Thursday, January 31, 2013

P is for Productivity

We each get 24 hours a day to use how we wish.

Some of us squeeze a lot out of those hours. Some of us try to do things but feel like time gets away from us. Some of us piss those hours away and do nothing.

I am a productive person. If I'm not doing at least one productive thing on any given day, there are three possible explanations: 1. I'm dead 2. I'm sick 3. I planned it. I squeeze a lot out of my hours. I've honed my way of operating many times over the years, always looking to maximize my time. Being an efficient person is one of my strong points, but I always strive for better. Faster. More!

A lot of people ask  how I get so much done on a given weeknight. Or people comment on my weekend posts saying that I was busy, when I thought I had a lot of downtime. Or they think I'm a liar or a completely insane robot who should sit the hell down and stop doing things. In which case, you should stop reading now. There's nothing left for you here. The rest of this is for people who want to increase their productivity and efficiency.

These things work for me, and with little to no modification, they should work for you too. 

One. Plan your week. Plan the week out on Sunday or Monday or whatever works for you, and adapt daily as necessary based on what comes up. Plan what you're going to do, what you're making to eat, what you're wearing. Going into the week prepared will do wonders for you. I don't always stick to my meal plan or gear, but at least I know I have food to make and clean clothes to wear.

Do not assign 15 tasks to one day and expect to be successful. You're relegating your productivity to the shitter before you begin. Strive for three things daily in each area of  life. As an example, here's my To Do for today:

Work - year end letter - printer?, web changes, process events
Errands - Aldi, library
Home - clean bathroom, dust and vacuum top floor
Exercise - Walk with weights, stretchy band workout
Dinner - Soup (leftover)
Blog - Picmonkey collage for Friday post

Two. Do your biggest/hardest/most dreaded task first. If you do the small, easy stuff first, you'll enter Putz Around Mode and won't get to the big mama, leaving you feeling unaccomplished for the day. I know doing the hard stuff isn't fun, but sometimes life isn't fun. Just get it done. At work, my hardest tasks are the ones that involve creative writing or detailed editing - I do those best first thing in the morning when I'm sharp and focused. At home my most dreaded tasks are putting laundry away, changing the duvet, and dusting. I just dive right in, otherwise I'll sit around thinking about how much they suck and not doing them. Gets to stepping, people.

Three. Don't answer the phone, check your email or texts, or any of your social media accounts. Forget the internet and electronics exist. Turn the TV off if you can't trust yourself not to get sucked in. All of these things only serve one purpose: to delay you. On days you seem to be unable to get anything done, I bet you $100 it was due to outside interference. There are some days when you're okay with that - days you're piddling around the house. Other days, when you have lots to do and little time to do it in, those things will break your back. Concentrate and get it done. Work first, fun later.

Four. Be round. Work hard, designate time for relax/play, sleep well, eat well, be active, be kind to someone. Rounding yourself out daily makes it easier to be positive, and positivity gives birth to productivity.  Wow that sounds like an infomercial or chakra lady talking, but it's the truth. p.s. - being really pissed off and needing to DO something also leads to productivity. Channeling your rage can work in your favor. Roar. And clean while you're doing it.

Five. Develop a routine and get into a groove, and productivity will become second nature. Of course you don't feel like facing hard things, tackling big shit, or doing chores that suck. No one does. But when you practice discipline and get into a routine, you don't allow yourself the time to whine and wail. You'll be more productive than you ever dreamed.

1. At home, be it on the weekend or on a weeknight, I don't stop or sit down until I get everything done. I truly think that THIS is what enables me to get so much done. I get through all the not fun stuff so I can maximize my time on the couch with a book, magazine, TV, what have you. Pay before play.
2. Move quickly but carefully. Don't cut corners or half ass, you'll just have to do it again.

To the haters who think scheduling is for losers who can't be spontaneous, I've seen the fly by the seat of their pants approach fail too many people. I like to feel accomplished every day. That's important to me and how I operate. I have a long list of things I want to do in my life, and scheduling makes that happen for me. If scheduling doesn't make it happen for you, that's okay. Differences make the world go 'round. We can still be friends.

Do I sometimes just say EFF IT, throw my hands in the air, wave 'em like I just don't care, and disregard this? Sure. But that's not my norm. And that's why I get shit done. Boom.


  1. I think it would be fun to start every dreaded task by stopping first to throw your hands in the air, and wave 'em like you just don't care. Then proceed. ~Saxty

  2. i am badddd about planning my weeks out! I need to be better. good tips!

  3. your new name shall be.... Jack Bauer :-)

    1. I totally thought of Jack Bauer as soon as I saw "24." I miss him.

  4. I love this!! Once I get home after work, I'm like you, I don't sit down until all my stuff is accomplished and it's wonderful. Of course, I'm usually exhausted by the time I do sit, and then I never want to get up! I'm a planner, too, and sometimes it all works out, but sometimes it has to be modified. =)

  5. sorry but when you're at the age of 30 with a career and a marriage and all of life's responsibility at your doorstep, you NEED a schedule to keep your sanity. it becomes even more important when you have kids. flying by the seat of your pants gets you nothing but frustration and failures and those who don't have a plan or schedules cannot complain to me about missing x, y, z appointment or forgetting this or that. i always ask: "did you write it down/mark it on your calendar? did you plan for it?" and if they say no then i tell them: "well then, next time you need to manage your time better".

    you don't have to schedule every single thing to the last detail but the big stuff that takes time *needs a schedule*. how can you see anything through without a plan?

  6. Every time I plan and make to-do lists, the committee conspires to prevent it. I planned to be born on the 19th of October... they turned me upside down and kept me hostage until the 29th. They thought I'd make a better Scorpio than Libra. They may have had a point.
    Be that as it may, I make the list, they erase it. Or spill coffee on it. Or give it to the dog, just for laughs. Then they clog the vacuum cleaner.
    Kudos to you for taming yours. One day I will do the same.

  7. You go girl! I'm all about planning things out! This flu has REALLY thrown me for a loop & I can't wait till it's all gone so I can get back to being my productive self!

  8. As you know, I am not a planner but it's my eternal goal to be better at it. Thanks for the tips!

  9. Couldn't have said it better twin!!!!!

  10. I couldn't function without my to-do list. I make one at the beginning of every week and then break down the tasks by day. In there, I incorporate things like errands and laundry and cleaning and exercising. Cooking is so much easier now that I've started using the crockpot more, so I'm not always a slave to the stove. I try to do my Pinterest/social media stuff when I'm watching TV at night so I'm not distracted by it during the day.

    The other thing that is so important, and you mentioned it, is to take time off. If you are constantly on the go, you'll burn out and it'll be so much easier to procrastinate.

  11. I love this!!! I'm pretty good at most of these things (like not allowing myself to do "fun" stuff until the "work" stuff is finished) but there are definitely a few things I could be better at. Thanks for the reminder!!!

  12. I'm so with you on planning out the week AND doing the worst task first. If you made it through the worst you can do the rest, right!?

  13. Great tips! I always start off the week well, but Thursday and Friday suck. Haha!


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