Here are a few ways that I trick myself into doing what I know I should do, and in turn ensure I am more productive and reach my goals:
- I have put classic literature in my bathrooms, along with cue cards with words in Shona on them, and educational books like “World History for Dummies“. When I go to the bathroom (we all do!), I don’t bring my phone with me. So, if I want to entertain myself whilst I do my business, I have no choice but to read the classic books in there, or go through my Shona words that I’m trying to learn. This tricks me into learning which is something I’ve failed at fitting into my schedule previously.
- When you get off your laptop, don’t shut down every time. Instead, I put it to sleep and leave my Word documents open which have the books I need to write or edit on. This means I’m always reminded that I have editing to do!
- I have cue cards on my notice board with Shona words on, too. Therefore, they’re right in my face and I don’t forget about them.
- Leave the phone at home! Simple, done.
- Clean for 20 minutes each day so the house is always tidy instead of you having a big tidying task left for one day. Use a timer for 20 mins and it’s a super easy way to break down a big task.
- Have your books right by your bed, so you read at night before sleeping, or you read first thing in the morning. I do the latter, so I set my day in motion.
- Do tasks whilst doing other tasks (that sounded weird). I mean, listen to audiobooks whilst your walk or drive. Read whilst the kettle is boiling or you’re cooking. Answer emails on the toilet. Exercise whilst you’re waiting for food to be done. Clean as you cook. Listen to audiobooks whilst you clean. Edit your work whilst your commuting. Etc. Multitask!
- Have fruits readily available, not fatty snacks. You can’t eat what isn’t there!
- Have cleaning wipes on your side, so you can quickly clean up any mess on the sides without the added effort of getting your cloth and water and the spray!
- Put an alarm on your phone if you want to (I’m trying not to), but then put your phone away from your bed, so you have to get up to stop the alarm! Then, you’re already up and you can start your day! Or, better yet, try not to use your phone as an alarm. This works well because when your phone is your alarm, you’re tempted to go sifting through social media which is unproductive and toxic first thing in the morning. So, opt for an alarm clock instead, and try not to look at your phone (emails and social media mostly) until later in the day.
- Have a calendar, goals for the month, a diary, a tracker, sticky notes, and more all around reminding you of what needs to be done!
- Turn your phone onto airplane mode when you’re working, so you can’t be disturbed. Plus, set a timer on your phone for an hour so you know you’ve got a full hour to blaze through your work. Then, have a reward ready at the end of the timer so that you have something to work towards. This works better than just working aimlessly.
- Disable notifications for social media, because notifications cause you to go on the app and you end up there for hours! Instead, only check it now and again if you need to.
- Have exercise equipment out so that they are easy to use. We have an exercise bike up in our living room so it’s super easy to just hop on and ride whilst you watch TV! Also, it inspires you to do it when they’re present in your environment.
- You could even go a step further and have books or cue cards or educational texts or a notebook etc in places like your kitchen, so when you’re cooking or waiting for the kettle to boil, you can educate yourself to pass the time!
The BEST PRODUCTIVITY HACK TO GOES TO SHAPING YOUR ENVIRONMENT. You will do more, be in the right mindset, and be inspired to do what you need to do if your environment is right. This is things like the goals in a visible space. This is the exercise equipment out (in a clean, tidy way, of course) or your yoga mat in a visible place. This is having your laptop on your desktop. This is having a neat, organised desk. This is setting your intentions each day, and having them visible or with you throughout the day. Set reminders. Turn off your phone. Put things in place so that you HAVE to do them, it’s no longer a choice!