I’ve always been an organised person. I’ve always had lists. Many lists! Always looking for ways to be more productive.
I’ve prided myself on getting through my To Do list daily, ticking off each item in turn and ending the day with nothing to do but relax.
And then I had kids. Things changed. Now there is just SO much to do, all of the time. There is always something to pick up or put away or clean or rearrange.
My work as a writer is great on one hand because I can organise my working day to suit myself but at the same time, so much of it centres on new ideas and pushing myself further and there is always something to do. There is always a LOT to do all of the time.
So, as organised as I am, I no longer get everything done each day but I’ve learned some things that work to do as much as I can. Here are my ways to be more productive:
5 Ways to be more Productive
1. Find your ‘best time’ of the day to get things done
For me, this is first thing. I’m so much more productive in the morning and I try and get all of my tougher To Do items done then.
This has changed over the years, I used to be a night owl but these days I get more tired throughout the day and by evening, I’m only good for watching TV.
2. Prioritise the hardest tasks first
Put the jobs you don’t want to do or the ones that will take the most time to the top of your list. If you’re anything like me, you’ll put these off so often otherwise that they just won’t get completed!
I try to do the things I don’t enjoy doing first so that as the day goes on, I’m getting to the tasks I do like.
Related: How to Win at Productivity with Batch Tasking!
3. Experiment with your To Do list
I’m currently using a Family Wall Planner, an online iPhone calendar, a written To Do list and a personal written planner. I’m determined to find what works best for me and don’t intend to keep using all of these! So far I’m finding that having a written To Do list on my desk, right next to my laptop is working best of all.
It’s a good idea to give a few options a go, without spending a fortune on stationery, to see what works best in making you more productive.
4. Minimise distractions
Perhaps you work better with the radio on, or the TV in the background? Or perhaps you need complete silence so you can concentrate on the task you’re doing?
If you find you’re distracted by noise, your phone beeping or people calling/texting, then turn those devices off. Set aside a couple of hours in the day to focus only on what you need to get done. The world will not end if you don’t check your social media accounts every hour!
I found I was spending hours and hours on social media, just browsing, not even chatting to people! I was getting nothing done so I’ve tried to minimise this to only a couple times per day on some channels so I’m not too distracted. It’s working so far.
5. Finally, a Tidying tip!
My husband laughs at me for this one but when I’m at home and moving from one room to another, I always try to look around and see what I can take with me to the room I’m going to. For example, if I’m leaving the living room to go to my daughter’s room, I’ll pick up the shoes (and socks, and clothes) she’s kicked off and take them with me to put away.
I’m definitely not perfect, I don’t always remember to do this! It isn’t rocket science and won’t change your life majorly but every little helps, right?!
What are your tips on being more productive in work or at home?
Linked to #TheList with You Baby Me Mummy and Mr & Mrs T Plus Three
I really find distractions everywhere lately… but that might partly be a toddler too!! I do agree with doing the big tasks or things I don’t enjoy first thing, but actually do admit to not always practicing :-D
As someone who is rather disorganised I loved the fact that I already do the tidying one. We leave things at the top and bottom of the stairs so we always tidy as we go along. I don’t feel so bad now!
I went on a time management course and the trainer advised me to ‘eat the ugly frog first’ (e.g. as you said, do the tricky thing first). It’s great advice but I struggle to do it! x
I love the frog phrase – it really works though! x
Some great tips, I was unorganised before I had Children so now I don’t stand a chance! I feel like I am always chasing my tail. The tidying tip makes so much sense!!
Ah tidying after kids is endless isn’t it!
Fab tips Mim, I am the same as you . I used to be organised and find things have slipped now! These are really useful. Thanks for linking up to #TheList x x
Thanks lovely! Ah it was all too easy before kids :) x
Great advice here. I love a list too! #thelist
Thank you! x
Great post. Some brilliant ideas here. I really wish I could be more organised, however, 1 thing I am a huge fan of are lists. Heck, I’ve even got a category dedicated to lists on my website. I love point 5. I’m a firm believer of a tidy desk/living space etc = a tidy mind. Well, ish. #thelist
Thank you! I love lists – I have so many on my phone too! x
I’m terrible for wasting time on social media – I can spend hours just looking at photos people have put up! I also try to do the thing where I grab at least one thing every time I leave a room – it doesn’t always work if there are more things than I can grab but at least I know the mess is going down!
Ah yes, even a small dent in the mess makes me feel better too :) x
I always look around a room to see what I can take with me too – there’s no point making work is there?! #thelist
Exactly! It’s the little things that help :) x
Great list! I’m always wasting too much time on social media and I could have got loads done in that time! I’m using a filofax at the moment (I was bullet journalling) trying to work out what works the best for me. xx #thelist
Oh let me know if you find that works – I love the look of bullet journalling! x
Ah yes, pre-kids I was so much more organised. I also work better at the beginning of the day – tasks get done so much faster. Sadly, the things I want to do for me get left until the end of the day when I’m tired. I also lose days of my life on social media. I really need to switch off the phone more! Thanks for sharing your tips! X #thelist
Me too – but I have the fear of missing out :) x
Wasting time on social media is so easy to do its true. Tidying up is a constant progress in this house. If I write a list it is easier to have it in view and work through it that way. Otherwise out of sight out of mind occurs!
You’re so right – I have to have my To Do list where I can see it too or it’s totally forgotten! x
I’m awful at having to-do lists and ideas dotted here, there and everywhere. I need to find a way to collate everything that works for me! I use Evernote which I really like, but I’m sure I’m not getting the best out of it, time to learn more about it I think! x #TheList
Ah I need to check out Evernote too! x
Great tips. I find myself wasting so much time on social media too, really need to limit my time on there. Love the tidying up tip, my little boys clothes are always all over the living room, be much tidier if I just picked them up as I went about my day.xx #TheList
It’s so easily done though – social media is addictive! x
Really good tips, especially the one about putting the hardest thing on your to do list at the top. I am very guilty of putting that one down the bottom!!! #thelist
Ah it does make a difference – I’m always telling my husband to do the same! x
Love this post. Like you I am always trying out loads of different things to see what works. Totally get your not leaving a room without anything point, I do this too. It can make a nice dent on the kids stuff that gets left around the house!
Thank you Jo! Ah tidying the kids stuff is never ending :)
Great post, I am desperately trying to be a bit more organised. I know what you mean about social media, it’s such a time sapper isn’t it? I don’t think I’d manage all those methods of keeping organised though, I’ll be interested to hear which one you settle on after you’ve trialled them all!x
I had grand ideas when I bought them all but it was over kill! So far a very simple To Do list pad is working best :) x
I find myself wasting so much time on social media and really need to limit my usage. Finding it hard to kick the habit of reaching for my phone every few minutes!
Me too! I think I need an iPhone detox but I can’t bring myself to do it – if you find the answer let me know! x