I'm writing this blog post while sitting in my bathing suit with the home office window doors wide open. This sunshine and warmth combination is rare in San Francisco; when it comes around we soak it up. I recall a similar feeling when I lived on the east coast and the spring finally came. That first nice day it was nearly impossible to get anything done.
That's why today's post, in attempts to keep us all on track and focused, features some of my favorite productivity tips:
Make lists. I generally have two lists, a master list and a daily list. The master list is where I jot down notes in my travels of things I need to get accomplished. At the beginning of each day I try to make a daily list of things off of the master list that I want to get accomplished that day. The hardest part about doing this is being realistic with my time. Remember you are only one person.
Delegate. Which brings me to my next tip, since you are only one person delegate what you can. I don't mean dump your work onto someone else. I mean delegate jobs and tasks to the appropriate parties. One of my biggest flaws is that I always try to get everything done myself.
Turn off your email. Email is the worst. We are SO connected to it. One thing I loved about Arianna Huffington's Inbound Keynote was that she referenced how no one at the Huffington Post was expected to answer emails after 6pm. Genius. Just because we have email on our phone doesn't mean we should check it. This philosophy can and should be adapted to work day projects as well. If you are engrossed in a project, don't have your Gmail tab open or your email notifications on. When I'm at work and I get an email in the middle of a project I may take 15 minutes or so to write a response but then I have to spend even more time getting BACK into the mindset of the project I was working on before the email came in.
Put your phone away. I have started leaving my phone in the other room when I'm working. As much as I love those cute emoji texts from my besties, it can easily spiral into a phone call that lasts for 30 minutes. Having your phone on you is a necessity, obviously, but for big projects it's not a bad idea to put it away to stay focused.
Take breaks. Go for a walk. Go get coffee. Go read for a half an hour in the park. These moments of switching off from work can help quickly recharge you. I try to time breaks based on projects. For example, when I'm done with this blog post I'm going to eat an apple. I'm starving so it's making me focus to get this thing done.
Drink coffee. While coffee is an addictive substance and I probably shouldn't encourage getting hooked on the delicious caffeinated substance I rely on. Drinking a cup of coffee, or decaffeinated tea for that matter, is a great way to motivate yourself. For example, I am going to drink this cup of coffee while writing this blog post. It's a good accompaniment.
Good music. Put on some music that will fuel your brain and drive you- NOT distract you. That genere is probably different for everyone. For me it's definitely got to be something upbeat.
Set reminders. Use Siri. Siri is my girl. When I'm cruising away on a project and think of something I'll need to do in an hour or so, I simply ask Siri to remind me to do so and she does! It takes about 5 seconds and lets me keep on cruising.
Plan something fun. This is one of my favorite productivity tips and, not surprisingly, one of the most effective. Okay so it's gorgeous out. While I'm soaking up the sun here in my living room I am also still working. I just got off of a conference call and will be going straight until about 6 pm. Guess what's happening at 6pm? Beach happy hour. If you have something to look forward to you will find it's much easier to stay motivated throughout the day to ensure that 6pm deadline. How many hours away is that, now?! ;-)