Quarantine, online everything, and no places to go made us feel like we have all of the time in the world. Suddenly, there is no rush to do anything and this feeling that the clock is moving at a slower pace has made it harder to be productive and to use the time we have on our hands effectively.
Ever since March, I have been thinking about what I could do to be able to accomplish all of my goals for each day. For me, being at home all of the time has made me more easily distracted, more unable to focus, and actually finish a task. So, I set out on a journey, to find out the best way to utilize my time and remain focused throughout the day. Here are my best tips for a more productive life.
Don’t spend all of your time in front of screens
With being home all of the time and social interactions remaining limited, it’s easy to fall into the trap of being on a device all day long. You get up, look at your phone, then go to work and you are on your computer, afterward, the workday ends, you turn on Netflix or Youtube, in order to watch something while having dinner. This type of routine, which a lot of people have right now, makes them incredibly unproductive. Why? Because when you spend your whole day in front of a screen, without movement or fresh air, at a certain point you get brain fog, you process information slowly, your ability to think clearly diminishes. And so, tasks that would usually take 10–20 minutes, now takes an hour. And the longer, this routine goes on the more unproductive you become. So my advice is to dedicate at least an hour of your day to a hobby that does not involve your phone, tablet, TV, or computer. It can be anything sewing, drawing, reading, writing, or some exercise. It doesn’t matter, as long as it’s time off the screen. Also make sure to go for a walk at least once per day, as fresh air and movement are good for both the body and the brain.
Keep a journal
I know you’ve heard it before and you’re probably thinking “yeah I know that I have to write things down, blah, blah “ but just hear me out for a second. I don’t think you should keep a journal full of feelings and events, however, I think you should make the effort to take a look at your daily schedule and find where you have pockets of time. Then use those pockets efficiently. I will give you an example — all my scheduled meetings and appointments are in Outlook. So every day, I have a schedule of all of the events. I will have to attend tomorrow. All of the other hours that are left are for me to use as I please. In order to actually accomplish something in those pockets of the time, I schedule the things, I have to complete in each pocket. What I do is at night I will open my calendar, see I have a meeting from 9 to 10 and that my next one is at 13 o’clock. So I have 3 hours to complete my tasks and in order to feel the pressure of time, I set a time goal for each one I have to do. For example, I have a performance report to make and I want to finish it in 40 minutes. So I set the timer on my phone, turn the “Do not disturb” option on my phone, and focus on the task at hand. When the timer goes off, I take a five-minute break, check my phone, or make a coffee and I move on to the next task in the same fashion. This limited amount of time that I give myself, allows me to really dig deep into the task and to complete it.
Write down key tasks, but also goals
I love to write down all of my tasks and then mark them as complete when I’m finished. This helps me keep track of everything I have to do, but also keeps me responsible because once I have written down something, I have an obligation to complete it.
Another thing I find helpful is to also write down goals for the day — things like how much money I want to spend, if I would like to do exercise, if I have a certain book to read or a podcast I want to listen to. That way I can also plan those things that either bring me pleasure or would help me in the long run.
So these are the things that I have found that work for me. Tell me what has worked for you in this hard time.
Subscribe to my newsletter for more of these articles.