Being busy, and being productive are two entirely different things. And that’s something I’ve had to learn the hard way. I’m very big on procrastinating. This can especially be seen in the fact that my flat is always cleanest when I’m studying for finals, there’s always homemade cake in the house when I’m stressed out, and my complaining about being so stressed on social media 24/7. However, over the years I’ve learned to prioritize my time, work productively, and eliminate distractions to make the most out of my 24 hour day.
BREAK WITH PROCRASTINATION
Let’s get back to the bit about procrastinating. If you’re like me and spend 60% of your study/work time procrastinating you’re actually only doing one thing. And that is taking away the most important thing from yourself – time! Think about it. You’re sitting down to work on your project and hear your phone buzzing. You immediately grab it because, duh what if it’s important. And boom – you’re distracted. Or you while starting your dreaded task, you realize you haven’t done your dishes yet and better do them quickly because you can’t concentrate when it’s dirty. Been there – done that.
Identifying and eliminating distractions is the first thing you gotta do on your way towards a more productive day. You might tell yourself you’re “oh-so-busy”. But how much time do you REALLY spend being busy? If you’d do your tasks with 100% of focus and concentration, you’ll have so much more time for doing the things you enjoy and won’t feel so stressed out in the end.
PLAN AHEAD: TO-DO LISTS ARE KEY
I love stationary and have a huge pile of to-do lists and organizers spread all around my home office. Not only because they work amazingly well on flatlays, but because they help me so much with getting the most out of my day. Every Sunday evening I sit down with a cup of tea or glass of wine and start organizing and planning the week ahead. I work with monthly, weekly and daily to-do lists and plan ahead virtually everything.
When I have a big exam coming up, I first go through the material and determine how much time I’ll have to invest in studying for it. Then, I sit down and create a study plan. I plan out and write down a task for every day until the exam and try to stick to my plan as much as possible. To me, doing this is already half the work because it will make me feel less stressed and give me enough positivity to go through the material without having to rush and study everything the night before the exam. Same applies for huge projects for the blog, posts, and shootings.
Creating a rough outline of how you’re going to work and breaking it up into bits for your to-do lists will help you so much with feeling less stressed and eliminating distractions.
PRIORITIZE AND SCHEDULE YOUR TIME
Another very important step towards better time management is prioritizing and scheduling your time. Once you’ve written down everything on your to-do lists and scheduled your daily tasks in your planners, you can start prioritizing your tasks. Always start with the most dreaded thing. I used to start with the things I enjoy and slowly work my way towards the dreaded subject. However, generally you’ll have more focus and energy at the beginning of your work day – so schedule your time accordingly.
MAKE USE OF THE POMODORO METHOD
I discovered this method a couple of weeks back and think it works wonders when working on a big task. Break up your work into small bits and sit down to work for 25 minutes. Set a timer. Once the first 25 minutes are over, you can take a short break of 5 minutes to stretch, check your phone or simply re-focus. Then you get to work again. This way, a huge project will seem like less work and you’ll be focused for the entire time you’re actually working.
LOCATE AND ELIMINATE DISTRACTIONS
Let’s be honest, the biggest distraction for most of us will inevitably be our phones. In order to get the most out of your work day, you need to quit checking your phone every ten seconds. I am definitely guilty of *just quickly checking my emails*, or *only looking who messaged me*. So I decided I needed to break with this habit. Now I put my phone on flight mode whilst studying so I stay focused. Another thing that I personally found out is that working from home is a huge distraction itself for me.
In order to eliminate this problem, I started taking my laptop to my favourite cafe or grabbing my study materials and working from university. It’s important you re-evaluate your time management and have a look at WHAT you do to procrastinate. Then eliminate those distractions and start focusing on work. If you do this, you’ll end up having so much more time
If you do this, you’ll end up having so much more time and feeling less stressed after a work day. Usually, we spend about 20% of our times actively working and the rest with complaining about how stressed out we are. If we devote all our focus to the task we’re working on, we’ll get it done so much faster.
- How to Set Goals and Actually Achieve them
- 6 Ways to Survive Exam Season
- 3 Easy Steps to Increase Your Productivity
The gorgeous stationary/planner in the pictures is from Odernichtoderdoch, by the way. Together with Jo&Judy, they’re my number one source when it comes to to-do lists and all things organizing. My glasses are the Aurora frames from Eyebuydirect and the copper office supplies I bought via ASOS. The little tray is from TKMaxx, so are the pencils.
What do you do to make the most out of your day? Share your secrets in the comments down below