5 Simple Ways To Be More Productive In 2018

 || HAPPY FRIDAY ||

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday with your friends and families.  This will be my last blog post for 2017 and I am focusing on setting positive intentions for the new year.  Take some time to reflect on the past twelve months and give yourself credit for your accomplishments.  Also- use whatever lessons you have learned to fuel growth and positive change in 2018.

We all have the same number of hours within a day, but where we differ is how we choose to spend those hours.  How many of us come home from work and park it on the couch to binge watch a Netflix series with a glass of wine and a bowl of popcorn (obviously channeling our inner Olivia Pope)?  I am definitely guilty of this on occasion, and don’t get me wrong- those days can be so valuable for our mental health- but it’s important to evaluate whether your day-to-day actions align with your goals and intentions.  The following tips are some of my tried and true methods for getting more value out of each day.

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1 | Set measurable goals with a time frame

In order to assess whether or not your actions align with the goals or intentions you set for yourself, you need to begin by creating them.   The easiest way to hold yourself accountable for these goals is to write them down- so grab a pen and paper (or open a word document on your computer).  I like to start with my larger goals to frame a general picture of the year ahead, then work my way down and fill in smaller objectives to help me achieve the bigger goals.  For example, if your big goal is to purchase a house in 2018, begin by assessing whether or not it is a realistic goal.  If it is, then you can begin writing smaller objectives to help you achieve this- such as, saving x amount of dollars per paycheck to contribute towards a down payment, identifying the town you want to purchase the home in, getting prequalified for a mortgage, etc.  The biggest kicker, set specific time frames to achieve each goal and objective- my best advice is to actually look at a calendar and set dates.  The more specific you make your goals, the more likely you are to accomplish them.

2 | Prioritize what is most important to you and build routines to support them

I would be willing to bet that most of my readers are in different stages of their life, so it is important to internalize this piece of advice and make it specific to you.  Begin by asking yourself, what is important to me? Do you want to spend more time with your child or children?  Do you want to pay off your student debt?  Do you want to lose weight?  Do you want to be more present when spending time with the people you love?  Now, assess what daily actions would support these priorities.  If your priority is to lose weight, begin by thinking about what behaviors would help you achieve this goal, and incorporate them into your daily routines.   For example, drink a bottle of water every morning when you wake up to get your metabolism and digestive system moving.  As this becomes embedded into your morning routine, incorporate a new action into one of your routines- when you get home from work, immediately change into exercise clothes so you are more likely to go to the gym then park it on the couch.  Gradually embedding these small actions into routine is a very effective way to make lasting changes in your life.

3 | Make lists

One important aspect of being productive is juggling different roles and the responsibilities associated with them- sometimes the amount of “to-do’s” can be overwhelming.  My simplest piece of advice is to write them down as they pop into your head.  I like to use the notes app on my iPhone to quickly get my thoughts down as they emerge (which always seems to be around bedtime).  It’s such a simple way to ensure you don’t forget to complete something important, and boy does it feel good to check each one off as you complete it.

4 | “Tidy” everyday at the end of the day

Taking time each day to ensure everything is in it’s place saves you a whole lot of time doing massive cleaning binges when the little messes add up to big messes.  Before I go to bed every night, I make sure dirty clothes are in the hamper, bags from the weekend are put away, new purchases are hung up and receipts are in their home, towels are hung back up after a shower, etc.  Although I am only responsible for my bedroom and bathroom at my parents house right now, any time I babysit I ensure the dishes are put away or in the dishwasher, and the toys that the kids played with are back where they belong.  There is something to be said for tidiness- I fully understand not everyone has the time or energy to do a full clean of their house at the end of the night, but when you take time to make sure everything is put away, your life feels less cluttered and you have a better handle on home management.

5 | Designate one day/week to “reset”

Pick one day each week in which you set aside time to get things done- run errands, do homework, grade papers, grocery shop, treatment plan, etc.  Whatever it is you choose to do on this day will be unique to you, and will likely fluctuate depending on the plans for that week or time of year.  The point to highlight is that you schedule this time for yourself.  When you don’t leave yourself enough time to recharge and take care of business, you end up feeling overwhelmed, burnt-out, and sleep deprived because you are playing a constant game of catch-up.   Historically, Sunday has been my “reset” day- during the academic portion of grad school I would map out what assignments I had to do on each day of that week.  Now that I am in fieldwork, I use Sunday’s to treatment plan, do laundry, grocery shop, and prep my meals for the work week.  This time has been so valuable in maintaining my sanity during a busy time in my life, and helps me refocus my mindset.

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I hope these tips are helpful to you in setting intentions for 2018.  Cheers to a happy and healthy new year! xx

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