Productivity: It's a Lifestyle

I wish I could tell you that being productive was easy - that there was some super secret and knowing it magically turned you into a little get-it-all-done machine, but I’d be lying. Being productive is hard, and you have to work at it every single day. Trust me, I want to waste my time on social media, too. Unfortunately, I can’t because I have a job that I want to excel at and dreams that I’d like to realize before I die. So I wake up in the morning and decide to be productive. Here’s how I’ve managed to maintain a productive lifestyle.

Write Everything Down

Each time I think of something that needs to get done, I write it down in either my planner or the notebook I keep in my purse. This keeps me from stressing about remembering everything. Then I set aside an hour on Sunday to go over the things I’ve jotted down and to think of anything else I need to get done in the coming week. Once I’ve made this list, I prioritize it. I choose the three most important things and schedule a specific time for them to be done, and then I divide the other tasks among the next six days.

Try to limit your list to seven items per day. It’s not feasible to get 20 things done when you have work and various appointments. Save the mile-long lists for days when you don’t have any other obligations to worry about.

Commit to Your Planner

You may already have a planner, but how often do you actually use it? To utilize your planner to its full potential and improve your productivity, you need to live and die by the planner. Just kidding. Well, kind of. Personally, if it’s written in my planner, then it absolutely, no matter what, must be done by the end of the day. Scheduling in your to-do list around work, appointments, and your social life ensures that you have time to get stuff done. When you schedule in cleaning, there are no excuses for having a messy house.

Set Aside Time to Relax

You can’t and shouldn’t be 100% productive every hour of every day. That’s how you burn out and give up on productivity. I like to schedule in some time for myself two or three days a week. I might give myself an hour and a half on Wednesday night to take a bubble bath, or decide that I’m not going to worry about my to-do list at all Saturday night, or dedicate some time to journaling after a really stressful day. These moments of me-time help me relax and feel more refreshed to take on the world the next day. Plus, they prevent me from being a hellish tornado of stress that people run from.

Leave Some Wiggle Room

While I try to schedule everything, I also try to be flexible in case something comes up, like a dinner with a good friend at the same time as that bubble bath. Deadlines change, plans change, you change your mind. You need to be committed to your to-do list and planner, but you shouldn’t be rigid. You have to keep a little wiggle room for life to interrupt. You want to bend, not break.

Remember That Productivity is a Mindset

You don’t accidently become productive on a consistent basis. Yes, there are those sporadic moments of motivation where you clean and organize the whole house, but they don’t happen every day. Instead of waiting for it to strike, wake up and decide you’ll be productive. Then stick to it. Nothing and no one can make you stick to being productive. That’s all up to you.