Productivity Check

Something has shifted within the past couple years. I remember the days where I could sit down, zero in, and knock out any task, assignment, or project that needed to be completed. It’s been extremely tough, here lately, and I can’t put my finger on the “why” of it all. 

Back in high school, I was programmed to sit down, read, write, spit out a 10-15 page paper on whatever topic in advanced placement classes, memorize sheets of music, and I did it all with minimal effort and ease. Even working through college and getting my BA was a breeze on the schedule, task and to-do front, so what’s changed? 

Trying to do even a fraction of the things I just mentioned, today, as a thirty-three year old man, has been quite the battle. I’m currently in a job that doesn’t demand a ton of my time and I love it. I’m also studying to get my realtor license. Oh, and there’s the podcast, Thanks for Coming, which has been such a cool side project to throw into the mix. 

Needless to say, I’m busy, but I’m not that busy, right? As individuals, we are our harshest critic, and I fully believe this has been part of the problem in the motivation department; knowing inside I can be doing more. 

Distraction has been ruling my productivity, or lack thereof, and I’m not ashamed to admit that. Some of the distractions have been welcome, while others have been far from it, but that’s life! You have to push forward. 

Now that I’ve had time to get settled after moving into our new home, I’ve had time to try some things to better help me accomplish my  daily and weekly goals and lists. Some days I’m successful, while other days I’m not. Here are some things I’ve been trying out to hop back on the productivity wagon:

Create a schedule for yourself and stick to it. I’ve learned that I can plan, and plan, and plan some more, but all the planning isn’t worth it, if you aren’t doing your best to follow through. My favorite tool to use is Google Calendar. It gives you the ability to color code – which I love – and set reminders and notifications. 

There are plenty of other tools that serve the same purpose, but I’m a Google fangirl, and I’ve had the best organizing experience keeping it simple with Google. Create a calendar for work, the gym, whatever, but make sure you commit to the window you’ve set for productivity. 

If you’re scheduled to sit and write at 1 o’clock, sit down at 1 o’clock and do your best to write. Even if at the end of your scheduled productivity window you’ve created or written zip, at least you showed up to your appointment. Take baby steps. Looking at a to-do list can be intimidating, so it’s also very important to set attainable goals. 

Put the phone down. Whoever is texting can wait. Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook can wait. Technology has really killed our attention spans. I have days where I get settled into my work mode and mindset, only to have Instagram steal a good ten to fifteen minutes from my scheduled productivity window. This is not okay. That time adds up if you keep playing on your devices! You can get back to scrolling once you’ve accomplished the task at hand. Put the phone down, back away slowly, and get to work. 

Set attainable goals. It’s too easy to fill a calendar and to keep saying “yes,” but it’s of the utmost importance that you don’t set yourself up for failure. If you don’t have the time, don’t force it into existence. This will only cause more stress and frustration. Work is work, children are children, and life is going to life! Tend to the needs, and don’t punish yourself if you don’t get to the planned task. Attainability is key here. We can push ourselves to the brink, but at what cost? Be kind to yourself and do your best each day.

I hope these few pointers will help you and I look forward to hearing in the comments if you’ve tried any of them. I’m no master by any means of productivity, but I’m learning not to beat myself up about it. In the past, I’ve been super hard on myself because I’ve let a project sit and collect dust. Don’t do that. Remember to be kind to yourself and protect your mental health for productivity’s sake AND yours. 

*J

Weekly Goals 7/16/18

weekly goals 1
I’m not going to lie – it’s been tough getting back into a productive groove outside of the 9-to-5. I’ve started making simple goals to help keep me on track during the week.
This method has been helpful because it reminds me to slow down and maintains balance. I tend to take on too much at once, and if any of you are the same, you know the pressure that comes along with that.
We’re all our own worst enemies! Keeping a small, low-pressure list of goals keeps me feeling accomplished and reinforces purpose.
This tool helps build up the strength and momentum required to take on more during those really tough weeks.
So… What’s on your list this week? Let me know in the comments. Is this a tool you use in your weekly routine?

A New Kind of Date

Mother Nature gave us a bit of a scare over the weekend. Earlier in the week we’d planned to have a Starbucks date, where we’d both work on personal projects or career focused activities. Indianapolis did get rocked by a little weather, so our Saturday cafe productivity session got moved to Sunday.

 

We’ve been holding ourselves accountable, so far, in 2018. S and I have plans and feel that it’s time for the both of us to take control of our professional and creative futures. Making time for dates during the week can be challenging when you’re fighting the weight of the day’s work, so a weekend dose of productivity with each other felt like a great move for us.

 

The important thing here is finding a way to make time for each other and to support one another. We pinpointed a newer location on our side of town and stuck to our commitment. I got a ton of PR work done and S made some major moves on the career front. I’m hoping we can make this a regular thing.

 

The both of us are so motivated and energized about what’s next right now, and harvesting that continued support of your partner – of each other –  just puts us in overdrive.

 

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Sure, dates are supposed to be sexy and romantic, but the idea of fueling each others’ professional and creative drive is kind of a turn on, right? Even if you’re single and only focusing on you at the moment… find your support system. Parents? Siblings? Your own circle of VIPs? Who is that person that will help you hold yourself accountable at the end of the day?

 

Think outside of the box and get that productive, quality time in 😉

A Hit of Productivity

Finally! Finally we cleaned up our once cluttered and disturbed garage. I mean, shit, maybe a car will actually fit in there after all! What is it about purging dust-covered odds and ends, and cleaning everything in sight, that makes one feel refreshed, freed, and intoxicated at the same time? While I can’t nail the reason as to why on the head, I will accept the fact that it’s great to find some potential for the space we ignored for almost two years; a storage that was slowly turning into a scene from Hoarders.

Making time to complete any task during the week is difficult, especially when all you want to do is kick up your feet and relax. Maybe it’s because I have S to remind me that “maybe we should clean up this weekend, like hardcore clean and organize everything,” or maybe it’s because I’m a bit of nag when I have a plan, or want to get something accomplished. We’ve taken the same approach with our closets – donating pieces we don’t fit anymore, and tossing items we don’t know why we purchased in the first place.

The idea of trying to be productive in the midst of the week’s madness is enough to encourage resistance, and promotes continued scrolling through Netflix – even though you probably can’t decide what to watch most of the time. I believe it’s the feeling of completing some level of productivity that satisfies us so much as people. We tire ourselves thinking about all we’d like to do, or really need to do, so when we do anything – even something as little as dusting the TV – we revel in the fact that we can check something off our to do list.  My suggestion? Keep working on that list the second you’ve completed the most recent task.  Netflix, Hulu, and the DVR can wait.