I’ll be totally honest - I have a love/hate relationship with the concept of “productivity.”
Clients often come to me looking for tips and tricks to become crazy productive because they’re feeling stalled in their life or career. While I’m always happy to talk shop about all things mindset, organization and cute office supplies, I want to be clear, 9 times out of 10, you don’t actually need productivity hacks. You need clarity and confidence.
Your productivity sucks because you aren’t 100% bought into what you’re trying to accomplish.
You need to focus on the buy in, not the life hacks. That will make you a to - do list conquerer.
If you feel stuck, easily distracted and energetically drained when you consider the tasks on your plate, it’s time to gently remind yourself exactly why you’ve created those tasks in the first place.
My favorite way to get 100% bought in to my to do lists and projects is through re-writing my 'commitment to self' contract. I first got this idea from Kate Byrne of Betty Means Business, and the practice of writing out what I’m committed to has been a game changer. This activity helps you reframe annoying tasks as pieces of a puzzle. Each piece clicks into it’s own dedicated place to reveal the greater picture (i.e., the direction you want to go). Refreshing, right?
BE A PRODUCTIVITY HACKER
Ok, now on the juicy stuff that I know you came here for - so once you’re fully bought into what you’re doing, how do you actually get shit done on a day to day basis? I don’t claim to have everything figured out when it comes to productivity, but I do have a proces that works for me.
Keep it consistent. I am a serious notebook hoarder - so when I let down my organizational guard it takes approximately 30 seconds before all the ideas in my head explode across the page of 7 different notebooks. Before you know it, I’m juggling notebooks, binders and printed handouts and wasting hours everyday just rifling through pages to look for what I need. It’s not a good look, or a good process. If you love pen and paper, great. If you love digital organization, great. Just commit to using one or two (at max) systems to corral your junk. You’ll thank me later!
Work in pomodoro chunks. I don’t do this everyday, but when I do my ability to crank out work skyrockets. After years in a corporate setting, I really resisted the idea of over-scheduling my time when I started my own business. Using the pomodoro technique gives me the light pressure of a “deadline,” and makes working feel like a game. Plus, you get hella breaks. #winwin
Customize it. Ask yourself:
What do I really need in order for my organizing system to be as productive as I’d like?
What do I need to be super crystal clear on, so I have peace of mind?
What feels doable and not overwhelming, in terms of organizing my tasks?
What tasks can I cut or delegate to others?
What do I want to use as my in the moment tools - ie if I have a thought at the checkout line in the grocery store that I don’t want to forget, how will I capture it for use later?
TOOLS OF THE TRADE
Some systems and resources I’m loving right now (just FYI, none of these are affiliate links!):
Trello. A project management system that I used to hate because frankly, I thought the interface was ugly. Then I took Think Creative Collective’s Trello for Business course and learned how to download some amazing background images - and all of a sudden I loved the tool.
Bullet journalling. I love the practice of pen on paper, and find it really calming and reassuring to be able to braindump all of my to do list items on one long list.
Built in transcription time. I always schedule time in my week to transcribe and get important on-paper information into it’s digital home so I can easily access it.
Moleskine Smart Writing set. Can’t give up the notebooks completely? Girl, I feel you. I use this for all client notes that I take during coaching sessions, and at the end of the call, I just click a button to upload my notes to the client’s portal. Hella easy & gives me more time for Netflix.
Above all else, keep it simple. This might seem like a no-brainer, but when you’re a visual thinker and note taker like myself, it’s tempting to over organize and begin to complicate things. Make the organizing tool you choose the path of least resistance for you, or you’re never going to be able to stick to it. And it’s sooooo worth sticking to!