Welcome to the second instalment in my productivity series. Today I’ll be sharing in depth about various habits you should build in order to better balance all aspects of your life. The main distinction between your average person and those who have experienced great success is consistency and their motivating factors; their reason behind action and driving force.
Create an everyday organisational system for your space and every so often, set aside a day for bigger maintenance tasks.
Identify whether you are someone who thrives off loose structure or a more detailed plan, then consider that. Do you find yourself needing to self motivate or can you make an easy switch to being work minded?
An everyday organisational system can be personalised to suit you and your needs- you just need to have one in place. This can be as simple as having set tasks you do each morning to kickstart your day.
You could make your bed, shower and get ready, turn on a diffuser, then transition to spending five minutes tidying your work space and surrounds of clutter and mess from past days.
A maintenance day might look like all or majority of your day spent tackling your to do list, getting around to tasks you haven’t had time for and doing some planning to get yourself ahead. You might want to focus on just one aspect of your life, whether that be household duties, work or personal projects. You could also allocate a couple of hours to each.
Always prioritise- what requires your immediate attention and what can go on the backburner for a while?
This is something we’re all guilty of, I’m sure!
There are both personal priorities and tasks we need to put first as they come with deadlines. Sometimes I’ll have days where I work solely on my blog, writing out posts and engaging with others. I’ll also have days where I focus only on schoolwork, aiming to complete as much as possible and make a dent in assignments. These are both examples of content days! Rarely however do I work on both as I find that I can’t dedicate myself entirely to each thing. I end up spread between the two.
An increase in productivity means a better work life balance, amongst many other benefits. Prioritisation is inarguably the most crucial aspect of prioritisation. It is the whole game, the core strategy to success… and for very simple reasons. When you prioritise effectively, you converse energy, save time and are more likely to remember to fill your own cup.
Consider these tips when you aren’t sure what to be attentive to- weigh urgency and importance of your tasks, order them by effort estimation and most importantly, remember that you can stop at any time and begin again with something else.
Take a few hours to access and analyse your content statistics and reviews. Whether you’re a blogger, instagrammer or run a business, this is always applicable- what are you already doing that is being well received? In what ways can you improve?
This habit, I believe, is often overlooked by content creators. We remember to sit down and write, turn in tasks, make sales, upload videos and share a variety of content that is broad yet specific enough, but forget to analyse our statistics once the work is done. An essential part of creating an engaged audience is being attuned to what they want to see more and less of. It is simply a matter of listening.
Compromise comes in here too- we create for ourselves and to fuel a passion or hobby, but also to give back to others. How best can we do that?
Longevity of habit is born from truly loving what you do- from always seeking to learn more and be better at a craft. Leaving out statistic analysis, apart from being the worst thing you can do, is like making a sale but not taking on feedback from your buyer. Constructive criticism is the best form of feedback as you are given points to improve upon whilst being encouraged. You might remember watching presentations in primary school where you were asked to describe three things- two the presenter did well and one as a guide for what needs work.
As a blogger and instagram content creator, analysing my statistics has allowed me to hone in on more specific niches, recreative pictures and posts that performed well and even figure out a posting schedule.
Take it offline- use a paper calendar and diary/journal
Most of us seek to lower our screen time and take things offline when possible. For me personally, both work and my hobby require devices. What’s helped me to unplug is being conscious- forgoing the ease of using my phone and laptop for traditional paper and pen.
I am a stationery lover though, so I don’t mind too much. I enjoy having something tangible when it comes to reading and writing- you will never find me with a kindle!
I use the Frankie magazine daily journal and flip calendar. What was once as simple as recording dates and writing about my day has become also meditative and, at times, a spiritual experience. I can process my thoughts and feelings, jumbled and messy, into what is more easily understood. I encourage you to make the switch too- if I buy any stationery products, it’s these two, without fail!
Consume inspirational content- spend time on pinterest or watching motivational videos. Ted Talks and podcasts are good too.
On Sundays, like other creators I know, I set aside time to reset and prepare for the week ahead. This could look like spending half an hour on pinterest, catching up and engaging with the posts in my reader, then replying to any comments. I might also sort though scheduled posts.
Off of wordpress, I’ll listen to the Love Carly Allison Podcast and establish goals for the time ahead. I also like to spend time having quality conversations with friends. I’ll clean my space if necessary, work on tasks with upcoming deadlines and reply to the emails in my inbox.
Have a set morning and night routine that you don’t stray from. Take time to get ready for the day or reflect on it. Engage in small, pleasurable activities. Brew coffee or tea, braid your hair, read positive affirmations to yourself while sitting outside.
Having a set morning and night routine provides a distinction between work and play, allowing you a break before the grind starts again. This doesn’t have to be anything major- just allow enough time for self care. Let yourself wind down before bed or leaving the house. At this point, my night routine is much more defined than my morning routine- sleep in till it’s not an option anymore, make the bed, shower, dress and be on my way. At night time I like to work on personal projects, prepare my bag for the morning, complete any leftover school work and then watch an episode of Breaking bad, the new series I’ve gotten into. Taking this time reminds me there is always rest to be found and that it’s not necessary to keep going constantly. Balance always.
Are you a morning person or night owl? Set aside tasks that require the most focus and time for when you are at your best.
I’m a night owl and find mornings absolutely gloomy. That dreaded mind fog sets in for me once night turns to day. What seems to be me sleeping in is oftentimes me trying to sleep off the grogginess. At night time everyone’s energy has been spent and people start heading off to bed. This is prime time for me and when I feel myself waking up. I know I can work for a solid chunk of time with little to no distractions. My best creative work is often done late at night- It’s a time of peace and solitude for me. I like to look out the window at the city lights, the apartments; some lit up, some not.
Dedicate half an hour a day to learning something new, whether this is by reading an informative book, having a meaningful chat or learning a language.
This is one of my favourite points. It’s easy to underestimate how much new information can be learnt over a short time. Reality is that every day, through conversation, through teaching, through real life experience, we add to our prior knowledge in meaningful ways. I like to learn a few interesting facts each day. What I love about blogging is how proficient I’ve become in consuming information, processing it and condensing what I’ve learnt to reflect my personal understanding. When writing out posts, I frequently refer to a range of articles on other sites that discuss the same topic, then pick out core points and elaborate to make them my own. Blogging requires thorough research and has broadened my mind and outlook in countless ways. This just goes to show that learning can be fun.. and it is. You just have to be passionate and dedicated to growing your mind.
Section your week and batch task- this is especially helpful for people juggling lots at a time. For example, during a working week, you could allocate two days to writing, editing and scheduling blog posts and the other three days to student/work responsibilities.
Spreading yourself across a variety of tasks is one of the most counterproductive things you could do. This method leads to overwhelm and burn out and doesn’t allow you to make a dent in your work. It can be tempting to go back and forth between work and personal projects but this is ultimately unhelpful. The idea of a sunday reset has been floating around in the blogging and social media community and I finally got on board with it. I spent an afternoon cleaning and organising. I cleaned a few jewellery pieces, folded and put away fresh clothes and did some light decorating. After that I spent time undivided time on assignments due in the next few weeks. In the evenings or in spare classes, I’ll frequently batch write and edit blog content. This method is most effective in that it allows me to maintain a good work/personal tasks/rest and play balance.
Celebrate your successes and milestones- acknowledge the hard work your put in to get the results you do!
Be your own cheerleader. While acknowledgement from others is important, you and your work are both valued and add goodness to a community. Each person brings something new to the table. We are often hardest on ourselves and struggle to provide that inner recognition, the sort that is truly fulfilling. We will never be able to see our successes and milestones for what they are until we release the need to be perfect. There is no comparison- we are all on a journey and working towards an end goal, a final destination. As long as there is breath in your body, your story is still being written and there are more miles to go. Nonetheless, you are right where you are meant to be in this very moment.
Think about the Law of Attraction and how through it you can better yourself and your life.
On the off chance that you’re unfamiliar with this concept, the law of attraction is to do with harnessing the powers of our mind and thoughts to have like attract like. It is the belief that positive or negative thoughts have the ability to set off a chain reaction, a domino effect, and continue on- what you put your energy into can come to fruition. The universe creates and provides for you that which your thoughts are heavily focused on. You are the creator of your universe, dreaming up realities which can translate into your everyday. The Law of Attraction is very real and heavily documented- it is nothing wishy washy or questionable.
Say no where you mean it.
I can’t begin to explain how important this point is. Saying no to take care of your mental health, because you can’t currently commit to something or because you feel overloaded is no reason to be sorry. No is as it is, point blank. Saying no to something means taking back your power and can be a way of setting boundaries. People often fall into the trap of struggling to say no because they don’t want to let someone else down, feel responsible or know they could do a good job if only they’d fit one more task in. This is an example of people pleasing tendencies. It’s necessary to be friendly and fair, especially in team or work situations, but also vital to use your judgement. For others, saying no can feel like involving themselves in or inviting conflict. Saying no like you mean it doesn’t have to end like this and can be a respectful way of letting others know your stance.
Ultimately, just get started- as you know, this is always the hardest part!
Set a rhythm for yourself that will continue on and set the tone for tasks to follow. The fear of exertion can sometimes be enough to deter us from making the leap or tackling a task right here and now, head on. As we know from experience though, responsibilities don’t go away with time- they only become more significant. Commit fully to what you need to do and trust in your innate abilities. Failure is only practice unless you never try again.