Tips for Staying Productive

Now that we’re officially at the end of the first month of the year, I wanted to spark some conversation around something that has definitely gotten the better of me during January…staying productive.  Maybe it’s just because from the beginning of December to now, I was in the first trimester of my pregnancy and that’s notoriously the worst but y’all…my motivation was next to none. By that, I mean I lacked the motivation to do quite nearly everything.  I didn’t want to put much effort into blog work, I didn’t have the motivation to try hard when doing my school work, I didn’t want to be bothered to work out or run…it was all just such a struggle. Pair that with it being right after the holidays and we’re talking some serious damage control right about now.

Yesterday morning, I was so stinking productive that I actually amazed myself. Even before I was pregnant, I didn’t get this much done in a day.  I took my car to the shop at 730AM, went and toured two places to decide where to leave Chandler while we’re in Las Vegas at the end of February (and consequently decided on a place), had a landscaper out to our house to give us a quote for doing work for us when we list our house in March, FINALLY took down the Christmas decorations, started what I thought was going to be a simple clean of the bathroom which ended 2.5 hours later with a deep-cleaned house in its entirety.  Then, I sat down and wrote this entire post 🙈. It was amazing.

So since I’m on this new productivity train, I want to keep it going.  So, I’m going to offer up some tips that have helped me in the past when I get this sudden burst of motivation and that I hope will help you.  Here’s the thing though…what I’m talking about in this post isn’t just something like “how to have a productive day”.  I’m more so talking about how to stay productive when you’ve taken a break for a long time, or you’ve had a long period of a loss of motivation.

#1: Make a Decision

My friend Kate and I were talking about this a few weeks ago and it seriously struck a chord with me.  Sometimes, it’s okay to have a little time off.  It’s okay to take a break from whatever it is that you’re doing.  It’s okay to get off track.  However, at some point you need to make a decision.  If you’re feeling down about having taken a break, and you’re tired of feeling that way, you need to decide that you’re no longer going to feel that way.  You need to make the decision that you’re going to do something about it.  That’s half the battle.

#2: Make a Plan

After you’ve made a decision, you’re gonna need a plan.  I like to call this a “plan of action”.  It’s essentially, for me anyway, a list of goals and how I’m planning on achieving those goals to get to where I want to go in the very near future.  I like to make these small goals really measurable and within a short time span.  For example, one of my blogging goals for February is to stick to posting 3 times per week for the entire month.  That’s something that I can measure, something doable that doesn’t seem too daunting.  So, make some small goals that you know you can accomplish and set a timeline for yourself.

#3: Commit yourself

The toughest part of this battle, and where you may get stuck (and where I find myself getting stuck time and time again) is committing yourself to your plan.  Saying you’re going to wake up one morning and do the things you want to do is a lot easier said than done.  Even if you’ve taken the first two steps, it’s sometimes still really difficult to get up and get going when you haven’t done it in a very long time.  So here’s what I’d suggest:

  • Make an appointment or an errand very first thing in the morning.  This will get you up and moving and out the door.  If it’s not an appointment or something like that, find someone who can keep you accountable.  Have a reliable friend text you to make sure you’re on your way to your thing or meet a friend for coffee first thing in the morning.  Anything that can get you up and moving and starting your day.  I’ve found in the past when I have something very early in the morning, I tend to have a better start to my day.
  • Make a list of your top priorities for the day.  I find that doing three big things a day, makes me really feel accomplished.  Beyond that, I find that when I’ve made a list and I get those three things done, I find myself wanting to do more.  You’d be surprised by how easy you’ll find a task once you’ve done a few others and check them off your list.
  • Schedule your day.  If you have things you need to do, try to schedule them back-to-back.  This way, you’re not just doing your one errand in the morning and then coming home and lounging for the rest of the day.  You have other things that need your attention and you have a time schedule to keep.  Schedule lunch with a friend so that you have to be finished with whatever you’re doing before that time, set alarms for yourself if you know how long certain tasks will take you.  Whatever it takes, stick to a schedule and

Listen…I know that these tips may not work for everyone and that’s okay.  However, I’m simply sharing what works well for me in the hopes of sparking some thoughts of your own about what will work in getting you back to that thing that you’ve taken a break from.  I do honestly believe though that if you take nothing else away from this, the one thing you definitely need to do is to make that decision.  Make the choice to get back to it.  Be stronger than your excuses and overcome that voice in your head that’s telling you you can’t do it, or that you’re too tired, or that you’d rather be doing nothing.  Doing nothing never got anybody anywhere.  If you have a clear picture of where you want to be in your mind, all you have to do is start.  So get out there…you got this.

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