It’s July– can you believe it? It feels like just yesterday that we were all getting ready for the new year by making new resolutions, and here we are more than halfway through 2020. How crazy is that?
Since it’s the first day of a new month, I thought I would play on the mantra “new months= new goals” and share some ways to make the most of 2020. With that being said, here are 8 tips to help you create a productive schedule!
Pinpoint Your Goals
Before I start scheduling, I always ask myself: Why do I want to be more productive in the first place? I mean, there has to be a reason I want to be able to get more things done each day. Then I ask myself: What are those things? Doing this helps me come up with personal goals for myself to pinpoint what I want to spend my time on.
They say that you make time for what’s important to you, so treat this as a way to write down what you want most out of your life. Goals can be personal (like becoming more active, wanting clearer skin, reading more, etc.) or they can be professional (like growing your business on Instagram, learning a new marketable skill, etc.)
When pinpointing goals, remember that fewer goals can go a long way. It’s so easy to get excited and pinpoint 100 things that you want to improve, but it’s not realistic. You want to make sure that you can accomplish your goal and not set yourself up for failure.
Brainstorm Ways to Accomplish Your Goals
After pinpointing my goals, I like to brainstorm ways to help me achieve them. This way, I can schedule new activities into my routine to help me stay productive.
Let’s say you want clearer skin. How are you going to get clearer skin? You can start by researching the best skin care routines and products. After researching, you can plan a skincare routine of your own and add it to your daily routine.
Let’s say you want to improve your photography skills. How are you going to improve your photography skills? You can set aside time for you to research, watch Youtube videos, and practice each week.
Identify Your Likely Distractions
If you ask most people what gets in the way of their productivity, it’s most of the time going to be distractions. I cannot tell you how many times I have said I am going to work on something and then give up due to getting distracted.
Be aware of your distractions and plan around them. If you’re like me and get distracted from your phone, turn it off or put it in another room. If you get distracted from noise, try listening to music to help you focus.
Plan in a Way That Works For You
Actually scheduling and planning out your time is different for everyone. There are so many tools to help you plan, but the tricky part is finding a way that works for you.
I personally like physical planners to plan out my week and month as a whole. For me, it’s easier to plan when I am aware of things that are scheduled further in advance, so I avoid over scheduling. However, sometimes I have a hard time getting small tasks done when I use that technique. So, for smaller daily tasks, I like to create daily checklists for myself.
You could also go the digital route and use digital calendars, such as Google Calendar or the calendar on their phone. A lot of my friends use this technique so that they always have their planner on them and can set up reminders.
This tip is crucial to help you properly plan out each day. I recommend experimenting with these different techniques to see which one works for you!
The next 4 tips are from Karen Chen of Rosethorns and Honeydew:
Hello, lovely to see you! My name is Karen Chen from Rosethorns and Honeydew (https://rosethornsandhoneydew.com/). I am an aspiring author from beautiful BC, Canada, and my purpose is to help my readers achieve success in their academics, self-love, and creating a productive lifestyle. You can find me at my blog, Instagram, Youtube, and Pinterest.
Visualize Your Day Each Morning
Each morning when you wake up, run through your ideal day in your mind – what you’ll do, at what point in the day you’ll do it. Don’t be afraid to be specific with the time frame! When we have a plan for the type of day we want to have, it’s much easier to live out that reality rather than fumbling and looking for the next thing to do.
During this time, visualize your goals for the day too. What are some big projects you want to progress on? What kind of mood would you like to maintain? One of my biggest goals is often to slow down and enjoy what each day has to offer rather than rushing through on autopilot. Visualization is the first step to living out your ideal day – and it only takes a couple of minutes!
Have An Inspiration/Motivation Triggers List
Do you ever have those days where you can’t muster up the motivation to take on anything? This is where a motivation triggers list comes into play!
Motivation triggers are actions that give you that spark of inspiration to get started on a task. Brainstorm up 5-7 things and keep that list nearby, where you can cycle through the ideas whenever you feel unmotivated. They may be different for everyone, but here are some ideas to get you started.
- Talking to similar-minded people and see what projects they’re working on
- Listening to upbeat music
- Tuning in to your favorite podcast (Goal Digger, TED Talks Daily, and The Lavendaire Lifestyle are some amazing ones)
- See a visual representation of your goals (vision boards, travel vlogs, ticket stubs)
- Set a timer for 10 minutes and clean up the space around you
Be Flexible in Your Schedule
Oftentimes when we have a back-to-back schedule and we miss one thing, it can be easy to feel like the whole day has been thrown off track.
A tip for scheduling is to always give yourself some “buffer time”. Simply schedule tasks loosely, around 10 minutes longer than they usually take. This will let you enjoy your day rather than burning through the tasks, and remember, if you miss one scheduled timing, keep going. It’s just a pressure set on us by ourselves, don’t let it stress you out too much!
Bonus tip: pick 2-3 big tasks to tackle throughout the day, and spread these out in your schedule! Fill the rest of your schedule with smaller tasks or rest times, this will give you a balanced and restful day.
Set Out Certain Days For Certain Tasks
Did you know you can be more efficient when you group similar tasks together? For example, if you tackle a blog post then suddenly transition to cleaning the house, it will take your brain some time to process.
If you have a lot of tasks in one area (cleaning, work, projects), why not set out a certain day for those tasks every week? For example, Mondays are my planning days, while Tuesdays are my writing days. I find it much easier to do all the similar tasks in one day rather than sprinkling them throughout the week!
Another great way to make sure you’re up to date on everything is to have a life admin day. This could be a weekend, where you tackle all the little things that have been piling up through the week (scheduling appointments, cleaning, email responses, etc). Here’s to being prepared for the new week!