12 Ways to Be More Productive

As mentioned earlier this week, I wanted to share some of the things I do or practice to stay productive. These are things I have learned from friends, reading books, listening to podcasts or just anything I have naturally started doing. Hope these help you to stay more productive
and accomplish everything you want to do!

xo,

Amber 

5 Daily Steps to Practice Self-Love

1. The Under 2 Minute Rule: This one I learned while listening to a podcast a while ago – I honestly can’t remember which podcast or who said it though! The Under 2 Minute Rule means that if a task will take less than 2 minutes to accomplish or cross of your list, you do it RIGHT then. So if it is sending a quick email, putting something away, scheduling something, whatever it is you can’t delay and have to finish it. This has actually really helped in our house too because with little things like a pile of shoes by the door, I think, I will do that after the kids go down. But now since I know that will literally take me one minute, I do it right then.

2. Color Coding Calendar: I use google calendar to keep my schedule organized because I like that I can have David’s joined with mine as well as our office calendar. So I have all three that my assistant, employees, and David can all add to and edit. We keep things color coded so things stand out easier – green is the day I need to shoot something, orange is the day that shoot is due, and red is the day it goes live. Yellow are travel dates, purple is appointments and interviews, etc. If you don’t need to have multiple users on your calendar, then I think Timepage is a great one, the interface is so pretty. I just am already so organized on google calendar that it was too hard for me to switch over.

3. Top 3 Rule: Before David or I go into the office we try to make sure we have our top 3 tasks we need to get done. Sometimes we get so caught up in less important tasks that we go home not having accomplished what we actually needed to get done. So if you go into your day saying out loud or writing down your Top 3 it will help you stay on track (this doesn’t just apply to people with jobs – can be anything you need to do that day!)

4. Time Blocking: You may have already heard of this but I love doing this both at home or in the office. It is basically when you set a timer for a given amount of time and you do one single task, and accomplish as much as you can of that task for the given amount of time. I have mentioned how we do this even with cleaning sometimes.. We call it a “power clean” and we set a timer for say 10 or 15 minutes and whatever we get done in that time is all we are doing that day. You will be surprised how much you can accomplish when you know you only have 10 or 15 or 30 minutes to do it. It also helps me stay on task and makes it so my mind doesn’t get distracted. I use this method a lot when it comes to blog prep and emails. I will only answer emails for 30 minutes each day and I do it usually around 1pm so most emails are in for the day. (most people we work with are EST).

5. “Busy Anxiety”: I am the type that can sometimes get anxiety when I know I have a really packed schedule the next day. It is almost like I have SO much to do that I feel paralyzed in time and can’t get anything done. I start to get really anxious about not finishing something.. But also just my brain can’t help but feel that way. When I sit down and write down all I have to do, what must get done and what can be moved to another day, time block tasks or think about how much time each task will take I realize that it won’t take AS much time as it seems in my flustered mind. I think this is true for a lot of people, we make ourselves busier than we need to be. If I ever get like this now I either move less important things to another day or just take them off completely and cancel as much as I can to give myself a break. We need to only be making time for what is necessary and important to us.

6. Brain.fm App: I read about this app in the book Tribe of Mentors (which I highly recommend!) This app plays music that helps your brain focus. I know it might sound weird, at least it did to me at first but I downloaded it and tried it anyways and it actually really helped. If I know I need to sit down and write a big business plan or spend 20 or more minutes on a task I like to turn this on. It also helps just so I don’t hear other things going on in our office space.

7. Monday.com: This one is only relevant if you are in a workplace environment. We use this as office communication at Barefoot Blonde Hair. It is nice because people can list tasks they are working on, estimated completion dates, give updates, etc. It keeps us all in the loop with everything that is going on without us all having to go back and forth with emails. Another good option is Slack but we ultimately stopped using it and switched to Monday because it has more features that are beneficial to us!

8. Delegate: This one was so hard for me for so long! The initial delegating is hard because you are spending so much time training the new employee that it actually doubles your work instead of taking a load off. Once we had our first few initial employees trained, they have now been able to get promoted and train new employees. It wasn’t until we started hiring that I realized all I could accomplish. I am a firm believer that you need to hire out to grow – there is only so much one person can do and if you are doing it all yourself you will end up spending so much time on mundane tasks that you won’t be using your strengths like they could be used. Know your strengths and maximize all the time you can doing tasks that fall in line with that. Everything else should be delegated.

9. Which hat are you wearing?: I read this on Sydney’s insta stories and really liked it. It’s basically this.. You have a lot of hats and you have to figure out which one you are wearing at that moment. If I am with the kids, I have my mom hat on and I am just mom and need to focus on JUST that. If I am at work I have my work hat on and need to focus on just work. You could apply this to anything though, being with friends you have your friend hat on and you should focus on that one person at that moment and be a friend. When the kids go down I put back on my wife hat and I can see what I can do as a wife. I think this just helps because sometimes we are supposed to have one “hat” on but can’t stop thinking about or trying to compete with another hat’s tasks. I really believe it’s important to be fully THERE for whatever it is we are doing.

10. Busy vs. Productive: This is something I learned in the 4 Hour Workweek book that really stuck with me! There is a difference between being busy and productive. Often times we feel we need to be in the office 9-5 because that is what you do right? But if you accomplished everything you needed to in 2 hours and there is nothing else that needs to be done that day, go HOME. Enjoy your day. There is no reason that not working should be considered laziness. As long as all your tasks are getting done you should spend as much time as you can enjoying life and not filling hours with busy work for the sake of feeling like you are doing something. (Of course I know this doesn’t always work with people who MUST be there 9-5pm! I do know at BFBH we let our employees come in when they want and work when they want as long as all tasks are completed on time, in a timely manner, and done right.

11. Your Go Time: Make sure if you do have a flexible work schedule that you are working when you know you will have little distractions and when you perform best. I actually work really well at night after the kids go down so often I get a lot of my work done later at night.

12. Blood Flow: I am convinced that one of the biggest things for me to have a good and productive day is starting it with a good work out in the morning. After a good workout I feel like I can go go go and just conquer the day. I have been consistently working out where it feels WEIRD if I don’t go to the gym. Even if you just go on a morning walk or do 20 jump lunges and some sit ups (that would seriously take 5 minutes!) anything you can do to get your heart rate up and blood flowing I think helps set the stage for your pace that day. (I don’t drink coffee though haha so maybe coffee would do the same ;))

3 Ways to Refresh Your Workout

Ahhh Spring is definitely here and it’s been a solid three months now since the beginning of the year. If you’re anything like me, you started out the new year feeling motivated, invigorated, and refreshed, but now three months later you’re a little over it. You’re even over all your workout clothes you got as gifts over the holidays, haha, even I’m guilty of that! I mean how many days a week can you really do the same thing over and over again without getting tired of it?

Read More

THIS TIME LAST YEAR

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  1. Great tips! I definitely live by the 2 minute rule, I think it helps keep my entire house in order. Nothing ever takes as long as we think it will.

  2. So amazing to hear all of these tips. Many, I hadn’t thought of before! My favorite was about wearing different hats. It’s so easy to think we need to wear all of the hats all at once. Being able to wear one at a time, and be there fully present in that hat is so much more productive. LOVE IT.

    xx
    McKenzie
    http://www.wisesoulblog.com

  3. This is one of my favorite articles on productivity EVERRRR! Really great! There are some real gems in here that I totally agree with. I also tend to get Busy Anxiety. Like you, I find that the best cure is PREPARATION. Preparation really puts my mind at ease. Then, when I’ve done all I can, I leave time to wind down. I’ll read a book, or watch TV and not let any counter-productive thoughts enter my head. I block them out!

    XO
    Karen
    http://www.ingoodcompany.today

  4. This was so incredibly helpful, I find that I’m always procrastinating what I want to do instead of actually completing the task, this has really helped in giving me tips to stay motivated and task focused! Thank you Amber x

  5. You are truly an inspiration! I can only hope (and work hard) that my blog is one day as successful and beautifully laid out like yours! Can’t wait to start applying these tips to my life!

  6. This was such a good post Amber!! Like, really insightful and helpful. I’m going to order the book you suggested too. Working from home with a little one not in FT school yet can be difficult at times, and I know organizing my day (and hats) can and does really help. I’ve been following you for over 4 years now and have just loved seeing you grow and gracefully find your voice, talents, and entrepreneurial gifts!! It’s so inspiring!

  7. Absolutely loved this post Amber! So good and so useful & relatable to what I’ve been focusing on recently. It’s easy to feel so overwhelmed and paralyzed with everything we have to do every day so having tactics like this makes a huge difference! This year I’ve been doing a different Mindfulness Challenge on my blog every month & April was ‘Mindfulness while Completing Tasks… learned so much especially with time-blocking!

  8. These tips are super helpful. I have an almost 2 year old and do some freelance work from home so I definitely feel like I never have time to accomplish everything. I do the under two minute rule and setting a timer for chores already, I’m looking forward to implementing some other ones as well 🙂

  9. I love these tips! Number 9 especially resonated with me. I often feel like I have so many tasks going on at once that I can’t do any of them particularly well. I am going to write this one on a post-it note and stick it to my computer as a reminder!

  10. What a wonderful and helpful blogpost Amber!
    Thank you so so much! 🙂 I really think that I can learn a lot from you and would love to read more about your work, blogging and everything 🙂 You once had a blogging categorie where you started with 2 or 3 blogposts about blogging and I would love to read more about that!! Its been a while since the last one 🙂

    Love from Germany
    Xx Paulie <3

    http://www.mind-wanderer.com

  11. Thank you very much – this tips are actually very helpful for students like me. I will apply them tomorrow while studying and hopefully I will be more productive. 🙂

  12. Thank you so much for this post! I definitely have “busy anxiety”. It does help to write everything out, but I almost always forget in the moment, so thanks for the reminder!

  13. You look so cute in that office picture! I’m always trying to increase my productivity, and these are great reminders. The 2 minute rule and time blocking work really well when I use them, I love That time blocking allows me to zone in on one task instead of being flustered. I need to use it more. Thanks for the reminders! xAllie
    http://www.theallthatglittersblog.com