Every month, I host a link-up on a different topic, and this month we’re talking about Productivity! If you’re interested in getting notifications to prepare for future link-ups, just send me an e-mail, and I’ll put you on the list! Even if you didn’t know about the link-up, please feel free to link any applicable post at the bottom of this page. If you are leaving your link, please be sure to leave a comment on this post, and click around to see what other people have to say on this topic!

The last month, I’ve been pretty bad about finding motivation, staying organized, and actually doing stuff! There were far too many days spent being super lazy, watching DVDs of my favorite TV shows, and laughing at Tumblr. Sometimes those days are needed, obviously, but not as often as I was taking them.

One night, recently, I got fed up with how far behind I was with everything. I had all these great plans with no preparation. I had a stack of beautiful mail that had been sent to me and was just waiting to be replied to. I had piles of clean laundry that needed to be folded and put away (man, that is my least favorite part of laundry). It was overwhelming. So I bought some chocolate and soda and went to work. I stayed up all night! Did I get caught up on everything? No. But I felt a lot better about my status and progress.

One of my favorite ideas “turning piles into productivity”. Too often we create piles of things to do and never get it done. What if we didn’t put anything off? What if we just did the thing that we needed to do now? What if instead of making a to do list, we just did it?! Don’t get me wrong, I’m in love with to do lists. But often I feel like I spend way too much time writing them instead of actually getting to work.

I’ve put together a list of productivity tips for you. They may not work for everyone, but if I followed my own advice, I’m pretty sure I’d be thriving.

+ Keep your schedule all in one place – It’s great to set notifications and things on your phone or write sticky note reminders, but if you have multiple planners then you’re going to lose track of stuff! Keep it all together
Make your to do lists varied and manageable – Don’t pile too much on in one day! Give yourself a confidence boost by putting some easy stuff on your list. It feels good to cross off stuff, even if it’s just making your bed.
Reward yourself & reflect – Take time to recognize your achievements. Take a break and get yourself some ice cream.
Give yourself structure – Lots of people ask what it’s like to not work for someone else and worry that they’d fail without structure. After doing this for six months, I can honestly say that it is better to have structure, but you can give it to yourself! Prioritize, schedule, and manage your time in an efficient way. Whether that’s using your free time every Monday for X, Y, and Z, or doing a little bit of X, Y, and Z every day, make sure you know what’s going to be on your plate.
Have a way to note ideas while on the go – This can be in your phone or a note pad in your purse, but again…keep it all in one spot! Sometimes I will find notes I wrote to myself in an app on my phone two months later and it might be too late at that point! Create a system for when inspiration strikes.
Be positive and optimistic – It’s pretty self explanatory, but not necessarily easy. If you’re in a fowl mood, you’re not going to want to get much done! Be hopeful about the future and your abilities. It will make your tasks seem more fun.
Don’t put off things you can do now – This goes back to what I was talking about earlier. If you can do it now, then do it! There are certain things you can’t do at this moment, obviously. Maybe you have to wait for a store to open up in the morning, or to pack your toothbrush for your trip, but if you know you need to empty the litter box or outline a chapter of your book, then get to it, my dear!
Get some sleep and stay healthy – Pretty simple. If you’re fighting to keep your eyes open, not only will it be hard for you to complete your to do list, but it’s probably not going to be your best work. Same thing for being healthy! Exercise gives you endorphins that will fuel you up for successful work, and I don’t know about you, but I feel like laying down after I stuff myself with fast food.
Get focused – It’s easier said than done, for sure, but do what you can! Eliminate distractions. If you know that you can’t concentrate with the TV on in the background, then turn that crap off! If you know you need to sit at a desk, be in a warm environment, or turn your phone off to do your best job, then just do those things! It’s awful to get into a groove and then have it disrupted by something much less important.
Leave the house – This is as much about taking a break as it is about getting inspired. Sitting in the same chair in the same room of your house or office isn’t going to provide you with many new thoughts, sights, or experiences. Get out, shake it up, and explore. Eat somewhere new or take the long walk home. The trick is to keep your eyes open and embrace the wonderful things that are happening two feet away from you.

I’d love to hear what you do to stay to productive!

PS – I’m counting this as #36 on my 100 Ways To Be Creative list.