Whether you follow my tips for getting shit done or tweak them to your needs, I believe the key is to have a plan. If you’re like me you’ll want to do this as many days as possible. For some of you, a plan like this may be an occasional thing.
- Some type of list (paper or electronic)
- The app called “Focus Keeper” or a timer to use the pomodoro method.
- Something you want to accomplish
- Maybe some caffeine. 😉
- Music of your choice to motivate you
There are tons of list apps that you can use to check off boxes as you go such as Evernote (my favorite) and hand written journals (homemade bullet journals or the kind you purchase that have template pages) or you can just use a regular piece of paper and keep it in your pocket to refer to as the day goes by. If I’m going to use this method I like index cards folded in half. They hold up for the day quite well.
Below you’ll find very basic to-do list sections for a successful day. This is how I make the most of every single day, eliminate procrastination and feel like I accomplished something at the end of the day.
Choose something from each category to focus on OR make up your own categories. You do you, Boo.
- Personal Development: this can include reading, listening to a podcast, watching a Ted Talk or researching something you want to learn more about. Maybe it’s an online class you’re taking or other formal education. It can even be time spent working on self confidence or mastering a new habit.
- Household: General cleaning and maintenance as well as indoor or outdoor projects. It may help to have a separate list of daily household chores if you aren’t already in a good routine. I also include meal planning and a grocery list in this category.
- Self Care: Whatever that means to you. Calling a friend, lunch with a friend, a long hot bath, journaling, meditating, even taking a nap. Whatever you need to recharge and destress gets added to the list. If you don’t make time for yourself you will not have time for yourself. No one else will do this for you.
- Work: If it’s a work day you’ll want to make sure you have a task list of what absolutely needs to get accomplished, calls that need to be returned, etc. If it’s a work day for me, I do the bare minimal housework. It’s all about balance.
- Health: Whether you go to the gym or just stretch at home, find a way to be active at least for a little while every day. This can also include drinking enough water, taking your vitamins or anything else your personal health requires. If you take the stairs, park far away from the door at work, ride your bike to work, etc you obviously won’t need to set a timer or maybe not even have this category. Do what works for you.
- Fun: Besides self care, I try to do something fun every day whether it’s watching a movie with my husband or playing a card game. It can include mindless time on the phone, going out on a date or really anything. I like to add it to to the list to remind myself to make time for fun. I do not pomodaro this.
I have found the pomodaro (it means tomato, as in the old fashioned tomato timers) technique really keeps me focused. If you don’t know what it is you can click here to watch a short video. It’s basically working in 25 minute increments with breaks in between. It’s a super way to get lots done. Just knowing I’m on a timer makes me work faster. And, if you’re totally unmotivated some days, you can look at it as it being just 25 minutes. Even if you complete one round of 25 minutes you’ve gotten something done. I can almost guarantee you’ll keep going though. 😉
Below is an example of how I make the most of my day and get lots accomplished using the lists along with the pomodaro timer.
For each item I have a star next to, I will set the timer for 25 minutes. I take 10 minute breaks in between. The timer is for the stuff I need motivation for and to get me off my butt.
Using the timer doesn’t mean you have to only work for 25 minutes. It’s just a motivator. You can also set it for a different length of time. (Though there’s something about 25 min. that seems to work well). I wouldn’t skip the timer though. It is key to getting shit done! Plus, for some reason those little breaks after 25 min. feel oh so sweet. You can just scroll through the internet, play solitaire, kick back and have a glass of lemonade or whatever your little heart desires, without an ounce of guilt…because you DESERVE it after 25 min. of work.
I may have more or even less on my list (depending on if I have a lot of errands or one activity that’s going to take a long time such as cleaning out a whole closet). In the case of one large activity, I split it up into 25 minute increments. Use the timer at your own discretion. It works well for those tasks that you have to get done but aren’t fond of AND for those things like reading or blogging that you need to time yourself for so you don’t accidentally spend the whole day doing that one activity. (It can happen!)
As far as the categories, I chose what’s important to me. Other ideas are: time with the kids, spiritual, homework/study, volunteer work, gardening or anything you want to do!
If you are a procrastinator or feel disorganized or overwhelmed and don’t know where to start on some days, this list/timer idea is for YOU!
Please let me know of you already do something similar or think you’ll give this a go.
I know it’s pretty basic, but on days I don’t do this, I end up wondering what I did all day. If I don’t get to everything, that’s fine too. Maybe I will end up spending an extra 25 minutes in the kitchen organizing and cleaning but won’t get to the laundry. It’s all good!
I hope this might be helpful for someone. Maybe someone who wants to structure in more self care and personal development or just someone who wants to feel like they did something to make them feel rounded for the day. We can often get focused on doing things for one aspect of our lives, like doing work on work days or household activities on our days off. But there’s more to life than that. I want to make each day count. I want to remember to take care of myself for myself. I don’t want to just work, pay bills and die. I want to live a life that makes me happy every day. It’s not just about getting shit done. It’s about getting the right stuff done. It’s about growing, resting and recuperating, connecting with others in a meaningful way and just having some fun. I hope that makes sense to you.
May you be happy and well.