7 Productivity Hacks to Help You Conquer Your To-do List

This is easily, without a doubt, the busiest stage of my life I’ve ever been in.

Here are all the things I’m balancing currently:

  • 8am – 6pm Mon-Friday job
  • Blogging

Blogging includes being a:

  • Graphic designer
  • Website developer
  • Online marketer/strategist (SEO, email design/campaigner)
  • Writer
  • Photographer/photo editor
  • Model
  • Networker (I try to go to at least 2-3 events a month).

At the very minimum, blogging can takes 10 hours of my week (right now, I’m averaging about 15-20 hrs)

I’m also a(n):

  • Influencer (work with brands with content creation, promotion, contracts, endorsements)
  • Brand ambassador for 2 marketing companies (on the weekends)
  • Volunteer Crisis Counselor for CrisisTextline.org
  • Volunteer social media marketer for Solsisters.org
  • Motivational speaker (I actually just wrote a 15-minute speech, and have to memorize it/perfect it in 11 weeks)

WHEW CHILE, I got tired just listing all of that.

via GIPHY


“How do you do it all?”

is a question I get asked often, so I’m gonna share my 7 tips I picked up this year that allowed me to make room for all of the hats I wear.

I got these tips from a variety of different sources, which I’ll link at the bottom of this post.


#1- Check emails within certain windows

This was something that was hard for me to do at first, because when I got a notification (whether it be text, email, whatever), I NEEDED to check it immediately.

Truth is, it can wait. Checking every notification derails me from my focus.

I set “check notifications” windows now.

My example: Every 3 hours. So if I start my day at 6:00am, I’ll check at: 9:00am, 12:00pm, 3:00pm, 6:00pm, 9:00pm.

If you want the utmost productivity, you can set them to happen less often.


#2- Do NOT Multi-task

I used to think that juggling multiple things at once would up my productivity, but it actually slowed me down.

My example: I would try to fold laundry while watching a Pinterest tutorial on Youtube. If I just conquered the laundry first, and then watch the video after, I got both tasks done quicker.


#3- Tackle the Hardest Task First

I don’t know if this is just me, but I used to look at my to-do list and do the easiest tasks first, so I could procrastinate doing the difficult ones.

And then by the time I got to the hard tasks, I was either depleted of will power and would put it off, or I wouldn’t give it my all.

Do them when your enthusiasm is at its highest.


#4- Separate Tasks for Separate Times of the Day

Do the tasks that demand the most brain-power in the morning. And the ones that don’t require much brain-power later in the day.

For example: I do all my writing in the morning, and then I save the tasks such as graphic design (making flyers, designing email templates), replying to emails, interacting with my online community (replying to comments on instagram, replying to dms, etc).

I got this trick from Rachel Hollis (my favorite author and entrepreneur right now).

I used to write my articles after I got home from work around 7pm, exhausted, and I would have to re-do a bunch of what I wrote the next morning because my mind wasn’t sharp at the end of the day, and my sentences didn’t make sense.

I don’t know why I didn’t think of this trick in the beginning, because I wasted so much time redoing stuff in the morning.

As a matter of fact, in one of my favorite books The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life & Business, Charles Duhigg states that your mind actually has “decision fatigue”.

 “This means that your willpower is finite, like a muscle that gets tired when you use it too much. Your willpower fades as the day goes by, and your brain is tired of making decisions- one of the many reasons people feel so drained at the end of the day.” [source]


#5- Toss Your Old To-Do List Out at the End of the Day

I used to write everything I needed to do for the week on one long list, and then throughout the week cross things off.

After listening to productivity podcasts and a bunch of reading, every source says to do this:

  1. Write a to-do list for the day*
  2. At the end of the day, transfer what you didn’t get done to a *new* list
  3. Tackle that new list the next day

When you start the next day with a list that already has things crossed off, your mind starts the day with a “defeated mindset“- as in “man, yesterday wasn’t as productive as I thought, because I didn’t finish everything I needed to do.”

By starting a fresh list, you dive into the day with a more positive mindset. Which in return, will give you the enthusiasm you need to tackle the new list ahead.


#6- Make tasks that support your ultimate goals priority

I know that this may seem like a “duh” tip.

But every time I make a to do list and put it in order, I always have to remind myself of this.

First ask yourself:

What are my top goals of my life right now?

And then when making a to-do list, make sure that the top 3 on the list support those goals. If they don’t, put them at the bottom of the list.

I’ll give you an example: If one of my ultimate goals in life is to be a full-time blogger (yes this is an actual goal of mine!), and I have “clean my email inbox to 0” on my to-do list- does this support this main goal? Does it bring me closer to it?

No, it doesn’t.

So once I’m done with a task like “Find a local networking event next month to attend”— something that supports my ultimate goal, I’m cater to the other tasks.

Ladies, you know as women we tend to put others needs before our own, constantly.

Prioritize YOUR tasks to reach YOUR goals first, because when you reach your goals guess what?

You’re happy.

And you know who benefits from a HAPPY you? Your partner, your kids, your family, everyone. It’s a ripple effect.

It all starts with you.


Side note: Speaking of goals (and doing little things every day to inch towards them) I’m often asked how I can track my progress and keep all my goals in one place, so I’m passing along my secret weapon:

the Passion Planner.

For those who are type A like me, this is by far my favorite planner I’ve ever used.

You can plan your day out by the hour. This is the layout:

& probably my favorite part about it is you can track your habits (the ones that lead up to your ultimate goals like I mentioned)

It also has a section in the front of the planner to help you map your goals out:

To purchase a Passion Planner, you can order it:

[here]


Important note:

Use pencil first when mapping everything out, I made the mistake of using pen and immediately regretted it lol.


Last but not least- my FAVORITE FAVORITE productivity hack. I cannot endorse this last trick enough!!! Ladies and gentleman, the life-changing productivity hack. Introducing…


#7- The Pomodoro Method

This is a complete game changer sis.

This method is used world-wide, and I’ve clearly been living under a rock, because I’ve never heard of it until two weeks ago.

What is it?

“The Pomodoro Technique is a time management system that encourages people to work with the time they have—rather than against it. Using this method, you break your workday into 25-minute chunks separated by five-minute breaks. These intervals are referred to as pomodoros.” [source]


Steps to Use the Pomodoro Method:

  1. Write down your most important tasks and make them specific (for example: instead of writing “research hotels for vacation”, write down “Find 10 hotels and list prices”
  2. For each task on your list, dedicate 25 minutes to it
  3. Set a timer on your phone for 25 minutes
  4. During this 25 minute “productivity block” I call it, silence your phone, and cover the clock on your computer, and the clocks around your workspace (I put a post-it note over the clock on my computer- I’ll add a picture of it below)— This step is important, because it puts you into tunnel-vision for the task at hand, and you’re not distracted by constantly checking the time.
  5. During the 25 minutes, try as hard as you can to finish the task at hand within the time block, and if you finish it- feel free to move onto the next task.
  6. Once your timer is done, take a 5 minute break. (i.e. walk outside, go to the bathroom, physically remove yourself from the area you’re working in— This step is important because you’ll be ready to take on the next 25-minute block with a fresh mind.

Now the Pomorodo Method says to do 4 blocks of these, and then at the end of the 4 blocks, take a 20 minutes break (again, away from the work area).

Photo I was referring to in step #4:


You guys, I SWEAR by this method. Try it out and see how productive you are!

If you wanna learn more about it, watch this


Conclusion


These are my go-to hacks that increased my productivity! Hope you found these tips helpful. If you think a friend would find these tips useful as well, please share this post!


Resources


  • Forbes: “10 Incredibly Easy Ways To Improve Your Productivity” [READ HERE]
  • Thrive Podcast: “Getting Organized to Increase Efficiency” [LISTEN HERE]

If you enjoyed this post, you’d love my Declutter Your Home: 7-Day Challenge post.


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