Hey cuties! It's been a hot second since I've last blogged! My apologies! I truly want this blog to be a way to let you into the inner workings of my life and sharing with you what I'm learning (which is something that seems to be a constant for me). So let's we jump in, shall we?
Now I wouldn't say that "being productive" is a natural strength of mine. Quite the opposite! At heart, I just like to have fun. In my world, work is just a means to an end. Therefore, because I like nice things and I like to have fun (and pay bills I guess), I find a way to be disciplined week in and week out. However you add just a splash of the holiday spirit and it's like all motivation to Boss-Babe-it-up goes out the window. I'm ready to sign up for cookie decorating, Christmas shopping, and my favorite pair of joggers with a side of hot cocoa and Netflix. Ya feel? I'm like this for like...every holiday. Cinco De Mayo? Let me clear my schedule and find a taco truck. President's Day? Let me go shop for a good sale on a new washing machine. Labor Day? Cheers to not working!
Sometimes I envy my girlfriends who naturally love to work, make to-do lists, and make stuff happen. But here I am, not one of those girls at all, writing a blog post about how to be productive. Why? Because I've learned how to fake it till I make it. Here's a secret that no self-made millionaire that you follow on Instagram is telling you: it's okay not to feel like it. The difference between them and the wannabes is probably just that they have learned to be disciplined regardless of how they feel.
So whether you're a small business owner, a student or a busy mom, you've got to figure out how to keep up with your responsibilities while still enjoying the holiday season...ya know...even though all you want to do is watch a horrible Lifetime movie.
1. Brain Dump everything that ya gotta do
Literally just get a blank sheet of paper and dump everything that comes to mind. This works for me because I stress myself out with all the *things I have to do* and I work myself into a tizzy. Once I see everything that is stressing me out on paper, I can see more clearly and make a plan of action. Nine times out of ten, I never really had that much to do and I just needed to get a grip. Brain Dump lists help me get a grip.
Anything and everything can go on this list. Appointments, chores, calls you must make, shopping lists, bills to pay, errands to run, checks to cash, notes to write, etc.
2. Decide what MUST be done vs. what you can totes procrastinate
Procrastination is not great. But in all honesty, there are probably things on your list that simply don't have to happen right now. Feel free to move that junk to next Tuesday! Seriously, this is the best part of being my own boss. Sometimes I look at a sink full of dishes and instead of letting them drive me cray-cray, I just tell them I'm not dealing with the haters and I go on with my day in complete bliss of knowing I can totally do them tomorrow morning. They will be waiting on me, this I know.
For a less stressful life, learn to delegate certain tasks, postpone non-urgent chores, or simply stop doing stuff. Like, newsflash: you don't HAVE to do everything you're asked to do. You can let things go and actually still live. It's amazing, you should try it. Decide what MUST happen, what should happen but can wait, and what's totally unnecessary. Then do it all without an ounce of guilt. Guilt is a productivity crusher and will probs send you back to the loving, non-judgemental arms of Netflix! This does not help your case fyi.
3. Find a small win in your day
This is a fabulous trick for those days that you just "literally can't even". Find something on your to-do list that you know you can do and that you can do fairly quickly. Decide what you can accomplish then get to it.
A great question to ask yourself is: "What do I want to have accomplished no matter what by the time my head hits the pillow tonight?"
This question gives me clarity to cut through the stupid stuff I'm busying myself with and getting to the thing that will actually make a dent in my goal for the day.
When you do this small win, you will have the immense pleasure of marking it off your to-do list!
*BONUS*: You can also write down stuff you already did and then strike it off your to-do list like a boss. Don't pretend you don't do this. I know you do.
4. Give yourself something to look forward to
I don't know why this works for me but it does. For a particularly tedious, unpleasurable, or boring task, I have to have something to be excited about for when the task is completed. Sadly, this almost always comes in the form of food but whatever. "When I make 20 booking calls, I can go make myself a peanut butter and banana sandwich." Or "When I pay all these bills, ya girl is getting a skinny vanilla latte at Starbs.". "I am not allowed to step foot in Target till I deliver all these products!" You get the point. For today, I'm not letting myself watch last night's episode of This Is Us until every single thing on my to-do list gets done. When I finally get to watch it, I will enjoy it wholeheartedly. I also will complete everything on my to-do list, no questions asked. (See? totally works.)
5. Think about your goal first thing in the morning
If you have a home-based business, you may already be doing this naturally. After all, we have to have some kind of driving force for us to do what is uncomfortable or what we may not feel like doing. For most of us, it's a good goal that will get our butts into gear. So find a way to remind yourself of this goal that moves you. Do you need to keep a photo of your goal on your bedside stand or taped to your bathroom mirror? Do you have an affirmation you repeat when you wake up? Do you do some journaling while you sip your coffee? Figure out what will help you set your mind on what you want. This simple action will help you naturally move in the direction of getting stuff done and busting through laziness.
Maybe you don't run a business so you don't find yourself setting specific and measurable goals on the reg. That's okay! You don't need some serious business to set real goals.
For example, if you are a stay at home mom to a few kids and you would love nothing more than to go to bed in a clean house, think about how good it will feel when you go to sleep at the end of the day knowing that your house is in order. Visualizing how relaxed you will feel will help you to push through the long day of cleaning (and re-cleaning) if you know what you're working toward. It wont be easy or fun, but that feeling will make it worth it.
I used to daydream in college about how good I would feel once my projects were completed and turned in. Those thoughts kept me going when all I wanted to do was binge-scroll Pinterest.
So take a little time to daydream about what you want and how you want to feel. You will find that they way those end-goals make you feel are more powerful than the feelings of laziness and apathy! It's like hijacking your brain! YAS.
So if you're feeling like crawling in a Christmas hole, I'm here to tell you you aren't alone. You also aren't allowed to stay there! We got work to do homie. So get to it (Christmas style of course).