“If there are nine rabbits on the ground if you want to catch one, just focus on one.” – Jack Ma
Often I think we categorize successful women as the one who is climbing the corporate ladder or women who are more in a public-facing career. I believe that a successful woman is EVERY woman. No matter your life stage or your industry, we all can use tips to help make life easier for ourselves and our families. Productivity is more than a trendy word, but it is designed to make our lives easier.
Let’s face it, distractions are everywhere. From doom scrolling on social media to long hours at work that can lead us to feel that there is not enough time in a given day. If you are anything like me a packed schedule can lead to overwhelm. Unfortunately, our world is full of messages of doing it all without giving the necessary steps on what that looks like. Time management, building a daily schedule, and strategic thinking is a skill that can be learned.
This write-up will focus on productivity tips like the Pomodoro technique, the power of a 5-minute break, building a morning routine, and how to make a list of your most important tasks in less time.
“We think mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of the time we put in at work, instead of the quality of the time we put in.” – Arianna Huffington
1. What do you want?
I believe that defining what we want before we go heads down into making our list is essential. Have you ever worked on an activity and looked up from what you were doing and realized it was aimless? Yea, me too. The power of productivity is being able to look at the bigger picture. What is my goal here? Then work backwards.
Example: My goal is to become an SME (subject matter expert) for my clients/partners (big picture). Getting to that goal will be a process full of tackling a to-do list that focuses on different components of what I want to learn.
2. Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro technique is designed to help you focus and enhance productivity, which can impact your mental health and overall mood. Being able to get through our task lists in a specific amount of time is the essence of the Pomodoro method. I highly recommend putting your phone on airplane mode (if you are able to) as you move through the tasks.
The method can be broken down as follows:
Select your tasks
Set your timer to 25 minutes (short breaks are kept)
Work on your goal until the timer goes off
Take a 5 min break (or less)
Repeat the cycle
This method is proven to help increase productivity. I believe a productive day is not how many items you crossed off your checklist, but the quality of the work you are able to do. Blocks of time are great for getting work done. Remember, faster doesn’t mean better. And work-life balance is reminding yourself that your time is precious and essential.
3. Regular Exercise
When our schedules are packed with a lengthy task list, it’s easy to throw our personal time out the window. However, one of the best things we can do to regulate our minds is to get active. This could be during a morning routine or throughout the day.
“Sometimes, the difference between a productive day and time wasted can come down to an hour: an hour’s extra sleep, an hour’s exercise, or an hour’s deep work can have a profoundly positive impact on how you work and live.” -Bryan Lufkin
One of the reasons companies have well-being programs and/or discounts included in benefits packages is due to seeing the tie between greater productivity and well-being. This is especially important for ambitious women to know due to all that we might take on outside of work. Daily exercise can set you up for an entire week of enhanced productivity.
4. Morning (Wake-up) Routine
I know morning routines get a bad wrap, but I’m in the camp that your early morning schedule helps to keep you on top of things. It sets the pace for the week and day. You don’t need to copy or compare what everyone else is doing, just focus on what works best for you!
Example Morning Routine
-A morning cup of coffee or tea
-Lighting a candle or diffuser with essential oils
Here is the kicker, try and do one thing. You don’t have to have a perfect routine or get all the things done. I believe that what makes us successful is the quality of work we get done. Sometimes it is just ONE thing 🙂
5. Night Routine
What helps to make our days better is tied to what we do at the end of the day. Home life is where it all begins and charity truly begins at home. I’m a cheerleader for making our homes safe places to protect us from the unique stress load we might have as women. I never understand that concept until I got older. Here are a few tips on how to prepare for the next working day.
-Do a brain dump – this helps to get out anything that might be stressing you out that could hinder your sleep
-Make a brief list of the most important things you want to accomplish for the next day. You can either write it out or use a note-taking app
-Make sleep a priority
6. Task Lists
I like to make a top 3 task list instead of thinking I need to do everything in one day! Since I am a morning person, I usually do this at the beginning of the day. However, feel free to do this when your schedule permits.
Productivity doesn’t have to be complicated unless we allow it to be. I’ve read so many great books but they kept me paralyzed until I made productivity fit my lifestyle. I hope these tips help you to kick-start creating space for ease in your world.
I hope these tips help you as you cultivate a practical morning routine that works best for you!