Between working a full time lab job, studying for the GRE, and blogging, I have to be super productive each and every week to make sure that everything is getting done and that everything is turning out well! How do I stay on top of the game each and every day, you ask? Well, it’s all about staying organized, keeping motivated, and having a supportive network to help you!
Last year, I wrote my most popular post ever. I don’t even know if writing is the correct term because it was literally maybe 150 words long which proves quality over quantity yet again. It’s purpose was to basically outline my self care schedule; because it lists all the things that make me feel happy, organized, and ready to conquer anything. My system works time and time again and it’s brilliant. Give me a good planning session, a free mani/pedi, and coffee; and I’m ready to conquer the world.
But, taking breaks for me can also be detrimental to my productivity. It’s also why I thought for the longest time that the Pomodoro method was pointless. How in the world does anyone get any school work done in 25 minutes. I think I would have barely read my chemistry short answer question in 20 minutes. You thought I was joking, didn’t you? Yikes. Well, the Pomodoro technique actually does work if you’re actually being productive and cranking out the work you need to be doing. Here are some of my tips for increasing your productivity and getting more done throughout the week.
Get 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
I know what you’re thinking already: “Gabby, how does sleeping make me more productive? I want to be using my time to get things done, not for getting shut-eye.” Well, my busy friend; your body needs its beauty rest to perform at its best. This is why I refuse to pull all-nighters and I will always get a ton of sleep the days right before exams. You need a clear, extremely well-rested mind to work efficiently and for extended periods of time without getting distracted.
When I have those weeks where I have to run on maybe 5-6 hours of sleep, I can feel my body deteriorating at such a faster rate throughout the day. I strictly enforce my bedtime and wake time by immortalizing them in my day designer. I legitimately write “wake up” and “bedtime” in my planner. That way I’m not scheduling study time or anything else outside these hours. It seriously works, y’all. Planners have weird powers over the soul.
Drink more water, especially before going to sleep and when waking up in the morning.
You can always find a water bottle or glass on my nightstand. I’ve really felt a lot better since drinking more water overall because as a biochemist, I can tell you that your body is not a fan of being dehydrated. It’ll be sluggish and you won’t be able to hang for very long before clocking out for the day.
My number one piece of advice to people when they are trying to drink more water is: find yourself a straw. You drink so much more water when you drink out of a straw and so the first couple of weeks where I was trying to increase my water intake, I made it a point to drink out of a Camelback and tumblrs. It works like a dream; once you build the habit, it’s golden from there!
Look at your planner every 2-3 hours.
Anyone else have a pretty good memory and can simply memorize your planner page for the day and leave it at that? Well, stop doing that. It’s hampering on your productivity. Trust me, I know. Once I took the time every couple of hours to update my to-do list and schedule of events, I began to get more done throughout the day.
I wasn’t stressed about whether or not I had remembered the time of my meeting correctly. I was able to stay ahead of potential time conflicts. It was also more likely that I would write down things that needed to happen later in the week if I made it a habit to look at my planner more often.
Make your bed right when your alarm goes off!
Now, I can’t be the only person who will literally lay in bed for maybe 30 minutes after my alarm goes off because my bed is just too dang warm and comfy. Yeah, that’s what I thought. Well, my first remedy for this is by setting multiple alarms on multiple devices and have one of those devices very far away. For example, Alexa sets my alarm every morning, but I can easily shut her up with a voice command, so I also have my phone alarm go off about 15 minutes later so that I have to physically get up and turn it off. Clever, I know.
Then, I make it a rule in the morning that once I am out of bed, I have to make it up! No matter what. Even if my boss emails me saying I don’t need to come in, I still must make my bed and get the day started. This helps me be super productive by getting an early start! No more wasting time refreshing Instagram 12 times before finally deciding to hop out of bed!
Schedule outings several days beforehand.
I love impromptu get-togethers with friends, don’t get me wrong; but, we are trying to increase our productivity right? That means we need to utilize our time in the best way possible! Now, get your planners out and start finding the days of the week, times of the day, that you are typically free from responsibilities and normal everyday duties. Now, let’s reward ourselves a little because I know you all just said to yourselves, “I literally have no time, Gabby!”
You’re going to thank me later for giving you the freedom to treat yourself, so you’re welcome in advance! I like to plan out at least when and with whom I’m going to spend a couple hours with during the upcoming week. We don’t even necessarily have to plan what we are going to do, just that from 8-10am on Friday morning— you have me and I’m ready to hang out!! Also, having these things planned in advance gives me something to look forward to throughout my sometimes horrid weeks!
Meal plan, outfit plan, errand plan.
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but the more you can plan for the annoying mundane things like eating and dressing yourself every day, the more out of the ordinary random tasks you’ll be able to conquer. I highly suggest putting out your outfits the night before and packing up your lunch items. [Most of the time I only figure out what I want to eat the next day; I don’t really get around to actually making it.]
Need to send your books back to Amazon? Write it down. I always schedule my errand running in blocks because I have much more energy in medium length blasts, and will get tired quicker after maybe 2 single errand runs in one day. The more I plan things like this, the more I’ll actually get done. It makes sense though right?
It’s the summer, so we have a lot of free time in the day to get things done. By a lot, I mean much more than we typically do during the semester because I know you are working a job, scored an amazing internship, or are killing some summer classes! These are things that keep me productive and put a limit on the number of, ‘wow I got absolutely nothing done today’ days! What kind of things do you do to get productive?