Productivity: 10 Unexpected Ways to Organize Your Day

Hello, Ladies. COLIBRI knows, you are all getting a lot done in the precious 24 hours you have each day and she hopes the following 10 tips will make your lives at least a little easier.

Choose one that resonates or try all 10 and see which ones fit.

1. Pay yourself first. Believe it or not, you will feel best and get the most done if you pay yourself first. This means taking care of your spirit and your body before getting down to business. Try waking up and doing self-care first thing.

COLIBRI has said this before, but she pays herself first by getting up at 6 a.m., journaling, doing yoga and having a cup of (mmm. . .) green tea.

How would you pay yourself first?

2. Change it up. Not everyone is willing to admit it, but in order to be truly productive, you have to take breaks. Think bodybuilding for the soul.

Bodybuilders work different muscle groups every other day in order to let their muscles rebuild. Doing something completely different helps you let go of your day so your mental muscles can rebuild and you can feel fresh when you start again.

COLIBRI rewards herself by spending time with friends, family and colleagues. Values-based marketing and writing are solitary occupations and COLIBRI finds that being with human beings helps her feel human!

How do you change it up?

3. Set a timer. COLIBRI has a 45 minute on/15 minute off productivity schedule. She sets her timer for 45 minutes and then “has to” get up from her desk and do something non work-related for another 15. The 15 minutes can involve loading laundry, doing dishes or calling a friend to set up some face time.

Don’t feel guilty! You are in this for the long haul. You need to make time for your non work life and you need to get up and move your body.

The 45/15 mix works great for COLIBRI. What mix would work for you?

4. Forget about it. Writing down what you need to do helps you free your mind. COLIBRI keeps a list of activities that repeat each week (like backing up her hard drive) as well as a list of this week's appointments. She also keeps a running list of new to-dos as they come up so she doesn't have to worry about remembering things.

There are a million ways to organize to-do lists. What would help you “forget?”

5. Finish what you start. Like so many solopreneurs, COLIBRI is learning the hard way to set limits, but more and more she sees the value in it.

COLIBRI does not add new projects until she has finished current ones. New ideas and projects go on a Wish List.

How about you? Can you finish what you start before you start something new?

6. Do less. Have you heard of priority procrastination? It’s when you let all kinds of little tasks and requests push your priorities off your plate. This happens when you are not willing to set priorities in the first place.

One reason people don’t focus is that rushing around is, in a way, easier than calmly sitting in front of your computer and getting your work done. Solopreneurs sometimes like the “high” that comes from frenetic scheduling and tight deadlines.

What would happen if you did less but did it better?

7. Letting go. Doing less will mean letting go. Letting go means taking things off your schedule and saying no to new projects. (Saying no is a learned skill and a very important one.) Once you know what your priorities are, be willing to let go of the people, things and activities that stand in your way.

COLIBRI recently did something she had never done before: she dropped a very time-consuming computer class. It was a hard decision, but it was a good decision. Now she has more time to focus on priorities directly related to building her business.

What can you let go of?

8. Go slow. This is another one that might seem counter intuitive. It's popular here in California to talk about living in the present moment, which is good advice. But it can also help to do the opposite. Going slow can mean scheduling things, like seeing a good friend, weeks or even months ahead.

COLIBRI has a very close friend who lives in another (close by) city. Between work and kids, it can be hard to get together, so COLIBRI and her friend decided to see each other just once per month, but to leave several hours so the time together could feel relaxed and spacious.

What can you put off in order to really savor it?

9. Unschedule. Discipline is a wonderful thing, but everyone needs to feel free — at least some of the time. Try calling friends, or even colleagues, at the last minute. The friend or colleague may not have time, but a friendly,“Hey, I was running errands near your office and wondered if you might have time to grab a coffee,” makes people feel good anyway. Maybe that colleague needed a break and you arrived at the perfect time.

How can you make surprises work for you?

10. Pause. Take some time at the beginning and end of your day to reflect. Maybe it’s only 5 minutes, but reviewing what you did and what you want to do is actually mini-goal setting and it helps your productivity.

Remember, when you pause at the end of your work day, be sure to compliment yourself for a job well done. Even if you are afraid it wasn't perfect, COLIBRI knows you are working hard and doing your best.

Can you take a few minutes at the beginning and end of each day to reflect and review?

Your Turn

What are some unexpected productivity tips you can share with us Eves?

8 COMMENTS

  1. These points are excellent! My favorite is to pay yourself first – energetically – and I’d love to add – literally as in the form of a paycheck.

  2. Hi Jackie, Yes literally paying ourselves is a key point. Thank you.

    Hi Bonnie, Not sure what you mean by “not printable.” If it’s something I can help you with, let me know!

  3. Hi Bonnie,

    I don’t think that’s a direct option on this platform :-(. I will ask!

    Thank you for pointing this out.

    Best,

    Anna

  4. Redefine what productivity means to you: how it’s manifested, experienced, and practiced. Your criteria may change hourly, daily, monthly or annually. Bottom line: if you know your productivity goals, you’ll know how to achieve them:)

  5. #3 is a great one — 45 on/15 off. I have a daily worksheet I use to collect the items I will do in my “15 off”. This way, I’m not feeling distracted by them during my work time. I have a “parking lot” for them and know that during the allocated 15 I’ll make the doctor’s appointment, call a friend, etc. I can be 100% focused on work during the “45 on” and then 100% focused on the rest of life for the other 15. No guilt! I just wish the times were reversed!