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When you’re trying to grow your freelance business while working with a houseful of kids, and other responsibilities, streamlining is a necessity.
If you’re trying to boost your productivity, here are five ideas that have worked for me.
And for even more productivity tips, make sure to check out the Ultimate Productivity Bundle. It’s full of resources to help you get more done. And it’s on sale for seven days, so snatch it up while you can!
1. Make a Weekly Game Plan
My schedule is sort of crazy! Now that my cows had their babies, I’m back to milking. While I really enjoy my time in the barn, it sort of threw a monkey wrench in my day at first.
Our morning meetings help us keep track of each day, but I found myself sort of missing the bigger picture. A couple of times recently, I realized during our morning meeting that we had to leave that day for a doctor or dentist appointment.
I was able to make it work, because of the flexible way we plan our days, but it made me realize I needed a better plan for the week as a whole.
So now I spend a few minutes on Sunday looking at the calendar for the upcoming week. I make note of any days that have appointments, and write down my assignment due dates.
I’m currently just using a piece of paper, because I enjoy being able to cross things off and then put it in the fireplace at the end of the week. I just take a few minutes to scan that paper before our morning meeting.
Knowing what’s planned for the week helps me better adjust my daily productivity to match. For instance, if we’re heading to an appointment on Tuesday, I know I need to spend extra time working on Monday.
Boost Your Productivity Hack 1: Review the upcoming week each Sunday or Monday to help maximize effort.
2. Get Moving
One benefit of living on a farm is that I have to get out to the barn twice a day to take care of the animals. The combination of fresh air and movement really helps wake me up in the morning. You know, so I’m less likely to fall asleep on the keyboard!
It also clears my head and helps me prepare for the day.
If you don’t have animals that need taken care of, could you take a quick walk in the morning? Or fit in an exercise session? Even just walking around the house a couple of times will get your blood flowing and your brain working.
Boost Your Productivity Hack 2: Try to get at least 10-15 minutes of movement into your morning before you work.
Take movement breaks at least every hour to keep the benefits going.
3. Use Airplane Mode
Do you know how distracting the internet is? I feel like I’m constantly being tempted by Facebook dings, Twitter notifications, and endless other beeps and pop-ups.
But, I found an easy way to squash everything and help me stay focused.
If I’m writing, or working on another task where I don’t need to be connected, I simply turn on “Airplane Mode” on my laptop. It kills my Wi-Fi connection which means I can’t get online.
It’s easy to turn on and off (at least on my computer). There’s an airplane icon on the F12 key. Pushing this key turns it on and off.
Once I’m disconnected, I’m better able to focus and get tasks done.
Boost Your Productivity Hack 3: Disconnect from your Wi-Fi and cut the internet based distractions when you’re focusing on an intensive task.
4. Make a List of 5-Minute Tasks
So many things take only a few minutes to knock out. But, since they’re so quick, those items often end up at the bottom of our to-do list, because we can “do them anytime.”
By creating a list of tasks you can accomplish in just a couple of minutes, you’ll always know what to do with your extra time. You’ll also keep tasks from staying on your to-do list forever.
I know most of these won’t even take 5 minutes, but if you get distracted at all, your one-minute task can easily take longer. So I plan for everything on my list to take 5 minutes. That way I can be sure to get them done.
Here are some of the tasks on my 5-Minute List. You’ll notice they aren’t all work related. Increasing productivity and streamlining can be applied to both personal and business tasks.
- Check email and delete as appropriate
- Pull meat out of the freezer for a meal
- Delete spam comments
- Share a recent post on a social media platform
- Delete or respond to direct messages or instant messages
- Use an app to refill a prescription
- Switch laundry
- Declutter the desktop
- Respond to comments on blog posts
- Skim through the freebies that have accumulated in your email and file or purge as appropriate
- Outline a blog post
- Send an invoice
- Update my income tracker
- Grade a homeschool assignment
Boost Your Productivity Tip 4: Know what you can get done in just a couple of minutes, and don’t let those little tasks pile up.
5. Get Enough Sleep
A couple of weeks ago, I was reminded of the correlation between sleep and productivity. I had to leave the house for an appointment every single day that week. That cut hours out of each day.
So to get my lesson writing done for the week, I was staying up super late. And each lesson took about twice as long as normal. My brain just wasn’t responding at the same speeds. Everything was hard.
My typing speed was lower.
I had a harder time switching back and forth between the systems.
And I couldn’t concentrate.
By the time I finally finished, I was exhausted. And I realized that the better solution would have been to get to bed and then get up a little earlier the next morning. Or to just plan on working on Saturday even though I don’t typically.
Lesson learned! I’m way more productive when I’m not tired.
And you’re probably the same way too. Tired brains don’t do productivity well. They’re just trying to survive…
So get some sleep.
And take a nap if you’re in the crazy season of babies (or toddlers) waking up each night.
Boost Your Productivity Tip 5: Get enough sleep. Make it a priority! You’ll be more alert, have faster response times, and just be more productive.
I’ve written other posts with tips for boosting your productivity. Here are a few you can check out:
Are you going to try any of these tips to boost your productivity?
They can really help you get more done!
Kate Love Johnson says
These are great tips! Having a weekly to-do makes so much difference for me!
Here’s one that has been super helpful during my undergrad career: For studying things that are unpleasant I’ve found putting my phone in the other room helps a lot too. It forces me to be very intentional about using it. What I’ve found is I’ll often force myself to stay put and finish a section, or even the whole chapter at hand, before I allow myself to go get my phone.
I love the tip of leaving your phone in the other room and setting benchmarks for yourself before getting it. Thanks so much for sharing Kate!
Carrie O. says
Great article, Lisa!
I’m totally guilty of not pulling meat out of the freezer when I think about….even though I know it’d only take a few seconds.
I also stink at getting enough sleep….lol!
I totally get it Carrie. Sleep is so important, but I stink at making it a priority too! Thank you for stopping by–here’s to lots of sleep for both of us tonight! 🙂
Zakiyah Kelly | Productive Mompreneur says
These are great tips, Lisa!
One thing I need to do more is get moving. I kind of fell off after having my second son in December and I’m slowly easing my way back into doing little exercises and walking.
Thanks Zakiyah! I agree it’s hard to get back in the habit of exercising after having a baby.