Productivity is almost as elusive as the Loch Ness Monster. Many know of it, some may have claimed to see it, but few have experienced it. This is pretty much how I view productivity. It's there, but always slipping through my grasp. Lately, however, I decided to make a change. During the rare few days off I had this week, I tried out a few new practices. And guess what, they worked! It was wonderful! Instead of spending all day on Netflix and binging on biscuits, I wrote articles and managed to take a heap of photos for my blog. I even had time to edit them afterwards. I'm still, like most of you out there, figuring it out as I go along, but here are some tips that I have gathered after this week.
Get a good night's sleep beforehand
I know, I know, this is very overused, which is why I wanted to say it and get it out of the way. It is true, however, that your sleep affects so much in your life, and unless you get a good night's sleep beforehand, there is no way you are going to be as productive as you could be. I once read that the hours you sleep before midnight are worth double of those afterwards; something to bear in mind.
Wake up at a decent time
If you are self-employed, getting up at a decent time is vital. While there is no need to get up at 6 am (unless you like that of course), getting up before 10 am is probably a good idea. I don't know about you guys, but sleeping too long makes me grumpy and if I stay in bed longer than 10, I start to feel guilty. I feel as if I have let valuable time slip away from me. If it's the weekend, however, don't worry too much about getting up with the rooster. Just relax, get the sleep you need.
Wake up with a nice cup of tea or coffee and get organised
There is nothing better than that first cup of tea in the morning. I'm not always a morning person, but the warmth of the tea always seems to relax my muscles and toughen my nerves for the day ahead. It's around this time, when breakfast is over, that I like to write my to-do list. I know that most people seem to favour doing their to-do lists the night before, but I absolutely love doing it at the start of the day. It gets me in the productive mood and helps motivate me. Don't feel afraid to add to the to-do list throughout the day.
Get yourself clean and dressed ready for the day
As tempting as it is to sit around all day in your pyjamas, this is no way to get a productive day started. Sitting around in pyjamas all day tells your brain that you are in relaxing mode. That's why I always get washed and dressed. Now, I don't mean a suit, there's nothing wrong with being comfortable, just make sure to put those pyjamas away until it's time to unwind. Somedays I even like to put on makeup. This isn't always the case, but on those days when I feel overly unmotivated I like to splash a little makeup on and pretend I'm an important person, doing important things.
Go get some fresh air
Why not try taking a walk to get your mind and body going, or even opening a window and breathing in that fresh air. Feel the wind and the sun on your face and remind yourself that you are alive in the world. This is also a good suggestion for a break when you feel burnt out. Take your work to a cafe, or pop to your nearest coffee shop and grab a snack and a drink to bring back to your workplace. It's no secret that being outside in nature revitalises the soul, and I think we should all take advantage of that.
Find a good environment
Finding a good environment is key when it comes to productivity. I know that some of you lucky buggers out there can work anywhere and everywhere, but most of us find it much easier to stay focused in a designated work space. It's always handy to keep this area clean. As my grandmother says, 'A clean desk is a clean mind.'
Cafes can also be a really good work environment because they are full of ambient noise, which tends to be good for productivity. With people around you going about their own business, it's a good motivator when you feel like all eyes are on you. Plus, you can get a delicious treat as a job well done when you get all your work done.
Remind yourself how much you love what you do
Amidst the stresses of daily life, it's often easy to forget how much we love what we do. Especially when we force ourselves out of bed before our body is ready or end up rushing around trying to get everything done. But take a moment to remind yourself that you love whatever it is you're creating or trying to accomplish. After all, time spent doing what we love will never be time wasted.