Techniques to Stay Productive
1 | Identify your ultimate goal.
Identifying the destination before you begin is a good way to save time and gas. Often, burn outs and breakdowns happen when we lack direction.
2 | Map out a step by step strategy.
Make each long term step subsidized into bite-size short term step. So that you are not overwhelmed and eventually confused by one big vision. Be realistic when planning your execution. Zone in. Often, even if we are not distracted by external distractions, we make it harder for ourselves by becoming distracted by our giant goals. We overwhelm ourselves by looking at everything at once, or seeing a big picture when all we have so far is a blank canvas. Dial in and build up from there.
3 | Learn your best work conditions.
Maybe your mind is more fertile for inspiration during the night than it is in the morning. Maybe you enjoy a bit of classical music in the background or perhaps you need to set the temperature at a certain place to avoid getting drowsy. Once you know your effective work personality, cultivate a space that caters to that. (link)
4 | Establish a routine
First thing in the morning, plan your daily routine around progressing towards your goals, thus making productivity a part of your day and eventually, with repetition, your life. Creating a routine first thing in the morning helps to deter distracting detours. Set aside specific times of day to plan, schedule, enjoy leisure, socialize, etc. Sometimes busy work is necessary. prioritize productivity and busy work accordingly.
5 | Be consistent.
Make Habits. Be repetitive. Exercising productivity every day makes it a habitual constant in your life, thus making progress a daily factor.
6 | Stay organized.
Declutter. Our mind is often a reflection of our surroundings. If you find that you’re scatterbrained, it may be time to organize your surroundings and you mentality will follow suit.
7 | Be still.
There is power in being still. Don’t be afraid of pausing. If you find that you are simply busying yourself, or lacking motivation or inspiration, allow time for pause. Find a bit of patience and allow these moments to rest and find peace. When the water runs dry, allow your humanity to rest and await the inspiration’s return.
8 | Learn how to say no.
Don’t overcommit yourself, to yourself or others.
9 | Do not yield your time / deadlines.
It is important that you finish things in a timely manner so that you shorten the window for potential distraction.
10 | Do yield your methods.
Often times we are so committed to doing something one way that we spend too much time running into the same wall over and over that we don’t realize there might be another way just around the corner. Do not fear the natural revisions and edits that come along the journey. Don’t be afraid to backtrack and try another route. Factor in time for trial and error, mistakes, unforeseen circumstances, etc. And then work through them.
11 | Stay positive in the face of obstacles.
They are inevitable and they are often opportunity in disguise. Our obstacles give us experience, strength and wisdom. When you encounter them, be grateful, because it is adding character and impending expertise to your journey.
12 | Unplug.
Make use of airplane mode & do not disturb, or the good old fashioned off button. Don’t leave any tabs open for social networking or other internet distractions. Don’t be afraid to be unavailable.
13 | Be direct in your means and ends.
Maybes are weak. I think’s are futile. Be confident in your intentions. Definitive answers and strategies mean business. It is necessary to know exactly what you are working toward. It adds urgency and direction to your mission.
14 | Just begin.
Stop putting off your goals on the account of waiting for perfect conditions. There is always something that can be done in the now, even if it is just baby steps. It is amazing how the universe moves in accordance with your movement. Timing will never be as perfect as the time you have right now.
15 | Fake it until you make it.
Take yourself seriously. Don’t sell yourself short just because your current situation may not reflect the glory of your accomplished goal.
16 | It is ok to leave time to experience life.
It is the best source of inspiration. Don’t risk letting the journey grow stale. Allow yourself some spontaneity.
17 | Keep track of what you’re going to do, what you’re doing and what you’ve done.
Your accomplishments are archival and inherently encouraging, not to mention perfect reference points for future endeavors.
18 | Efficiently allocate time productivity according to your schedule and your work style.
30 minute intervals are scientifically proven to be effective task windows because natural human attention spans begin to wander after this time.
19 | Take breaks.
Allow your mind to relax and refresh.
20 | Compartmentalize your workspace.
Working in your house can have its advantages but so too come with it the inherent and atrophying comfort zones. Do not work in your bedroom or the kitchen. Our minds are conditioned to expect certain activities in these spaces, so naturally we’ll begin to feel groggy sitting on a bed or hungry in the kitchen. If space allows, create an area that is reserved for working.
21 | Be thorough.
Nothing can be so chaotic and unnerving as unfinished tasks.
22 | Receive criticism productively.
Especially from ourselves. We are often so hard on ourselves that we can be our worst enemy.
23 | Make sure you’re completely equipped to conquer the task before you set down to do it.
All tools and supplies should be accounted for so you don’t have to interrupt your productivity to retrieve certain items necessary.
24 | Be patient.
Understand that it may not be an overnight accomplishment. If there is a goal to be achieved, there will be a period necessary for growth.
25 | Take cues from others who have accomplished similar things before you.
Study them. But don’t compare yourself to them. It is not a competition, rather it is inspiration. The only person you are competing against is yourself.
Read the other parts in this series:
Lauren is based in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to writing here on Pursuit of Daydreams, Lauren’s daydreams consist of all forms of design: Graphic, Fashion, Web, Interior, Art. On any given day, she can be found preoccupied with at least one of the above. She is happiest with a bowl of ice cream in hand.
Also published on Medium.