My friend Sarah Robinson has this cool thing going on over at her blog, Escaping Mediocrity, this month. It’s 28 days of getting your shit together and highlights guest bloggers each day who have new and interesting ways for you to, well, get your shit together.
I blogged on day three, which was at the beginning of the month. This is what I had to say.
As I was trying to decide what to write about for this blog post, I Googled “get your shit together” to see if anything came up that inspired me. What I found, instead, was, well, a bunch of shit.
So then I thought, “How do I write about getting your shit together without inspiration?” There are a lot of things to consider: Productivity, time management, keeping up on blogs and social media, growing a business while starting a new business, sending gifts before birthdays instead of after, remembering to eat during the day, washing your hair more than twice a week, exercising, getting more than six hours of sleep a night, mentoring a team, managing clients, getting Sarah her guest post on time instead of a week late, and more. You know, not that I’m feeling guilty or anything.
It’s not like I’ve had some life-changing experience like Les McKeown (did that give you chills, or what?) to make me think it’s time to get my shit together. But, most days, I can barely get three things checked off my to-do list and I know everyone feels that way.
- Treat exercise like you do brushing your teeth – you don’t start your day without doing it. I exercise from 5:00-6:00 a.m.
- Set a time to write. Make it the same time every day and don’t sway from it. My time is 6:00-8:00 a.m.
- Set a time to read. This might be blogs, the newspaper, or a book. My time is 5:00-6:00 a.m. (while I ride my bike) and, sometimes, if I’m not too tired, right before bed.
- Set a time to check the social networks. I schedule all of my tweets either early in the morning or before I go home at night. I have the 80/20 rule – 80 percent about another friend, blogger, journalist and 20 percent about us (the Spin Sucks blog posts). I set them every hour from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. and then my Twitter and Facebook time during the day is spent on conversations, which I do when I get to my desk in the morning, around lunchtime, and right before I go home. I’m never on there more than 15 minutes at a time.
- Write your to-do list before you shut down for the night. I actually write a weekly list and then number things. There is a HUGE sense of accomplishment when you’re focused and start checking things off.
- Prioritize your action items: Clients are A, Spin Sucks is B, Arment Dietrich business is C, and everything else is D. I add those letters next to everything and then create my to-do list from that.
- Turn your email to “work offline” in the middle of the day. I turn mine off most days from 10-3 and take periodic breaks to check and be sure nothing is on fire or needs immediate attention.
- Take time off from it all. I used to work all weekend, but found myself thinking, “I can do that this weekend.” Now that I refuse to work during the weekend, I’m much more productive during the week.
- It’s funny. People say to me all the time, “How do you pump out as much content as you do?” but I feel like it’s never enough. Perception is reality so stop being hard on yourself, figure out your plan, and get your productive shit together!
I’m not going to lie. It doesn’t always work. For instance, I’ve done no reading the past two weeks. Instead I’ve been writing and developing things we need for the Project Jack Bauer beta 1.0 launch at the end of this month. I also didn’t take last weekend off. Choosing, instead, to write the coming week’s blog posts and get everything ready so my exercise and reading time isn’t interrupted during the week.
But I try really hard to stick to the schedule because I find I’m happier and more productive when I do.
How do you stay productive?