I find myself getting sucked into the rabbit hole that is my laptop and the internet. I’ll open up an email to check something or reply to someone, when suddenly see another email that catches my eye. It has a link for something I’m keen to check out. I then click on the link and it opens my internet up. From there, I can click onto Facebook and scroll for a good 15 minutes, see another link and be drawn to that, click on another 3 links, one which takes me to Pinterest and before I know it 35 minutes to an hour has passed (I think I am being conservative with this figure) and the task I first set out to complete hasn’t even been done!
Does this ever happen to you?
I decided I needed to stop the clutter and get into a more productive routine. It’s like creating a new habit, but after some practise, it’s become the norm.
Here is how I am productive and cut out the clutter:
- I make a list and put the hardest thing to do on the top of my list. The thing that I dread the most is the one I force myself to do first, otherwise I procrastinate and slow down the other tasks because I don’t want to get to that point. It’s also incredibly satisfying when it’s done.
- I never have more than 5 things on my to-do list, not because I don’t have more to do, but because it doesn’t look so overwhelming.
- Only once all 5 things have been completed, then I can create a new list.
- I close Facebook, Pinterest, email and any other distraction. In fact the only tab I want opened is the tab I need for my show research, for example, or a Word Document. By not having anything open other than what I need to complete the current task, it prevents me from being drawn elsewhere.
- The same goes for my phone. I’ll put it out of reach, turn it onto silent and only after the task is done, then I can check my phone. It seems ridiculous, but the phone can be another rabbit hole. Hello Instagram.
- Stop multi-tasking. I used to think it was a talent to hone, but it’s the same as having different tabs open distracting you. Even when it comes to tackling a task, don’t try number 2 and 3 at the same time, focus on one until you can tick it off completely. There is something satisfying about crossing it off.
- Learn to say No. This has been really hard for me, especially with FOMO. However, being burned out is also not an option. I learned the hard way when I said yes to everything, spread myself thin and produced sloppy work, something that is completely unacceptable to me. Now a days, I am honest with people and completely transparent with clients. If I really want to do something, but won’t have it done in the time they’ve asked, I chat to them and tell them that I can only do it in a week from now. They can then say whether it’s OK or not. I know they appreciate the honesty.
- Give yourself a reward. Completed all 5 tasks? Give yourself a break, make a cup of tea and have it outside, in the sunshine or do something that truly gives you a break. It must be something short though, so you don’t time waste.
- If you’re going to go through your Instagram or any other social media accounts, put a timer on or you’ll get sucked in again.
- Know when you’re at your best. Are you an early morning person? Ensure you start on your list right away then. It also frees up more of your time during the day!
How do you stay productive? Any tips you can share?