This is not Productivity 101. I wish it was. I’d probably be the first to sign up.
I’m one of the sleepiest people around. I’ve had 26 minute power naps turn into 6 hour comas and almost always cry if my eyes open before 10 am on weekends. This constant zombie state impacts my productivity in the workplace to a rather troublesome extent. Anyone who has experienced the head bobbing that accompanies falling asleep at your desk will understand me. I always tend to get sleepiest around 2 pm, with the combination of post-lunch fullness and a warm, sunny office setting me off into a jerky snooze sesh. Combating this hasn’t been easy. Having a cold bottle of water by my side has helped a lot though, through either a refreshing sip or a slight sprinkle on my face. Actually sleeping at an acceptable time helps too, with my current goal to be in bed by 10:30 pm and on dream number two by 11:15 pm. Having said that though, sleeping excessively doesn’t always help. I find that when I sleep too much I wake up with a colossal headache and a much neglected tummy. (Side note: sleeping to skip meals and aid weight loss is the worst idea possible. My attempt resulted in a midnight crash session involving multiple packets of Flings). Anyway, try to sleep within a decent range and do your best to facilitate a GOOD sleep by leaving Instagram out of your bedtime ritual and applying oil to sooth your temples. I’d like to also suggest wearing an eye mask. For no reason other than how glam you feel wearing it.
Going back to the workplace, I’ve found the greatest value in the simplest of things…a diary. I’ve had my 2017 diary since late last year and yet used it sporadically over the course of the year. For me, having a pretty, tumblr worthy journal has always been an essential but actually using it hasn’t been. After leaving school I rarely used a diary, relying on my friends, WhatsApp groups and lecturer emails to remind me about Uni deadlines. After starting my new job however, I’ve come to reassess my diary usage and now I literally cannot do without it. There’s something wholly authentic about pen to paper and I appreciate this now more than ever. Jotting down a to-do list in your diary or on a sticky note really helps to get your thoughts in order. That feeling of ticking off or better still, aggressively striking out tasks is highly satisfying and encourages you to get more done.
Having a monthly calendar is also a basic but bountifully beneficial practice. I like to plan in 6-8 week segments, filling in as I go along and including anything from work deadlines to social events. It’s like having a visual snapshot of the upcoming weeks and really helps you to establish structure. As someone who works and studies I often find myself mixing up dates and forgetting simple commitments (like a very urgent waxing appointment or lunch with a friend). For this reason I rely on my calendar to help me save face and stay sane.
My current job requires employees to use a time-tracking tool called Toggl. The tool prompts you to track tasks which are assigned to a project and/or client. Although the notification was something of a pest initially, I recently found myself enthused by the results of my tracking. Once you commit to tracking as much as humanely possible you can actually see how your time is allocated during the day. There’s several features which allow you to view your weekly and monthly stats and it’s quite amazing to see how efficient a time-manager you really are. It’s a learning curve in many ways and really gets you to evaluate your work ethic. It’s also rather amusing to see the dismal attempt to work on a Friday when you’ve literally tracked a mere 2 hours and 38 minutes.
As for my last tip, I request that you, busy future CEO bossgal (or guy) that you are, simply listen to your body. When your body asks you for a break…take heed. If your legs need a stretch or your brain needs a coffee, make it happen. You need to make time for breaks during the course of the working day and beyond that too. Whether it’s a yoga session or Netflix and chill, let your body have its time to relax. Too often we neglect ourselves and end up knocked out in bed with the weight of all our impending tasks preventing us from getting better at all. Prevent this and go on that smoothie-run an hour before your presentation. It might save ya 🙂