Tuesday, 17 October 2017

The key to productivity


So here I am, at 9pm on a Tuesday evening, sat in bed with Our Girl on the TV and my laptop balanced on my knee whilst I finally sit down to write this post.
It's been on my 'to do' list since I wrote it last night, along with several other tasks such as 'train arms at the gym', 'tidy wardrobe' and 'watch several episodes of Once Upon A Time'. 
Usually my 'to do' list actually comprises of important things to do, as well as a few 'quick wins' which make me feel like I've overcome something that day (more about this later). 
Anyway, enough of me rambling, here are a few ways in which I manage my productivity. 

1. Manage and plan your time 
This may seem stupidly easy, but for my first year of university, I used to float from lecture to lecture, work shift to work shift, with no clear plan on what I was doing. Fast forward to December and I was something akin to Chicken Run, panicking like mad as I tried to juggle three deadlines with a part time job which was an hour away by bus. 
It wasn't until I started to manage my time effectively that my grades took a sky rocket and I started having free time. Whilst working, I have an Outlook diary of meetings, deadlines and projects that I need to get done for the day. Whilst at home, I have a daily journal that I use to plan my tasks for the day, big and small. 

2. Cut the crap 
I have a working habit of 50 minutes working, 10 minutes stretching and getting some fresh air. Now, this works at university, but isn't always applicable to a working environment. Where I've worked in a marketing department before, I would have a five minute break to fill up my water bottle, or walk to the bathroom on another floor to stretch my legs out. Whilst in a shop, I would rotate tasks to keep myself fresh and interested in the task at hand. Whereas I can fake it until I make it, I can also see the benefits of giving myself different tasks to keep myself motivated if I'm doing a boring task. 
However, if you're spending 20 minutes working, and 40 minutes doing anything but working, then you're going to feel the heat when it comes close to a deadline. 

3. Social media purge 
Whilst at work and writing reports at university, I would give myself a social media ban for the time which I spent working. Would I sit on my phone in front of my boss or my Dean of School? Of course I wouldn't, so that doesn't mean I should do it when they aren't around. Also, I am that person that somehow ends up 35 weeks deep on a friends, sisters, ex boyfriends, new girlfriends Instagram. Not in a creepy way, but my scrolling definitely gets the better of me, and a 'quick check' will usually end up taking up a good hour of my time - not to mention Minion Rush, which I have managed to reach level 52 on in 5 days. 

4. Quick wins 
Sometimes work and chores can bog you down, and you can't see the wood for the trees. When I had deadlines coming up, the task of 'write an 8,000 word social media marketing plan for X company' was incredibly daunting. However, if I broke it down in to: 1. create rough plan of paragraph headings, 2. source 10 journals, 3. create bibliography  etc. then the task became a lot more manageable and I didn't find myself burying my head in the sand.  
Likewise, when it came to household chores and work, I would give myself 'quick wins' - things that I could do quickly and would make me feel like I was getting stuff done. 'Take out the bins' and 'sort out coathangers at bottom of bed' may seem like stupid tasks to do, but they are often ones I would avoid doing; ergo, if I put them down as a quick win, I would be much more likely to do them, as they were the easiest tasks on my list and gave me a sense of achievement. 

And there we have it, a short guide and quick tips for bossing your productivity.  
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