Are you ready to ditch the dreaded procrastination and get laser focused with your working routine? I’m sharing five of my top tips to help you get organised and prep for your most productive week as a business owner or freelancer!
I’ve always thought of myself as a relatively organised person but one of the things that I have really had to work on over the past two years since becoming my own boss is prepping for productivity. Landing at your desk on a Monday morning and having a whole five days spread out in-front of you with no real structure can be an extremely daunting sight. I’ve learnt over time just how important it is to do some prep work in advance to make sure you are maximising your time and getting as much done as possible.
If you’re ready to take on your most productive week ever make sure to read on to discover the tips and tricks I’ve learn along the way!
Get Organised Ahead of Time
One of the most important steps in preparing for a productive week is getting organised ahead of time. There’s nothing worse than sitting down at your desk on a Monday morning and having no idea what tasks you should be getting on with. That’s why I like to set aside an hour either on a Friday afternoon or a Sunday evening to plan out my week so that I can really make the most of all of the time available to me.
First, I’ll make sure that any client meetings, networking events or social plans are in my Google Calendar. Monday mornings for example are blocked out every week for The Co-Working Club and Wednesday’s are spent working in-house for a client so I know not to schedule anything else for these times. I’ll also add things like gym classes into my calendar to make them feel more like official appointments that I need to keep to.
Then I’ll sit down and write a to-do list for the week ahead, I like to use a bullet journal style notebook which I tend to split into four key areas; client work, The Co-Working Club, Jess Who and admin. I find that breaking tasks down in this way helps me to focus on the different areas of my business and not get overwhelmed by a huge, disorganised to-do list.
One I have my master to-do list I will then work on adding the individual tasks into my Google Calendar. This time blocking technique is something that I picked up from Holly and have found it to be a really effective way of staying on track with everything I need to achieve in a day. I tend to group tasks together as much as possible so I’ll schedule any admin tasks for a Monday morning and I’ll try to group all of my client work together to tackle on Tuesdays and Thursdays. That then leaves me with Fridays free to work on my blog and The Co-Working Club.
It might sound like a lot of work but for me there’s no better feeling than having your week mapped out in advance and knowing exactly what you need to get on with every day to get the most ticked off your to-do list!
Start the Day Off on the Best Foot
I often find that how I start my day has a huge effect on my productivity levels. If I snooze my alarm and kick off my morning by scrolling through Instagram for half an hour then it’s likely I won’t show up to my work in the best way possible. If I get up on time and head to the gym, or set aside time to make a healthy breakfast then I’m much more likely to be in a productive headspace by the time I reach my desk.
Something else that I’m trying to incorporate into my mornings as frequently as possible is practising gratitude. After spending time with amazing business owners such as Victoria and Sophie I’ve come to realise how important setting aside some time to work on your wellbeing is and what better time than prioritising yourself first thing in the morning!
Ditch the Distractions
If I want reach my peak productivity levels then ditching the distractions is absolutely essential. I’ll often put my phone out of reach in another room so that I can’t be tempted to keep picking it up and I sometimes I’ll even block social media sites on my laptop when I really need to get in the zone and stay focused.
A distraction technique which I only really started to see the true effects of this year is multi-tasking. I would often try to work on three or four separate tasks at once, jumping around from tab to tab and wondering why I never really managed to achieve much. To help combat this I started to implement The Pomodoro Technique more regularly which is something that I’ve found to be particularly useful when it comes to increasing productivity. Having a totally distraction free period to concentrate on one task and one task only really helps to keep me on track and it’s so satisfying to see what can get done in thirty minutes when you really put your mind to it!
Schedule Regular Breaks
It’s not realistic or healthy to spend an entire day working continuously without taking a break so I’ve found being intentional about when you step away from your desk to be the best way to remain in your most productive mindset.
Instead of checking Instagram every ten to fifteen minutes why not put your phone out of reach and instead take one proper fifteen minute break mid-morning, and another mid-afternoon when you can stretch your legs, make a cup of tea and grab a snack. It will feel so much more rewarding knowing that you’re making progress with your to-do list and can actually afford to take that time away from your desk.
I like to schedule my breaks into Google Calendar in advance so I know exactly what my day is looking like when I sit down at my desk in the morning. Most days when I’m working from home I’ll schedule my lunch between 1pm and 2pm, I won’t always use up the full hour but I like to know that I have the option available to me should I need it.
Make Time to Review Your Progress
At the end of every day I factor in ten to fifteen minutes to work through my to-do list for the day, I tick off everything that I managed to get done and move any tasks that didn’t quite get finished over to another free space in my calendar. This reflection helps to see exactly what you’ve managed to achieve in the day and also means that you get more familiar with how long tasks take you to complete which is super important when you implement time blocking into your calendar.
Sometimes you only realise how much you’ve managed to actually achieve when you see it written down on paper and I’ve found that implementing this practice into my routine helps to more clearly define the end of the working day which is something that many people who work from home seem to struggle with!
How do you like to prep for a productive week? Share your top tips below!
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Photography by Ami Ford.