There’s never enough time in the day, that’s a fact. Or is it? Maybe it’s how we utilize our time that makes all the difference. It’s taken awhile, but I’ve learned how to really buckle down and limit distractions so that I can make time for the most important things on my to-do list. While the information I am going to share isn’t the only way to make it happen, it has proven effective for me.
1. Create a realistic to-do list.
A lot of times we do a complete brain dump on paper or in our notes on our phones, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Brain dumps are life! They help you get all of the nagging thoughts out of your mind and onto a visual format, but brain dumps can be overwhelming, leaving many tasks incomplete. So after you do a brain dump, it’s important to create a realistic to-do list from the larger list. Organize your tasks into categories of most to least urgent, or separate them based on deadlines.
2. Make it tangible.
Take large projects and break them down into small, tangible tasks. There’s no way that if my goal is to finish writing a book that I can just put “write the book” on my to-do list. #1: It’s not a realistic task…it’s a goal. #2: There’s so much that goes into writing a book that I would have to make it simpler to truly complete the task in a successful manner. So in making it more feasible, my task might be “complete 1,000 words by the end of the day” or “outline the next 5 chapters for next week.” Make it manageable for you and your schedule.
3. Work from a laptop.
This is THE absolute hardest thing for me to do, especially since I have a iPad Pro that functions exactly like a laptop, with a few missing capabilities. I do everything from my iPad, including writing my blogs, but the issue is that everything that comes through my phone, comes through this iPad because it’s connected to my cellular network. Every phone call, every text, and even notifications from social media and my email are distractions for me when I’m using my iPad. So in the spirit of being more productive, I’ve started working from my laptop more often. Not only does it limit my accessibility to the outside world through phone and text, but I have more control over whether or not I log onto Instagram/Facebook instead of working.
4. Put your phone on silent or “Do Not Disturb.”
Whether I choose to work from my iPad Pro or not, my phone and iPad typically stay on “Do Not Disturb” (DND) while I’m working. Again, phone calls, notifications and texts are super distracting. I could be working on a task and get a notification to watch or listen to something and now 2-3 hours has an passed because I got led into other distractions along the way. People who call throughout the day can also be distracting, especially if it’s not pertaining to your business. I think about the times where I work from home like this: If I were at a real, corporate office, my time on the phone taking personal calls or responding to texts would be very limited. So why would I allow those things to distract me when I’m working in an nontraditional manner. I still have a job to do and when I’m doing it, I make sure I’m totally focused on that.
5. Reward yourself.
This is my favorite part! I have the tendency to reward myself as I check things off of my list, especially if it’s an extensive one. And these are very, very small rewards, like taking a short 30 minute break or grabbing a snack. Sometimes if I have worked extremely hard and been very focused (good girl, Britt lol), I may take an extended break and watch television or go out of the house to do something more social. Either way, it’s whatever makes me happy and gives me a bit of a reprieve from being behind the computer all day.
I’m sure there are other ways to make sure your to-do list gets knocked out of the park! I’d love to hear about your methods in the comments.