I’ve got something a bit different for you today… as many of you may know I am self employed and work online while I travel the world. I often get asked about how to stay motivated and productive so thought I’d do a roundup post on my top tips!
In my opinion productivity comes in two parts – avoiding procrastination, and having visual goals that drive you. This post is going to be all about procrastination and efficiency, with a followup on goals coming soon. But if you can’t wait until then, check out this video by Project Life Mastery.
Here’s an insight into my real life techniques to stay productive:
To Do Lists
You 100% cannot be successful without mastering to do lists.
Personally – I use the app Trello. It’s a great website and mobile tool where you create drag-and-drop cards/tasks to go into lists.
I have a ‘master list’ (everything I need to do ever), a ‘to do today’ list (with just 4/5 tasks in), ‘to do tomorrow’ (ditto), and ‘to do next week’. Of course all of this depends on the size of each task – try to be realistic about how likely you are to complete your list, and don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. You should make sure no tasks are ongoing – e.g. ‘do daily yoga’ or ‘write blog posts’ as you’ll never get to tick it off. For repeating daily tasks like that I recommend the app Productive Habit Tracker. Stick with specifics that you can delete when you’re done – it feels great!
Eat That Frog
This is a popular, but ever true, catch phrase which simply means – start with the hardest thing. Whichever task is scary or unpleasant you should crack on with it as soon as you sit down at your desk. Either it’s horrible and you get it over with so the rest of the day is a breeze, or it’s not as bad as you think and you don’t have to spend the whole day worrying about it. It’s a no brainer… but it takes a whole lotta discipline! Be strong and you’ll reap the rewards.
One of the best things I’ve ever done is install the Facebook Feed Eradicator. It’s an awesome Chrome extension (p.s. if you’re not on Chrome then what are you doing with your life?!). Comment below if you’d like me to do a roundup of all my favourite Chrome extensions – they’re seriously awesome. Anyway – back to the point – Facebook Feed Eradicator has rocketed my productivity. All it does is hide the infinite scroll of pointless posts without affecting any of your other Facebook functionality – you can still send messages, look at events, view people’s pages and profiles etc, and I still keep the feed on my phone app. I use Facebook a lot for work/life so this stops me getting drawn into the procrastination without having to go totally cold turkey.
If Facebook isn’t your vice, you should try to remove any other distractions too. Work at the library if your housemates are chatty, or turn off notifications on your phone if you have super active Whatsapp groups. Focal Filter is a great tool for setting a timed block on websites that you know you can’t resist.
Give Yourself a Break
It can be tough, especially with things like exam revision, to give yourself a guilt free break, but it’s super important. If you set yourself targets like 500 words or 1 hour of work, you should have a refresh after each one. It’s important to remember that you only get one life, and however intense things are getting you have to live it! I often step away to do some exercise, get fresh air or see friends, and massively boosts my brain power. Vary your tasks, keep your body active too, and infuse a hint of YOLO. If you want a whole collection of advice on University Study Skills in particular check out my Udemy course here.
Rewards – pay up!
Setting yourself tasty and tangible rewards for achieving your goals is a great plan – but it’s really important you keep your promises to yourself. Your sub conscious will soon become distrusting if you move the goal posts and then your inner motivation is irreparably damaged.
Don’t be cheap
Now this may sound rich coming from me – Little Miss Thrifty – but I’ve learnt this the hard way. If your computer is slow: buy a new one, if you find an app that will make you more efficient: pay up, if your internet is slow: upgrade it! Basically, your productivity is worth spending money on – it’s the crux of your life and whether you’ll succeed. Invest in yourself!
A photo posted by Louise Croft (@louisecroft) on
So that’s my tips for getting super productive – if you’ve got any others then leave them in the comments below! And watch out for my goal setting post coming next week…