Effective Productivity Hacks To Get More Out Of Your Week
You work. You’re a caregiver. You’re a cook, a taxi driver, an accountant, a counselor, the list goes on and on. You are constantly on the move and finding it difficult to juggle your life on the go. Sound familiar?
With a traveling husband, an 11 year old son, and a business I run on my own, life is BUSY! I get you. I’m right here with you, trying to do “all the things”.
We pack so much into our short days, and yet somehow, we expect everything to run smoothly. What are we thinking?!
In a recent blog post, Time Block Basics To Boost Your Productivity, I used this quote:
It’s not how much time you have, it’s how you use it.
Just prior to writing this post I was planning my week and calendar for the next 3 months. It is daunting to see all of the things that I want/need to accomplish on a daily basis. Like, crawl back into bed so it all goes away, daunting. Do you experience this? Whenever I am feeling this way I think about the quote.
How can I better use the time that I have in order to fit in what needs to be done? Sometimes it means not spending time in front of the TV, paying attention to how much time spent on social media or giving up activities I really enjoy, but it’s always about priority. Is it more important for me to go to my dance class that eats up 2.5 hours or work out and home and work on a deadline I have for the end of the week?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all about self care and doing what you love (we all NEED this to be productive). If you don’t know, I LOVE dancing. Especially when I can get my exercise time out of it. It puts me in a super happy place and I can’t get enough of it. It’s hard to say no to one of my favorite things, but if that is the only time I can buy for the week, dance class can be priority another week when I don’t need to sacrifice the time (I’ll just do a 30 minute workout instead and save 2 hours). If I am unwilling to give up my dance time however, other activities need to go.
I haven’t found the easy button or a fancy secret fix to make this all better, BUT, I do have some productivity hacks that I have found useful to get time on my side.
Effective Productivity Hacks To Get More Out Of Your Week
Use a digital calendar.
Find your time wasters.
Make the most of your trips.
Finish what you start
Re-adjust your priorities.
Plan ahead for daytime eating.
If you’re finding yourself wanting a reset button at the beginning of every week, try out some of these hacks to get more out of your week. They’re not all your typical productivity tips so give a few a try.
Hack #1 - Use a digital calendar for appointments and time blocks
Use a digital calendar for all of your appointments as well as time blocks for other activities such as errands, drive time, eating, admin work, household tasks, etc.
Obvious? Maybe, but you’d be surprised at how using your digital calendar for EVERYTHING will help you with your time.
Some people go digital, some love paper. I personally am both, but I ALWAYS have everything on my digital calendar. Since I always have my phone with me, it makes it super easy to add something right when it comes up.
Check out a recent post to learn a bit more on time blocking here.
A few quick calendar tips:
When scheduling, add all of the important information in the description. For example: If you have a party to go to, put the address, phone number, party times, and any other info in the description. It makes for a quick “go to” source for the event. Keeping addresses, contact numbers and other information all in one place will keep you from wasting time looking for it later.
Color code your tasks. For example: I use red for anything to do with my son, purple for anything personal, blue for work, etc. This allows me to see at a glance what I need to do without even looking at the title.
Use time blocking to organize the hours in your day. Tell your time where to go so you can be intentional, not reactive. You can learn more about time blocking in another post here.
Hack #2 - Find your time wasters.
Keep track of the ways you spend your time for one week. Take notice of things you do that take up unnecessary time and create habits to change it.
Do you spend 10 minutes finding your keys every morning? Do you find yourself scrolling through social media for a long time when you pull into your garage? If so, create systems such as hanging a key hook by the door and adding a time app to your phone.
Hack #3 - Make the most of your trips.
When you plan ALL of your time on your calendar. You can be more intentional with how you spend your time. Need to run some errands? Plan to do them together when possible to save on drive time.
Place donations, returns and dry cleaning in the car the night before you’ll be out and knock a few items off your list on the way to work or at lunch. This will free up some that precious drive time you’d be using otherwise.
Hack #4 - Finish what you start before starting something new.
When you work on a project from start to finish, it's one less item on the to-do list. Focus on one thing and you’ll get more done in the long run.
This sounds easier than it is sometimes. I am the first to admit that I struggle with this one A LOT! In fact, as I’m writing this, I found myself wanting to go to my new cleaning routine plan because I want to lay it out before the week starts.
It will still be there when I am done here. This will get done faster if I focus.
There is so much information floating around in our minds at any given time of the day that distraction becomes an automatic action. Try to be aware of the tasks you work on. If you find yourself going to your computer to check something in the middle of folding laundry, rein yourself back in and just finish what you started first.
Hack #5 - Re-adjust your priorities.
Remember giving up dance class? Since you can't really do it all (I know, just gotta let it go), re-evaluate which activities really need your time and focus. This circles back to your time wasters. What do you want to accomplish each day? Have you determined what needs to get done and how much time will take?
A great way to work on this is to have a “Top 3” of things you must get done that day. Start with those and then move on to other tasks. Completing your “must dos” before anything else, you will have more time to work on your other “to dos”. Prioritize.
Hack #6 - Look for grab and go snacks and/or prepare a snack bag or lunch ahead of time.
One of the more simple tips on the list, but we all need to fuel ourselves. Map out where and when you will be around times you will need to eat. Will you be commuting all day without a chance to stop somewhere? Will you need to have a quick bite between appointments? Meal prep on the weekend to really save some time or just grab some protein bars. Having something prepared will save you money and time.
So you’re still trying to do “all the things”. Let’s do a little recap so you can choose something to work on and gain a bit more of your time back.
Use a digital calendar. Put all important information in the description and time block.
Find your time wasters. Notice how you are spending your time and create habits to move away from what is creating loss of time.
Make the most of your trips. Combine errands and tasks to save time and money.
Finish what you start. Focus on one thing and then move on.
Re-adjust your priorities. Make a top 3. Start with the “must do” then move on to the “to do”.
Plan ahead for daytime eating. Don’t get stuck in the fast food line or without fuel for your body.
I challenge you. Give just one of these simple strategies a try. I promise you will find yourself gaining a bit more time and having less stress. You don’t need a reset button, just a bit of intention! If you’d like help with juggling “all the things” I’d love to be your accountability buddy! Come on over to my Facebook page so we can help each other out! www.facebook.com/ordertoeverthing
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I'm Melynda, a professional organizer who loves helping busy women and families eliminate their clutter and calm the chaos in their homes. You want to get organized? Let’s do the thing!
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