What character would you be in a circus? I’m admitting to being a juggler. Here are the balls in the air that I’m currently juggling.
- Memoir –I’m writing a family memoir and taking a Saturday class on memoir writing.
- Blogging – Read blogs and maintain my blog.
- Friends – Trying to keep up with the social life but this has taken a back seat for now with everything else going on.
With all the balls in the air, I tried to multi-task - do a little here and there - but I realized that I wasn’t feeling accomplished in at least one area by the end of the day. I realized that I wasn’t giving my “all” on the things that needed my full attention.
Now, I recognize that I’m not unique to being an experienced juggler and many of us can probably go on tour with the Ringling Brothers as a permanent circus act. It’s just that the overwhelming feeling over the last couple of months was taking over my energy and state of mind.
About a week ago, I realized that I was falling short of my commitments that were at the top of my priority list by not giving my full focus and attention to these areas. At the end of each day, my mind was cluttered with thoughts such as, “I still need to send that email to my client, I need to research pre-schools for my daughter, I need to exercise.”
I decided to spend some time reflecting on how I can be more productive and feel accomplished at the end of each day. Here things I put into practice over the last two weeks. I encourage you to consider these areas and determine what works for you.
Tips For Increasing Your Personal Productivity
Tips For Increasing Your Personal Productivity
- Prioritize where you spend your time. For me, that’s my family, work, and studying. I still journal but have had to cut back on the amount of time from one hour to 30 minutes a day. I’ve had to limit my blogging to one to two times per week. But the journaling sparks ideas for blogging. I rarely watch TV and I have cut back on social activities. I’m still working out the kinks with my exercise schedule.
- Put things in perspective. While there will always be balls up in the air, there are some things that may have an ending. In my case, my exam will be over in May, my memoir writing class will be over in 2 weeks, only to be replaced with my busy season at work in June but I look forward to replacing my study time with writing time for my memoir.
- Make appointments with yourself (and don’t cancel). After prioritizing where you spend your time, calendar it and commit to the appointments you make with yourself. YOU are your most important client/customer.
- Give the task at hand your full presence and focus. Tackle the task with full focus. Multi-tasking has its perks but there are also pitfalls to multitasking. Multi-tasking may result in a longer period of time to complete a project. I have dual screens at home and I used to find myself trying to stay on top of my social networks and email by having one screen with Facebook and emails and the other with MS Word for my journaling. The ‘other’ screen would distract me and I would lose my train of thought for journaling.
- Stop obsessing over being busy. This has always been one of my downfalls. After I stopped obsessing about how busy I always am, I was able to give my full focus on what I needed to get done and spend my energy on BEING PRODUCTIVE rather than thinking about being busy.
- Stay organized. My office space at home is un-cluttered and a pleasant space. I need the clean and fresh surroundings to keep my mind pure and clear. For me, a cluttered workspace equals a cluttered mind which impacts my ability to focus.
- Take a mental break. A couple of weeks ago, my mental break was a night of 90210 (yes, I’ll admit to it). Last weekend, I caught up on movies and finally watched The Social Network. I feel like my mind is always in motion and it was a relief to be consumed by fictitious characters’ drama for one evening.
Journaling also offers a mental break. I’m looking forward to the rainy weather going away so I can go for afternoon walks with my daughter and take in the spring weather that is quickly approaching. Other times, I escape with a good book. Stepping away from something (like complex spreadsheets – EWW) will allow you to have a mental break and return with fresh eyes and a clear mind.
- Be in the moment and enjoy. This is especially important when I’m spending time with my family. With my workload so full, I was finding myself doing work emails at 5pm as I sat with my daughter in the living room while she took in her afternoon snack and watched Dora. I realized I needed to be fully present and enjoy each moment with her. Life is too short to forego these opportunities for cherished moments with family.
While my circus act as a juggler will always exist and some days may feel more overwhelming than others, by applying these practices, I am able to end each day feeling like I contributed 110% on the things I wanted accomplish for the day.
Reflective questions for the day:
What are your productivity practices that allow you to feel accomplished each day? What can you do differently to increase your productivity? What areas still pose challenges for you? What can you offer readers interested in increasing their personal productivity?