You have your long list of things to tackle today, right? It’s probably pretty daunting, but you’re ready to get going. I’m the same way…I have my long list of tasks and errands and I’m pumped to get them started and I usually crash and burn after the second or third thing on the list. Let me tell you, housework is not usually at the top of that list, so it gets ignored. Day after day.
Why do I crash and burn? Because I’m using up too much of my decision-making-power and not putting the tasks I can quickly finish at the top of my priority list. I’m putting things without an end on the list first, totally setting myself up for disaster.
So here’s how I’m going to change things, and maybe it will change how you tackle your to do list.
3 Productivity Tips
Do the dishes first
The best piece of advice I heard over the past few months (at least the piece that stuck with me) is to do the dishes before starting on your work.
Yes. Do the dishes.
The dishes need to be done anyway, there is an end point, it doesn’t take a lot of decision-making-power to complete the task, and you’ll have a “win” under your belt before you even get to your task list! There are other bonuses like: your cereal bowl will be clean by the time you need a snack and that fresh smell of clean dishes will waft through your home as a reminder that you’re a badass. For more on this idea, listen to Episode 79 of Smart Passive Income Podcast, which included 8 tips for productivity.
What is due next?
This is another piece of advice from a podcast. This time, I was listening to the Paperclipping Roundtable (a scrapbooking/memory-keeping podcast) and Ali Edwards was one of the guests. I can’t remember what episode it was (and there doesn’t seem to be any transcripts available for me to search), but I believe each guest was going around and describing their workflow – how they keep up with deadlines, launching new products, staying on top of their responsibilities, etc. And Ali stated (very matter-of-factly) “whatever is due next”. You could hear everybody on the podcast stop and have their minds blown by the super simple plan. What’s due next? This? Okay, I’ll work on this.
This totally helps me out when I have too many irons in the fire and maybe overestimated my ability to get guest posts, interview requests, and my regular work done on a short schedule. It doesn’t give me a lot of wiggle room when trying to procrastinate on projects and it helps me focus on what is actually due now rather than what is due in a few weeks.
What can I finish in 20 minutes?
I read a similar line on My Life as a Teacup (Kristin only gives herself 2 minutes, which is pretty badass) and I had one of those “ohhhhhh” moments. Just like doing the dishes, this piece of advice practically guarantees me that I’ll have some “wins” rather than not actually completing anything by the end of the day. I can fold and put away laundry in 20 minutes. I can respond to blog comments, send out a guest blog post pitch, fill up my Buffer, clean the shower, or go and check the mail (our mailbox is kind of far away). Those are all things that have an end point, which is exactly what I need from time to time.
It’s no surprise that productivity advice sticks in my head more than others lately. I’m doing so much better at staying off of my computer during the week so I can spend more time creating, packing lunches, and spending time with friends and family. So much better than a year ago. These small tips have helped me go from working/”working” on my computer from 6 – 11:30 every night to working for a handful of hours on Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday nights instead. There have been some ups and downs with my shift in workflow – the March #30Lists is coming up on me a lot faster than I expected, I was about a week late to sending a guest blog post to somebody…but the dishes are always clean, Alex and I have our lunches packed the night before, and I’m spending way more time “being social” than this time last year.
What is the best piece of advice you received recently?