My Two Favorite Tips for Productive Mornings

I am fairly organized by nature but I am still always looking for ways to streamline and improve how I do things, especially when it comes to maximizing my mornings. Therefore, last year I went through Crystal Paine’s Make Over Your Mornings online course. And, I am so glad that I did because it was transformative.

Two Tips for Productive Mornings

Image by josealbafotos (2011) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

Now, I am a morning person by nature, and like to get up early, but I don’t always use the time as well as I could. For me, this means that I sometimes have to let some things go, and it is usually my writing time and my exercise time. I just know that if I don’t get them in first thing in the morning, they won’t get done. This is especially true during the school year because I home school my son. Well, on day two of the course, I was reminded that:

The Mornings Start the Evening Before

She suggests developing an evening routine that contains 3-5 non-negotiable things that you want to do to set up your mornings for success.

I started implementing this strategy and it has made a world of difference! By creating a simple, and quick, evening routine I am now more centered, focused, and productive in the mornings, especially in the time before my son wakes up. I am getting my stretching/exercising done almost every day. I am writing almost every day. If I over-sleep or can’t accomplish my morning routine (things happen after all), I now give myself grace instead of mentally beating myself up for not accomplishing my goals. This tip has definitely become my absolute favorite tip for productive mornings!

Then a couple of months ago, Crystal came out with a Make Over Your Evenings course. Because I am an affiliate, I received a complimentary copy of the course but I didn’t think I needed it so I put it aside. I really didn’t think I would get much out of course. However, I started falling back into old habits in the evening and realized that I probably could glean a thing or two out of the course.

Well, I was right. I discovered the “stop doing list!” Crystal got this idea from the author, Alli Worthington. With the stop doing list, you write down “a list of items you intentionally decide not to do so you can focus your time and energy on your greatest priorities.”

I coupled this list with my new time management system and it was an eye opener. There were things on my schedule that just didn’t need to be there. Sure, I was making time for those things but I wasn’t doing them for the right reasons. Thus, by creating my stop doing list, I was able to further scale down my schedule and make room for things that really matter to me and my family and make my mornings even more productive.

Don’t get the wrong idea. It isn’t perfect and I am still a work in progress but that’s okay. I will keep plugging along, revamping as needed. This leads me to one more revelation that I had through this course. I need to learn to be for flexible. I am definitely a woman of habit and it is too easy for me to stay stuck because of stubbornness or unwillingness to let go. Tell me it isn’t just me! LOL! So, I guess I will be working on this too. 🙂

I highly recommend you to create your own evening routine and stop doing list in a way that will set you up for success. It may take a little time in the beginning to decide what you want your routine will look like or how you want to set your priorities but I promise you, it will be worth it. And don’t over think it. Your evening routine can be something simple such as setting your clothes out the night before or preparing your writing area.

If you want some help setting up your routine or creating your own stop doing list, I encourage you to sign up for Crystal’s Make Over Your Mornings  or Make Over Your Evenings online course. I promise you, you will not regret it. If you aren’t sure if the course is right for you, Crystal has made the first day of the Mornings course available for free and you can read my review of the Make Over Your Mornings course on my personal website.

(In case you are wondering, each course is $17 but, believe me, well worth the price!)

*********

Tweetable: Two Tips for Productive Mornings

(Post contains affiliate links, see my disclosure policy for details)


Online Productivity Tool: LeechBlock

I think I have “back-to-school” fever or something as I get ready to start homeschooling my son again because I have been thinking and/or writing about productivity a lot lately. LOL! One of the ways I am trying to streamline things is how I work online so that I am more focused and get more done.

Online Productivity Tool: Leechblock

For example, have you ever got online to work and thought to yourself, “Let me just check out Twitter for a minute,” only to look up and realize that you have been browsing for 20, 30, or more minutes? Surely, I can’t be the only one who has done this? Right? Well, one thing that has helped me is Leechblock.

What is Leechblock?

Leechblock is a Firefox add-on that you can use to temorarily block certain websites for a specified time-period – up to six sets of websites. For example, you can set Leechblock to block Twitter Monday – Friday, 9am-11am. Or you can set it weekly and Block Facebook every Tuesday from 2pm-3pm. Basically, you get to set what websites to block, and when to block them. You can set it up for however it works for you.

Benefits of Leechblock

I learned about Leecblock a few years ago through another blogger and have used it on and off since then. The main benefit is that it helps me stay focused. I know that I cannot access certain websites at certain times; therefore, I am more apt to use that time for its intended purpose, which for me, means writing.

Actually, I am also planning to use it with my son. He recently received a new-to-him computer (my husband’s older computer) to use mostly for school. We allow him to play games on it but as he starts fifth grade soon, I am planning to block the game websites he likes during the times he is supposed to be doing school. (Note: Leechblock is not a substitute for parental controls which we also have in place.)

What I like most about Leecblock is that it is simple to use and customizable. I have gone through long periods when I didn’t use the add-on and long periods where I use it every day. So, if you are looking to stay focused online so that you can get your next book or signature program completed, this add-on may be just the tool you need.

Speaking about productivity, what is your favorite productivity tool, either online or offline?

 

 

 

Five Strategies for Beating Procrastination

Piggybacking off of my earlier series on time management, I want to offer a few tips on beating procrastination because it is certainly a time waster, and if taken to the extreme, can stunt your success.

BeatingProcrastination

So, let me ask you this:

  • Do you ever get overwhelmed by the things you need to do that you don’t do anything?
  • Does your time get sucked away, wasted on social media sites?
  • Are you sometimes swayed by the dishes, vacuum or other household duty calling your name when trying to work?

If you do, you are not alone. Here are some tactics I use on those days I just can’t get focused or motivated to do what I need to do:

1. Analyze it. Ask yourself:  Exactly why am I putting this off? What is the core issue here? Fear? Laziness? Don’t like the task at hand? What can I do to overcome this issue? Do I absolutely HAVE to do this? Can I pass it on to my assistant or someone else? Can I just let it go and not get it done at all?

Once you’ve analized the reasons behind your procrastination, it is time to make a decision. Immediately do the task, delegate the task, or drop the task off your to-do list.

2. Use a timer. This is a well-known technique that I use a lot. I set the timer for as long as I think something should take to be finished (or for how much time I have available) and then I get to work doing what I can within that duration. When the timer goes off I either move on to the next thing or, depending on the particular task, I’ll reset the timer and do it again.

What makes this technique effective is that it helps keep you focused on the topic on had during that specific time you are “racing against the clock.”

3. Unplug the phone. If you get a lot of calls or find yourself interrupted by calls consistently and cannot bear to NOT answer the phone – thus distracting you from your work – try turning it off. If it is your cell phone that is the problem, set it to silence/mute and turn off the notifications. Just don’t forget to turn it back on later!

Here’s an extra tip: Make it a standard policy that all phone calls be scheduled.  This will help you plan your work rotation, and will allow you to focus on doing your best work without distractions.

4. Use LeechBlock. LeechBlock is a Firefox add-on that blocks whatever websites  you designate for as long as you specify. In other words: If Facebook is a sucker for you, you can set LeechBlock to block access to Facebook during those times you need to focus your attention elsewhere. (Of course, you still need to be disciplined here. It’s easy to disable or change the block, which would defeat the purpose of setting it in the first place!)

5. Get over yourself. As silly as it sounds, I consider myself a ‘recovering perfectionist’. Why? Because sometimes I get so hung up on doing what I’m doing “so perfectly” that it paralyses me into doing nothing. Please tell me I’m not alone here! Case in point: I have been wanting to start creating more videos for a long time now; but, for fear of not getting it perfect, or making a fool of myself, I have been putting it off. But you know what? Sometimes good enough is good enough. Finally, I just have to let go of my fear of perfection and do it. (I do have three videos, but you can’t see my face. 🙂 )

Therefore, if you are putting off doing something because it might not be perfect, NOW is the time to shake that off and get moving!

Finally, here is a bonus strategy:

6. Bribe yourself. (A.K.A. reward yourself.) Tell yourself that as soon as you finish completing your task or assignment, you will… get that massage, read that book, etc. It doesn’t have to be big, just give yourself something to look forward to when you are finished with your work.

Now it is your turn. What’s your best strategy in dealing with procrastination? Let me know in the comments.

——–

P.S. Download a pdf version of this post here that you can keep in a handy place as a reminder. (Subscribers can access this download directly on their private subscriber page.)

Tweetable: 5 Strategies to Beat Procrastination