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Productivity tips for crazy busy people that actually work

3rd May 2017
Productivity

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ll know that I lead a crazy busy life – I’m a mother, journalist (full time), daughter, wife, sister, blogger and vlogger – and that’s on top of doing all the usual household stuff that we all have to squeeze in.

Fortunately, VIP helps me out with the latter two. Well, I say fortunately, but I expect it to be honest. I wouldn’t have married him if he was one of those goons who thinks the world revolves around them. And although I’m happy to make dinner and fetch cups of coffee etc, I also expect it to be reciprocated. Who wouldn’t?

Anyway, without losing track of why I started this blog post in the first place, I thought I’d offer some tips on productivity.

Why? Well, first of all it’s Work Wise Week (from 14th-20th May) which ties in very nicely with this blog post. Work Wise Week was created to bring awareness to smarter working practices and QuickBooks is looking to share productivity tips in honour of this week.

Secondly, years of juggling working life and motherhood have provided me with a few tricks up my sleeve and I’m keen to share them.

So here are my best go-to tips for having a fantastically productive day!

MAKE A LIST

The night before you want to have a fantastically productive day, you need to do two things. The first is to make a list of everything that you want to achieve the following day. It sounds obvious but seeing things in black and white written down really does work.

However, before you start making that list, be realistic in what you write. This is REALLY important. You want to over achieve during the day, not feel defeated.

For example, if your task is to clear, tidy and clean your wardrobe, dedicating 15 minutes to the job will put too much pressure on you, especially if the last time you did this you had to dedicate half a day to sorting it out.

I personally aim for three or four tasks a day. Remember these ‘tasks’ can be smaller goals that are working towards a large project. Whatever you do, don’t bite off more than you can chew.

MAKE A TIMETABLE

The second thing that you need to do the night before is to take that list and make a mini timetable of how tomorrow should look.

Again, be realistic and factor in ‘break times’ such as grabbing a cuppa or taking lunch.

Don’t martyr yourself; remember to take breaks and keep your energy up.

My timetable might look something similar to this.

6am -7am: Get up, dressed and downstairs. Read and clear emails, get kids’ school bags/uniforms ready, make a cuppa and have breakfast.

7am-8.40am: Get kids up, dressed and make their breakfast. Tidy downstairs and check social media accounts.

8.40-9.00am: Take kids to school and walk back.

9am-9.30: Complete Task 1

9.30am-1pm: Full time job.

1pm-2pm: Eat lunch and complete Task 2

2pm-3.25pm: Full time job

3.25pm-4pm: Collect kids from school

4pm-5.30pm: While kids relax, jump back on work

5.30pm-6pm: Cook and eat dinner (while checking social media)

6pm-7.30pm: Complete Task 3

7.30-8.30: Start the bedtime routines, read a book and chat with the kids.

8.30 onwards: Either complete Task 4 or sit down and clear emails on the laptop while watching TV.

Bear in mind that there will be interruptions throughout your day; your friend might call for a chat; you might realise that it’s your neighbour’s birthday tomorrow and have to rush out to buy a card – or you could receive a letter in the post which demands your time and attention.

A friend of mine often asks how I manage to get so much done in the little time that I have.

And I always tell her the same thing: when I put a time limit on a project and I know I only have that amount of time to get it done, I’ll just get it done.

For example, I know that after my lunch I have about an hour and a half left to work before I have to leave to collect my daughter from school. Knowing that I have that time constraint I’m already feeling the pressure – so I make sure I focus on the job at hand.

If I think I’ve got all the time in the world, I’ll procrastinate, so if you need to get a job down, put a time limit on it. Hell, start a countdown timer or an alarm if you need to.

GET UP EARLIER OR GO TO BED LATER

Are you an early bird or a night owl? Decide how (and at what time) you are at your working best – morning or late at night?

I’ve trained myself on six hours sleep – going to bed around midnight and getting up at 6am most days (including the weekend).

But I know that in order to do this I can’t drink alcohol (it affects my sleep pattern) and every now and then I need to play catch up on the sleep – and get up at 8am on a Sunday for example.

You must have heard of the expression ‘making time’? By setting the alarm extra early you’ve just made more time for yourself – so don’t waste it, MAKE IT COUNT.

Whatever you do, DO NOT work where there are distractions i.e. a TV playing in the background – and leave your mobile phone upstairs so you are not tempted to pick it up and get distracted by it. Otherwise, before you know it, the hour would have passed and you would have achieved nothing.

CLOSE YOUR EMAIL

Unless your task demands time on your email – CLOSE the emails. I don’t just mean minimise the window on your computer, I mean close the actual programme so that you don’t see (or hear) any emails dropping in.

This is the single biggest factor that contributes to unfulfilled tasks. Don’t get dragged into reading emails because then you’ll get dragged into sending a response, and while you’re doing that another email will drop in…..and again, before you know it, you’ve lost an hour.

Commit to the task at hand with as few distractions as you possibly can. If the phone goes, either leave it or answer it and tell the person that you’re on deadline for something and ask if you can call back at a later time.

Bank Holidays in 2017


USE ‘DEAD’ TIME

I try not to waste a single minute. If I’m waiting for the phone to call, I won’t sit there doing nothing; I’ll be checking my emails or social media for example.

When I’m commuting and waiting for the train or a bus, I utilise my time wisely by typing out a blog post on my mobile phone or writing down ideas.

When I’m watching TV, in the ad breaks I’ll start some light housework or do the ironing.

And when I’m waiting for the kids to brush their teeth I’ll be getting their clothes ready for the following day.

I’m also a dab hand at multi-tasking. For example, when I’m doing something mundane like brushing my teeth, I’ll have the cleaning cloths in my other hand cleaning the sink area.

It’s all about thinking ahead. If you know what needs to be done, you can very often make your life much easier by thinking smarter – and responding quicker.

These are the main productivity tips that have helped me create order in my busy life and ensure that I continue to focus on what I need to achieve.

Yes, sometimes things don’t go to plan – and that’s fine. Don’t beat yourself up about it; after all, we can always make time can’t we?

What tips do you have to make the most of being productive?

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27 comments

marie 30th September 2017 at 8:20 am

Great article Lauretta. I will keep in mind some tips you shared here. Thank you. Cheers.

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LaurettaCWright 30th September 2017 at 8:29 pm

Thanks very much Marie!

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Jenni 28th June 2017 at 8:09 am

I often get up early or go to bed later to get things done. I have two part time nanny jobs – still work 42.5 hours a week so pretty much a full time job. So I just have to work on my blog around that!

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Esther Diaz 10th May 2017 at 3:45 am

excellent tips you got there! Thank you for sharing this, just what I needed! Will surely apply this to my daily routine! 🙂

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LaurettaCWright 10th May 2017 at 5:50 am

Thanks very much Esther!

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Michelle Smith 9th May 2017 at 11:34 am

I’m so tired & stressed through basicly running round in circles – I’m going to use these tips today & try to win back some organisation in my life. It’s not easy!
Michelle Smith recently posted…Beats X Wireless Earbuds ReviewMy Profile

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LaurettaCWright 9th May 2017 at 11:38 am

Thinking of your Michelle – best of luck!

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Erin Ek Rush 5th May 2017 at 9:12 pm

Wow! You are a busy lady!! Some great tips though. I have started to set a timer for tasks. I think working in Social Media can be such a time drain if you let it!

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LaurettaCWright 6th May 2017 at 6:46 pm

Yes totally agree Erin – doesn’t surprise me people hire VA’s for social media!

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Viki Marden 5th May 2017 at 2:44 pm

These tips are great, I am a true sicker for lists and always feel so bad if I do not tick all the tasks off.
Viki Marden recently posted…Mummy + Me | April 2017My Profile

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LaurettaCWright 5th May 2017 at 4:52 pm

Thanks Viki – good to know I’m not alone!

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Ana De- Jesus 4th May 2017 at 3:25 pm

I also work full time and I find that creating a list of manageable tasks as well as a timetable really seems to help. I am a journalist as well, demanding hours but I do love it x

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LaurettaCWright 4th May 2017 at 4:05 pm

Fantastic Ana – I didn’t realise you were also a journalist! The list really does help, doesn’t it?

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Sarah 3rd May 2017 at 10:40 pm

These are fantastic tips! I am obsessed with lists, and timetables! I couldn’t possibly function without them! I’ve pinned this post so I can keep coming back to it x

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LaurettaCWright 4th May 2017 at 6:06 am

Wonderful – I’m so glad you found it useful! Thank you.

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Leigh 3rd May 2017 at 8:39 pm

You are a wonder woman! I only work full-time and still find it difficult to juggle blogging on the side. This is a really helpful post!

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LaurettaCWright 3rd May 2017 at 9:01 pm

I’m so glad it was helpful Leigh – I guess it’s trial and error and seeing what works best for you!

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Ickle Pickle 3rd May 2017 at 8:02 pm

Great ideas – I think just planning my day would really help me – I haven’t thought of it before, thank you. Kaz

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LaurettaCWright 3rd May 2017 at 9:02 pm

Thanks Kaz – and good luck!

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Jenny 3rd May 2017 at 7:56 pm

Great tips! I’m a list maker too, I can’t survive without having everything written down!

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LaurettaCWright 3rd May 2017 at 9:01 pm

i do love a good list! 😉

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Rachel 3rd May 2017 at 6:00 pm

I am one of those people who simply cannot do without a list, I make one everyday of things I am going to do, but have one big list that has everything on it that I want to achieve x

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LaurettaCWright 3rd May 2017 at 9:02 pm

Great idea Rachel!

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Caroline 3rd May 2017 at 9:44 am

Great tips Lauretta! I definitely think setting a time limit helps, I’m going to try and do that more.

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LaurettaCWright 3rd May 2017 at 9:49 am

A countdown clock is just enough pressure to make you focus (you can always pause it!) good luck Caroline! X

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Sarah - let them be small 3rd May 2017 at 7:14 am

I find having a schedule of sorts helps me to stay focused too x

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LaurettaCWright 3rd May 2017 at 8:42 am

That’s great to hear Sarah!

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