I’m slightly obsessed with any list that will tell me how to increase my productivity. I don’t think anyone would argue that I’m not a hard worker, but I will also freely admit that I’m a terrible procrastinator. In order for me to get anything done, I need a deadline, and it’s usually better if someone else assigns it and/or is dependent on me to finish the required task, because I never want to let a coworker down.
I’m also not consistent with my productivity. Some days, I just kill it, and there’s very little that doesn’t
get crossed off my to-do list. Other days, it’s like pulling teeth to get anything done. I’ve scheduled too many meetings, or I get sucked into doing research, or I’m battling bad writer’s block — and I put off a story by spending the day answering emails.
But every Monday, without fail, I think, This will be the week I am finally totally productive and will burn through my to-do list like a champion
. And, inevitably, every Friday, I’m telling my husband how I need to put in a few hours of work over the weekend to catch up.
Needless to say, it was a little daunting compiling a list of productivity hacks, because I am not an expert on this. I am a believer, though, and hopefully that’s enough. There are a few things I know I will never do, no matter how productive they might make me. I will not plan a week’s worth of meals in advance. I will not whittle down my wardrobe to just a few uniform pieces I wear every day. I can’t check my email only once a day, and I think the idea of speed-reading is just silly. And I’m reluctant to tell anyone to "plan for Monday on Sunday night." I’m pretty open about my workaholic tendencies
, but there needs to be some
time when I’m not focused on my to-do list. For me, that’s Sunday evenings, which are reserved for hanging out with my husband and trying not to obsess about everything that needs to get done come Monday morning.
I think the biggest thing is to pick and choose from this list what works best for you — and then get consistent about sticking to those habits. Everyone’s workplace is different, so what works for me might not work for you. And don’t kill yourself if you have a less-than-productive day. It took me three tries just to get started on this story, and I might not have gotten it done if it weren’t for the looming deadline.
When I did finally sit down to write, I utilized many of these tricks to help me get it done. And, voilà! It wasn’t easy, but it did reaffirm that I can
be productive when I set my mind to it. I'm still working on the procrastinator problem, though. Baby steps.