It’s time to talk productivity! Partners in Fire is all about helping others achieve financial freedom, and for some of us, that means learning how to be more productive in our daily lives.
Productivity is a buzzword that’s often thrown around with efficiency and time management. Many of us only consider productivity at work to be important, but personal productivity really is one of the keys to building a better life.
What Does It Mean to Be Productive?
In a nutshell, being productive means doing a lot. But it goes deeper than that. You could do a lot of lurking on Reddit, or a lot of gaming, but does that mean you’ve been productive?
Maybe – if you’re a Reddit moderator or trying to build a Twitch stream. But, if not, it probably doesn’t count. Being productive is more than doing a lot – it’s doing a lot towards a specific goal. The specific goal doesn’t matter – it can be losing weight, writing, completing chores, self-improvement, professional development– pretty much anything that you consciously set your mind to and want to accomplish.
Why is it Good to Be Productive?
There’s no doubt about why it’s important to be productive at work – we need to keep our jobs, right? But when it comes to being productive at home, the lines are a tad bit blurry.
Why do we need to be productive at home after we’ve worked an eight-hour shift? The truth is that you don’t. There’s no requirement to be productive in your daily life. If you want to work, then come home and recharge– that’s perfectly fine. If you’re content with your day job and your work-life balance, this post probably isn’t for you – and that’s okay! We all have different goals and different aspirations.
But, if you hate the fact that you get home from work and don’t get anything done, or waste your weekends away doing nothing – this post is for you. We will teach you how to be more productive in your life so you stop wasting that time and start getting stuff done. This will help you be happier with your life overall.
How to Be More Productive
Sometimes it takes a conscious effort to make yourself productive. You have to specifically tell yourself the things that you are going to do, and stop yourself when you get distracted.
I’ve found a few things that help me be productive on a day-to-day basis. Those are:
- Take Care of the Small Things First
- Brain Dump
- Make a List
- Set a Specific Time Frame
- Say No
- Create a Routine
- Put the Distractions Away
- Focus on the Most Important Tasks
- Take Time for Self-Care
- Reward Yourself
Take Care of Small Things First
Have you eaten? Used the restroom? Let the dog in or out? These small things need to be handled before you can even start to be productive. Stopping every five minutes to tend to small things like this can destroy your vibe and get you out of the zone.
Imagine trying to get anything accomplished if you have to get up and use the restroom, then go get a glass of water, then check the mail, then switch the laundry over. Your hour of productive time is going to be gone before you even get started. Making sure that you and your surroundings are ready is one of the first steps you can take in ensuring productivity.
Journaling isn’t usually seen as one of the biggest keys to productivity, but it has helped me immensely! I use my daily journal to express gratitude, log my workouts, and write down the things that I’m going to accomplish in a day. It’s nice to be able to look back over a week or a month and see just how much I have to be thankful for in my life and to see how much I’ve accomplished.
The journal definitely helps me stay on task. If nothing else, I’m going to do the three things I listed in that sucker. It’s a great way to hold yourself accountable.
Sometimes, we are so overwhelmed with everything in our heads that we can’t focus on the most important task. We might not even be able to determine what that task is!
A brain dump can help with that. It’s a system of getting everything that’s floating around in your head out on paper. This will help you organize your thoughts so you can stay focused on what is really important.
We have a free bundle of brain dump worksheets that will help you organize your thoughts and stay at your most productive – get it here!
Make A List
Is making a list the same thing as journaling? I mean, you’re writing stuff you need to do down in both, right? But they aren’t the same, and it’s important to do both for the sake of productivity.
Your journal entry is going to be much broader than what’s on your to-do list. For example, there are tons of things you need to do if one of your goals is to publish a blog post. You need to write the post, create photos, focus on SEO, create a killer headline, do social media shares…and the list goes on.
List-making can also help you accomplish more than just your three main daily goals. My journal only lists three main things I’m going to accomplish that will help me achieve my goals. I don’t worry about chores or smaller mundane tasks when I’m journaling. The to do list shows me all of those other tasks that I need to get done.
Set a Specific Time Frame
It’s hard to be productive all day every day. But it’s a whole lot easier to be productive from 4pm to 6pm! Or whatever time works for you on a daily basis.
Set yourself a specific time of one to two hours where you dedicate yourself to being productive. Who knows, you may get so engrossed in it that you end up spending even more time on it!
This is the basic idea behind the Pomodoro technique. With this method of time management, you set a timer for a specific small amount of time. Then you focus completely on a specific task for that timeframe. When the time is up, you can take a break of move on to something else.
A giant hindrance to productivity is people wanting you to do things for them. I understand that it’s great to help people out on occasion. But when helping others becomes such a drain on you that you aren’t able to accomplish your own tasks, it might be time to say no.
Ask yourself if the person who needs assistance really needs it, or if they just want company. Put headphones on to minimize interruptions. Don’t let other people waste your time. Saying no and focusing on what’s important to you is a great way to boost your own happiness and productivity.
Create a Routine
Focusing on a specific time each day for productivity works even better if you make it a routine. I’m a morning person, so I’m at my most productive levels first thing in the morning. I like to spend some of that energy working on my blog. Every morning, after I get ready for my workday, I spend about an hour working on blog stuff. I don’t even have to think about it anymore, it’s my morning routine.
Setting a daily routine like this will help you be more productive. Set a specific time every day and do your best to keep to that schedule. Eventually, it will become a habit, and being productive during that time will be second nature to you.
Put the Distractions Away
Distractions are one of the biggest productivity killers out there. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been super into writing…ooh a new post on Reddit! Or getting ready to start….wow look at this Twitter notification! There are so many distracting apps, and they are huge wastes of time. But, we can find ways to stop ourselves from procrastinating with distractions.
The biggest distractions usually come from our phones – so turn off the notifications and put them away! Put it someplace out of reach for the next hour or so, and don’t go looking at it. You can even set a timer that will tell you when you can look at your phone again.
Focus on the Most Important Thing First
It feels so good to get a big, important task off of our to-do list, so prioritize whatever that is. Once you knock that huge task out you will feel incredibly productive – it will be like a weight off your shoulders! This will give you the energy to complete some of the smaller things on your list as well. And, even if you don’t have time for those smaller things, you can feel proud knowing you got that monster one finished.
Take Time for Self Care
It’s hard to increase your productivity when you’re tired, hungry, or otherwise unfocused. Take some time for self-care. Make sure you get enough sleep each night. Eat a healthy and balanced diet. Take a nap if need be. Doing these things to take care of yourself is not only motivating but will also boost your productivity in the long run and prevent burnout.
What’s the point of productivity if you don’t get anything out of it, right? So reward yourself! Reward yourself for achieving your daily goals, for big milestones, and for being creative. I’ve been addicted to Animal Crossing lately, so I reward myself for accomplishing my daily goals with an hour or so of playtime.
You may want to reward yourself with a favorite snack, some downtime to read a book, a relaxing bath, or anything else that motivates you. But remember, you don’t get that sweet sweet reward until after hour allotted time of productivity!
Being productive is hard. But thankfully, there are tons of resources available to help you!
Ultimate Productivity Bundle
My favorite is the Ultimate Productivity Bundle from Ultimate Bundles. This pack is loaded to the brim with amazing resources that will help you be more productive with your time. It’s got 12 e-books, 31 courses, and 29 workshops & printables – all specifically designed to help you be more productive in your life. That’s over seventy products for under seventy dollars! Less than a buck a product! You can’t beat that. It’s currently not being offered, but if you click here you can sign up to be notified the second it gets released!
This bundle contains loads of resources on time-management, multi-tasking, and other hacks to improve your productivity. If you struggle to get into a productivity mindset, this is an amazing tool for you.
Books on Productivity
I know bundles aren’t for everyone. Sometimes you just want a good old-fashioned book, right? My favorite book on productivity is “Getting Things Done – the Art of Stress Free Living” by David Allen. This book is all about improving your day-to-day productivity, which will in turn improve your overall productivity.
“The Four-Hour Work Week” is another great read (and one of my picks for the best finance books!) because it discusses optimizing your overall productivity and using that to create a dream life. It’s more of the big picture on productive than the day-to-day, but I love the message so I had to include it.
For more books and resources on how to be productive, check out our list of the top 10 books on productivity. You will definitely find a book on this list to help you!
What are Your Top Productivity Tips?
What do you do that helps you stay productive in your everyday life? Let’s start a conversation on how to be more productive to help everyone achieve their goals!
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.