Level Up Your Energy & Productivity with These Three Strategies

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I don’t know about you, but the longer the Coronavirus pandemic lasts, the more tired I seemingly am. Although it was initially thought I might be more productive with less on my 2020 calendar, after a while, the opposite was true. The monotony of being in my home that also serves as my place of work and using my computer for both work and (remote) friendship 24/7 started sucking the energy from my soul. In discussing this problem with my husband one night over dinner, we decided I needed a plan to pull myself out of the “dumps.” The following are ways I reclaimed my energy and productivity to get my 2020 back on track and end the year with a bang. Hopefully these strategies also help you as you prepare to shine brightly in the New Year!

Organize Your Space

From the outside, my life may seem like a well-oiled machine. On the inside exists a totally different picture. In particular, opening mail, completing projects, finding space for new items, donating outgrown clothes, sending thank you notes, all. the. things!! that working parents struggle to balance, is a constant challenge. As a result, the longer the pandemic lasted, the more piles that accumulated. On the dining room table, in my computer inbox, overflowing my office, you name it. No nook or cranny was safe from my clutter. My husband therefore suggested that I begin my journey back to productivity by cleaning these spaces.  

At first, I was reluctant to start with his suggestion, wondering what organization had to do with energy and productivity and skeptically thinking this was his self-serving ploy to get me to clean the house. Maybe it was. Regardless, the suggestion worked. There’s a reason Marie Kondo, The Home Edit, and Simplified collectively have millions of followers. Decluttering your life has some pretty sweet results, for me, not the least of which is feeling proud of myself. You know the saying, “look good, feel good?” It’s applicable here, too. My newly organized spaces make me want to use and enjoy them. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the clutter and wasting time finding necessary items in the abyss, I am ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work.

Take my advice and learn from my mistake – if you, too, are living amongst a mess, this is likely a starting point for change. Although taking the time to organize can at first feel like time away from realizing your dreams, in the end, a life edit may be just the ticket to crushing your goals.

Realistically Prioritize Your Tasks & Clear Your Calendar

Oftentimes, when your mind cannot see the finish line, it does not even want to start the race. For me, this manifests in extreme fatigue. When my to do list becomes endless, my body shuts down and wants to stay in bed right when I “need” to work around the clock to keep up. Although pulling out of this funk can be tough, the following are three steps I take to put one foot in front of the other and get moving again. 

Prioritize Tasks

Nothing clears a to do list like a crisis. I don’t know about you, but when limited time forces me to choose what is important and what is not, what actually needs to get done is crystallized. With this Spidey vision on, I delete any tasks, emails or miscellaneous extras and determine the priorities on which I need to focus.

Then comes the tough task of determining in which order to complete the projects. If you’re like me, it often feels like they are all due now. There are at least two guideposts to use when everything feels like an emergency.

First, analyze which project has the highest ROI (return on investment). For example, if you’re a business owner who needs to process monthly billing and write networking note cards, generate the invoices first. Sure, authentically connecting with others is important to your business in the long-term. What will immediately help you make payroll, however, are the monetary parts of your business. So, start there.

Second, communicate with others to determine where deadlines can be extended without penalty. For example, does your boss need the presentation assigned to you for an upcoming pitch? Or, is the assignment one that will be used in the long-term meaning it can comfortably take a backseat to other tasks that are true emergencies?

Realistically Schedule Tasks

Early in my career, I felt like a “failure” every day because I set myself up for failure. I overestimated what could realistically be accomplished throughout the workweek, including twenty-five tasks on my to do list when only seven were accomplishable. To avoid this trap, critically analyze the length of each project. Then double your estimation. And double it again. No really. How many times have you used the phrase, “that took longer than I thought it would?” Guilty! Realistically charting your course is essential to meeting deadlines, feeling good about your work product, reducing stress, and motivating you onto the next big dream.

Clear Your Calendar

Feel like you work hard every day but never accomplish anything? One culprit is including too many activities on your calendar. You can’t tackle significant, long-term tasks in short spurts between breakfast, lunch, dinner and other meeting appointments. To truly make headway on meaningful projects, you must reserve multi-hour blocks. I do this by weekly keeping at least one or two workdays appointment-free, allowing me to productively work without interruption.

Celebrate Your Health

While presently I’m perfectly healthy, at least twice in the past five years, lab work returned completely unexpected results. The awesome news? The issues could be treated and can be monitored. These incidents were also good reminders that “thinking” you are healthy is not necessarily the same as “being healthy.” Given the significant role that health plays in all aspects of our lives, it is critical to maintain it for as long as you can. The following are a few tips that may help you as you schedule necessary appointments:

  1. Schedule visits and procedures that may be hard on your mind and/or body on a Thursday or Friday. This timing gives you the weekend to recover, if necessary, and not cause you stress about missing work.
  2. Keep a note in your phone of issues you want to discuss with your doctor. It’s easily referenced when you’re asked if you have any questions instead of going blank. Also type your doctor’s responses into the note so that they are not forgotten and can be referenced post-appointment.
  3. Bring a pair of headphones to listen to your favorite podcast/audiobook/etc., especially if your participation is (relatively) unnecessary and the appointment/procedure causes you anxiety.
  4. Get your eyes checked! If a glasses prescription is recommended, checkout a big selection of eyeglasses online. You will save time and money and gain the advantage of multiple styles at your fingertips instead of the hassle of visiting multiple stores.
  5. Make friends with doctors. I limit the number of times I run issues past my doctor friends and mainly rely on building good relationships with the people who professionally care for me. But, sometimes, it’s more comfortable discussing issues with a friend and/or they can better explain situations to you.
  6. Ask for shots in your heinie - you’ll barely feel it (at least if your bottom is similarly cushioned like mine) and still have full use of both arms.
  7. Before bloodwork, drink lots of water. Dehydration makes getting a draw more difficult.
  8. Buy yourself a treat! Like many kids, my Mom promised me an ice-cream if I was a “good girl” at the doctor. To this day, I’m in the McDonald’s drive-thru after every appointment. It’s the little things.
  9. Perspective. At a recent mammogram, the radiologist apologized as she stretched my chest seemingly as far as it could be stretched to get the right angle (I swear my breastplate is the only skinny part of me). I said, “Don’t worry, this is a lot better than any alternative.” I meant it. These past few years especially, people I love(d) have been challenged with sickness and death. Health is a privilege. Do everything you can to respect it as such and keep it.

Do YOU have additional advice that will help the SYS community?! We’re sure you do. So, please share your suggestions by emailing Melanie@SpreadYourSunshine.com or by sending Spread Your Sunshine a message via FacebookInstagramLinkedIn or Twitter. We love hearing from you, as together, we are our best.

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