When I was in college, procrastinating could have been my full time job. While I got everything done on time I always dreaded sitting down for hours on end trying to get my reading done, homework or lengthy papers finished. I never had a set routine either. While my class times never changed my work and volunteer schedule was always up in the air.
Today I’m a big fan of routines. I think as a pseudo-adult it’s helpful because less things slip through the cracks and I can manage my time better in order to have ‘me’ time.
So here are six tips that have helped me become better organized and more productive these last few months ever since I started working full-time.
- Make Your Bed Every Morning
When I was a kid making my bed was a no-go unless I was forced to because someone was visiting. Back then my idea of making my bed or cleaning my room was throwing everything in the closet. I just never saw the point when I was going to go back to sleep that night anyway.
It might sound dramatic but making my bed has been life changing. I wake up at 5AM every Monday to Friday and I’ll be honest it sucks getting up that early. I’m used to it now but there are some mornings where I literally want to roll out of bed and then right back into it. So I started making my bed.
If you have trouble waking up, you’re always hitting the snooze button, or you get ready and then crawl back under the covers, make your bed. Once it’s made you won’t want to mess it up. It’ll also be your first accomplishment of the day just five minutes after you have woken up, which will boost your mood and confidence so you can conquer the rest of the day.
2. Clean For Ten Minutes a Day
Cleaning is not my forte. I take no enjoyment from scrubbing the toilet bowl or washing the dishes. When I’m getting ready in the morning my room ends up looking like a mini tornado hit it. I will do my makeup and my hair and then leave everything out because I’m in a rush.
In order to contain my mess I clean ten minutes a day.
Try focusing on a different section of your house or room each day so things don’t start piling up. I might spend ten minutes on Monday washing all of the dishes and then come back around to them on Wednesday. On Tuesday I might do a quick sweep of the floor and dust on Thursday.
If you focus on one task each day for ten minutes you’ll have a cleaner home and by the weekend when you do your deep clean it won’t take as long because you’ve already put things where they need to be or done that first quick pass sweeping and dusting so you can mop instead.
3. Wake-up Earlier
If you’re not a morning person this might take some getting used too. Waking up just ten minutes earlier each day could completely transform your day. Are you always rushing to get to work because you wake-up too late or you’re always hitting the snooze button?
Challenge yourself to wake-up five minutes earlier. If your phone is your alarm clock put it on the other side of the room so you have to force your body up and out of bed to turn it off. Once you get used to five minutes try ten until you reach thirty minutes.
An extra thirty minutes each morning can mean you have time to nourish your body with breakfast if you always skip it, you can get your ten minutes of cleaning in or get a recap of the news so you know what’s going on in the world.
I personally get up at 5AM even though I could sleep for fifteen minutes more and still make my workout class. Those extra fifteen minutes allow me to go through a quick morning routine, stretch, make my bed and mentally prepare myself to workout.
4. Put Your Phone on Airplane Mode
We all spend way too much time on social media. How many times have you been on your lunch break or sitting at home and you get sucked in the mini computer that is your phone? I’m totally guilty of this. I have an urge to check my phone all the time.
How many times have you been at work or school and you head to the restroom and someone is on their phone? You might hear it drop to the floor, listen in on their conversation or hear the music that is coming out of the small but loud speaker.
For one hour each day try turning your phone off or putting it on airplane mode. So when you’re studying for a big test or doing homework, turn it off for an hour to focus and then reward yourself with ten minutes of phone time. Or if you’re at work put it to the side and you might be able to get through your tasks quicker.
I find the moment I look at my phone I start to lose focus on whatever it is I should be doing. So I put my phone to the side, screen down, and tell myself I won’t check my messages or anything online until I have completed this task or that task, thereby making me work a little quicker and harder so I can then enjoy myself.
5. Plan Out Your Day
Buy a cheap planner but actually use it to plan out your entire day.
I write out a list of things I need to do each day even my shower. Yeah, it’s not like I’m going to forget to shower (well…sometimes I do) but crossing off each task gives me a sense of accomplishment, no matter how small.
I like to put the most important things at the top of my list with a star next to them to signify these are things I have to complete. The middle of my list contains things I should complete. Finally, the rest of my list is what I would like to complete but it’s not the end of the world if I wait until tomorrow.
6. Dedicate an Hour to Yourself
Remember when I said to turn your phone off for an hour a day? You can always dedicate that hour to yourself. This could mean you spend the entire hour reading a book before bed, watching an hour of TV or going for a run before the sun sets.
It’s perfectly okay to be selfish. We give so much of ourselves to others we tend to forget about us. We put our mind, body and souls on the back burner to please our bosses, significant others, family, friends and children. While you still need to be mindful of your responsibilities you also shouldn’t wear yourself thin because stress and overworking yourself will weaken your immune system and make you sick.
Take some time for yourself and open a bottle of wine, paint your nails or get your hair done. Don’t let anyone bother for you the entire hour.
Remember the only way to be successful and productive is to take care of yourself first.