If you’re anything like me, you have big dreams that come along with a busy schedule and a lot to manage. Between balancing school and/or careers with family and friends, and all the extra activities you want to partake in and goals you want to accomplish along the way, it can be overwhelming and hard to remember to take care of your self. Finding a way to get organized will not only give you a sense of renewal and motivation, but it will also inspire creativity and help you to work more quickly and efficiently, so you have time for things that truly matter. Now that everyone is starting to head back to school and work, here are my top five tips on how to maximize your productivity so you can balance everything on your plate, peacefully.
1) Invest in a planner
It doesn’t have to be a fancy or expensive life planner, but at least get a small calendar or even use the one on your phone- a great one for starters is the Google Calendar, especially if you need to coordinate with others- it’s free and color-coded (a necessity for me)! This will help you keep track of appointments, due dates, and easily be able to see when you are free to have time for yourself! Purchase the Erin Condren life planner I use when I’m not using one online here, or download my favorite free printable calendar from Etsy!
2) Make lists
One of the most important tools that keeps me staying on track is lists- I make one for everything! There’s the obvious to-do list (and the satisfaction you get from checking things off), the sub-section to-do lists within the lists, the random thoughts list to get out all your thoughts before bed or just when you need extra focus. It may also be beneficial for some to invest in some post-its or create individual lists of things to remember: i.e. groceries, event planning, or even books/movies for when you finally get a chance to catch a break!
“Don’t be busy. Just be productive. There’s a huge difference.” -Anonymous
3) Try an app
In today’s world of modernized technology, there are a multitude of apps for your mobile device that will keep you organized and on track to lead your most productive life ever! A few of my favorites include the basic apps such as Notes and Calendar (as mentioned in the above two tips), Mint- to keep track of finances, Passable- to have all your passwords filed in a secure location, and Turboscan- to save all your documents and easily scan and email as needed! Several of these are also available on the Apple Watch if you want to take your productivity to the next level!
4) Keep a clean workspace
This may not seem like a big deal, but trust me- it makes a major difference in your mindset depending on where you are working and how it looks. Try to make a rule to not work in your bedroom, so that your mind can adapt to the bedroom as a space for relaxation (this will also help you insomniacs to sleep better!) and your office area as a strict work space. Take some time to organize your workspace and spend a few moments each day to keep it tidy…and watch the increase in your productivity level almost immediately.
5) Wake up early/have a routine
I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum- waking up at 4AM to get to a long day of work, working out, and being productive non-stop, and waking up at 1PM only to find that after a few hours of work, the day is already nearing its end. While it may temporarily feel amazing to get in those extra zzz’s and it’s totally okay to do once in a while, try to wake up earlier than usual and have a healthy morning routine to go with it. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference it makes in mood, productivity, and overall vibe of your day when you’re starting it off right in the morning!
“Successful people are just those with successful habits.” -Bryan Tracy
6) Bonus tip: Self-love
I know I said five tips but you know me and I wanted to be sure to mention one of the most important yet easily forgotten aspects of life- taking care of yourself! It may seem impossible to find time for this in the chaos of today’s lifestyle, but a short session of meditation, journaling, yoga, or even a relaxing bath with essential oils can make you feel relaxed and rejuvenated to tackle whatever is next on your list- and get it done with more focus and clarity! A few of my favorite apps for this include, Balanced- to make sure you’re taking care of every part of yourself, PumpUp- to keep you motivated to stay fit and healthy, Simple Habit- to get beginners meditating a few minutes a day, and Yoga Studio- to allow a ready-made or custom workout that can fit into your busy schedule (detailed post on these apps and more coming soon)! Let me know what you think and share your top tips on how you live your most organized and productive lifestyle!