How to have a better and productive week
Whether you’re working full time, running a business, a parent, it always seems like theres too much to do or you aren’t having a very productive week. Sometimes there just is not enough time in the day to get through your to do list. Not to mention that you have to keep adding to the list. Time seems to be going so fast these days it often feels like you haven’t even gotten round to doing anything!
If you’re anything like me, its not just about crossing things off my to do list, its crossing those things off so I can have time left over in the day or in the week for myself – dedicated me time, where I can actually choose how I can spend my time without getting distracted by the things I didnt get round to doing.
Yes its true the extra day in the week to relax or recover from the hang over from your night out would be ideal but when that’s not an option, you can take these helpful long lasting tips that will help you stay productive, week after week.
1. Set yourself some goals
What is it that you actually aim to achieve this week? Set yourself three main goals that you intend to focus on. By setting yourself some goals for the week, you can make a plan and break down how you aim to achieve your goals. Keep it simple, manageable and trackable. At the end of each day you should be checking in and looking at what steps you took to get closer to your goal.
To keep track of your goals you can use Asana which is a useful task app that allows you to set deadlines, invite friends and create group projects. Its a really handy task management tool which sends you emails and reminders about deadlines you’ve set, so you don’t have to worry about forgetting about the important things. Whats more its free and really easy to use.
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I use Evernote, having switched over from notes on my iPhone. Notes was useful but I didn’t really like the layout, it was really handy because I needed something to write my notes and ideas down when I was on the go, but it doesnt allow you to set deadlines or reminders like Evernote or Asana, Plus, when you write a mountain of notes and information, it was really hard to keep track of and scroll to find what I was looking for.
I did originally start off with Asana but much prefer Evernote because I personally find the mobile and web app easier to navigate plus I get notifications even when my phone is on lock screen rather than remembering to check my emails. Evernote is also free! When you sign up through my link, you also get a free month of Evernote Premium which is worth £4.99 for the month or £44.99 for the year. Its definitely worth giving it a try.
This is easier said then done because sometimes its not easy to identify what should be prioritised or maybe everything is equally as important. As a rule of thumb, carry out the task which needs to be completed sooner. There is no use in leaving a task to the last minute, leaving you flustered, under pressure and short on time. Think about what tasks can wait and what needs to be done now.
3. Follow the two minute rule
David Allen introduced an amazing rule in his book Getting Things Done. If you haven’t already got it I suggest you do. His whole book is based around being productive, stress free and quite simply getting things done! He talks about achieving productivity in both your personal and professional life and how to set habits and create systems so you can manage with all the important and not so important tasks without getting overwhelmed.
One of the habits which David Allen mentions, is the two minute rule, which is designed to help you stop procrastinating. The idea behind the two minute rule is that, if a task takes less than two minutes, just do it so you can get it out of the way. Even if it takes longer than two minutes, the idea is that you’ve started and will just get on and finish the task.
I set myself a slightly longer time period to complete tasks, within 5 minutes. I tell myself that I will only spend 5 minutes on something and I get as much as I can done within that 5 minutes. If it takes longer I tell myself 5 more minutes! Then I move on. If its a big task, I like to break things down anyway and if its a small task, then I should have completed it already.
4. Plan ahead
There is nothing like being prepared. Failing to plan and will leave you overwhelmed because you just won’t know where to start and end up with unfinished tasks and still a long list of things to do because you had no strategy in place and no time management!
Think ahead and work out what needs to be done. Do you need to iron clothes for the next day? Do you have a meeting or presentation? Maybe you’re going away and still haven’t sorted out what you need to pack. Whatever it is, go through your week and work out what needs to be done. Use your diary or calendar app as a reminder or the task management apps I mentioned in step!
5. Get a good nights sleep
If you know you need to get up early, work backwards and think about how many hours of sleep you feel will be sufficient to getting a decent rest.
Lets say you need to get up at 5am, maybe you work well on 7-8 hours of sleep, so set yourself a bed time of 9pm -10pm. Do you see how this goes back to planning ahead? Work out what time is best to get some sleep and set that as your cut off point. Everything beyond this point will simply have to wait until the next day (unless you’re a parent of course!).
Step two to getting a good rest is switching off electronics at least an hour before bed. Checking emails, social media, the good night text from bae can also wait until the next day. Check out Sleep.org which gives you three reasons why your phone, tablet, TV etc are all keeping you awake and affecting your ability to get a decent nights sleep. I can guarantee that you will agree with all three reasons.
The Sleep Foundation gives you a further insight about how electronics are affecting your sleep!
Theres nothing worse than waking up the following morning to realise that you could’ve done with some extra sleep. Whatever else you had to do, watch TV or scroll through the gram, can wait.
6. Focus on what will get you through this coming week
Lastly, if you have a super busy week ahead, you need something to look forward to. It could be something small like watching your favourite programme or having a catch with a friend at your favourite coffee shop. Theres nothing like putting in all those hard working hours and not rewarding yourself for it. If you don’t have plans, make some or just make sure that at some point in the week, you make an effort you set some relaxation time where you can unwind, even if its only for a few hours of the day. Switching off can really help you to refresh and stay alert.
Do you already follow these tips? If so, which ones work best for you?
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