Four tips to improve your productivity and stay mindful

being productive and staying mindful

I’ve been going through a bit of a transformation these past few months.   It all started in July when I started a new job that had many more responsibilities.  Around that same time, I made a commitment to take my coaching business to the next level.   And then I still had some personal goals to boot.  Can you guess what happened?  It was a perfect storm.

Too many commitments all at once.

By the end of August, after working an insane number of hours to keep it all together, I realized what I was trying to achieve was unsustainable.

What started off with a crazy I-can-do-it-all confidence quickly dissipated. I couldn’t keep up with emails now pouring into my box.  Things were getting dropped.   Dinner was increasingly take out. Exercise just wasn’t happening.  Things felt like they were getting out of control!   For a time, I just worked hard to try to stay ahead of what felt like a tsunami that would eat me up.

I want to keep everything moving along but I also saw I was not present in my life.  I was so focused on the mighty to-do list that I was letting a few important things pass me by.

It was time to go back to my best tools on productivity and mindfulness

So what did I do?  I decided revisit some of my best tips for productivity and mindfulness.

I also dropped several things in my life.  I said no.  I shifted priorities and reduced commitments.  I started to meditate again and do more yoga and exercise.

How about you?

Are there are one too many activities on your plate?

Do you find yourself looking at your to-do list feeling there is no way to get it all done?

Don’t you hate it when you work all day long and feel like you get nothing done?

Take a step back from the to-do list (just for a moment)

If you are feeling overwhelmed, going back to the to-do list may not be your best move.  Now may be a good time to take a step back to regroup, create space for planning, think about how to best use your time.

If you want to feel less out of control and more balanced but also make good progress on your goals, here are my best tips for productivity and mindfulness

  1. Do a brain dump: If you feel overwhelmed, your to-do items are likely circulating and re-circulating in your head.  Don’t let that to-do list torture you!  Get that list out of your mind so you can focus.  The exercise of writing it all out can help you move from overwhelm to empowered. After you write it all out, then you can prioritize and categorize.  Now you have a master list where you can slowly make daily progress. Want to read more about the value of a brain dump? Go here.
  2. Block your calendar: Every time I remember to pick up this awesome productivity tool, I get things done. It’s simple but you need to make the commitment. Create a specific block of space in your calendar to focus on a specific work or personal goal.  Protect this time as if it is an appointment you cannot break!  This is how the productivity masters get things done.
  3. Finish three things: The key to productivity is getting things done right?  Part of why this doesn’t happen is because we are distracted, pulled off task, or unfocused.  When we finish our day without checking things off our to-do list, it can be demoralizing. Instead of having a massive to-do list in front of you, identify just 3 things that you want to do in a given day.  Write them down.  Make it your objective to get these three tasks complete!   For a great write up on the power of three go to this article.

Your mindfulness tip:  Set a morning intention to be mindful.

Let’s face it. Living mindfully throughout an entire day is pretty difficult.  Before you know it, the hours zip by and you wonder whether you were even present.  When your brain is occupied, you miss out on connecting with your kids, your family, your friends, and moments that allow you to enjoy life.  Instead, if you pay attention to those moments that really matter, you will feel more energy, peace, and joy.  To make sure these moments don’t just pass you by, create a daily ritual in the morning to set your intention for the day.  Make the intention to be present when it matters most.  Your mind will help remind you to stay present.

I am now applying all of these into my life and can tell you they help.  I have the same to-do list and pressures, but somehow it feels like I am more present, less overwhelmed, and still getting things done.