Two Things Helping Me Stay Productive

Most of the stuff I write is spiritual to some degree, so I’m departing from that trend for a bit to share two tips that are helping me to use  my time more productively. They’re not original, and they seem like common sense once you read them. For anyone who’s looking for ideas on how to make the most out of your schedule, here are two things that are helping me:

1. Move your desk. My home desk was tucked in a corner, where there’s not a whole lot of light. I didn’t really enjoy being there because it was too dark, so I’d move my laptop to another part of the room with brighter lighting. The problem? I could also see the TV from where I was sitting, and who wouldn’t rather watch Netflix than do homework? My solution, and it’s worked so far, was to move my desk in front of a window. Not only is the lighting better, but the view is much more interesting, too.

2. Keep your goals reasonable and, if possible, short. When I look at my to-do list, I’m going to be discouraged from the moment I start if that list only has one item on it: “everything.” List out your specific goals and then mark out a half hour or hour each night to do one of them. No, you won’t get done right away, but if you keep to your schedule, you will get done and you likely won’t be as exhausted or stressed when you’re finished as you otherwise would have been. It’s helped me not only to stay organize but also to know that I can, in fact, complete what I need to get done. (It’s also pretty nice giving myself the freedom to stop for the night, especially when I’m already tired from work.)

Those are my suggestions, dear readers. What are yours?

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2 thoughts on “Two Things Helping Me Stay Productive

  1. Eric March 6, 2014 / 9:19 pm

    I’m a big fan of the half-hour time limits. During my graduate work I had a number of short-term goals that I could tackle and complete (or at least make significant progress on) in a reasonable amount of time and I got those done because the sense of completion kept me going. I also had a lot of extremely long term goals (“read everything ever written on this subject”) and so I got a small whiteboard, allotted myself a certain amount of time each week to work on those goals, and allowed myself to “get out early” on weekend if I put in a bit more time during the week. It turned an endless task into one with a discrete ending and, therefore, a sense of accomplishment. It sounds like you’re doing something similar.

    • Justin Boulmay March 6, 2014 / 10:13 pm

      I definitely agree with you. It also means you have to be specific about what you want to do (which makes you more intentional when you do it). “Finish everything and be awesome at it” may sound like a goal, but more often than not, it’s just a nice idea that leaves you feeling like a failure.

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