“But really, how does she manage to do it all?!” You know who we’re talking about – that woman who makes the astute point in the meeting, whizzes out to pick up her kids, whips up something delicious, plans her friend’s fabulous birthday dinner and still manages to get back online to answer your question… exclamation point in-tact. For many of the women reading this (and donning their Armoire but of course), we’re likely talking about you in one way or another.
And even if you are already a productivity machine, there are always a few tips n’ tricks to up your efficiency game. So we’ve compiled a few to keep you on top of your A-game.
Keep your eye on the prize
The prize being the bigger picture goals you are working towards. Plan your day to fill the gaps between goal setting and goal achieving. When you align your daily tasks to your long-term goals, you’re directing your attention to the right place… the finish line.
Write it down
This could be done digitally or old-school pen and paper. Either way, planning and tracking is one of the most critical pieces to time-management and thus, being effective. Use a timetable to break your day down into 30-minute increments – then try to have little to no white space on your daily calendar. This doesn’t mean you’re working around the clock, it just means you’re proactively planning and prioritizing. It forces you to be conscious about how you spend your hours and helps you eliminate “transition decision fatigue”. Don’t forget to jot down the successes throughout the day as well (see point 5).
*For those of you drawn to the good old days of analog planners, we’ve been enjoying the Productivity Planner and the Best Self Planner (both make it easy to put these productivity tips to work).
Focus on one task at a time without distractions
Instead of thinking of everything that could/should get done in a given day and jumping between these as they come up, break it down into the few main tasks that you aim to accomplish. Then break it down again – look at each task and work on it in 25-minute increments where you focus on that and only that (hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this means turning off any distraction culprits that could cause you to shift your attention – looking at you Instagram, email or even Slack). At the end of each increment, take a 5-minute break and then pick it up again. Once it’s done, take a longer break, treat yourself, maybe check in on the world/email/social, and then start on your next task when you’re ready to go. The key is to stay focused and not move onto the next task until you complete the one at hand – and when you do, acknowledge that it feels darn good and then on to the next one.
Ready, set… start with the uncomfortable
That’s right, as you plan your day, think about the things you want to accomplish in that day, and then ask yourself which of these things make me feel uncomfortable? Or another way to put it, which one of these do you not want to look directly in the eye. It’s usually the more important tasks that are more difficult… hence why we like to avoid them. So put that first on your to-do list, and get it done and out of the way.
Bookend your days with what you’re grateful for
It’s not always easy to stop during your high demand day and give yourself kudos, but hey, you earned it. One of the best ways to do so is to take a moment to reflect on a few things you’ve accomplished or even a hurdle you’ve overcome. The benefits? Your mindset will shift and you’ll have a little more “spring in your step”, and more importantly, you’ll reduce negative thoughts (we all know how that can lead to that downward spiral). Similarly, it’s important to remind yourself of the little wins you have throughout the day – they add up, and studies have shown it only makes your step springier, and your day more productive – we promise.
To sum it up (in a lot less words): PROACTIVE > REACTIVE. But like most things in life, that’s easier said than done – so give these specific hacks a try to help make it more manageable, and let us know how it works for you!
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