It’s my favorite day of the week! Aren’t Thursday’s the best?! Just one more day before the weekend. Yay!
I hope you’re having a great week so far!
This week I’ve been thinking a lot about my productivity and how I can use my time better.
Do you ever feel like you’re constantly spinning your wheels but not getting anywhere?
Do you get a lot of little things done but never have time for the things you really want to do?
This happens to me all the time!
I’m sure it happens to you too.
Last week, on a drive home from the Bay Area I was listening to the Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast and Gretchen was talking about this exact same thing.
Seems that she struggles with getting to some of the really important things on her list too.
Gretchen has a rating system to hold herself accountable. If she could’ve done something better she gives herself a demerit for it, if she’s successful at something she gives herself a gold star.
She gave herself a demerit because she had been checking off a lot of little things on her to-do list but procrastinating getting to the things that really should have been a top priority.
As you can see, it’s not just you and me.(whew!) It’s actually quite common.
But why would so many of us do this?
That’s the million dollar question…
How do you do focus on what’s most important when you have a million things demanding your time and attention?
To help answer that question here are today’s 3 fer Thursday tips:
#1 Make a daily to-do list
First you need to know what your top priorities are before you can focus on them.
But how can you know what your top priorities are if you don’t even know what it is you need to get done?
You really need to make a daily to-do list.
I’m sure you’ve been hearing about daily to-do lists for ages. I just touched upon it in last week’s Tuesday’s Tips.
It’s definitely not a new concept, however, it’s easily overlooked or pushed to the back-burner
I myself love making lists, yet I’m still guilty of doing this.
How can a to-do list help?
Well, glad you asked!
Do you ever get so busy that you forget to do things?
Unfortunately this happens to me way too much!
Just happened last night.
I went to Target to grab a couple of cucumbers and carrots and didn’t even realize I’d forgotten them until I had already gone through the checkout line.
i had to turn around, grab them, then go through the line again.
The funniest part is, before heading out of the house for Target I almost made a list of the things I needed to pick up. Almost.
But I thought, “Oh it’s only a couple of items, I’ll be able to remember them!”
Ha! You see how well that worked.
Another reminder that when I take time to make my lists things move along much smoother than when I don’t, go figure!
Just like in making a shopping list, this same concept applies to our daily to-do lists.
It’s hard to forget to do something that’s written down.
Ok, so once you have your to-do list, what next?
Now it’s time to figure out what’s most important for you to get done on that list.
Marie Forleo , a life coach, motivational speaker, and author named by Oprah as a thought leader for the next generation, shares a really easy tip to help us with prioritizing.
Her tip is so good that I almost don’t even want to tell you about it because I might not explain it as well as she does, but I just have to share. And trust me, it’s genius!
Marie explains how you should mark each item on your list with either an I for important OR a U for urgent; then focus on everything marked with an I.
You really should watch Marie’s video! (link above) It’s only 4 1/2 minutes long and well worth your time if you truly want to get the most important things on your to-do list accomplished.
Besides helping you prioritize, another great benefit of creating a to-do list is that it gives you added peace of mind.
It clears your head of trying to remember everything you need to get done and frees your mind to think about other things.
#2 Check off at least one important item every day.
Even if you don’t complete it, try to work on one item marked with an I each day.
I actually tried this out last week.
I made my to-do list and each time I would start doing something I would ask, “Is this important or urgent?”
For example, I’ve been wanting to paint my blog studio for months.
It’s not urgent, but it’s very important to me.
I put it on my list and decided I would start.
I got dressed and was ready to get started.
I went to grab my paint supplies.
As I went to get my brushes, I noticed the dishes needed to be done.
Without even thinking, I stopped, turned on the faucet and was ready to do them.
But…just before getting my hands wet, I asked myself:
“Is this on my to-do list? Yes.
Is doing the dishes important or urgent? No. It wasn’t urgent or important.
Using this technique I was immediately able to re-focus on my painting project.
And guess what happened?!!
The dishes still got done that day and I am now almost finished with painting the studio. (had to stop when I ran out of paint 😜)
It felt so, so, good finally being able to tackle something that was really important to me.
And I didn’t feel like I was neglecting anything to do it. I knew it was a top priority.
Getting on that primer coat!
Almost done coat!
#3 Create Quiet Time
Marie Forleo also says (can you tell I love Marie?!):
“Important things are quiet, there’s no alarm, no drama. Important things often relate to our own goals and dreams, not to other people.”
Think about it.
When are you most productive?
When you’re doing things for everyone else?
When you’re trying to work in the middle of a busy house?
Having 5 children doesn’t allow me the luxury of very much free time or quiet time so I’ve really come to relish both whenever I get them.
A running joke in our house is “Mom just wants to be ‘home alone’.
I crave quiet time.
In order to get time to focus without distractions on the things that are really important to me, I have to stay up super late at night just to get some quiet time. Like right now as I work on this post it’s nearly midnight.
I guarantee you that whatever it is you have to do to get some quiet time is worth it.
That’s when your creativity really comes out!
It’s also when you get the most done.
I’m always surprised by how much I can accomplish in a short amount of time in the wee hours of the night.
These 3 small tips can make a big difference in your productivity.
You’ll be getting the things done that are most important to you, not just the laundry and the dishes.
Make your daily to-do list, designate each item as Important or Urgent, and try to fit in some quiet time for yourself each and every day.
Have a fabulous day friends and make sure to leave a comment with your thoughts and ideas! I love hearing from you!!