When a new year wallops in people would normally reflect on resolutions and stuff they want to change in themselves or the things that they want to do for the rest of the year. It could be anything from unhealthy habits, saving money, investing in or doing something more often, the list goes on. For me, when 2019 propelled I have jotted a list of things that I want to achieve and things that I want to learn which is pretty normal of me. I like writing stuff on several random notebooks which frequently gets forgotten as the year passes by, but I beg to change. Yes! If there is one thing that I’d like to focus on for this year it will be being productive. I’d like to use the time to focus on my self, to do things that will bring me great returns in terms of feeling good about myself and at the same achieving goals on my list rather than wasting time on social media or lounging on the couch when I have slumbered for 8 hours.
Productivity-that’s my keyword for this year. It helped a lot that I have been gifted two planners by two of my closest friends. One I use as the main record where I put vital information such as people’s birthday, important dates to remember, things that I need to do, self-target, places to visit, and friends to meet whilst the other planner is the one I use to schedule my content on my personal blog and my business blog. In fact, this particular blog posts is scheduled according to my content diary, so you see how clever that is? Basically, it helps me be in line with what I really want to do so I don’t wake up one day feeling all lost. Having a planner helped me achieve things, maybe it will not make that much big difference in my goals but small steps is salutary than doing nothing at all. End of the day, I constantly ask myself “what have I done productively today?” and trust me, it feels great to achieve so many things in a day. I used to say that “I don’t have that much time to do it” but I have changed that to “I am making time to do it”.
Although drilling and instilling productivity in my day to day life doesn’t just end in having two planners. It did help, but there’s more to it than just jotting down, so I am sharing tips on how I put productivity in my practice.
1. Prepare your mindset
When I say “productivity” that means being prolific in terms of what you really want to achieve in your life. I don’t mean being too energetic and do so many things in a day such as shopping, above the moon chit-chatting with friends, drinking fancy coffee in the local coffee shop and watching Netflix. Yes, that could be productive in a way but what did those actions bring you? Temporary high, I suppose or broken allowance that you need to stretch for the remaining days till you get the bread?
Uttering words are way simpler than putting it in action. Being productive is more of a conviction and a promise to one’s self. Before embarking into practice, make sure that you have a clear understanding that focusing more on productivity requires you to give up unnecessary actions and habits. I do not mean get rid of these habits, I just mean cut them down and instead of making them as your “temporary highs” turn them into a reward-delaying gratification. Once you feel great in crossing out things you’ve achieved on your list buy yourself that long dreamed dress or eat a really nice dinner at an A-list restaurant.
This will take a lot of practice as well as getting used to letting go of usual habits, I myself struggle to control myself at times, but do it slowly and sulk into the idea that you want to be a bigger and better version of yourself.
2. Start filling up that planner, if you don’t have, be resourceful
A planner can mean so many things for so many people. Some might prefer a digital planner such as in your laptop or mobile which can send you a pop-up notification of the things to do in a day. This type of planner works well for me on my day job. I schedule tasks on my day to day calendar to allow time per assignments which helps me see which ones on my lists need more attention for the day. This can be applied to your personal life if going digital is what suits your style. As for my personal preference outside the work zone, digital just won’t work for me. I do not even check Facebook, Messenger or Instagram notification on my personal phone anymore-they’re all just notifications of someone’s birthday, someone posting something about someone-I beg to refine information I want to receive nowadays, digital can be really toxic. I prefer real planners where I can write in different colored pens, I can stick on notes, I can highlight in different colors and make it as an outlet of my personality by just being creative in my own way. The whole process of it stimulates me that’s why I am doing it.
In a nutshell, choose the type of planner you think will help you and encourage you to act on things you want to do. It could also be a list that you stick on your fridge or you favor to see different colorful stick-on notes on the wall, who knows? So as long as it works, go for it!
3. Get a good night sleep
We often neglect the power of sleep, especially people my age. I, on the other hand, have always been (and will always be) a morning person some are night owls which is perfectly cool. My body clock starts at 5 am on weekdays, and 6 am on weekends. Normally on weekends, I allow myself to lounge a little bit more to catch that eerie feeling of being conscious before I get on my feet and start my day. A full 8-hour of sleep gives me the energy I need for the day and trust me 8-hour is not enough to pack for the days’ activity when you age and I can feel that coming now. The science behind this is that you get the energy you require for the day. It could take 4-hours for younger humans to recharge for the day and that’s absolutely perfect! So as long as you have the stamina to stay awake for the day and not need to nap in between and then end up waking up in the middle of the night realizing everyone’s asleep you don’t dare to make a single sound.
Before you know it, your day is wasted. Bye productivity! So get a full-on slumber and get ready to kick off your day.
4. Wake-up early
This is hard for you but not for me. But why wake up early when you can do it later? I agree! You can stick to your sleeping cycle which is rather different for each individual. Early doesn’t necessarily mean 5 freaking AM every day for everyone, it means to wake up on the right time you set that you deem would allow you time to do things. Maybe you’re part of the Nocturnals, so early for you might mean an hour before the clock strikes at 12 and perhaps waking up at this time allows you to function more! The point is, I am not imposing on what time works best for everyone, you know better your sleeping sequence and the time you feel most alive. So waking up early means getting up at the time you feel most inspired and productive to do things on your daily list.
5. Take time to eat breakfast and drink your coffee
Mornings for me aren’t technically morning without having a full-on meal, and I mean breakfast. And when I say breakfast it means a lot of carbs, protein, and caffeine boosts. You can skip this step if you are that type who’s not used to having a heavy meal to begin the day or you can just enjoy your cuppa tea or coffee whichever suit your preference. As for me, I get grumpy when I skip one and this makes me ruin the rest of the day which technically is not what I want so I make sure not to ricochet.
How can people hate breakfast anyway?
6. Make it a habit to open your planner before starting the day
One of the most important things to do! I mean how can you know what you need to fully achieve in a day without looking at your checklist? Writing on planner should be your bible, notes and checklist are there to be crossed out and are not meant to be read and look at-act on it! Basically, this helps you to be on track for the day. Awareness of what needs to be done, what has been done and what has not been done that needs to be rescheduled. Who knows, you might have some time to spare for a Netflix frenzy with friends, or do some house chores, right?
7. Make some time to read inspirational books
This is optional, but reading inspirational books works well for me to keep the momentum going. If you’re looking for books to start with I recommend “Who moved my cheese” by Dr. Spencer Johnson and “Girl code-unlocking the secrets to success, happiness and sanity” by Cara Alwill Leyba or follow Jeff Goins on Twitter-buy a book that’s much better. For some inspirational quotes grab a copy by Bianca Sparacino which never goes wrong! Totally recommend in uplifting your deteriorating spirit! LOL!
9. Surround yourself with people that support your new lifestyle
Probably the step that often gets neglected! Nowadays, I reckon that thru the use of social media we became open books. We are highly accessible to everyone which gives us somehow the responsibility to be friends with everyone that leads us to forget to pick and filter people that should really have access in our lives.
Realize that everyone is not your slice of cake. You have the right to choose and drop people that you think does not go in line with your purpose. The people that surround you must help you in becoming the better version of yourself and supports the things you wanted to achieve. People that are not only present in times of celestial moments but, rather people who go with you through the process of you achieving what you want even if you puke often times when you get pissed on a freaking Thursday night.
10. Be consistent
And hurray to the most important thing of all! Productivity isn’t productivity without consistency! I mean how can we achieve goals if we’re not consistent, agree? And although this sounds easy to do, it’s actually the most challenging of all because as humans we often get tempted to shift our focus into other things without us realizing it. Distractions often come through social media, print, radio and even an invite from a friend can totally shift your focus for the day and that’s why we have to remember step number 1-setting your mindset.
So there, I have listed it all down for you! Just a disclaimer, I am far from perfecting all of those steps but I am a work in progress and I am committed to making a difference this year so wish us all a good luck on all our endeavors!