3 Secrets to Productivity
First of all, I just want to toot my own horn and say how proud I am of myself for making so much stuff this fall! Seriously, I’ve had a wonderful, productive, paint-stained autumn and I love how much my shop has grown with beautiful autumn art that exudes my love for this beautiful season!
I say this because fall isn’t always a great time for me. If you’ve been reading awhile, you know that I’ve been plagued with Seasonal Affective Disorder since I was a child, so the closer we get to winter, the less I’m usually able to get done because I’m depressed and/or exhausted. SAD is a huge nasty jerk and I offer my sincere empathy to anyone else who has to deal with it, or deal with someone who has to deal with it. (Also, my husband is a champ)
I wanted to share some tricks I’ve found to help me be more productive in this season where my creativity and studio practice usually grinds to a screeching halt. Enjoy:
Secret #1: Know your priorities
If you know the most important things that you want to get done, you can do those first. Even if you do absolutely nothing else that day, the important things will be done and the not-so-important things won’t be done. No biggie, they weren’t that important anyway.
There are different ways to decide what’s important, and it’s easy to mix up what is important to YOU and what is important to OTHERS.
Is your yoga practice really important to you, but you feel you should have a Pinterest-perfect meal on the table at 6pm sharp? Which will make you feel better? Do the yoga and have a simple dinner, or skip the yoga and have homemade chicken a la king with glazed brussel sprouts and homemade focaccia bread?
Would you rather work on a creative project or have a spotless house?
What would make you happier? Going to the park with your toddler or go to the gym?
Your choices are yours, and sometimes they’re tough. It’s hard to choose between good things, but look at what has the most value in your life TODAY. Do you need to work or rest? Play or knuckle down? What is for your highest good? Spend some time reflecting on that and know that it changes from day to day. Then, make your choices.
Which takes us to the next secret…
Secret #2: Set ONE Goal Per Day
That’s right kids, ONE goal.
“But I have so much to do! I can’t just do ONE thing!”
I get it, I really do. I’m not saying you can’t do more than one thing, but setting a single goal that you know will make you feel accomplished at the end of the day will be a lot easier to handle than a to-do list so long you could make a belt out of it.
So think, what will make you look back on your day and think “Oh yeah, I’m awesome.”
Is it getting your files organized? Making a few freezer meals? Finishing a project? Cleaning the kitchen? Getting your Christmas shopping done?
Then set a deadline (By lunchtime, by 5 o’clock, etc), make the time, and do it. One big goal.
My daily goals often revolve around my art and business. They’re usually things like “Finish that painting”, “photograph all my new pieces”, “write a batch of blog posts”, or “write an awesome guest post”. Those usually feel like pretty big tasks, but since that’s the main thing I have to get done that day, I’m able to focus and punch through it. The other day, I took over 200 photos of my art in an environment in one marathon session. Today, I’m writing 5 blog posts. Tomorrow, I’m writing a guest post for a big site.
One goal=tunnel vision and focus=accomplishment. Bam.
Secret #3: Keep a “What I Did Today” Journal
This is my new spin on the classic gratitude journal. Some days, we all just feel like we didn’t do enough. Maybe we ran out of time or got tired, maybe something came up that blew a Volkswagen-sized hole in our carefully-laid plans. It happens.
So before you go to bed, write down everything you were able to accomplish that day, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. Even if all you did was rest, write it down.
Then at the bottom write “This is enough. I’m thankful for what I was able to do.”
It helps to have a pretty little notebook.
Especially do this on the days when you feel like you failed.
Sometimes, my list looks like this:
- Brushed my teeth
- Wore matching socks
- Put on fresh underwear
- Fed the cat
- Worked my shift
- Made scrambled eggs for dinner
- Went to bed early
“This is enough. This is perfect. I’m thankful for what I was able to do today.”
Sometimes I’m tired. Sometimes SAD gets its claws in me on a dark day and I can barely get off the couch.
But be grateful for what you are able to do, because it was perfect. If you had been able to do more, you would have.
There you have it, McKella’s Super Special Secrets to getting stuff done! They work! Try them!
And wear red costume glasses while you do it!
Ok, you don’t have to if you don’t want to, but it sure is fun.
Have a lovely week full of getting stuff done, lovelies!