My phrase for 2018 is peaceful productivity.
Not the running-around-like-a-chicken-with-my-head-cut-off kind of productivity. Not the oh-crap-is-that-deadline-really-tomorrow-guess-I’ll-pull-an-all-nighter kind of productivity. And definitely not the sorry-I-don’t-have-time-to-hang-out-with-you-because-I’m-so-dang-busy kind of productivity.
Because those kinds of productivity are draining and unfulfilling. And because we can always make better use of our days. If you’re ready to ditch the crazy-busy and float into peaceful productivity with me, read on for 10 methods I’ll personally be putting into practice this year.
1. Keep a clear workspace
When your workspace is clear and you know exactly where everything is, you can stop wasting time looking for that lost piece of paper or stressing out about the humongous piles of junk all around you. File away any papers or receipts you don’t need and get rid of any knick-knacks that are collecting dust. If you hoard pens and markers like it’s your job (I sure do!), test them all out and get rid of the ones that don’t work.
2. Clear out digital clutter
Just like your physical workspace, a messy digital workspace can be super stressful, too. Try to keep only relevant files and folders on your desktop, and make sure everything is easy to find and in its rightful place. If there are files you want to keep, but don’t need regularly, I recommend Dropbox for a great cloud storage solution.
3. Braindump regularly
If you’re like me, you have about a million thoughts running through your brain at once, so it’s important to get them out so they’re not taking up mental space. Keep a running list of everything you want/need to do, either on paper, in a planner/notebook, your phone (notes app or voice memo), or a word doc. Nothing is too big or too small - maybe it’s something as simple as needing to text a friend or respond to an email, or maybe it’s as complex as an idea for a new product launch.
4. Prioritize your braindump
There’s a difference between something you want to do six months from now and something that needs to be done by tomorrow at noon. Take a look through your braindump and prioritize the most important things. I like to also make a more organized list that breaks down my tasks by day, week, and month. It helps keep me on track and ensures I don’t let things fall through the cracks.
5. Turn off notifications while you’re working
Ideally, you should put your phone in a different room while you’re working. If you can’t stand to do that, or you need your phone to accomplish something on your list, put it on airplane mode, do not disturb, or at the very least.. silent. If you’re picking up your phone every time it dings, you’re interrupting your natural workflow and you’re more likely to get sucked into something else while you have it open.
6. Batch your tasks
If you have multiple similar things on your to-do list, try to batch them together. Instead of hopping around from one thing to the next, your work will flow more smoothly, and you’ll get less distracted. Write out captions and hashtags for an entire week’s worth of Instagram posts at once instead of stopping to do it once a day. (I love the Planoly app for this!) Have a bunch of new products to list on Etsy? Take all your photos at once, then edit, then write descriptions/titles/tags instead of going through the steps for each one separately.
7. Create a list of canned responses
Do you feel like you’re responding to the same questions over and over again ALL DAY LONG? Instead of typing out a new response every time, create a list of canned responses so you can copy/paste in way less time. I typically keep mine in a Google Doc so they’re easily accessible no matter where I am.
8. Say no to things you’re not super excited about
If something doesn’t excite you, DON’T DO IT. If someone has requested a custom item and you don’t have the time or desire to do it, just say no. If you must say yes, for the love of all things good in this world, PLEASE at least charge what you’d be excited about making off of the sale. If there’s no amount of money that would make you happy, politely decline and move on.
9. Check in regularly with your prioritized goals
Take a look back at those prioritized goals from all your braindumps. How are they coming? Are there smaller tasks you need to finish before you can make one of those priorities a reality? If so, break it down into manageable pieces, write them all out, and work towards one big goal at a time.
10. Reward yourself when you reach a big milestone
Whether it’s a sales number or a monetary amount, you deserve to celebrate when you reach a big milestone or hit a goal. Take a day off, go get your nails done, pamper yourself with a massage, buy yourself something you’ve been wanting, or go out to a fancy dinner with friends! (Heck.. do ALL of those things!) When you reward yourself after working your butt off, you’re more likely to work even harder just so you can reward yourself more!