This morning I asked Twitter which post they would like to read as my last non-Christmas related post before December and 52% of people voted for my Productive Day Ideas post. It was very a close one but it seems that the Thailand Adventures are being put on hold for a while longer whilst I share with you my 6 Simple Ways To Have A Productive Day.
At the moment, I am a student with The Open University studying for my masters degree. At the same time, I would also class myself as a part-time blogger. So a lot of what I do is spent working from home at my computer everyday, balancing my time between studying and blogging and life. It can be hard work at times, although I like to think I have learned a lot over the years when it comes to self-motivation and productivity. So here are the things that have worked well for me and I hope they can help others too.
Wake Up Early
I have two alarm clocks – my regular phone wake up call and my cat alarm clock. If I switch off my phone alarm and doze off, my cats soon put a stop to that little luxury by meowing in my ear demanding their breakfasts. It can be a nuisance at the time, but waking up early, like 5:45 early, can set the tone for a positive day ahead. Once you are awake with a cup of tea in your hand you can then decide how you want to be productive. I like to spend some quiet time reading and planning what I would like to achieve in the day. Gaining that extra time in the morning means you can start the day feeling calm and focused instead of rushing around forgetting everything.
Once I am slightly more awake, I like to do a little bit of yoga to stretch my muscles and clear my mind. I have found some brilliant videos online on the Yoga With Adriene YouTube Channel. These are perfect because you can choose what you want to do depending on the time you have available. If I have a lot to do in the day then I’ll ensure to do a quick 15-20 minute workout before I get going. If I have a little bit longer at the weekends, I’ll treat myself to a 45-60 minute workout. No matter how I’m feeling before, yoga always makes me feel better afterwards. It reduces anxiety and gives you a bit of time to focus on yourself and how you are feeling. Of course, it doesn’t have to be yoga – you can do any form of exercise to get the same stress-busting effects!
Follow Your Plan
I am a bit obsessed when it comes planning. I find it is another method to reduce stress and anxiety and a way to ensure that nothing ever gets forgotten about. I plan both my studies and my blogging so I know what I need to do and when. Having a plan to follow can give you reassurance that you are on the right track and there is nothing more satisfying than ticking something off your to-do list. The more detailed the plan the better in my opinion. Plus, you can buy a pretty planner and be organised in style. Last week I wrote how to Create Your Own Blogmas Planner and previously I wrote 6 Easy Ways To Organise Your Blogging Life which may also have some helpful hints.
It’s so easy to spend time scrolling though twitter or just reading ‘one more blog post’ and before you know it big chunks of time have passed. I know this oh so well. For optimum productivity, I need to close down all distracting tabs on my computer and put my phone on silent. If give myself goals to work towards – such as finish a section or work up until lunch time, then I can allow myself to be distracted afterwards and not feel so guilty about it. Of course, distractions do happen (especially if you have two cats climbing over your keyboard) and that is okay so long as you know when it’s time to refocus your attention back onto your work again.
Have Regular Breaks
To remain productive all day, I believe it is vital to schedule in regular breaks. That could be anything from getting up from the computer and going to make a cup of tea. Or it could also be having a little stretch, texting a friend, getting some fresh air for five minutes or listening to your favourite song for a quick motivational boost. Once I return to my work I will feel refreshed and re-energized and be able to remain focused for longer. I also read a good piece of advice in The Rules Of Life by Richard Templar which is give yourself space to do absolutely nothing. “No reading newspapers, sitting on the loo, meditating or sleeping – just a little time for you to breathe and sit still, not thinking, not doing, not worrying, just being. Don’t complicate it”.
Finally, at the end of a long productive day, all you really need to do is just chill. It isn’t healthy to be on the go all day as we get overworked, stressed, anxious and frazzled. This state of mind is never any good for productivity so we need to give ourselves as many opportunities to avoid it. My evening routine normally includes a long blissful bubble bath either listening to the radio or a Spotify playlist. I then have some time relaxing in front of the TV or reading a book or just simply getting an early night so I can wake up afresh the next day. Do whatever you need to do to switch off and unwind and allow the stresses and strains to melt away at the end of the day.
I hope my productivity ideas have been helpful. I would love to hear what works well for other people too. As December is fast approaching my next posts will be Christmas related ones so hope you are all looking forward to all the festivities.