Why Not . . . Be More Productive?
Wednesday September 21, 2011

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To have accomplished something is one of the most exhilarating and assured routes to contentment that I know of, and whenever I find myself in a quandary or at a loss for why I don’t know what to do with myself, it’s usually because I don’t feel as though I have been productive and thus accomplished something.  However, the ability to allow ourselves to relax is just as important, and so it is necessary to find the balance between exerting effort to accomplish necessary tasks and allowing our bodies and minds to be rejuvenated.

Today is the beginning of a new three part Why Not . . . ? series that will share tips on how to increase productivity, as well as achieve the above mentioned balance. The first five tips will help lay the groundwork for creating a system that will help you begin on the right foot that will lead you toward even more productivity in your work and personal life. With that said, let’s get started!

Fuel Up

In order to have the ability to do our best work and project our best selves out into the world, we must fuel the machine – our minds and bodies. By being disciplined and finding 6-9 hours of sound sleep each night, as well as a healthy balanced breakfast with protein, fiber and carbs, we are taking control of what is in our power. Be sure to follow up breakfast with a light, yet healthy lunch, an afternoon snack to push through and a dinner that is filling, not bloating. One of the biggest components that we overlook because we have many other tasks and responsibilities to attend to is the attitude we carry with us each and every day.  By fueling our machine,  our attitude can be given a boost if we are full of energy and feeling great.

Turn It Off

Being someone, as I’m sure many of you are, that is on the computer more than I’d like to admit, I know firsthand how easy it is to become distracted by the many offerings of the internet – email, favorite websites for news, shopping and inspiration, as well as social media pages.  Choose to turn off your connection to the internet, cell phones and any other gadgets you might have that will distract you, and just allow yourself to completely focus on your work.  I know I was thrilled to realize how much quicker my to-do list becomes checked off by simply turning everything else off around me.

Get Organized

When you work in an organized space, office or home, you are also freeing your mind of unnecessary distractions and expanding its capacity to be more creativity, focused and productive. Whether you want to increase your production at work or home, take time to toss what you no longer need, file what you want to save and create an organizational system that works best for your needs. Be sure to check out The English Organizer blog and website as Pauline is a professional organizer and shares many helpful ways to accomplish this task.

Regular Planning (monthly, weekly, daily)

As you begin to fine tune your organizational system, get into the habit of setting monthly, weekly and daily goals or tasks you’d like to accomplish. Being the A-type personality that I am, I actually look forward to the end of the month for the simple reason of planning the next (seriously, it doesn’t take all that much to thrill me). When I do this, I set 3-5 goals I want to accomplish at months end – sometimes they deal with finances, other times fitness – but no matter what it is, I want to write a concrete goal that is measurable. For example, attend six yoga classes, submit two queries to potential literary agents, or drink two bottles of water each day.

As far as weekly planning, create an enjoyable ritual for yourself each week on a day that signifies the end of your weekend (mine is Sunday evening) to look at the week ahead.  Write down what you want to have accomplished by the end of the week – while these might not be as easy to measure, by writing down something like “contribute to a positive atmosphere at work”, you are helping yourself to focus on this task the entire week so that when you look back in reflection you can feel productive and satisfied.

Daily planning begins by looking at your daily schedule the morning of the day at hand or the night before you go to bed. Schedule everything out either in your planner (hard copy or electronic) and allow yourself enough time for transitioning from one thing to the next so that you won’t arrive late. What I appreciate most about this task is that when I have completed my appointments and required tasks I feel okay just relaxing when I complete them early and don’t feel I have to fill the empty time with work. Remember, it is vital to find the balance and allow yourself to unwind every now and then.

Keep It Simple

While this tip may not be surprising to see on a blog titled The Simply Luxurious Life, I can’t emphasize it enough. As consumers we are offered so many gadgets, gizmos and creative new ways to do just about anything; however, by bringing more technology that is supposedly supposed to streamline our lives, we are often making it unnecessarily more complicated.  For me, I carry around a small notebook to write down ideas that pop into my head at random times. I have one planning system although there are so many out there from my Blackberry system to Google that if I were to use them all, I would be completely disorganized.  In other words if something works well for you, why change it and throw more money and time away? Keep your cash in your pocket for something else much more valuable and simplify your process of productivity – streamline and simplify.

With these first five tips, you are well on your way to increasing the productivity in your life as well as creating a more enjoyable life. Click here to view part two of the series.

{Have a Twitter account and want inspiration throughout the day as well as being notified of the most recent posts on The Simply Luxurious Life? Follow me here @simplyluxurious. }

15 thoughts on “Why Not . . . Be More Productive?

  1. Shannon I absolutely agree with you, it´s so difficult staying focus with so many distractions tempting us, above all on the Internet. From now on I´ll try just to turn it off. I love this new series!

  2. Great tips. I can completely relate to all those distractions you mention and you are so right, I’m way more organized and get my work so quickly done when I turn off the websites, blogs and cell phone. And the notebook, that’s my favourite and only organizer. 🙂

  3. What a timely post. This fall my goal was to be more organized both in my home and work lives. I agree with your suggestion of keeping it simple. There are so many high tech instruments, yet my favorite way to organize (and one that works quite well for me) is an old fashioned daytime. It allows me to see an entire month at a time, thereby making scheduling very easy.

    Another great series. Looking forward to next week!

  4. Great piece! This is just what I needed hear/have in writing. 🙂 I’ve been following you via RSS for a while, but I think this may be the first time that I have commented.

  5. Amen to streamlining and simplifying! This year I abandoned by usual day a page diary in favour of using my Iphone, my laptop Calendar and online reminder services – disaster!! I’m so looking forward to the new year to go back to my old simple paper method…plus I get to buy a pretty new diary for 2012!!
    Great post – looking forward to the next parts x

  6. girlfriend – you are correct! With September being the beginning of the year for so many students, teachers and other professions, I thought it would be a good refresher as well as a good opportunity to update. So happy to hear you enjoyed both. 🙂

  7. I’m so glad you mentioned the simplicity of a good ol’ paper calendar! I see looks of envy when I take out my pretty little slender calendar and others around me are flipping thru electronic pages that jiggle and dance before their eyes. There’s something romantic and charming to me about writing something down, with a pretty pen. It’s part of why I love my life so much–it’s handmade!
    Love, Kay

  8. You are such an inspiration! There is something so special about staying organised via the old fashioned paper method. I love sitting down on a Friday night or Saturday morning to take time out to read your blog.Thank-you.

  9. Can I ask what kind of planning system you use? I love writing things down, so I try to ignore the electronic versions of such. Anything you could recommend where I can jot down weekly and monthly goals, besides my daily plans

  10. I’m so sorry, I only just found this piece in which you were kind enough to give me a mention!
    I love your advice to fuel up – recently I’ve been eating better and I think it really is making a difference. And, I think I’d have palpitations if my daily list were taken away from me…

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