Being told I need to relax more is pretty much a daily occurrence. I'll be honest with you, if there's one particular thing I pride myself on (apart from my ability to nap just about anywhere) it's that I'm pretty darn productive. In other words, I get shit done.
I won't lie, being a workaholic definitely has it's flaws (and that's something I'll be going into in a future, more personal post) but today I want to share the upsides of getting things done, and all the tips and tricks I use to do approximately 4,0758.6 per day. Give or take.
So for those of you that don't already know, I blog full time as a job, which is pretty awesome (you can find out how I became a full-time blogger here). On top of that I'm also a full time journalism student, which again, is good. On top of all that I'm also a freelance writer, multi-media content creator, Youtuber and a generic human being with basic hygiene needs etc etc. I'm not blowing my own trumpet here, because I'm actually bloody exhausted, but like I said, if there's one thing I'm good at it's getting a lot of things done in one day.
Last week however was a completely different story, and I pretty much sat around for days looking at my computer screen doing absolutely nothing. So in order to stop that from ever happening again I decided to make a little list in my diary featuring ways to get my mojo back. They worked, and I'm finally back on top of everything again, so I've decided to share a few of my not-so-secret secrets. Brace yourselves, it involves minimum sleep and a lot of coffee.
Make a list the night before
I make lists for pretty much everything I do, but every night I like to make sure I jot down all of the stuff that needs to get done the following day - even if it's something as simple as 'do the dishes'. Not only does this help me sleep better without having 500 things on my mind, but it also means that I don't have to mock up a new to do list the following day. Am I the only person in the world that puts 'make a to do list' on their to do list? Maybe.
Develop a routine
This is probably one of the most important ways I stay productive. As you all know, every Tuesday I do a Tip Tuesday style post, which helps give me a guide to stick to every week. I also post my Youtube videos on specific days each week, which gives me another routine I can rely on. As well as all of this, I tend to do a lot of my 'admin' work on Sunday afternoons. I'm not completely organised just yet, but I am getting there.
Plan in advance
Basically, I could pretty much tell you every blog post I'm uploading for the next month or two. This isn't always possible depending on what it is you actually blog about (for example, travel etc), but for me I find I work so much better knowing that I've got the next however many blogging days covered. It can be a little easier said than done sometimes, but I find that having a bunch of my posts already scheduled really takes a load off. It does mean you need to be seriously on the ball with blogging for a few days though. But once you're ahead it feels so darn good.
Be (fairly) realistic
I'm really, really bad at this. But I do try. Basically, if you're looking to get a month's worth of Uni work done in one day - amongst a slew of other things - think again. Even now I still find myself over-filling my to do lists, but I no longer bully myself if I don't get everything done. That being said, don't get lazy with your lists. If you're looking to push you productivity a little more it might even be beneficial to you to be ever so slightly unrealistic. Just, you know, don't expect to build Rome in a day.
Work in bulk
Since I have so many different things to do each week I usually try to designate a different day to various tasks. This is a little more difficult when I have loads of deadlines, but even so I still like to get lots of things done in one go. In fact, when it comes to me filming Youtube videos I normally do them in bulk throughout the day, depending on what I'm doing. A few weeks ago I made a makeup tutorial video, a lookbook video and two skincare videos in a few hours. It saves me time in the long run and gives me back-up content to use over the next few weeks, just incase I get ill or busy or something!
Take a break
I don't know anyone that can work well for hours on end, so taking a break every so often is a must, even if you don't think you have the time. I always used to feel like I was too busy to take some time out of what I was doing, but when I finally got into the hang of it I started utilising my time a lot more. I tend to work for an hour then give myself a quick ten minute break. If I don't, I just end up getting lost in the weirder corners of the internet. Don't go there.
I mean this in two different ways. First of all, instead of just doing the easiest thing on your list first, do the most important. It sounds so easy but hey, who really wants to start their day with a 4000 essay? Not me. But hey, it's gotta be done. The next way to prioritise things is perhaps a little controversial, but I will be doing another post on my experiences with it. Basically, I like my blog a lot more than I like University. I earn money from blogging, I pay for University. Since I have to pay for my rent I prioritise blog work over University any day. That isn't to say I don't get my work done on time, and to the best of my ability, but my attendance there really isn't great. It would be impossible for me to do everything perfectly, 24/7, so I have to let something slide on the odd occasion. It's not for everyone (and I'm sure my parents are rolling their eyes as they read this) but hey, it's what works for me.
FYI, tomorrow never comes! It's like when people say they're going to go on a diet tomorrow. Why not just start now? If you want to do something (or you know, have to do something) but feel like putting it off, don't! If you have the time to do it just do it. I'm not saying cancel all of your life plans just to write a blog post, but if you want to do something you may as well start now.
Create a personal space
To some of you that watch my Youtube videos, you'll know I had an on-going issue in my old office with my crazy neighbour (long story short, she has loud sex, a lot. It's gross). Since then we've moved my office/desk area into our bedroom, and have turned that room into what is essentially a walk in wardrobe (#bloggergoals). My little corner of the room is so much quieter than it was before, and I now find myself getting more done than ever before. It also helps if you tell people in your house that you're going off to do some work so that they'll let you work in peace. Basically, just tell everyone to leave you alone or else.
Don't ask me the scientific stuff here, but I've read on countless different smarty pants websites that our brains weren't built for multi-tasking (yes, even us girls). So these days I try to focus on just one task instead of five - unless of course it's the sort of multi-tasking that involves doing the dishes and catching up on my favourite Netflix shows. Doing this means I can put 100% of my effort into whatever it is I'm doing, as opposed to half-assing a selection of tasks.
Gah, isn't healthy talk just so BORINGGGG?! But alas, generally being healthier will make you work a lot more efficiently. When I was going to the gym and drinking more than a teaspoon of water a day I had so much more energy and my brain woz a lot more gd at finking. It'll seem like such a chore at first if you're a bit of a non-fitness-fanatic, but once you realise how much more you get done when you do feel good, you'll wanna do it more.
Let me know your favourite ways to stay productive!