As a law student and now having a full time internship, I know all about needing to be as productive as possible. Sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day. From having important deadlines and strict schedules I need to stick to, it is so important to get the most out of one day.
Over the years I have managed to increase my productivity and find myself with a little spare time at the end of the day to just unwind.
Here’s my top 10 tips for being more productive:
1. SET GOALS
It’s so important to set goals. But not just long term big goals, you also need to set goals that are achievable within a few days or a week. I set monthly goals as well as weekly. To be honest I am a bit obsessed with setting goals and I have set goals for a week, month, 3 months, 1 year, 3 years and 10 — which I am always adding to. This has helped me be so much more motivated to wok hard. When I have a few small weekly goal that are doable it really changes the game. The kinds of goals you can set are:
- Have my notes completed 2 days before a test
- Make a draft assignment/essay a week before the deadline
- Get 80% on my next test/assignment
- Write one blog post
These golas are easy to accomplish and will boost your motivation every time you achieve one. But don’t fall into the trap of setting easy goals that aren’t challenging for you otherwise you are just cheating yourself.
2. PLAN EVERYTHING
My bujo (bullet journal) is all over my instagram account, and it never leaves my side. I think I would actually have a mild breakdown if I left it at home (which I did once and needless to say I had a catastrophic day). This is because it has literally transformed my life, and has helped me become the most productive version of myself. Things that used to take me a few days to do (like assignments or making notes) now get done in a matter of a few hours because I have sorted out exactly what to do, how to do it, and when.
So I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to plan everything. Literally everything. Although as much as I love my bujo it doesn’t really matter whether you keep a simple to do list, or have the most beautiful bujo that is done to Instagram perfection (although the latter is my favourite), whatever it is you definitely need to have some way of keeping track of what you have going on.
If you want to know a bit more about my bujo & my system click here.
3. PRIORITIES, PRIORITIES.
In order to manage your workload and hit your deadlines and stay on track, you need to prioritise all the things you need to do. Once you have jotted down a list of everything you have to do, you then need to priorities exactly what you need to get done first.
First, make a list of everything you need to get done. Secondly, identify the urgent tasks vs. the important tasks. This is when you need to decide which tasks need to urgently get done within the next few hours or even by the end of the day. This would be something that has serious negative consequences if you don’t get it done in time. Then look at the work which is important and determine if it is urgent or not.
Then order your to-do list by the importance and urgency of the tasks, but bare in mind how long you estimate each to be. It’s important to be realistic about your time and effort that will go into completing a task, but I will touch on this later. You should also bare in mind some things may have to be struck off of your list or pushed to a later stage so you can focus on the tasks you have at hand. This means you will need to be flexible and adaptable with your tasks that don’t fall under being urgent or important.
4. BE REALISTIC
Don’t overdo it by thinking you will be able to get a massive amount of things done in a day. Maybe one day when you are extremely pushed for time and you are at your most motivated you will then be able to get a huge amount of work done. But this isn’t the norm, and it shouldn’t be either, You will burnout if you do and that is possibly the most unproductive and destructive thing you could do.
So, you really need to be realistic with your self as to how long you will take to get something done. If you aren’t sure you know how long things take you, start timing yourself and keeping track of how long it has taken you.I used to always underestimate how long it would take me to make notes. This led to me being stressed out and overwhelmed because I couldn’t get things done in time. I would become unmotivated to finish tasks because they felt never ending and that I had way to much to do already. So I started timing how long it would take me to do something and so I established a better understanding of what I could expect out of myself.
5. CREATE A DAILY ROUTINE
Humans are creatures of habit, so if it is part of your daily routine to sit down for a certain amount of time or a specific time of day to work on something, you will stay motivated and will find it much easier to stay productive.
Consistency is key, and by creating a routine that involves working every day of the week (or whatever works for you) you will find that you become even more motivated as well as productive.
6. SINGULAR FOCUS
It’s important to focus on what you are doing at the time, so that you can give it your best as well as get it done quicker than if you were multitasking. While you might think multi-tasking is one of the keys to being productivity this is the last thing from the truth. You need to put in all your effort and energy into something so that you will do an excellent job. By multi-tasking you may be putting the quality of your work at risk.
7. TAKE TIME TO REST
One of my favourite quotes is “If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit”. I love this quote because it is so true. The worst thing for productivity is burnout and that will happen to you if you don’t take time to rest. Avoid pushing yourself too far. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t try to work hard and push through difficult times, it just means you need to know where the line is. It’s one thing to be motivated, and work hard and consistently and make sacrifices to achieve your goals but its another to work too hard and bring yourself to a breaking point. I have seen it before and the effects that overworking are detrimental.
Not only on your work but also on your health (mental and physical). So, take time out of your day to unwind. Go for a run, meditate, or even have an afternoon nap. Just take time to have a rest and recharge your batteries.
8. TREAT YO SELF
As such as planning and prioritising your work is, it is equally as important to reward yourself for your hard work. Motivation plays a huge role in staying productive because it is the source of your drive and determination to put the effort in. Stay motivated by rewarding yourself for your hard work and accomplishing something. If you do well on a test, or an assignment, treat your self for it. It could be a day off from working, or doing something fun with your friends. Whatever it is just be sure that you are acknowledging your accomplishment, no matter how big or small it is.
9. KEEP IT TIDY
Mess creates stress. Don’t get me wrong though, my desk isn’t perfect at all times but I always need to keep making things tidy and in order so that I don’t feel overwhelmed or distracted by the mess. I do this by making sure I tidy up my workspace and every few hours or so. This way it doesn’t get overwhelming. There is no better feeling than having everything perfectly in order, don’t you think?
10. TURN OFF YOUR PHONE
Yes, unfortunately you need to turn off your phone. With the easiest form of procrastination just a finger tip away, your phone can be one of your biggest enemies of your ability to be productive. Not only do notifications distract you but the temptation alone to go on your phone and scroll through social media can be just as bad. If you really hate being without your phone, or it just has to be on for whatever (legitimate) reason then try an app that blocks your social media accounts for a certain amount of time. This means you can still use your phone for calling etc but you won’t be distracted by cute videos of dogs and cats, or a new Tasty recipe. Or in my case, Humans of New York.
I hope these 10 tips help you to be more productive and stay motivated. Do you have any particular tips to boost productivity? Leave them in the comments below I would love to hear from you!