Guess what I’ve learned about productivity and balance over the course of 47 years on this earth?
There’s no such thing as a perfect schedule or someone able to stay on task perfectly throughout each day.
In stretching ourselves to be more productive, it’s important not to undo any strides we make by beating ourselves up for our failures in productivity and maximum time management organization. There’s got to be some balance in the equation.
Have a little grace.
Here are a few things that help me keep my quest for productivity in harmony with a happy, relationship-driven life.
Work Within Your Natural Body Clock
Not everyone is geared towards early rising and instant productivity before the rooster crows.
I am the furthest thing you’ll ever find from a morning person.
You know what? This is okay. I have made peace with it. I’m good at admitting I don’t enjoy waking up and if I do wake early, I rarely get more done than I would if I woke up later (and rested).
Part of having grace in your quest for productivity is figuring out what works best for you, not some time management guru.
Balance: Figure out Priorities
Another thing I’ve figured out is that we can’t do it all.
If I were to accomplish everything that goes through my head to do, I’d never sleep, and I probably wouldn’t get it all done, anyway.
Sometimes, taking a step back and figuring out what is important at the moment, versus what is not as high on the list of priorities, will help you shake off some guilt from not “getting it all done”.
Not everything is important. Not everything should be important to you. Work on what is most important right now. Find some balance in your day-to-day life.
I set up my Evernote note-taking app’s notebooks according to my priorities so that notes about things that aren’t important at the moment don’t distract me. I also have used a personal mission statement and long term goals to help me keep my focus on what is important to me.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
As I wrote recently, another way to be kind to yourself and not waste time on important but tedious tasks is to automate them. In particular, I wrote recently that I automate some of my social media sharing tasks to keep driving traffic to my website even when I’m away from my computer or busy with other things.
Apps like Tailwind (for scheduling my Pinterest pins once a month for up to 400 pins) and Social Jukebox (for setting up randomized, continuous interval sharing on Social Media sites like Twitter) both have cut my time sitting in the chair down to a minimum while increasing my traffic and my royalties on my Zazzle store.
In fact, if you’d like to try a free trial of Tailwind, you will also get a free month of Plus by using my link here. You can also get a free trial for Social Jukebox to see how that works for you. I guarantee you, if you’re trying to drive more traffic but don’t want to spend all your time on social media, this will be a huge blessing to you. Try it. Let me know what you think.
Plan for Fun
It’s important to plan fun diversions from time to time, especially if you have young children. Get out, get away from the computer or desk, and get some fresh air.
Find a balance between work and living life.
Last Summer, my girls and I did something I have been meaning to do for years but never got around to. For years, since they were little, I have meant to take them on a road trip around the shoreline of the Thumb of Michigan — Highway M-25. If you’re not a local, you may not know this. Michigan has some breathtaking shorelines. I lived within an hour from them but never got there.
Realizing my youngest was going to graduate this coming year, and time is shorter than ever, I realized that we needed to Just Do It. Pick a day and go.
We woke up early, phones, and power banks charged. Google Maps loaded up with places to find along the way. Gas cards loaded with money.
It’s been nearly a year, and I still get a little energized off of the memory of our daycation.
I had a thousand and one things to do before the busy season at my part-time, seasonal job, but having a day of non-productivity was great for my overall productivity.