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Want to boost your productivity and get more done in less time? Here are 5 of my favorite tips on how to be more productive and tackle your to-do list today.
Do you find yourself procrastinating way too often and start cleaning when you should be tackling a big project and scrolling through your Facebook feed when you should be cleaning?
If you want to know how to be more productive instantly, here are 5 simple tips that can help you beat procrastination and help you check those tasks on your to-do list.
The 5 simple steps you can start with to become more productive are:
- Eat the frog vs. do the easiest thing first
- Find your “why”
- Create a checklist using the Alastair method
- Plan the night before
- Assign designated times for distractions or go to a public place to work
1. How to be more productive: To eat the frog or to do the easiest things first
To start your day “right” and pave the way to have a productive day, you have two ways to go:
- either do the most difficult one first (eat the frog) and then it’s out of the way
- or start with the easiest task you can think of to get to the “action mode”.
1. Eat the frog
“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”Mark Twain
So if you find yourself reading Facebook and emails first thing in the morning – and before you know it – it’s time to have lunch, this might be the method for you.
Eating the frog means that before you do anything else, you should first tackle the most difficult or the most important thing.
If you want to get in better shape, but you can’t just get yourself to exercise, do it the first thing in the morning. Wake up an hour earlier than everyone else if needed.
Or if you have some big goal you want to achieve, do the one important thing that will get you one step closer to that goal. And do it first thing in the morning!
Then for the rest of the day you can feel good about yourself and even if you would procrastinate the rest of the day, you know you did something important that day.
2. Do the easiest thing first
If you’re more of an evening person and you just can’t get things done in the morning, then start with the easiest possible thing. Make your bed, clean the kitchen, do some routine work.
This way you can get your “activity mode” on. Once you do one thing from start to finish – even if it would be making your bed – you feel like you accomplished something! And then do the next thing. And then the next. And before you know it, you’ve tackled a lot of things from your to-do list.
2. Find your “why” so you can be more productive
Whenever you have something bigger you need to achieve and the smaller action steps towards that goal seem endless the best way to conquer all those tasks is to have a clear vision about your “why”.
- Why are you doing this task?
- Why is it important that you do it today?
If you do it today instead of next month or next year, what goal will it serve and what good will come from it in the next month, year, 5 years.
3. Create a to-do list using the Alastair method
The Alastair Method is named after it’s creator Alastair Johnson and he first used this method to organize his future log in his bullet journal.
The idea is that you have a list of things you need to accomplish aka to-do list and when you write your list down you’ll leave a little extra room on the left to create columns for a schedule.
So instead of just having a list of things that you then marked “checked” when they’re done, you’ll have either days, weeks or months on the left side and you’ll make a little dot to plan which day, week or month you’ll plan to do that task.
And then when you’ll go through your to-do list, you don’t have to go through everything, but just the tasks that you’ve planned to do that day.
The original method had long term plans listed (aka future log) and months on the left side so that they would easier to move in the bullet journal to the correct month, but I like to use this method for my weekly tasks.
Want to use this printable weekly to-do list I’ve created instead of making your own? Super! You can find it from my shop.
4. How to be more productive: Assign designated times for distractions or go to a public place to work
If you find yourself cleaning when you should be tackling your to-do list and binge-watching netflix when you should be cleaning, then creating a designated cleaning time, tv-time, facebook time etc. might be a good way to go.
1. Assign designated times for distractions
Write in your planner or on a post-it note what time you’re going to be doing chores and what time you get to relax or check your Facebook feed and then stick to it.
And if you find yourself doing something else than what’s on your to-do list, stop yourself, close the tv, internet and put that vacuum cleaner away and go back to the more important task at hand.
And if a designated time for surfing online, for organizing or for whatever you tend to do when you’re procrastinating doesn’t work, take your laptop or your notebook and go to a public place to tackle your to-dos.
2. Go to a public place to work
Any public place will do – a library, a coffee shop, even a park. Choose one thing you need to finish while you’re there. Leave all other distractions at home.
If you can’t leave your house, but need a distraction free zone, choose a space at your home where you usually don’t work and where you don’t have your things around you. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started to organize my pens and papers instead of tackling my to-dos that have way higher priority.
And if you can do your project without the internet and you want to make sure you’ll finish that part of your project, then turn of your wi-fi. If you find this hard, pretend that you’re in an airplane 😀
5. Plan the night before to be productive the next day
One very effective way to be productive (and maybe even get a good night sleep!) is to plan your schedule and tasks for the next day the night before.
- Write down and plan out the things you want to get done the next day the night before.
- Don’t go into detail and don’t make it too big of a task to plan.
- Even just writing down a few things on a post-it will do.
- And leave the note at sight.
- If you use a notebook, then leave your notebook open from that page.
- And don’t look at anything or start doing anything else before you’ve tackled at least one thing from that list.
What can you do right now to be more productive?
So what can you do today?
These tips are not for tomorrow or for the next week. If you want to be more productive you can (and should) start right now.
So how to be more productive…
- If it’s the evening you’re reading this then take a piece of
paperand write down your plans for tomorrow.
- If it’s the morning, then do one super-easy task right now. Any task. As long as it’s something that will take you a step closer to your goal.
- If you don’t know where to start, then take your to-do list or write a new one. And add the weekdays on the left side and plan which day you need to do each task.
- If you need to be tackling something right now, then take your laptop and leave your house. And don’t come back until you’re done with it. Or if it’s something you need to do at home, then get rid of the distractions – silent your phone, turn off the wi-fi, close the TV and hide the remotes etc. Or go to a room or an area that doesn’t have your things in it.
- And if none of those work, find the motivation by writing down your “why”. Why is it important to finish the task? And then just do it.
And after you’re done with the first task, remember to reward yourself with a nice cup of coffee or a funny cat video 😀
Want to start using The Alastair Method immediately?
Want to use the pretty printable weekly to-do list (The Alastair Method) shown in this post?
As a bonus, you’ll get the printable list in a few different colors.
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