I truly believe in the power of good habits and that “we are what we repeatedly do”. (Aristotle). But sometimes I’m one of the world’s biggest procrastinators. I find myself distracted with everyday household chores and I can easily get lost in watching Youtube videos or some other tempting TV series.
So I’ve compiled a list of habits to ease the procrastination and increase productivity.
Identify your procrastination source and eliminate any unnecessary distraction.
Turn off your phone, your TV and any other source of distraction. I used to turn on the TV, tell myself that I would watch just 5 minutes of my favorite series and two hours later I was still in front of the TV, the day was gone and I wouldn’t accomplish a thing from my to-do list. So I stopped watching TV and frankly, I don’t even miss it. I also stopped being a slave of my email inbox. I cleaned my inbox by deleting the old emails I didn’t need and I unsubscribed to all one thousand newsletters I never read. Also, I don’t leave my email program open all day, and when I use my computer and work on something, I close down any other tabs in my window.
Get up early.
Waking up early will give you the right mindset to tackle the challenges of the day. Fortunately, I’ve always been a morning person and I like to wake up early even on weekends because I get so much stuff done. I usually go to bed around 10pm – I’ve heard that the sleep before 12 midnight is the most restful because we experience the deepest, most restorative part of the sleep.
Go to bed early so you can get a decent 7-8 hours of sleep. If you are not a morning person, just add small, 15 minutes increments into your alarm. If you normally set your alarm at 6:30, set your alarm tomorrow at 6:15. Don’t try to wake up at 5am if you usually sleep until 8am; you are going to fail miserably!
Robin Sharma has a great video on how to wake up early.
When your surroundings are tidy, your mind is tidy and you are less likely to procrastinate.
Tidy your workspace and make it pleasant by adding some flowers or pictures of people you love. Make your bed, unload the dishwasher, put the things you used or clothes you wore back to their place. Clean more often, daily, for just 15 minutes. You are more likely to focus on your task if you don’t have to worry about the bed, dishwasher or laundry.
Keep lists and go digital.
I like to make daily, weekly, and monthly to-do lists, and also set realistic and flexible deadline for each task. As Robin Sharma said: “Never set a goal without attaching a timeline to it.” For that, I use Google Calendar – it makes it easy to move things around and I love that I can share it with my family. Until I set certain dates for each of my tasks, I didn’t accomplish many of them. Now when I write my to-do list, I go directly to my calendar and I immediately set a date for each task. Also, I use different colors for different task (personal, work, etc). It makes such a difference! So, my to-do list is not actually a list, it’s a to-do calendar.
I used to believe that if I had a long list of tasks I was more productive, but now I write 3 important things to do by the end of each day (I like to knock out the most important task first), and then I add 3 not so important tasks. It can become overwhelming when you have a million things on your to-do list, but having a deadline always makes you take action.
Also, make lists with books you want to read, people to call, movies to watch, shopping lists and email to send. Just dump everything on your lists and free your brain. Seeing all these things on paper makes it easier for you to remember to do them. Besides, checking each and every item off your list is so satisfying!
Take short breaks and do something different.
It will make you feel more creative, inspired, and invigorated. If you usually take a break to watch tv, just do something else in your break. Go outside, watch the clouds, close your eyes and just listen to the sounds around you. Or even better, meditate for 5 or 10 minutes.
Create a routine.
No matter how hectic your schedule is, try to have certain days for certain things, like laundry, cooking, cleaning, scheduling, exercising. Create a morning routine, as well as a night time routine and your life is going to become easier.
Now I’m watching the clock more often during the day and I’m more aware of the way I spend my time. I’m also trying to be faster in everything I do. It was a little difficult at the beginning to adopt all these habits, and I had days when I wasn’t able to finish everything, but the sense of accomplishment that I have now when I cross out a task on my to-do calendar is priceless.
Don’t worry if you can’t do everything by tomorrow. Just take it slowly, adding on one habit as you go, and in no time you’ll be amazed by the results.
So, how do you stay organized?
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great tips, thank you – I think everyone can learn something learn from this. Taking short breaks is particularly helpful, isn’t it. So often one finds that one has been slaving away over the computer for hours and then one is too exhausted to do anything else constructive. 🙂
I love taking short breaks and doing something different, something else every time. It’s so refreshing! 🙂
One Mile Smile says
I definitely need to get in a new routine. No more preschool until fall, so I’m already faltering in finding time to write and fit everything else in! I guess I’ll have to wake up earlier than the kids … sigh. 🙂
I know what you mean and I hope you create your new routine. In the meantime, don’t forget to enjoy every second. Good luck! 🙂
So many great tips, Ana! My lists tend to be long, so I’m going to try just listing three important tasks for the day. It feels so good to check things off my lists! Many thanks! ♡
Thank you, Dawn. It’s easier, nicer and more productive if you choose just three important things for the day.
I love your tips, but personally prefer a written calendar to an electronic one. I spend so much time on the computer for work, blogging, and my personal life that it’s nice to get a break and write things out! I also enjoy the freedom to write what I want wherever I am–and I LOVE to check things off!
It’s true, Katelin! I also like pen and paper, but I’m trying to get faster, and an online calendar allows me to easily make changes and share it with my family. I like that!
Awesome tips here! I have to make things a habit by forcing myself to do them for awhile.. also setting a timer works well for me.
I just started using a timer (google timer) and I love it! Thanks fro stopping by, Lauren! 🙂
I am all about making lists and getting up early! My life would not be the same without doing those 2 things. Great post 🙂
Thank you, Suzanne! I love lists too. 🙂
Olivia Derby says
Awesome tips. Routines are super important. I never thought of designating just one day for laundry/cleaning etc.
Thanks, Olivia! I just love, love, love my routine. 🙂
Getting up early is one of my favorite things to do, but I must admit I have been slacking in that area! Great advice!
Thanks, Meredith. Never too late to start a new routine or to come back to an old one. 🙂
YES to all of it! I work from home and time management has been key in my productivity taking breaks is key as my job is very mentally demanding and to stay sharp sometimes the best thing to do it just walk away, have a glass of water and then start again!
I definitely feel refreshed and more creative even after a short break. 🙂
Agree to all these points! I wake up at least 2 hours before my son does so I can get work done!
That’s the best time! Enjoy it! 🙂
Dominique Lessard says
I never thought taking a small break could help me be more productive, but it makes sense! Thanks for the advice!
Glad I could help, Dominique. 🙂
Allison - Celebrating Sweets says
These are great reminders! Thanks for sharing!
Julie is Hostess At Heart says
Great list Ana! I just bought a book called The1thing. It’s supposed to help prioritize and help you keep your focus. I get so distracted sometimes that I find myself running in circles.
Thank you, Julie! I’m going to check that book. I too get easily distracted… 🙂
these are great tips!
Thank you, Anne! 🙂
I am all about lists. I swear I have such bad mom brain that without a list I almost inevitably forget something.
Don’t worry, Rebecca. You are not the only one. 🙂
Sheryl Craig Russell says
Thanks for the good tips. I’ve never been much for lists….they do get me depressed when I can’t get them all done. But just three things a day…even I should be able to do that!
Haha, that’s true! 3 things a day is something we could all manage. Good luck, Sheryl 🙂
Holistic Wayfarer says
Any company would hire you in a second. =)
Er… is that something good? 🙂
Holistic Wayfarer says
I love this! I am a big fan of routines and getting up early to get some stuff done before the day really starts. What I like to do as well is take 5min each morning to reflect a bit, eg look at 3 things i am grateful for, 3 things i want to accomplish today etc. I wrote a post related to this last week on how to get things done as a working / busy mom: http://workingmommyabroad.com/2016/05/19/planning-your-day/#more-263
That’s nice – 5 minutes of reflection. I’m going to check your post right now. 🙂
Emma | Creative Explorations says
All of these are so true and helpful — thanks so much! For me, I’m definitely the most productive if I plan and organize my day, so that my mind doesn’t get cluttered. I’m saving this to feature on my blog in my biweekly “links I’m loving” post!
Emma | http://www.creativexplorations.com
Thank you so much, Emma. I’m glad you like it.
Maria from Collecting Moments says
These are great tips, Ana. I’m a morning person myself. With a two year old in tow, I love waking up early to get some things done before my daughter gets up for the day. It’s my most productive few hours and I love every moment of it. Thanks so much for sharing your clever tips with us on #shinebloghop!
Thank you for your kind words, Maria. Being a mom is a full time job, but I’m glad you found a way to do what you love to do.
I cannot believe how much more productive I am when our internet is down or when I have my work spread out in front of me with no internet access! It works wonders…but I must admit,…it happens pretty infrequently! I was so productive when I would take a book bag to a cafe and work! I stopped doing that, and need to get back on track!
Haha! That’s so true, gigipoo! The internet is a necessary evil! Fortunately – or unfortunately- my internet is never down. I have to create my own rules and habits to stay on track. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂
Hannah @Sunshine and Spoons says
I use a lot of these tips and while I still need to work on my productivity, they really help me stay on task! Lists are my absolute favorites-I have been guilty of writing lists of the lists I need to make 🙂
Ha! I like that – lists of the lists you need to make. 🙂
Crystal Barton says
Such great tips! Everyone can benefit from all these tips. I have started taking short breaks and have noticed a huge difference in how productive I am during the day. Looking forward to sharing this.
Thank you, Crystal! I love taking short, refreshing breaks. 🙂
Lux G. says
Yes to all these tips. Starting early does help.
Coombe Mill says
Oh my goodness so much I should take out of this. I am not an early riser or tidy! #Sharethejoy
I’m sure you can do it! 🙂
Lizzie firstooth says
I definitely agree with everything, although I rarely practise what I preach! It’s hard to set certain schedules and be tidy with my little munchkins rubbing toast into the carpets and emptying their toybox, just for fun. But I am a little obsessed with tidyness and find I’m much calmer and like you say, more productive when everything is clean and put away, so I do my best to keep it like that. Lists are fab, they definitely help focus goals and make them seem more important by having them written down. A great list! #sharethejoy
Thank you, Lizzie firstooth. Don’t worry – I know what you mean. And yes, lists keep me focused and organized. Love them! 🙂
Nine Cent Girl says
Thank you for keeping the human in the list: “Go outside, watch the clouds” Love it!
Aww, thank you! 🙂
Penny Plain Fit (@pennyplainfit) says
I don’t know what my life would be if I wasn’t a morning person. I wake up every day at 5am, with no alarm clock. So I have enough time for the morning routine. I have specific days set aside for specific tasks and I go crazy if I need to change things around :))
Wow, that’s great Andreea! It makes life much easier. 🙂
Michelle Reeves (The Joy Chaser) says
There are some wonderful tips here Ana. I’m passionate about creating a routine that works for you (hence my new eCourse to create your own Happiness Habits Routine!) and I get up early every week day to make sure I have time for me before the little people are up and about. It really does make such a positive difference to your mindset when you’ve achieved something before breakfast! Thanks so much for sharing this and joining us at #sharethejoy x
Thanks for stopping by, Michelle. I’m glad you find my tips useful. 🙂
Carol Cameleon says
Ah yes, procrastination… I find that I just HAVE to zone in otherwise I do get distracted. Social media is my friend and enemy for this!! But I have a weekly tick sheet and I find this works really well for me. I have separate ones for my blog and personal 🙂 #sharethejoy
Great tips Ana, thank you. Working full time and trying to blog you realize how important every second of the day is so don’t waste them, ever. To do lists and multi tasking in my time when everyone else is sleeping works for me. Now I really need to figure out you to be tidy too. Our house looks like a bomb hit it most of the time 😉
Haha, don’t worry, Michelle! I think I know what you mean. 🙂