“The word priority came into the English language in the 1400s. It was singular. It meant the very first or prior thing. It stayed singular for the next five hundred years. Only in the 1900s did we pluralize the term and start talking about priorities.” - Greg McKeown
What’s crazy is that we know this, but we still stack on more things that we “have” to do, that we “should” be doing, and we compare ourselves and judge ourselves if we don’t do “enough”.
Now, hear me out, what if we didn’t do the things we “have” to do?
What if we only focused on the things that we “get” to do?
I’ve always been good at prioritizing my time and getting a lot done in one day. Or so I’ve been told. Call it work ethic, focus, or simply being raised a Virgo but getting stuff done has always kinda been my superpower.
Is it sustainable? Not really.
Does it make me really mad when things don’t go according to plan (so, basically whenever I include another person in my plan)? Yes.
Is this healthy? Not so much.
But that’s not why you’re here, so here’s my method for running at 100% until you burn out, take a couple of days off and then go again. Do with this information what you will. I’ll let you figure out if I’m joking as we go on.
Start your day RELAXED. This is single-handedly the easiest way to improve your productivity.
Sounds counterproductive right? Take the first 60-90 minutes of your day device-free, give yourself time to plan your day, move your body, and most importantly give your brain a break from outside stimulants.
Our devices and the apps we have been trained to go to when we open our devices have all been designed to: keep you on the platform longer, show you more content, and keep you entertained. That’s how they make money. I’m not saying to cut it out completely, just to allow yourself the first hour of your day to be for you.
I would go so far as to keep it on “Do not disturb mode.”
“But, Rebecca! What if …..”
What if? What if something at work happens and you need to know? - you’ll find out when you’re on the clock. What happens if your mum calls and she needs you to pick up something from the store? - she’ll text you and you’ll see it.
This panic of being unavailable for one hour of your day is an indicator that your body doesn’t want to do it, you’d be breaking the loop of the dopamine (happy chemical) that you get from being on your phone.
In your hour of alone time, set your intentions for the day. Intentions is the key word here. It’s not a to-do list where if you don’t get the laundry folded you beat yourself up over it. I like to set three intentions for each category.
PERSONAL & WORK. This could change depending on your job but it could also be personal growth, friendships you’re working on, self care etc. What goals are you working towards that you want to move the needle on, even if all you did was write one email?
Intentions set, quiet time has been had, now let’s multitask without multitasking. Your brain literally cannot do two things at once, BUT we can if we trigger two different parts of your brain. So walking and listening to a podcast, or driving and listening.
The trick to getting more done in the day is to build it into your habits. If your intention is to move more, can you walk or bike to work? If your intention is to read more books, can you listen to an audiobook on your commute?
To build the life we want, we have to be willing to build in some new habits that make our goals easier.
Look at your current lifestyle and pinpoint areas of dead time. Driving time, look at the analytics for your screen time, where are you spending the most amount of unproductive time? You’ll probably be surprised by the data you come up with.
“But it’s only 15 mins of driving.”
Cool. 15 minutes driving is roughly 10pages read in an audio book. Which is 20 pages there and back. Which means that after 5 work days, there and back, you’ll have read (listened to) 100 pages of a book. In 2 weeks, you’ll have completed one of the books you wanted to read.
“I just don’t feel like it.”
Dress like it.
If you want to be that woman who has read 60 books in a year, what does she look like? She probably walks around with a book in her bag.
If you want to be fit, what does someone who’s fit look like? They would probably show up to work in leggings and bike gear and take that fifteen minute commute, turn it into 30, and bike instead of drive.
By dressing like the type of person you want to be, you will start to FEEL like that person and these actions will start to feel more comfortable.
Those are my tips to be more productive!
- 60-90 minutes of device free time in the morning
- Set intentions, not to-do’s
- Fill the dead time
- Use your wardrobe as tools to make you feel like it.
- Change your environment to stay focused
Bonus tip, move your body. However you want, and in whatever way you want, but exercising will give you the energy to do what you want to do.
Oh, and give yourself days off. Totally off. Not where you don’t do anything and spend the whole day on the couch, but days where you don’t worry, you give your brain a minute to relax.
So, was I joking?
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