If there is one major cause of stress, it is a busy life. Too many things to do, and not enough time to do them in.
I know that when I’m feeling stressed, it’s because I’m over-committed. It’s hard to say no to things when you want to do them.
I’m still working on that.
In the meantime, I do my best to make the most of the time I actually have.
Here are my top tips for being more productive.
1. RESPECT YOUR BODY
Your body and mind work together in a unit.
To be productive, you need to take care of yourself. If you keep pushing yourself to do more, you’ll get sick, and keep on getting sick until you rest. Pace yourself before that happens.
a) Protect and prioritise your sleep. 7.5 hours is non-negotiable.
b) Make every bite you eat as nutritious as possible. Drink plenty of water.
c) Exercise daily. Walking counts.
What can you do to take more care of your body?
2. Write things down
Pen and paper are tools that engage your mind.
When you write things down you are more likely to remember them. Whether it’s journaling, planning, drawing or simply making a to-do list, you’ll focus better.
a) Write down every single to-do you can think of onto a big sheet of paper.
b) Review your list and see which ones are there out of duty or fear. Cross them out.
c) Come up with an order of priority. Notice which you feel a sense of resistance to, and ask yourself why.
How can you separate ‘thinking’ from ‘doing’?
3. PLAN YOUR DAY to be more productive
If you don’t have a plan, you will be derailed.
Make a list of things for your ideal day. Include something you will do for enjoyment.
a) One large thing that will really make a difference when you get it off your plate.
b) Another, less challenging thing, but still important.
c) A few other things that are easy and quick to do. Batch them for ease: make phone calls together, for example.
Beware of over-scheduling yourself, and try to delegate where you can.
4. Allow extra time
Everything always takes longer than you think.
Be ruthless with your focus. Five minutes of distraction here and there really add up over time.
a) Ban social media while you are working.
b) Take steps to avoid human interruptions – work early/ late or simply put a sign on the door.
c) Know when you are being ‘perfectionist’ and allow yourself ‘completion without perfection’.
To avoid last minute stress, can you begin something sooner? If you are procrastinating, ask yourself why?
Know when your day’s work is done.
There is always more to do, but there is always another day.
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