Want to be more productive and successful? If like me, you have huge dreams and aspirations but struggle with being a mere mortal, you’re probably obsessed with posts like this. I spend my lunch breaks Googling “How to Blog Efficiently”, “How to be More Productive” and “How to be Successful”. Most of the results are fully of super helpful tips (note the sarcasm there) such as winning the lottery, quitting your job to travel today and putting 40 hours a day into your blog.
Like I said, for us mere mortals, these “tips” are often completely irrelevant and, more often than not, actually make you feel even less successful than you actually are!
So, after lots of reading, research and trial and error, here are my favourite tips to help you become more productive and, as a result, more successful:
1. Believe in Yourself
Before you make any other changes if your life, make this one. No matter what approach you take to your work, if you don’t believe in yourself you’re highly unlikely to succeed. I know that sounds harsh but it’s true. If you don’t think that you can blog every day for a month (like I am), you’ll start to make excuses for yourself and finding reasons not to write a new post each day. It’s all about having a positive mental attitude.
Part of believing in yourself is ignoring what other people say. I find this part the hardest. When I decided that I was going to do #blogtober for both of my blogs, the OH told me that I couldn’t. Within about half an hour or so of him saying that, despite having 20 draft posts already lined up for both blogs, I genuinely started believing him and doubting my ability to complete #blogtober.
I mean seriously, nobody is stopping me from doing this other than myself. And that applies to everything in life. The only thing in the way of you achieving your goals is you. Get out of your own way and keep moving forwards!
2. Become a Morning Person
I’m actually going to be blogging about this tomorrow. I am not a morning person but I really am trying my best to become one. How does being a morning person help with productivity and success? Do you think all of those successful people you look up to and admire lay in bed ‘til lunch time? Or rush out the house 20 minutes late for an appointment with only half a face of make up on? Nah, probably not.
Becoming a morning person helps on two levels. Firstly, starting your day on the right foot will help with your positivity for the day and with tip #1. If you have a good start to the day you’re more likely to have faith in yourself and your abilities and you’re more likely to be productive if you’re not half asleep. Secondly, if you wake up early enough, you’ll have more hours in the day to actually get stuff done! If I get up just half an hour early, it means I can fit in a run before work. If I run before work, not only am I in a better mood and have much more energy but it also means I get home after work a full hour earlier than if I run. Once I’ve factored in showering etc. I have almost two hours extra in an evening just for getting up 30 minutes earlier. I have to admit that this never actually happens at the moment but I’m working on it!
3. Set Yourself Goals
Whether you set yourself annual, monthly, weekly or daily goals doesn’t matter as long as you are setting them. Having something to work towards will keep you focused and motivated, even on the down days.
I set myself goals in all elements of my life from blogging to running. I don’t always (read as almost never) stick to them but just having them there motivates me to actually getup and do things. Seriously, without them I’d stay in bed all day every day watching Disney films.
Also, having goals there means that when you do achieve them, it’s really obvious and actually makes you feel great.
4. Schedule and Plan
I feel like I mention this in every single post that I write at the moment but I absolutely adore planning and organising and scheduling. I am obsessed with it. It helps me stay on track and feel more in control.
Working from the goals you have set yourself (see #3) create a plan of how you are going to achieve those goals. Then, once you’re happy with your overall plan, start working on a schedule of daily/weekly/monthly tasks that you will need to complete to stick to that plan and ultimately achieve your goals.
Breaking things down like this means that you’re less likely to become overwhelmed and simply quit. It also means that you’ll stay focused on the task at hand rather than getting side tracked. Being productive is all about knowing what needs to be done and then doing it rather than just having a stab in the dark and hoping for the best. By creating a plan and a schedule, you’re setting yourself up for success. After all, you’re not going to make a plan to fail are you?
Before long, your schedule will become part of your daily routine and therefore, feel like less of a chore and more like a part of who you are.
5. Ask for Help if You Need it
I will be the first person to put my hand up and admit that I don’t do this as much as I should. Personally, I feel that if I don’t do things for myself, then it’s not me who achieves the end goal. I know a lot of people feel like this too – that asking for help is a sign of weakness and failure. I will tell you now. It. Is. Not. Not even one little bit.
Seriously, think about it. Do you think Zoella does everything herself? Do you think Richard Branson answers all of his own emails? Nope. Now I know we’re not them (well, I’m certainly not anyway!) but one of the best ways to become successful is to think like a successful person. If you’re struggling with your workload, ask for help. Hiring a VA might not be realistic for most bloggers, hiring a cleaner might be a dream for most of us. But it doesn’t even have to be that big. Next time you’re having coffee with a friend, ask them to take 10 minutes out to proof read your blog post. Next time you’re swamped with coursework etc. ask your housemate if they mind cleaning the kitchen this time and you’ll do it next time instead. Whatever it is, you get the point.
If you’re under pressure or don’t know how to do something, ask for help. It will save you heaps of stress and probably a whole load of time too. Leaving you plenty of positive energy and hours on end to be productive and successful.
6. Work Out
But Dani, I want to be a vet/doctor/blogger/writer/receptionist, why do I need to work out to achieve that?
Let me tell you why, my friend. And listen carefully. You have one body. And that one body has to last you an entire life time. Yep. That’s all you get. One body for your whole life. You need to take care of it.
Exercising works on a whole number of levels (I feel like I’m at work promoting the benefits of sport here!) I’ll list a few of the benefits you can expect from working out: increased mental focus, increased creativity, increased energy levels, decreased stress, lower blood pressure, better general health…the list goes on. The key things for me are increased energy, less stress and better mental health. Fatigue, anxiety, stress and depression can be consuming and, when they are, my productivity levels fall to zero. In fact, they’ve been known to fall into negative figures when I’ve been so worked up that I’ve actually deleted work! Anyway, the point is that exercising helps all of these things meaning that I can be more productive.
On a physical level too, keeping active helps with your general health too. And we all know that you’re not very productive when you’re tucked up in a bed with a cold!
Basically, working out makes a huge difference to your health and wellbeing. Keeping healthy and active will work wonders for your productivity.
7. Keep a Journal
Personally, I’d recommend starting a gratitude journal. A lot of the time we are all so busy rushing around, focusing on what we need to do next and what we’ve failed to do that we don’t have time to step back and take stock of what we have actually achieved. We also often miss the important things in life that we should be grateful for – a stranger holding the door open, a sunny autumn day, getting to stroke someone’s puppy in the park.
When you stop and think about all of things you have in your life – your friends, family, job, health, a home, food….the list goes on – you quickly come to realise and appreciate just how lucky you are.
Now I know that this doesn’t sound like a tip to help you become more productive and successful. But it’s all about a state of mind. It’s so difficult to stay positive and focused on moving forwards if you’re constantly thinking about all of the “bad” things going on in your life. If, at the end of each day you write down what you have achieved and what you are grateful for, you’ll soon see as massive shift in your mentality which will ultimately impact on your work.
8. Take Time Out
When I first started out blogging I thought that unless I was constantly posting and networking, I would never achieve anything. To a certain extent that’s true. Nobody was successful without working hard to some point. But pushing yourself can also be detrimental.
Recently I’ve been frustrated at how little I’ve done on this blog. I’ve spent a lot of time stressing about the lack of writing which only got me more anxious. And guess what? That led to me doing less work. Logical right? My point is, if you’re tired or frustrated, you’re probably getting very little done. Taking a night off, relaxing and coming back refreshed the next day will be far more rewarding than continually trying to push yourself and getting nothing done for days or weeks on end
The real trick is knowing when to push through and just get on with things and when to listen to the voice inside your head telling you that you need to take a break before you actually break.
I hope these tips are helpful and you can actually use them, unlike some of the “”tips” out there.