This time of year, when the days are getting longer and the weather is finally starting to warm up, I often feel like I’m going stir-crazy inside. And despite my best efforts to be productive, there are too many times when I find myself distracted by Nora, more interested in being outside, thinking of future house projects I want to tackle, or just wasting time on unnecessary tasks.
Can you relate?
Well, you probably won’t be surprised that my solution to “unproductiveness” is to make a list. Yes, I love lists! 🙂
I’ve found that by having a list of quick tasks I can do in 10 minutes or less, I get the satisfaction of crossing something off my list, plus I have an instant productivity boost that propels me to complete one more task… then one more.
Before I know it, I’m back in my groove!
These are 10 of my favorite ways to boost productivity — all in 10 minutes or less…
1. Go for a quick walk.
Getting some fresh air is always good for me (and for Nora). Even on cold days, we can both handle at least 10 minutes outside. If it’s raining, we’ll “play” with her shopping cart and scooter in our garage 🙂
Just a few minutes outside will give your brain a break and get your blood flowing — which will hopefully help you to be more productive when you get back inside.
2. Make a list.
Yes, another list — any type of list.
Make your meal plan for the week, your grocery list, a list of upcoming birthdays you need to buy gifts for, a list of activities for your child’s school, a list of things you want to do tonight, a list of house projects you want to work on this summer, a list of books you want to read.
I find that by focusing on something for just 10 minutes (and keeping my hands busy writing) my brain automatically starts to regain focus… plus, now I have another list to keep me on track!
3. Get dressed and ready.
Some of you might be rolling your eyes right now — but I have a feeling many of you are nodding along with me. Yes, there are days when I don’t get dressed until after lunch — but not that often, I promise.
I’ve found that by taking 10 minutes to throw on normal clothes (no yoga pants allowed), brushing my teeth, and quickly doing my hair/make-up, I feel more productive and I’m ready to face the day (or unexpected visitors.)
4. Do something you love doing.
Remember, this is just for 10 minutes, so don’t let yourself get too distracted. However, if you enjoy doing something like knitting, scrap-booking, reading, online shopping, facebook, etc., I would encourage you to set the timer for 10 minutes and let yourself forget about everything else on your to-do list.
Sometimes that little break is all you need to get back to work again.
5. Zone out.
Yes, this can actually be a productivity tactic. Even if you have 101 things to do, I’ve found that by simply sitting in the quiet for a few minutes (before everyone wakes up or after they go to bed), I give my body and my brain a chance to relax.
6. Dance and sing.
OK, so this one is mainly because Nora LOVES to dance and “sing” along with music — but I’ve found that it also helps me be more productive. We frequently turn the radio on and dance like crazy around the living room just for a bit. Nora get’s my undivided attention, we both get some good laughs, and after we’re finished dancing, she’s more content to play on her own for a bit — which allows me to finish a quick project, change a load of laundry, or start dinner.
And yes, Dave participates in the dancing when he’s home 🙂
7. Purge 10 things from your home.
There’s something about purging that definitely helps me to feel productive… and I’m guessing that you can easily find 10 things in your home that you can live without.
Ask yourself “Do I love this? Do I need this? Do I use this? Do I want this?” If the answer is no, put it in a donation or trash bag and enjoy an instant productivity boost.
8. Decide to eliminate a task from your to-do list.
This might sound like an easy way out, but in fact, it can actually be a pretty effective productivity booster. If you’re short on time and always thinking about everything you still need to do, consider taking a good hard look at your to-do list and eliminating anything that isn’t 100% necessary.
It might not be an easy decision to make, but I always feel relieved and at peace once I’ve made the decision to drop a task I know I don’t have time to complete.
9. Do ONE thing.
Think of just one thing that needs to be done… and then do it. It could be as simple as putting the newspaper in the recycling bin, putting the milk back in the fridge, or moving the clothes from the washer to the dryer.
By doing just one thing, you get your body moving and you stop procrastinating — both of which are essential to productivity!
10. Make a “done list”.
I’ve talked about my “done list” before — and while I realize it sounds a bit silly, I think you’ll be amazed at how much more productive you feel after making one.
Take 10 minutes and literally write down everything you did today — packed lunches, started the dishwasher, responded to emails, got the mail, changed a diaper, vacuumed, got groceries, read a book. EVERYTHING. I guarantee you’ll feel more productive after reading over everything you’ve already accomplished.
These are just a few of the quick productivity boosters I use when I’m in a slump and need to get myself back on track. So the next time you start to feel your energy level drop and your productivity plummet, pick something off this list and do it!
And if you’d like even more tips and ideas to quickly boost your productivity, head over to the Turnstone blog — I’m sharing 15 MORE productivity boosters!
What are your favorite quick and simple productivity boosters?