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Three Ways to Productivity
My goal for the New Year is to be more productive. I don’t care what anyone says, this is the year I’m going to make better use of my time and get things done! Like many of my fellow millennials, I am stereotypically good at procrastinating, getting distracted and using technology to waste time. But like many other millennials, I am also determined, resourceful and confident in my abilities.
I’ve researched, I’ve gotten advice from friends and, at almost a month in to the year, I’ve begun practising some new productivity habits.
Here are three ways I’m going to get productive this year.
Doing the Quick 15.
After much self-reflection, I realized that one reason I fail to complete tasks is that many of the things I need to get done are daunting or tedious activities. For me, one such activity is exercise. You’ll never catch me updating my Facebook status to “just went to the gym!” or posting an Instagram photo of me doing squats with the hashtag #LegDay. The mere thought of pounding it out at the gym for two hours, three days a week simply depresses me and I’d literally make up any excuse to get out of it. [Insert excuse here].
But the problem is that I want to get fit and, more importantly, healthier. The quick 15 is my action plan for doing this. Whatever your daunting task is, try completing it in increments of 15 minutes throughout the day. In my case, I’ve been doing a mix of crunches, planks, and other exercises for 15 minutes before work, 15 minutes after work and 15 minutes wherever I can find it. An hour at the gym seems like torture but 15 minutes of exercise while binge watching my latest Netflix obsession isn’t so bad.
I’m really good at remembering to write down my to-dos and not so good at remembering to actually do them. Technological distractions are, sometimes, to blame. Luckily my natural inclination towards technology is not always a curse. There are tons of useful applications to organize daily tasks and one that I started using is called Evernote. This organization app allows you to organize information easily. You can create and track your tasks, clip notes and ideas from anywhere on the web and collaborate on projects with other people.
The two devices I use most in a day are my laptop and my phone. With Evernote, and I’m sure other apps, you can sync all your devices to better manage your daily, weekly or monthly tasks and visualize the things you need to do. What’s helpful is that I can move between my computer and my phone without missing anything, making my to-dos easier to do!
Last month I tried the “say yes to everything” scheme in an attempt to boost my social life, but I found that I ended up committing to a bunch of projects, tasks and favours that I had no interest in. It drastically lowered my productivity regarding the things I wanted and needed to do. I was helping other people achieve their goals and mine were falling to the back burner. So I’ve decided that saying no is necessary and vital to managing time effectively.
The downside is that saying no sometimes makes me feel like a selfish-you-know-what. But it shouldn’t. We only have so many hours in a day and they should be put to good use! There were plenty of situations I found myself in recently that warranted a pleasant but firm no. When a friend invited me to her dog’s birthday and I had an upcoming deadline and needed to get some writing done, I offered a thankful “I really wish I could but…” and when my aunt started an online course and wanted me to help her with every single one of her writing assignments, I eventually had to give her the old, “I’m sorry, but I really don’t have the time.” Because I didn’t. I take great care not to drop the ball on family and friends, ensuring I always make time and put in a decent effort but sometimes, for the sake of productivity, you just have to say no!