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Mastering Productivity

by Sarah Long

It seems like every few weeks throughout the year, I hear someone say, "this is such a crazy time of year!"

It's true. Life somehow never really slows down does it? For me, with multiple jobs plus a home and a puppy to take care of, it can be easy to feel like I'm drowning in daily tasks and can never get ahead. No matter how much I might do in a day, I come nowhere close to getting it all done, so I feel like I've failed. Which is why I'm so thankful for some people I know at one of my jobs that have shared their wisdom on productivity. Now I get to pass it on to you!

What tends to happen is the urgent tasks take priority over the important tasks. Urgent tasks are those less planned-for things that scream, "TAKE CARE OF ME NOW!" Important tasks can be easy to forget about when all the urgent tasks of your day are vying for your attention. One of the biggest important tasks that gets so easily pushed to the back burner is taking care of yourself - taking a minute to breathe, getting in a workout, or preparing a good meal for yourself.

So here's one thing I've been doing that has helped tremendously. I start my days, especially days that I know will be incredibly busy, by making a list. Not a list of everything I need to do - that would be too overwhelming! I simply pick three big things that I need to get done. Three things that if I complete them, I'll feel productive at the end of the day. Sometimes I add more to the list, but these are the less pressing things that could wait until tomorrow.

If you're in the corporate world or another occupation where you have a lot of meetings, maybe you'll have to find smaller tasks for your Big Three some days just because you have less time to complete them. If you're a young mom, maybe something as simple as showering or going for a walk will be on your Big Three. Whatever your roles might be, try out the Big Three idea and keep track of how you feel at the end of the day!

It's been refreshing and energizing to be able to complete my "big three" list by the end of the day! I know more is coming tomorrow, but I've done what I needed to do TODAY, and I allow myself to feel good about that!

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