Gosh … it’s 9pm already?? How can that be? What did I accomplish today?
I ask myself that almost every night. And more times than not, the answer to the last question is “Not nearly all I wanted to.”
Can you relate? Please …. tell me you can relate and I’m not the only one who feels the days tumbling away like boulders down a steep slope.
You’d think that since my business is all about helping people be more productive and effective, I might be the most organized person you know and have my act together. That happens to be the biggest misconception about me. I may be great at organizing OTHER people, groups and events, but when it comes to personal organization and productivity, well, let’s face it. Some days, I just flat stink at it.
Now why is that? I’ve read all the books and listened to the podcasts, but I know there are three critical mistakes I’m making on my worst days to kill my productivity, and you might be making them too.
1. Not getting enough sleep
Why do we do this to ourselves? When there are so many things to be done, the first thing we sacrifice is sleep. Staying awake way after the kids go to bed, or getting up super early to have the house to yourself for a while may be your most productive time to work.
But when you are doing both and getting less than your ideal amount of sleep, it’s a productivity killer. It may seem like the right way to get more hours in your day, but you know what the Bible says about what seems right to us?
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. Proverbs 16:25 (ESV)
And not getting enough sleep is definitely death to me and my productivity.
This is near and dear to my heart right now. Last week, I was traveling and got stuck in airports during all the storms in the south east. Two nights in a row, I got less than five hours of sleep. I was cranky and definitely not thinking clearly. I even told my co-workers not to stress me out because I know I will cry at the drop of a hat if I don’t get enough sleep!
Check out this infographic from the folks at Quill.com about the effects of not getting enough sleep.
Click to Enlarge Image
When I’m at home, I’m forcing myself to head to bed by 9pm, no matter what’s finished and what’s not.
2. Not having a plan for the day
When my to-do list is longer than my arm, it’s overwhelming. There’s no way I am going to get all of that done in one day, so I need a way to prioritize. Often the easy, fun things are not as important as some of the necessary thing. But which ones do we gravitate towards when we are overloaded? Yep, you got it. Those easy, fun ones. The low-hanging fruit.
Start your day (or end the night before) by reviewing the list of things to do. Pick the top three you must get done that day. Then three more you’d like to do, but could wait for another day if you don’t get to them. And pick one fun, easy thing you’ll just feel good doing.
Focus on those top three and work them until they are complete before you start something else. Work the one fun thing in somewhere. And then tackle one of the “optional” tasks if you have time left over.
If you are still looking for the perfect to-do list that works for you, try this post from Brit + Co. I found this week. It has 20 FREE printable to-do list styles. One has to be perfect for you. I think I might try the Tic Tac Toe one!
3. Wasting time
Harsh, right? How can I be wasting time if I am busy 110% of the day? But if I’m honest, I waste a lot of time. Playing games on my phone. Checking website stats about 40 times a day. Grabbing a snack to avoid starting a new task. The sneakiest time wasters are the ones that fill those small empty spaces of our day. I can’t do anything productive with these 10 minutes, right?
Wrong. I made this whole list of how to make just 10 minutes matter. I’ve started keeping a note on my phone with a list of quick things I can do in those little spaces. So I don’t even have to waste one of the 10 minutes thinking of what to do!
So which of these productivity killers do you most struggle with? How will you make your days more productive?
Linking up with Jaime Weibel at #SittingAmongFriends