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We’ve talked quiiiiiiite a bit about productivity together in the past (here, here, + here!), but it’s something I still get Q’s about often, and something that I think evolves for us all as we go through different phases in life! For as much as a book or podcast can say “this is how you will be the most productive,” I also think being productive is more about following your own formula, because it’s not necessarily a one-size-fits-all approach! Sometimes we have to go through our own personal trial + error to figure out a sortof system that works in our own lives, with the different things on our plate + hats on our head at any given moment. And THAT’S A-OK.
For me, my life is basically ALWAYS go go go. It’s always fast paced, it’s always dynamic, it’s always ON the go, bebopping from one place to the next and one task to the next to keep CUR running as a well-oiled machine, being primarily an in-house party of uno. While it can be oh so totally tempting to look at what Nancy Next Door is doing in her daily routine, it’s not realistic (or healthy) to compare that to what works for me in my own life with my own balancing act. So I thought it’d be fun to share 15 ways I get + stay more productive on the go, with my friends at Tropicana! (They’ve got the YUMMIEST single-serve drink out now – brace yo’self!). If any of the below work for you, too, HUZZAH – pleasepleaseplease let me know. 🙂
Especially not necessarily knowing what the rest of the day will entail, one of the few times I feel truly ~in control~ of my time + schedule is first thing in the morning. And for good reason – not many other folks are up and at ’em at 6 am, so there’s some peace in knowing I can get up early and start knocking off to-do’s before the folks I’m emailing have even gotten out of bed! 😉 So, I’ve been trying reaaaaally hard to consistently get up between 6-6:30 every day, feed the cats, and grab my own fuel before heading right into my office to get started on a few tasks. This is also really important mindset time for me to get the day started on the right mental foot, so it’s when I start playing light worship/Christian coffeehouse music and read a few devotionals before looking at something like my inbox.
Especially since becoming preggers, I’ve also prioritized eating a solid, healthy breakfast even moreso (whereas I used to get away more with coffee + something small, and now I’m picking proteins!). Coffee + OJ + something substantive, whether that’s a loaded PB&J on whole grain toast, Greek yogurt with granola, our fave overnight oats recipe, a “Gwynn family sandwich” – our house specialty! – or scrambled egg whites with cheese.
Chances are, you’ve heard me hype up the brain dump before around these rosy parts. BECAUSE IT WORKS, YO. If/when I’m on the go more than usual (maybe it’s a particularly busy week, or I’ve been back-and-forth on trips, etc), I HAVE to start days with a solid brain dump…or things get cray up in there. It becomes way too easy for the laundry list of to-do’s + tasks to become overwhelming basically instantly if I’m not constantly monitoring what I’ve got going on and how I’m feeling about it all. So, I brain dump it out! Getting it all out there on paper and starting the day as clear-headed as possible makes it THAT MUCH EASIER to get *more* done when it counts as the day goes on.
Know your own “go time”
You know how everyone and their mom asks if you’re more of a morning person or night owl?? WELP, it’s time to take that a step deeper – when is your GO time? Sure, you might prefer mornings over nights or vice versa – but that’s vague and broad. (Also, what is night? Is night 7:30 pm to you, or 2 o’clock in the morning? Ya feel me???) Especially when I’ve got a jampacked schedule, I know I don’t necessarily have the luxury of dedicating an entire morning to a project; it might have to be broken up into chunks through the day – or chunks throughout a week – to be done start-to-finish. My own “go time” is first thing in the morning; I have my morning routine that might run from 6:30ish to 10ish, and once I’m showered/ready for the day and back at my desk, my best chunk is typically from 10:30ish to lunchtime. That’s when I feel good about having a few easy tasks knocked out in my first time block of the day, but I still have energy to tackle something bigger before the afternoon slump hits. (Because post-lunch, I’m on the struggle bus until my afternoon coffee/second wind kicks in!) My mother-in-law is the total opposite – her own “go time” starts at 3:30 in the afternoon! So it’s really a personal preference once you know thyself and can go go go accordingly.
Especially with projects that are a bit more time-intensive, like a big brand collaboration or something for BossPitch, if I know I can’t crank it out in one setting, I’m scheduling it out for a few subsequent days in my “go time” to ensure I’m making it happen at my peak productive times. So it’s something I’d break up into smaller chunks and schedule for when MY go time is on fire!
The 2-minute rule
I’ve ALWAYS said I’m the *most* productive when I’m actually running around like a chicken with its head cut off, only because I’m forced to make the most of every single moment! So the 2-minute rule works WONDERS for me. How it works: If you can get it done in 2 minutes or less…get it done RIGHT NOW. Like, just do it. No pushing it off, no saving it for later…just do it now, and do as many of those easy tasks in the 2-minute time span as possible. Set a timer if you have to – I end being surprised how much I can do in 120 seconds that have bigger impact on my overall sanity! 2 minutes is enough time to make the bed, pick up the floor, and put away any products that were laying out on your bathroom counter – so do it. It’s enough time to empty the dishwasher or throw in a load of laundry – easy things that we procrastinate on when they’re just sitting on our lists, but could be checked off in literally two minutes flat.
Color-code it. Live by it. Especially being on the go, ain’t nobody got time to sit down and flesh things out whenever/wherever you need a refresher on the day’s to-do’s! It’s so good to be able to take a quick glance at your planner and know exactly what’s up, and when.
Tackle the top 3 tasks
I’m SO BAD with this sometimes (read: most times). But regardless of how many tasks make it to my to-do list (so if you’re me, way too many – ha!), I have to start the top THREE (only 3). SO HARD, I KNOW. But it leads to more productivity in the end, since you’re forced to prioritize something to come back to, and you’re at least tackling 3 biggies from top to bottom instead of starting a whole handful and maybe not fully finishing…any.
Hit the three buckets: Must Do, Must Not Do, and Learning to Do
I read this in The EveryGirl some time ago and it stuck with me ever since! Every single day, along with tackling those top 3 tasks, hit something in each of the 3 buckets: must do, must NOT do, and learning to do. That way, every single day, you’re getting something essential done (obvi important), you’re staying disciplined and intentionally managing your time (important), and you’re always learning (also important).
A productivity principle I’ve been using since the actual dawn of time. I block my day out in 4-5 work “blocks.” Especially with a ton of tasks on a day’s list, it can become overwhelming + impossible (really quickly, too) to expect to stay on a strict hourly schedule. Everyone and their mom knows that sh*t happens, and sometimes that sh*t can disrupt an entire afternoon in a single second! So instead of setting myself up for inevitable failure and/or disappointment when things either a.) don’t get done or b.) don’t get done “on time,” it’s all about reframing time from the getgo. Instead of saying “At 11 am, I will do ____,” I might have 1-2 must-do’s in one 2-3 hour “block.” This helps SO MUCH, especially since it can be downright impossible to accurately predict exactly how long something will take down to the minute (or even hour).
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! (But…)
With H2O, of course. But also, mix up yo’ drinks! Especially on the go, I’m more likely to reach for a drink if it’s something different that I know I’m looking forward to enjoying all day. Water is great, but it’s also…water. So if I’m rushing around and not wanting to accidentally forget something in my car (or just forget to drink it), my on the go choice is to make it fun + mix it up. 🙂 Lately, my on-the-go drink of choice is Tropicana Drinks Single Serves (the watermelon is my fave so far – cue Beyonce, ’cause I been drinkin’ watermelon) – they’ve got no artificial sweeteners or artificial flavors, so they’re a really yummy treat specifically made to go! Their single-serve Premium drinks also come in Lemonade, Tangerine Lemonade, + Raspberry Lemonade, which I am ALL ABOUT especially since lemonade has been probably my #1 consistent craving all throughout pregnancy thus far. I swear to the sweet Lord baby Jesus, someone just needs to hook this mama up with a lemonade IV and we’d be golden! Then they’ve ALSO got Tropicana Coco Blends – Pineapple with Coconut Water and Passion Fruit with Coconut Water – which also have no artificial sweeteners or flavors, and are 15% fruit juice and 10% coconut water. I’m a total sucker for a more flavorful drink on the go, so a good sip of something yummy + refreshing is just the burst I need to keep powering on as productively as possible.
Focus on the hats you’re wearing
I KNOW my anxiety will be at an all-time high if/when I’m on the go nonstop for a hot sec, without breathing room or time to get re-centered. So a tip that helps at least in the moment: focus on the hat you’re wearing RIGHT THEN. We can’t do it all – and balance is a unicorn. Intentionally focus on THE hat you have on your head in that one moment (since we all know it’s impossible to physically wear more than one hat at a time…just like it’s impossible to truly multitask 😉 ). Some moments that might be your worker/employee hat, some moments that might be your mom hat, some moments that might be your girlfriend/fiancé/wife hat – so focus on the hat accordingly.
My cube timer is #life. When you’re on the go, you wanna maximize moments! So, no time for wasted time, chicas y chicos. Especially for more routine tasks that are on the list week after week (even day after day), try timing them on a good day so you know how much time they could/should/would be taking if you’re at your best.
Friday power hour
We all wanna end the week strong amiright?! I started doing this recently and it’s a powerhouse way to close things out. Schedule a power hour for yourself every Friday, to tackle any last minute task that needs tackling. How it works: Dedicate a solid, undistracted hour solely to one must-do/must-finish thing. Set a timer. Grab a notepad – if a thought pops in your head during that hour of some random to-do (ie., you’re working hard on writing your thesis but then think OMG I need Taco Bell or I forgot my laundry in the dryer!) let it go. For now. Just write it down on your notepad + save for later. Give ONE solid hour with ONE HUNDRED % effort in ONE task. That’s the key.
I have some girlfriends that *swear* by dressing up to be their most productive best self – one used to wear full business casual in college whenever we had exams! That works for me *sometimes*, but other times, ain’t nobody got time to get all put together first – sometimes if I’m on the go, I barely have time to brush my hair out, let alone put on a full face of makeup + a fully styled look. But one thing that does directly impact my productivity is whether or not I’m wearing – wait for it – shoes! I think it’s justbecause my poochies = comfy time. If I’m in cozy socks or slippers, I’m a hella happy camper – but I’m not necessarily the most *productive* camper. 😉 Throwing on real shoes can make a huge difference in mindset alone!
Be using the right tools + apps.
Be more productive by never going at it alone. If something exists to make life easier, why resist it? These are 12 of my favorite tools + tricks to download slash utilize ASAP.
When in doubt, snack it out. A good healthy snack goes a long way (especially when paired with a yummy drink – hollah @ Tropicana!). Add protein-packed snacks into your bag + on your desk for something good to reach for when your brain needs a boost.
How do you stay productive on the go?
And have you tried Tropicana’s single serves yet??? If you do, pleasepleaseplease let me know which flavor you find most delish – I’ve got Tangerine Lemonade next on my to-try list!
*Thanks to Tropicana, a brand I lovelovelove, for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions + thoughts presented are entirely my own. Thank YOU for supporting the brands that support Coming Up Roses!