A lot of people have asked me how I manage to have a full time client, produce YouTube videos, travel around and lots of other stuff. I'd like to share my secret tips on being such productive person.
Productivity tip #1 - Have a list of life goals
The first step to becoming a more productive person, in my opinion, is to have a list of goals. Those can be your life goals or your business goals. What is it that you would like to achieve? I use my notebook to write down my goals each week, each month and each year! Here's an example of a goal I have for this year:
Yearly goal - create 48 YouTube videos
As you can see, the goal is very specific. It's not just "create videos" or "create a lot of YouTube videos" . It's exactly 48 videos.
Break down the bigger goal into smaller tasks
It's very important that you break down the goals that you have into smaller tasks. One of the number one reasons people are procrastinating is because they feel overwhelmed. So, for example, if you have a goal of writing a book this year, then imagine you wake up in the morning and you say to yourself: Oh my God, I have to write a book today! Does that make you feel motivated? Where do you even start? However, if you break down this task into smaller chunks: write a chapter a month or 20 pages per week, then you already have a goal of writing 20 pages per week! If write five days a week, this translates to only 4 pages a day. I am sure you can write 4 pages a day.
Have you noticed how the bigger goal of writing a book has become a goal of writing 20 pages for a week or a daily task of writing 4 pages per day? This is the magic of breaking down big goals into more manageable weekly and daily tasks.
Productivity tip #2- Have weekly planning sessions
Now that you have prepared a list of goals and you have broken them down into weekly tasks, it's time to have a weekly planning session. Planning in advance ensures that you will find the time to work in your goals. This is something that I think is a must for everyone wants to be more productive.
Each week I set aside 30 minutes of my time to plan out my week ahead. It's usually every Sunday evening. You can also have your planning on a Saturday, or even Monday morning. Just make sure that you have blocked a slot in your calendar. During my weekly planning sessions I look at my list of goals and I pick the ones I want to tackle the following week.
Bonus tip: have your planning sessions on the same day and time each week. This will help you establish a new habit.
Productivity tip # 3- Plan everything with a calendar (app)
During your planning session you will also need to have a calendar. You'd take your tasks and you estimate how much time is needed for each task and you block them on your calendar. If you have something that needs to get done and you don't allocate time when exactly you're going to get this done, then it's less likely to happen.
How to use the calendar in the weekly planning sessions
Make sure you have already decided what you want to accomplish the following week. Then, I highly recommend that you put these tasks into a to-do app(it's easier to track). I personally use Todoist but you can explore the many other options on the market.
After your tasks are inside the app, open your Calendar ( I use Google Calendar) and decide in advance when you are going to work on each task. Remember, you need to estimate how much is needed for each task. In the beginning, it may be difficult, but with practice and regular time-tracking( for example with Toggl), you will master it.
Note: if you have a busy personal life, make sure you have blocked out time for those things before you start adding your goal-related tasks. If you are going on vacation- block that out, if you are picking up the kids from school- block that out! This way, there will be no overlap.
You may also like reading: My Review of 2018: The Good, The Bad and The Struggle
Productivity tip # 4- Track the time needed to accomplish each task
Another thing that I have changed that has transformed my life is tracking my time. I started tracking my time last year. As mentioned above, I use Toggl. I think it's really convenient as it integrates perfectly with my to-do app Todoist and my Google Calendar.
I have to say that has improved my schedule lot- I get a lot more done and I'll tell you why.
At the beginning, before I started tracking my time, I was just guessing how much time each task is going to take me to complete. For example, if I needed to write a blog post, I'd guess I that I need 3 hours for that. However, in reality I am almost sure that I'd spent more than 5 hours.
Ever since it started using Toggl, I know exactly how much time I am working. So, now if I have to plan my week ahead and I have to write a blog post, I know that it's approximately 5 hours. It's not 2 hours, it's not 3 hours. Based on my statistics, it's 5 hours. Tracking your time helps you plan your week ahead much better and ensures you will accomplish all the tasks on your list!
Another benefit of tracking your time is to actually know where you spend your time. I'm not telling you to track your time while you're doing the dishes... Of course you can do that. but as a general rule, if you spend more than 20 minutes on something, then track it. Otherwise, at the end of the day you will be probably wondering why you didn't complete your tasks.
Productivity tip # 5- Do the thing(s) you hate first thing in the morning
Last but not least, you should be doing your least favorite things in the morning, before your day starts. It's just human nature. We avoid things that we don't like.
For example, I really, really hate to prepare my YouTube videos but I have to prepare some kind of a draft of what I'm going to talk about. Naturally, I avoid doing this. If I postpone this to the end of the day, chances are that I'll keep postponing it each day.
So what I do instead is I get up in the morning, I set aside an hour and after I have my coffee, I go straight to it. I sit down and I write out the draft for the video. That way, by the time I'm off to work or client meetings, I have already completed this task and I feel inspired to do more and I already feel productive.
My productivity system
First of all, I have my yearly goals. Then I have a weekly planning session. When I have the goals, I break them down into tasks. Then I have my Google calendar, which syncs with my to do app Todoist. During the next planning sessions, I'm tracking and seeing if I have completed everything, how much time I needed, and I'm adjusting my plan for the next week accordingly.
And also, I usually just mentioned I tried to first do the thing that I hate the most in the morning.
This is how I have changed my habits throughout the years and this is what I currently do to stay so productive. I hope this is helpful and you can borrow some of my ideas here to make your life more productive.