If you normally start your day with a huge to-do list just to end up with most of the tasks unchecked, you are not alone. The good news is that you can learn and apply these quick strategies to help you increase productivity.
I don’t want to waste your time so, let’s go over each of these three productivity strategies. Don’t have time to read it right now? Don’t worry, pin it for later!
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Increase Productivity: 3 Strategies to Get Results
Productivity Strategy 1 – Create an organized task list
To increase productivity, we need to start with the basics: create a task list.
The reality is that there will always be many tasks added to our calendars for our kids, family, friends, and even the community. The key is not to do everything that comes up but to take care only of the tasks that we really need to take care of and in the correct order.
Start by creating a list of tasks or projects that you need to tackle for the day, week, or month. Arrange those tasks in order of importance and urgency because it helps you stay on top of important tasks that require your immediate attention.
You are the only one who can determine the importance and urgency of the tasks. Once you finish grouping similar tasks together, you will be able to see what exactly needs to be done and when.
There are different ways to create a task list, so let me go over that with you.
These tools help you create a task list:
– Use a task list template
Creating an organized task list should only take a few minutes and can save you more time down the road.
The easiest way is to grab any piece of paper and write down all of your tasks. Just make sure to put those tasks in order from the most important and urgent to the least important and least urgent. You can easily do that by assigning a number or a letter next to each task.
I find it easier to use this type of master task list for different reasons:
- easier to group the tasks based on importance and urgency
- better to visualize all the tasks
- a faster way to add new tasks that you overlooked without having to re-do your list
- keeps all the tasks more organized!
– Download these task list apps
If you prefer to use your phone, here are a few task list apps:
- Todoist – In addition to adding your tasks, it has a feature called shared projects where you can delegate tasks. Plus, you can track your daily progress and access this app from different devices.
- Tasks – Not only can you add your tasks, but you can also add details to those tasks, organize them, prioritize them, and even sort them into lists.
Productivity Strategy 2 – Use the time blocking technique
In case that you haven’t heard of this productivity strategy before, let’s start from the beginning…
What is time blocking?
Time blocking is a technique where you block a period of time on your calendar to take care of a task or group of tasks. You have to treat all your tasks as doctor appointments, company meetings, or vacation and schedule them on your calendar too. In other words, every day you assign a time to each of your tasks or projects.
Although I am focusing more on tasks and projects, make sure to schedule some time to eat, sleep, take a break, and even have fun too.
It’s something that I used a lot while working in Human Resources. I scheduled a time to review resumes, process payroll, conduct regular meetings, prepare the material for orientations, create training modules, and more.
Sometimes as moms, we keep doing what’s on the to-do list and we don’t realize that blocking different times would help us manage our lives better.
Time blocking simplifies your days in different ways:
- It reduces the time spent shifting from one task to another
You already have a schedule of what needs to be done which means that once you complete the task, you know exactly what comes next.
- Time blocking puts limits to complete your tasks
It can help you reduce distractions, too. Since your time for each task is limited, you would not be wasting your time on other tasks that are not related to the task that you are working on. When you start working on a task, you should know exactly how much time you have planned for that task. This should help you reduce, or better yet eliminate, the amount of time wasted on non-related tasks.
- Helps you focus better
Your focus should increase due to several reasons. As I mentioned before, the limited time assigned to each task helps you reduce distractions and as a result, you should focus better on what you are supposed to do. Also, having a planned schedule stops your mind from wondering about what needs to be done and helps you focus more on your actions.
There are different ways to do time blocking
Some people set a few hours aside to take care of a group of tasks. In that case, your time blocking will look something like this:
Another option is to block time for each task which is the method that I use. In this case, you estimate the time needed to complete the task and then you block the time based on what you estimated.
Start adding your important and urgent tasks on your calendar. Then, continue adding those other tasks that are not as important or as urgent as the previous ones. That’s why having an organized task list makes time blocking a lot easier and faster.
Here is an example of a more detailed plan:
This is something that I do every night and it helps me have a clear picture of what I need to do the next day. Using time blocking gives me some sense of control and makes my day go smoother. Especially because I know that If I get behind on a task, it would make it more difficult to follow the rest of my schedule and complete my daily goals.
But, don’t get frustrated when something unexpected happens. If it happens, adjust your schedule as soon as everything goes back to normal.
Time blocking is great for overachievers who normally create a long to-do list to complete in a few hours. It helps you be more realistic when planning your days because you can see how much you can really accomplish based on your other responsibilities.
As with anything else, while performing time blocking, choose the option that works best for you.
Check out these helpful time blocking tools:
– Time blocking planner
Even though there are many planners out there, it’s important to use a productivity planner that can help you achieve your daily goals while also using the time blocking technique.
The planner that I have been using works great for me. It doesn’t have times printed on its pages but it allows me to customize the weekly pages based on my needs. Right now, I add a daily schedule from 7 am to 10 pm and I still have room for additional notes.
Examples of time blocking planners:
- inkWell Planner – I use (and love) the Classic weekly planner. Now, they launched their new 360 disc-system which allows you to customize it in the way you want it.
- Day Designer – it has different designs to choose from
- Panda Planner – It’s a popular planner and since it’s undated so you can start using it at any time.
– Time blocking template (printable)
If you don’t have a planner, the time blocking templates are a great solution. For example, this daily planner has several sections on the left side to help you decide what needs to be done on that day. Once you are done, follow the time blocking technique by scheduling those tasks on the right side of the printable. It’s that simple! Click here to see it.
– Time blocking app
- Time Tune
This time blocking app works as an electronic planner and helps you create routines, add daily activities, and set up notifications. You can also add your events very similar to the way you do it in google calendar. I like its features such as the daily timeline, tags, notifications, and reminders.
– Time blocking calendar
This electronic calendar is a great option to stay organized and, in this case, to block your time. You can also set alerts and even color code your tasks by family members, importance, or task type. To stay on track, I use the Google calendar in addition to my planner.
This tool is pretty much a combination of a time blocking app and a calendar. Even though it’s a tool intended for collaborations or people working together, you can still use it to organize different projects in your life. Its popularity keeps increasing due to its convenience, easy use, and modern features. Plus, you can access it from your phone or computer.
Productivity Strategy 3 – Keep a habit tracker
Forming a habit is another way to increase productivity. But sometimes, bad habits are hard to break, and new habits are hard to create too. Even popular habits such as drinking more water or doing exercises are hard (not impossible!) to commit to for a while.
To increase your productivity, you may also want to create habits such as using your planner daily, planning your day or week in advance, writing 500 words every day, completing your top three daily goals, or even creating products for your store on a regular basis.
Keep in mind that it’s easier to start with small or mini habits. This will keep you motivated during the process and increases the chance of forming a new habit.
In addition to starting small, make sure to track your habit. Tracking your habits is the best way to see your real progress and lets you evaluate how successful you have been. As human beings, it’s normal to overestimate our actions and think that our performance is a lot better than what it really is.
To successfully achieve goals or complete projects, we need to know how we are truly doing. A habit tracker can show us that information. And, of course, here are some tools for you.
These tools help you track your habits:
– Habit Tracker Printable
You can use a habit tracker printable to track your progress. To keep you motivated, choose a format that fits your needs. It could be weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc.
– Habit Tracker Apps
There are different habit tracker apps available too:
The Habits app is very easy to use and allows you to set reminders. You can also see the history, strength, best streaks, and frequency.
- Habit Streak
This is another easy app that you can use to mark the number of days that you completed the habit. It has a free version as well as a paid option which includes extra features such as getting an analysis, exporting and importing history, sharing your progress, and setting reminders.
- Habit Bull
This habit tracker app is more colorful. You can set reminders and notes too. Unlike other apps, it sends you notifications that are more informal and even funny at times.
It’s your turn to increase your productivity
As you noticed, those three productivity strategies are not complicated or lengthy. Instead, they are quite simple and easy to follow too.
Applying those strategies in your life should not only help you increase productivity, but you should also see a difference in your “to-do list” at the end of the day. You should be spending less time between tasks and focusing more on the tasks that really matter to you and your family.
By the way, make sure to download the productivity guide that has more productivity tips for you.
Which strategy do you need to implement? Or, which other strategy are you using right now? I would love to hear about it. Let me know in the comments below!
Additional Productivity Resources
- Free Resources Library for Busy Moms
- 5 Common Productivity Killers for Busy Moms (and how to eliminate them!)
- Free 7-Day Goal Setting Challenge
- Top 35 Productivity Tips for Busy Moms (achieve more every day!)
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