How to Stay Productive in the Midst of a Busy Life

Productivity is an oft talked about subject, which shows how much society craves it. But how many really work for it? I want to challenge you, if this is something you desire, to really, truly commit to taking the steps to improve.

Let’s improve together.

 

Staying Productive in the Midst of a Busy Life

Since first posting about this a month ago, I’ve found that productivity and self-control go hand in hand. Delaying that instant gratification of your latest Twitter mention builds your willpower and focus. And since that last post, I’ve been much more intentional with my workflow. Why?

I’m on a mission to improve as my life gets busier with a new job, a growing business, and a desire to see friends, run, and sleep.

Oh, and that I put my goals out for the world to see. Heh…

Last month’s goals:

  • Start using the Pomodoro Technique.
  • Restrict phone usage during working hours.
  • Resist the urge to immediately respond to emails, texts, and notifications.

tl;dr: It’s worked!

Mostly - remembering to use my Pomodoro timing app has been a struggle, but it’s definitely helped when I’ve used it. I was going strong the first 2 weeks with these goals, but I think over the course of the month I forgot about them and drifted into old habits.

 

Improving Productivity, One Piece at a Time

Using the Pomodoro Technique

Even though the Pomodoro Technique doesn’t have a very complicated pattern, I knew I’d lose track and I was better off finding an app. I found this one that chills in the top right side of your screen (Mac) and counts down each work and rest session.

If you’ve used a workout/interval timer like GymBoss, it’s similar to that.

pomodoroapp01
pomodoroapp02

The free version has that small ad on the bottom, but it's not intrusive at all. I actually forgot it existed until I took these screenshots.

Guys, I was so on top of it for the first couple of weeks! I would sit down, plan out my work for that session, get the necessary accouterments (coffee and music, basically), then open the app. 

The first couple of sessions using it I would be constantly looking at the timer. (Phone withdrawal, anyone?) But soon I got into a groove.

How I spend my Pomodoro breaks:

  • More water/coffee
  • Bathroom trip
  • Respond to emails, texts, tweets
  • Social media

Often by the time it hit the longer, 15-minute break I was ready to head on out and either run errands, grab food, or a number of other things, so I would have a slightly longer break then sit back down ready for more.

One of my favorite things about this is that it reminds me to get up and move at regular intervals. There are recommendations to get up, even briefly, every 20 minutes, and this is just about that.

Restrict Phone Usage

Again, super on top of this at first! Essentially I need to break the habit of constantly checking it, and I haven’t been able to completely knock that yet. I definitely still flip my phone upside down, but I can often still hear or feel it vibrate.

Add in other people at the same table’s buzzing phones and I just end up thinking I’m more popular than I really am. (Heh)

I’m trying to get better at this, so it’s going to be a goal for this month too!

Resist Urge to Immediately Respond to Emails, Texts, and Notifications

Ok so this directly correlates with how much I’m introverting at the moment. I’ve actually gone so far the other way that I’m beginning to leave emails and texts for longer than I should!

My revision to this is to only respond during breaks. I won’t be interrupting my work flow, but it will also force me to respond to the important ones.

Making New Productivity Goals

I’ve already talked a bit about still restricting phone usage and my response time, but it’s time for another!

New Productivity Goals

  • Better time management
  • Planning ahead

I work really well under pressure, thanks to 3 years in live production and almost a year at the busiest Starbucks in middle America, but that also backfires since I wait until the last minute. Because I’ve recently acquired more work, making me much busier that I was before, planning is key.

Now it’s your turn!

What’s a goal that you want to work on this week and/or month? I’d love to hear! Comment here or tweet at me. :)

Hannah MoyerComment