Fall is officially upon us! It’s just about every girl’s favorite time of year (myself included), but along with the cozy sweaters and pumpkin spice lattes comes the temptation to slack over the holidays. I’m not saying this is a bad thing! I think it’s a crucial part of living a happy and balanced lifestyle, especially for driven boss babes like us. We should be able to relax into this holiday season, slow down, and allow ourselves to prioritize family time and apple pie just as much as anyone else. If we do it right, we won’t have to compromise between making lots of cozy memories and staying on top of our work. Here are five steps to maximizing your productivity so you can enjoy all the goodness this season has to offer, guilt free!
1. Plan content ahead of time. I like to do this at the start of each month and then again at the start of each week. There’s something about getting all your ideas and plans out of your head and organized on paper (or screen), that helps me start my month/ week feeling super fresh and motivated. When your vision is clear, all that’s left is the execution.
2. Do everything in batches. I’m not as productive when I am spreading myself thin across all the tasks I need to accomplish in a week. Batching my individual tasks into longer focused sessions saves me a significant amount of time and energy. Example: I want to post on my blog two days a week. Once a week, I’ll schedule my writing into a four-hour session and devote those four hours solely to writing blog posts. I could knock out about four to six posts in that one session! This eliminates the stress of leaving it last minute as I’ll always have a few on the back burner ready to go up.
This batching system works wonders for almost everything. It really works for family time, self-care time, or whatever else is important to you. Think about this: it’s much more fulfilling to spend an entire day, or even half a day, devoted entirely to spending quality time with your parents once a week, than if you met them for coffee or lunch several times throughout the week, while your mind is more than likely still preoccupied with your inbox or deadlines.
Mindfulness + 1 Task = Productivity
3. Use The Pomodoro Technique. Pomodoro = my accountability partner. If you haven’t heard of it, here’s the gist: Pomodoro is a productivity technique where you set a timer for any amount of time that you choose (I usually do 25 minutes) and while that timer is running, you are completely focused on the task at hand without any distractions. Once the timer goes off, you can allow yourself a five to ten-minute break to go for a walk, make yourself some tea or whatever you want. Then you set the timer again and go through this cycle as many times as it takes until you’ve completed your task. Knowing that you have a break coming up soon helps you to stay focused. It’s one of the most helpful tools because it breaks down even the most daunting task on your to-do list. It moves your work into manageable intervals of time. This technique pairs perfectly with the previous step of time-batching because it helps to keep you focused for longer periods of time. Here’s an article that explains The Pomodoro Technique in more detail, to learn more.
4. Schedule your posts. Whether you’re a blogger, dog walker, or real estate agent, we should all be leveraging social media for our businesses. Yes, even during the holidays! Nobody likes to interrupt a good time (or be interrupted) with friends or family to hop on social media and spend way too long staring at their phone in the middle of a Christmas dinner, distractedly thinking up the perfect caption and hashtags on the spot. It’s not productive, it’s not even enjoyable.
This is a perfect task to time-batch once or twice a week. You can get all your content scheduled and ready to go, so you don’t have to think about it every day. You can just sit back and enjoy yourself because you’re ahead of the game! Most platforms now have a scheduling tool built into them. For Instagram, my favorite scheduling app is Later
5. Saying “no” is okay. This might be the most important component for productivity. It’s tremendously valuable and could actually be an entire post in itself. It’s so important to prioritize your time, so with each opportunity that presents itself, you have to take a second and ask yourself the one vital question: is this going to be adding value to your life or distracting you from creating more value for your life?
Example: After a long day, I was desperately looking forward to having a self-care night in. Running myself a hot bubble bath, vegging out alone, a soothing facemask on while eating chocolate and having a Hallmark movie marathon (this is what my dreams are made of, seriously). Then, my best friend texts: “Can you come over to help decorate for my son’s birthday party tomorrow?” It’s a tough one. Of course I want to help her, and yet I need to keep myself from being depleted. It’s not easy to choose self-care. It often feels selfish. But….
Know this truth:
At the end of the day, choosing to honor yourself, to recharge, refuel, refocus, and to honor the plans you make for your own care, will make you the best version of you.
When you’re at your best, only then can you give your very best, only then can you show up for the people in your life, being fully present and productive.