Wife to my high school sweetheart, boy mama to sweet baby boy Macrae, and two fur babies Shiloh and Milo, a full time high school history teacher, and overall enthusiast for life. Avid podcast listener, iced coffee drinker, and organized chaos manager. My passion is to encourage and inspire. To cultivate an intentional life, a life full of joy and an abundance of grace.
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The holidays are quickly approaching and that can only mean that deadlines are drawing nearer and the to-do lists are only getting longer and with the days getting shorter and the sun setting before 6:00 pm for this Georgia girl, the desire of rushing home from work, jumping into the Christmas pajamas, making a warm cup of hot cocoa full to the brim with marshmallows, and embracing warm snuggles on the couch with the pup, all while watching the lovely Hallmark channel becomes a top priority on my list, despite the endless list of things to grade, plan, and write, not to mention clean.
So as I have been on the topic of to-do lists (literally, creating a master to-do list full of sub-categories with literally EVERYTHING that I need to do in the next three weeks, I started to think that a to-do list for a productive work day would be a wonderful idea! So if you find yourself scrolling through your social media feeds and lost for focus, hopefully this short list will find you re-energized and re-focused in no-time.
I know it sounds silly and you may honestly think that I am asking too much, especially for Step #1 to a productive work day, but don’t you know the feeling of how amazing you actually feel when you are wearing your favorite outfit, or the new addition to your wardrobe recently bought from the store. It is one of the best feelings. I know for me on the days where I am feeling a little unworthy and incapable of tackling the to-do list, wearing a favorite outfit is my superman’s cape. A strong choice of wardrobe for the day can empower you and give you the confidence that you need to get all that you need to do, DONE!
I am sure if we all always began each day acknowledging EVERY SINGLE TASK that we would hope to accomplish, we would all just feel defeated and want to crawl back into bed, so why do we even begin to allow ourselves to let the expectation of perfection to become the expectation for our day. Instead, recognize the actual reality of the day, acknowledge what commitments you have made and the time schedule before you, and come up with a priority list of what needs to be done. Start off with the absolute most important item that you can’t wait any longer to finish because the deadline is NOW, followed by the next items of importance. And if there is a task that you know that you need to do that is a super quick and easy task, go ahead and knock it out first because you will feel a breath of fresh air knowing you have accomplished something, plus the joy of crossing things of a to-do list is such a good feeling.
I love to do this on my morning commute. I spend about 30 minutes on my ride to work in the morning and this time is so incredibly important to me. I use this time to mentally prepare myself for the day ahead. If you are spiritual, this is a great time to pray and meditate, but even if you are not, it is such a significant time to speak truth and life over your day. Tell yourself positive things. And do this vocally, out loud. (Now if you carpool or have other kiddos or family members in the car with you then this could be totally more awesome, but actually speak out a pep talk. Tell yourself that you can do this. Tell yourself that the tasks at hand will be accomplished and that you are absolutely capable of doing it and more. And while you are at give yourself a compliment and remind yourself how good you will feel when you accomplish all that before you.
Sometimes we just have to put the phone down. And believe me, I understand that there are things on the phone that you want to feel connected to, but did you know that scientists have researched the human brain and concluded that the range of time for humans to be the most productive is right around 55 minutes. So, imagine if you got in the habit of not checking or using your phone for social/pleasure/fun things in 55 minute increments. Heck, what if you viewed your day as a grouping of 55 minute periods with a specific task/focus for each time period. After each 55 minute period, feel free to take a quick break, grab a drink of water, go for a stroll, get up and move. Something to change the pace, just a little. Something else to consider is utilizing the Do Not Disturb action on your phone. I have my Do Not Disturb settings to automatically come on from 10:00 pm to 7:00 am which is a great notion to unwind and just be home with my people.
Move. Be active. Take a walk around the office, or to the mailbox, or down the street, but just get up and do something. This can be exercise related because believe me taking time in your day, even if it just 30 minutes to incorporate exercise will actually give you more time because you will be able to properly function through the stress-relief that exercise provides. But even in the midst of a crazy day, whether you are on the go running errands, in a line of meetings, sitting at a desk in an office, or shuffling children around, find moments where you can move freely. Because as your body moves, so does the stress, and so does the mind. And that is such a good thing for achieving maximum productivity.
Drink water. Use a refillable water bottle (I personally love my Nalgene) and make a point to stay hydrated during the day. I know it can be so tempting to just continually refill the coffee cup, but your body needs water, it actually thrives off of it and will leave you feeling fully refreshed and ready to tackle the day. I personally love adding my Young Living Vitality essential oils to my water for added flavor and health benefit. My personal favorites include grapefruit, lemon, and lime. When using essential oils in water it is so important to be sure that the quality of oils is of great value and significance, you can read about why I use Young Living oils here. Also, when using essential oils in water, be sure the oils are safe to injest and that the water bottle is made out of glass or stainless steel to prevent damage to plastic.
As you lay in bed wrestling with the snooze button before you truly get up to face the day, visualize. Visualize how you are going to feel when you accomplish the tasks at hand. Visualize the emotions you will have and how you will feel about yourself at the end of the day, goals completed. Think of yourself relaxing with a beverage of choice, soaking in a bubble bath, or curling up under the covers with a favorite book, visualize that as your end goal (or whatever else provides you ultimate relaxation and satisfaction) and go ahead and visualize that victory before you even get out of bed. And once you have the end in sight, feel free to seize the day and work towards all of your goals and dreams.
I am a strong believer in words, both spoken and written. Sometimes we can overwhelm our thoughts in our own head by not ever letting them out and instead we just find ourselves roaming in circles, lost in waves of un-productivity and anxiety. So embrace the art of written word and write things down. Write words down, thoughts down, goals down, things to be done, down. Write it all down. And feel the freedom to know that your thoughts written down, don’t have to be in any certain way, there is no formula to it. Instead write what you need and how you need. It can be an organized list full of colored pens and doodles, or it can be a giant word cloud with an explosion of thoughts, but whatever way you do it, just write because there is magic and a beauty in letting the thoughts leave your head and arrive on paper.
And finally, last but most definitely not least, do not for a second carry the weight alone. Be willing and open to accept help and allow others to help simplify the tasks before you. And I know that this is SO important because this is one that I most definitely struggle with the most. I try and do it all and am so incredibly stubborn, but oh it is so necessary and important in our lives to allow our people, our tribe, our core group to help us carry the load. Whatever that looks like for you, whether that is shifting the responsibilities at home, or delegating tasks at the office, or simplifying tasks that can be made easier, do something that allows your load to be a little lighter. iMedX, an Atlanta based, leading healthcare and technology company, specializing in integrative medical documentation and health information services provides its clients with a significant edge in clinical documentation, allowing for a higher-level of service that is unique in the marketplace and most definitely helping to carry the load.
I hope that this post found a place of encouragement in your heart and inspired you to find more productivity in your everyday life. Most importantly, always remember that as great as it is to try to accomplish and achieve the desires and goals of our hearts, sometimes we will fall short, and some days we just won’t have it, and the most important thing to do on those days is extend grace to yourself, a freedom to accept you and all of you and if you can do that then you can consider that feat in itself, productive.
This post is a sponsored post, all thoughts are my own!
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