If you’re someone who only feels accomplished when you get to check things off your list, have I got some good news for you.
In the last few weeks, I’ve found myself more productive than ever. I’ve created more content. I’ve done more planning. I’ve been more organized, more intentional, more satisfied with the writing I’ve created.
Here’s how I’ve done it.
Like so many of you who are feeling frustrated right now, I’m a planner. The bigger the event or the more complex the project, the better. Our upcoming Writing Support for Creatives course, for example, literally keeps me up at night with anticipation. Ordinarily, this level of intense excitement would be great for my productivity. But not lately.
Because like so like so many of you, I don’t have time to sit and plan all day anymore. At any given moment, I’m bouncing back and forth from my preschooler’s rice table to my second grader’s reading assignment. Then back to my preschooler’s coloring sheets and over to my second grader’s word problems. And back and forth we go. All day long, while my laptop sits closed. And for a while, my planning fell by the wayside.
Until I planned how to plan. I know. Crazy type-A meta. But stick with me.
I broke down all of those big, exciting tasks into a series of small, manageable tasks, any of which can be accomplished in a 10-15 minute period. Maybe even less. I created a list of tasks that I can draw from whenever the rice table is enough of a distraction or the book is good enough to polish off “just one more chapter.” I choose a task from the list that speaks to me creatively at that particular moment, and I go for it. I don't finish it. I certainly don't perfect it. I just get to it.
And every time I have a free moment to do this, it creates other small, manageable tasks for the bucket. If I had time to check off "begin blog post" in this five-minute window, then I can add “finish blog post” to my list. Then I can add “edit blog post” and “post blog post” and eventually “create Instagram caption for blog post.” In another life I would have accomplished all those things together, but that’s not where any of us are living right now.
When I started biting off tiny bites instead of a full, satisfying meal, I eventually realized that I was actually accomplishing more than I had been before. Not just because I suddenly went from two big tasks to 20 small ones, but because it was easier to keep moving forward when my focus was so narrowed.
I also built this type of intentional self-reflection into the end of each day. In part because of the Elegant Excellence Goals Journal and in part because of a need for daily self-preservation, I now end each week with a summary of that week's accomplishments. By making such reflection a ritual to end each day, I’m left with an even greater sense of accomplishment. That catapults me into another day of piecemeal productivity.
In the coming weeks--maybe months--I wish for you and your business newfound productivity and a sense of real accomplishment at the end of every day, even if it's just ten minutes at a time.
I’d love to hear how you’re making your time work during this crazy time! Share your best tips and tricks in the comments below.