When I hear the word productivity I often think of rushing, being super strict with myself, and meeting fast deadlines. It’s funny because while productivity can contain those elements, that sounds a lot more like procrastination than anything else.
When you use something I call Mindful Productivity to structure your days, you get more done because you get things done ahead of time. And inevitably, when last minute things do come up, guess what, there’s a lot less pressure because you have the time and the mental energy.
Well… at least…. that’s the hope right? We can’t prevent everything and life can throw some nasty curve balls.
Today I want to share with you four different productivity strategies that you might not have tried yet. These will make you FEEL good during your days and allow you to see your progress. Because what’s the point in being productive if you can’t look back and see how much you’ve accomplished?!
1) Use a Success List To Keep Track of Your Progress
I’m a big fan of to-do lists, the problem is they often become long long lists and reminders of all the things I haven’t done. On tough days it can be hard to stare down a to-do list and then prioritize the top 3 tasks for the day.
It’s time to try something a bit different! Starting today, grab a piece of paper, a journal, or open up your favorite digital note taking space (I’m a big fan of GoogleDocs, Notion, and Evernote) and keep a running tally of all the things you DID accomplish.
Related Podcast Episode: How to Use a Success List to Celebrate Your Existence
Here’s an example success list with a few things from the other day:
Recorded a new podcast episode
Scheduled everything to social media
Went on a long walk through the forest with Bella
Did the dishes and cleared the kitchen counters
Drank 64oz of water
Stopped working at 6pm
Read for 30 minutes
Took time to breathe
Didn’t respond to Facebook comments that weren’t productive
It feels SO GOOD to look at your success lists at the end of the day, week, month, and year! They really keep me motivated and on task. I’d love to see how it goes for you!
2) Set a time to STOP working
This one is huge, especially if you work for yourself or from home. Even when I was working a 9-5 in the city, I found myself needing to set major work boundaries. Technology is amazing but it stings a little when you feel the pressure to check email when you’re at home!
As Mel Robbins in her amazing book, The 5 Second Rule, we will fill up a container of time with whatever we need to accomplish. In other words, whether you have 50 minutes or 5 hours, you’ll likely use that entire chunk of time to work on a project or get something done.
When you intentionally set a stop time for your days, you give yourself a daily deadline and help yourself shrink that container where you’re using mad brain power.
The result is that you’ll make taking a break and resting at the end of the day a priority. Hopefully right?!
I now look forward to the end of my day because I know I’m going to let myself do something fun, enjoy some Netflix time, take time to journal, go on a walk, or lay on the living room floor and zone out. Seriously, some days it’s needed!
And here’s the thing, the work you are doing will always be there. It’s never ending. There’s no point in working 24/7! What kind of life is that! Sometimes we have to hustle, just remember that in order to really get things done, you have to take care of yourself!
3) Create a bank of lists
One of the reasons we can have a hard time focusing is because of background thoughts, “shoulds”, and ideas we have floating around in the back of our mind. It can make it hard to get into deep thinking and truly move the needle on a given project.
One way to combat this is to keep a reference journal or a “list of lists” that categorize and breakdown the things you want to do, the ideas you have, and the things you just can’t forget.
I LOVE list making (See episode 10 of the Mindful Productivity Podcast) because it gives our brains a way to release ideas and mental energy and it’s super fun!
A few list ideas to get you started:
Priorities for the week ahead
Things you want to do when you have free time
Bucket list of things you want to do this year
Birthdays and important dates
Additional list ideas: 50 lists to make when life feels overwhelming
4) Find fun ways to track your progress
It can be hard to stick with something new especially if it doesn’t feel like lollipops and sunshine 24/7. It’s why habit and progress trackers can be so valuable in helping us see how far we’ve come.
Habit trackers can be made in a bullet journal (I love this one that’s pictured below) or printed out online (see post below for a free habit tracker you can grab from me!)