what I mean? Like, everyone feels overwhelmed by the amount of things to do in the amount of time they "have". However, actually writing down your daily routines can really help you find out just why it is that you never have enough time. In this really amazing article by Personal Organizing Expert, Elizabeth Larkin, she discusses how she discovered imbalances in her own time management and the steps she took to fix them!


2. Highlight the unnecessary/useless activities. 


WHY: So, in the above example, my unnecessary activities were obviously all of the time I was spending on social media. And I love social media. But it is the ultimate time waster! Because I feel the need to schedule everything in my life, I created a sort of social media schedule for myself where I don’t get on it between certain hours. This has really been super helpful for breaking my bad routine! Set some rules for yourself to break your own bad habits. After all, no one knows you better than you do!

HOW: You know that saying that hindsight is 20/20 (or 50/50 in Cam Newton's case)? Well, when you look back at how you spent your day, that hindsight really kicks in. "WHAT? How could I have possibly spent 30 minutes staring blankly into my closet before deciding to wear?" And don't even get me started on Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest/Tumblr./Twitter... holy cow! Mark up that paper where you wrote your daily routine as if you're grading the worst paper ever written. Be harsh on yourself. This is how you're gonna get some of your time back!

(here's an awesome post on 15 sneaky time-wasters we all deal with!)


3. Create a list of things you would have liked to get done or would like to add. 


WHY: Oh, you're not done with that hindsight yet! Now make a little list of things that you wish you had gotten done! By the way, this is a big part of procrastination, too! Yep, we put off things that would be pretty simple to complete just because we don't want to. A perfect example from my life is calling the dentist. Y'all. I recently put off scheduling a dentist appoint for 2 months. I mean, I just put off making the call to schedule the appointment. Do you have something like that that just gets moved from list to list? Tell yourself tomorrow is the day you call the dentist (or whatever).

HOW: So, once you are aware of where your time is being wasted, go ahead and make a little list of PRODUCTIVE things that you would like to use that newly found time for! You could probably get 3 days' worth of to-do's done in 1 day, if you really tried! Think about your long-term to-do's. Do you need to e-mail your advisor about something? Send a resume out somewhere? Sign up for yoga classes again? Or get your oil changed? ...or call the dentist? Look at that list of tedious, totally procrastination-worthy tasks and get ready to kick its butt!

(you know I love tips on how to make a great to-do list and this post from LifeHacker is perrrrfect!)


4. Tomorrow, try to replace one useless activity with one useful one. 


WHY: Baby steps. I am a big, big fan of baby steps, aren't you? Like, maybe if I just skip the 3 minutes that I would spend taking one of those ridiculous Facebook quizzes that I love so much (according to said Facebook quiz results: the city I "belong" in is San Francisco... the state I "belong" in is Virginia... the country I "belong" in is Italy, by the way. However, that geography has been a little hindering, so I'm still here in Memphis). Anyway, taking baby steps like replacing one activity with another is simple and it will help us slowly build better habits for the future!

HOW: Beginning tomorrow, just replace one of those ineffective activities with something useful and productive! This way it’s not completely impossible feeling… it’s just one little thing! Most people perform cognitive tasks best between the hours of 9 and 11 AM. That's the optimal time for "working", so tell yourself this: Absolutely NO social media (or whatever your vice is) between those hours. Use them solely for producing the thing that you are supposed to produce! Not even a little tweet. That newsfeed will be there after you complete your to-do list! <-- my daily mantra.

(Tiny Buddah has a great post on taking baby steps to achieve your goals, here!)


5. Keep sneaking the productive activities in (one a day) until they become habits!


WHY: This is effective because it allows you to build your confidence in your productivity and keep setting goals to get better. We all fall into bad habits... even the most organized, productive person you can think of is at risk for a bad habit or two. So, we just have to keep working hard to get better and better each day!

HOW: As you move through the days, try to keep replacing that useless time with something productive! Not only will you accomplish more each day, but you’ll feel less rushed while doing it! It’s a total win-win! What if you just look at the weather and pick out an outfit the night before? Would that save some valuable time in the morning? Or even planning out meals so that you aren't spending 30 minutes binge eating on everything in sight the moment you get home from work? (totally not an example from my real life at all...)



Hopefully, this will {at least} get us moving in the right direction for some MORE PRODUCTIVE HOLIDAYS!!! YAY! :)



What are some tips for productivity that you have? Or something that you would like to start doing? And how do you deal with the loss of our dear Daylight Savings Time? 
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