Productivity is the name of the game, whether you are preparing for college, gearing up to start your semester, or helping your college-bound teenager navigate the admissions process. These time-tested, and client-tested, productivity hacks will help you start your day right, schedule it appropriately, and keep the procrastination monster at bay.
1) Set an upbeat alarm ringtone
It may seem like a small thing, but waking up to motivating music you love gets you out of bed faster and on to a productive day quicker. You are more productive at home, too! Wake up to the style of music that motivates you. It’s not the same for everyone. Create a Spotify play list to wake up to. Don’t forget to change it up when you find a new song that inspires you. Get up. Get moving and the rest of the productivity hacks in this article will fall into place.
2) Use a planner
I’m not just talking about a calendar. I am talking about a serious planner like the Daily Greatness Business Planner, something with meat that puts your planning and strategy in the same place. When your tasks are aligned with your mission, you create exciting momentum. When you can draw purpose to your tasks, productivity goes way up and procrastination goes down.
3) Commit to a multi-platform calendar
Sync your Outlook and Google calendars and set up timely alerts so you are reminded of your meetings, important tasks, and follow ups. Change the color of important tasks when they are finished. I have my accountability clients set up day tasks in the color red and turn them green when they are done. This change promotes a feeling of accomplishment. Connecting everything is easier than you may think and it saves time and energy to have your calendar on your phone, watch, tablet, laptop, or whatever devices you use.
4) Get out and play
Long stretches of work with no breaks are killers! I advise my clients to unplug their laptop and work. When the laptop dies, they can go plug in and take a break. An untethered machine sets a time limit on tasks and pushes productivity. Play is one of the most under-utilized productivity hacks because people are afraid to do it. Check out “Downtime is Not a Waste of Time” to learn more.
5) Face the fear
Procrastination is a manifestation of FEAR. Pause, ask yourself what you are afraid of, and process it. Journal or talk to a coach or colleague about it. Once the fear has been processed, the procrastination will stop. This sends productivity through the roof.
Let’s try an exercise.
Write down one thing you are procrastinating on. Now, really look at that thing. What needs to be done for it to be completed? Is it just one thing or are there many steps? Drill it down to the first step. If you aren’t afraid of that first step, do it. If you are, keep reading. If you are afraid of that first step, take out a piece of paper and write down everything you get by not doing that step. After about 5 minutes, stop. Now, flip the page over. Write down everything that could go right when that step is completed. Stop after 5 minutes. Look at it. See, you wouldn’t be procrastinating if the payoff for you not doing it wasn’t bigger than the payoff for you just getting it done. So, you need to strengthen the belief in your WHY DO IT. Now, name the FEAR behind getting your payoff for getting it done. Once you name it, you can work with it. Started yet? Probably not if you are still reading.
Hacking fear is one of the most beneficial productivity hacks you can do. In fact, fear is a common sticking point in getting a college application done. It’s big. It’s scary. There are essays. There are references to get and transcripts to order. In my case, when I went back to grad school, I had a couple of bad grades from freshman year to face. It’s all going to be ok. To blatantly steal Nike’s slogan, Just Do It.
Remember, you don’t manage time. It’s how you perform within the time you have that counts!
We all get the same 24 hours.
|Diane Dye Hansen is the Chief Inspiration Officer of What Works Coaching, an individual and organizational coaching and consulting firm based in Carson City. She has 20 years of experience working with top corporations, growing businesses, motivated entrepreneurs, and individuals hungry for a fresh start. Diane holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration and Marketing from Cal State San Bernardino. She is also a candidate for a Master’s degree in Communications Management from the University of Southern California.|