My Top Tips for Productivity and Motivation

My Top Tips for Productivity and Motivation

Friday Favorites: January 29, 2021

Coffee isn’t the only way to set your productivity to high (though it sure helps).

Years of saying “yes” to too many things, countless decorating and landscaping projects, plus new-motherhood has (sometimes painfully) taught me how to prioritize, stay motivated (most of the time), and be productive.  

Here are my top three strategies for productivity:

The “ABC” Priority List

Many years ago I was at a job where I felt constantly overwhelmed. I’ve always been a good multi-tasker but I just couldn’t keep up with all the duties of the position and I was so stressed out. To learn how to manage that stress I went to a wellness coach and learned a valuable tool: the “ABC” Priority List. 

ABC Priority List

To Use: Each day/week place the highest priority items under Section A, the second-priority round of tasks in Section B, and the “I need to remember this but have plenty of time to get to it” items in Section C.  I’m one who will add items to a list even after I’ve done them just so I can cross them off.  Prioritizing with this list makes overwhelming tasks feel more manageable.

Motivation Tip: Put small, easy-to-complete tasks under Section A and the satisfaction of finishing them will give you the confidence to tackle the bigger items.

BONUS! I’ve made one for you to print and try out yourself.  Let me know how it works for you!

The “51/9” Rule

In this COVID-dominated world many of us have found ourselves working from home much more than ever before. I’m one who likes to be in an office with my coworkers (y’all know I love to talk) but I’ve also found some comfort in working from home. However, some days I found housework or personal tasks pulling me away from my work. Then, a friend (eh hem, lifesaver) told me about this productivity tip and let me tell you, it works wonders!  

To Use: Set your alarm for 51 minutes and focus on just your work. Then, set it for 9 minutes to do household or personal tasks (fold laundry, pay bills, etc).  The built-in structure of work time paired with the satisfaction of getting some personal things done leaves me feeling like Wonder Woman at the end of the day!  

Motivation Tip: At the start of your day make a list (in Section A of your “ABC” list!) of x number of tasks you really want to complete by x time that day. Challenging yourself to complete those tasks will boost your motivation to complete them.

BONUS! Pick a treat you love (chocolate, a bath, an episode of your favorite show, etc.) to reward yourself with when you complete your chosen tasks.

A Morning Routine: Prep for Success

I’m a creature of habit and I crave structure, which has been hard on me the last year with all the life-altering adaptations COVID has thrown at us. Creating a routine adds a bit of normalcy even on crazy days, and this morning routine helps calm and motivate me:

1. Prep your coffee pot at night: it’s much nicer to smell that glorious coffee after just pushing the “start” button than having to do the water, filter, and measuring while you’re still basically asleep.  

2. Pack your lunch and snacks the night before: it’s one less thing to worry about when you’re getting ready in the morning. 

3. Get up early: I get out of bed between 5:15 and 5:30 most weekdays; if you’re a parent (and you probably feel me if you’re not a parent!) you’ll join me in relishing in some time to yourself.  I love a dark, quiet house, a cup of coffee and time to read, work on my blog, or get in a spinning session (while watching the Great British Baking Show, of course).

4. Finish your nightstand water bottle or glass of water right when you wake up: it’ll jumpstart your water intake for the day.

5. Set out exercise clothes the night before if you plan on working out in the morning: if my clothes and shoes are sitting out it’s much easier to hop on the spin bike without having to search for my gear, which often slows my motivation (and available time!) to exercise. 

Top Tip for Motivation

Start your day with an “I get to” mindset instead of an “I have to” mindset.  I’ve been working on mindfulness and gratitude and this practice has made such a difference in my approach to everything!

“With good management, you don’t need good luck.” – Alice Fevronia’s parents, Jane and Henry, from the Great British Baking Show