1. Make a list
No, no, not an iPhone note, an actual handwritten list. I find that when I type things into my phone they are quickly lost in the shuffle and serve solely as a brainstorming mechanism. I don’t want to have to set reminders to check my reminders! Write that ish down people! I definitely inherited the “yellow note pad” gene from my mom but what can I say, the woman gets it done like no other. Having a physical reminder sitting on your desk or in your car’s cupholder is much harder to ignore and therefore much more effective at keeping you on task. Plus, trust me when I say physically crossing things off can be extremely cathartic.
2. Don’t spend too much time in one place
The most dangerous can place for me to stay for more than a couple hours is at my desk/on my laptop. The chances that I’m still on there doing what I sat down to do is little to none. I like to arrange my lists so there’s a natural break in each task that takes me away from that location. Something to get me out of the house or even in a different room helps me not fall too far into the deep dark depths of the inter web.
3. Change your thinking
When I was a kid, as long as my dad would let me pick out a mini french roll and eat it in the cart while we shopped I was the best grocery store companion alive. Because adulting truly sucks, I still need to be bribed to do the shopping because not only do I have to do spend time in the grocery store, but I’m also footing the bill. While, in the spirit of my girl Oprah, I still love me some bread (please tell me you’ve seen that commercial) coffee is currently my most effective bribe of choice. Can I just give a big shout out the whoever decided every single Ralph’s and Target should be equipped with it’s own Starbucks inside? It’s allowed me to interchange the phrase “going to the store” with “getting a coffee” and honestly, which one would you rather do?
4. The “Got to, Thank you, Don’t Mind If I Do” Principle
Ok so I just made this up but I’m clearly KIND OF A GENIUS. Make sure to incorporate all three of these things into your to-do list. Obviously add the tasks you’ve got to do (because duh, you’re going to do them anyway.) So make that appointment, write the thesis for that paper, and then cross it off your list! I also carve out time to accomplish the tasks my future self will thank me for later, like filling up your gas tank before it’s empty to avoid that whole, “it’s 7am and you’re sweating your moisturizer off because you just ran up and down the stairs three times because you forgot your phone and are now rushing to work and look down and realize the gas light has been on for two days and you curse the day you were born” situation. (just me?) A bonus to these types of tasks is they usually get you out of the house (see tip #2.) And lastly, treat yo self! Actually write down that mani/face mask/yoga sesh or whatever else you do solely doing for yourself. This way there’s a natural flow to the day while still getting done the things that were going to get done no matter what.
5. Be realistic
I always start my list with every last thing I could possibly accomplish in a perfect world. Then I estimate roughly how much time each thing will take and decide what’s a realistic goal to keep on the list for today. It may sound overwhelming, but I find that seeing it all in one place allows me to carve out time for it on another day and reassures me that I’ll be able to do it all…eventually. 🙂
Mmmk, do you see that there? In the fine print. I think it reads, “but a fraction of the staff, assistance, and disposable income.” Yes, yes I’m sure that’s what it says. This last tip is easier said than done, I get it. I’m the worst! But I guarantee if I’ve gone to allll this trouble to be productive, I’ll feel a hell of a lot better about myself and my day than if I had watched those 6 straight episodes of Gilmore Girls. Again. (Unless of course, it was on my list. ;))