Today we have a guest blogger, Kristin DiBacco from Serene Space! Kristin is an extremely intelligent and talented professional organizer with GREAT taste, and has been featured on A&E! And she is here to save the day with 10 tips to Becoming the Most Productive You!
Take Back Your Time: 10 tips to Becoming More Productive
By: Kristin DiBacco
Most of us are busier than ever today. Our days are jam packed with our jobs, activities, errands to run and parties to attend, making our heads spin. We can become overwhelmed and less productive than we’d like. Below are 10 tips to help all of us reclaim our time and become more productive every day!
- Pick the Right Calendar
Paper or electronic – just pick! There is no secret formula for picking the right calendar or planner, but choose the one that is right for you and for your family. Personally, I love my Gmail calendar. It allows me share my schedule and family activities with my husband, color code and set reminders. If you have a lot of bodies in your home with different schedules, consider a large calendar kept where everyone will see it. Each family member gets a different color and each activity is posted, such as a doctor’s appointment or soccer practice. This will help the entire family visualize what’s happening and when!
- Use it Wisely
As you enter tasks and events on your calendar, think about the to-dos that come with it, such as purchasing dessert for the dinner party Friday night, and add those to your to-do list. Also, remember to take it with you. What good will it do if you leave your calendar in the car or at home? (Another reason the Gmail calendar is so great: It’s on your phone. You never leave home without that!)
- Do a Brain Dump!
Whether in a planner or a notebook, be sure to write down all the things you need to remember to do later, people you need to call, or general thoughts such as picking up milk! The is one of my favorite tricks to unclutter your brain!
- Plan Your Week
One of my favorite productivity quotes comes from Brian Tracy, who said, “Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes.” In a day where 24 hours never seem to be enough, I will take 10 minutes anywhere I can get them! Consider places you need to be, the meals you need to eat, your children’s activities and homework, and the chores you need to accomplish. Also think about when you are the most productive. Do you move faster if you block out a Saturday morning to get the cleaning done or do you work best cleaning the bathroom in the evening before bed? OK, maybe cleaning the bathroom is a bad example! One area where my family sees the benefits of planning ahead is the weekly menu. Not only am I not staring at the refrigerator at 5pm wondering what I can make for dinner but it has also helped our budget! A little secret: if you dread creating a new menu each week, cheat! Use the same menu two weeks in a row or eat the same meal every Tuesday night! Taco Tuesday, anyone?
- Prioritize your Day
What is important to you? Think about the things you have to do versus the things you think you have to do. Write all of these things down and prioritize them starting with #1. Consult your calendar first thing in the morning so you can decide how your day will flow and what activities will fit where.
- Start your day early!
I am a firm believer that your day will be off to a much better start if you have at least 30 minutes to yourself before the chaotic mornings begin. Make time for a cup of coffee, a trip to the gym, devotional time or maybe even a shower before the house is bustling!
Have you considered trading childcare with a friend for a day of kid-free running around? Think about how productive you could be while kid-free. And the kids have a built-in play date. I consider that a win-win!
Consider a chore chart for your children. Have each child pack their own lunch the night before or have your husband throw in a load of laundry on his way out the door. Maybe your financial state allows for you to hire help with the landscaping or cleaning. Remember, done is better than perfect!
Emails, television and social media! The dings, the reminder notifications and Netflix. We are all guilty of getting sucked into one or all of these outlets and losing track of time – precious time we will never get back! Consider limiting your time on social media to 10 minutes in the evening or only checking your email two or three times a day!
- It’s OK to say NO.
We often become overwhelmed because we have so much on our plates. Have you taken the time to think about what is truly important to you? Are you serving on several committees? Do you really need to run to Target today or meet an associate for coffee? Consider dropping less important things from your day-to-day plans. It is OK to be picky about commitments. Those around you won’t think anything less of you. If anything, they will understand!
Focusing on your priorities and limiting distractions can help you live a simpler, more balanced and productive life. Take one day at a time and soon you will start taking back your time!