My name is Sarah and I'm so glad you're here!
This blog is where you'll find all my best tips and tricks to organize, simplify, and streamline your business and life.
Do you ever reach that point, in life, business, or both, where you just need to get stuff done?
You know what I’m talking about — you’ve been managing to stay on top of things, but your to do list is growing at a faster pace than you can knock things off to it and sooner or later you’re in need of one of those magically productive days where you accomplish all the things by the end of it.
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Sometimes, it can seem like those days are magical unicorns, but they don’t have to be. While they aren’t necessary all the time (if they are, then girl, you need to get some other things sorted out before you burn yourself out!), we all need those days every so often.
Contrary to popular belief, you do not need fairy dust or the stars to align in order to make these days a reality. Over the years, I’ve discovered a few tricks that, when added together, always result in an insanely productive day.
As silly as it sounds, when I know I need to have a majorly productive day, I approach it sort of like a major test or game day.
When you were in school or maybe played a sport on a regular basis, the night before the big game or test was not like other nights. You would make sure to eat well, get to bed on time, and get good sleep so you woke up rested, refreshed, and ready to tackle the day ahead of you!
The same principle applies here when you’re aiming for magic levels of productivity.
Eat some good food the night before (not a bunch of junk that’s going to make you feel gross or fog up your brain). Give yourself plenty of time to wind down so you can get to bed at a decent time. And actually go to bed at a decent time.
In the same way, take some time to make sure you can also take care of yourself the next day. Prep your meals in advance, make sure you have water or snacks on hand so you can fuel your body and your brain, while still knocking out #allthethings.
I don’t know about you, but I am infinitely more productive when I get ready for the day than when I just roll out of bed and start working in my pjs.
Set your alarm late enough that you feel well-rested (a tired mind rarely results in major levels of productivity), but early enough that you have time to wake up, move your body, shower, dress, and actually get ready for the day.
It might sound a little ridiculous, but it works. Sometimes, on a normal day, if I’m struggling to focus, I actually go put on shoes because something about it makes me feel more like I’m “at work” and helps me turn on that “get it done” mentality!
The biggest culprit of our productivity? Distractions.
You know and I know it. The pinging and buzzing and ringing that goes off what often feels like every minute of every day.
In order to put a major dent in your to do list, major focus is required. So you’ve got to turn off all of those distractions.
Silence your phone and put it in another room. Turn your computer and iPad on Do Not Disturb or maybe even Airplane Mode. Silence the ringer on your home phone (if you still have one). Turn off Bluetooth capabilities that might cause notifications on your phone to come through on any other devices spread throughout your home.
Do whatever you have to do to get rid of all those tings and bings and rings that pull you out of hyper-focused mode and cause you to lose precious hours of productivity.
In the same way that actually getting ready for the day can be a major contributor to your productivity levels, choosing the right environment is also super important.
When I have a day I want to knock out #allthethings, there’s a 95% chance I won’t be working from my home office. For some reason, working at Panera or Starbucks often helps me make major progress on my to do list, so relocating to that kind of environment sets me up for success better than if I were to work from home.
This is partially because of the actual physical environment, but also because removing myself from home means removing myself from non-noise making distractions! I can’t productively procrastinate by cleaning my room, folding laundry, or doing the dishes if I’m not at home!
There are all sorts of theories about how to best structure your day for maximum productivity. I’ve tried a bunch of them and, hands down, my favorite is the Pomodoro Technique.
If you’re not familiar with it, the concept is simple — spend 25 minutes of focused, completely undistracted work on one task, then take a 5 minute break. Repeat until you’ve completed four “Pomodoros,” then take a longer break (usually 25-30 minutes). Repeat as necessary until you’ve finished #allthethings you need to do for the day!
I love this system so much it’s actually built into how I time block and structure every single day of my work week (more on that coming soon!), but this time structure is especially helpful when I really need to knock out all the things.
You’ve already turned off all the distractions that could be buzzing at you and grabbing for your attention, but structuring your time in this way gives you those few minutes to stretch, grab a drink, go to the bathroom, etc. without feeling like you’re neglecting your work. In essence, they help remind you to move your body a little and take care of yourself instead of barreling through and burning yourself out after a single day’s work.
This one is huge for me, y’all.
You’ve heard talk of batching your tasks, I’m sure, but more so than batching tasks by type, I’ve found that batching tasks by mindset are a game changer when it comes to knock-it-out-of-the-park productivity.
What this means is instead of just batching your tasks in an obvious way, like time in your inbox or time working on client reports, also batch them by the frame of mind they require to complete.
For example, writing content takes a different mindset than editing or formatting it does. Responding to some emails in your inbox actually takes a different mindset than responding to others. By looking at your to do list and grouping things not only by task, but also by the amount of mental or emotional energy they’re going to take to complete, you’ll get through them faster!
The final thing I’ve learned about these insanely productive days? It’s a little on the ridiculous side to think they’re gonna happen all the time.
Yes, some days are always going to be more productive than others and several of these tasks are things you can apply on a regular basis to get yourself into a routine and hopefully start accomplishing more and more each day of the week.
But these days are long. They are draining. Which means when you finish one, you need to rest. You’ve spent an entire workday (probably a longer one than usual) majorly working your brain and your willpower (I know… that Instagram Siren Song is strong!!) and they’re gonna need a little break.
So make these kinds of days a reality when you need to, and maybe even do them a few days in a row or for an entire week (that’s what we call #hustlemode), but remember that mind-blowing productivity does not have to be the norm.
In fact, if you’ve got your organizational ish together and systems in place, I would argue that it shouldn’t have to be the norm because your workload should be manageable enough that you can stay on top of your to do list without being in hustle mode every time you sit down for a work session.
Work hard when necessary, but work to build a life and business that means your work is life giving, and not life draining.