How to be more productive

Here’s a secret: The key to excelling at life is management.

The success, or lack of success, that you achieve in life is all based on how you manage what you have. Time. Money. Network. Resources. Relationships.

You have been given stewardship over each of these things and it is up to you to use them wisely. Ultimately, what your life looks like 10, 20, 30 years from now will be the result of how you manage what you have today.

You’ve probably heard something to the affect of, “Successful people have the same 24 hrs that you have.” So, with all things being equal, what exactly are they doing that you aren’t?  I am certain that their success has a direct correlation to their productivity. It’s all about what they do with their time.

Admittedly, I didn’t learn this principle of management, particularly of time, from studying successful people. I learned it from one verse of scripture that’s always stuck in my head:

“Be very careful, then, how you live-- not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16, NIV).

I can’t remember when I discovered it, but I know that it immediately resonated to me as, “be intentional about your time.” Since then, I’ve always tried to make the most of every minute, not only by being productive, but by also cherishing each moment.

In order for me to make the most of every opportunity and be productive, I had to change some habits and cut out waste in my day. So, here are 5 practical things that I did to become more productive (not the proverbial list that’s not really actionable):

  1. I stopped watching TV. Let’s be real, this was more of a money move (ayyeee) than a productivity one. Nonetheless, I reaped the benefits of having more time on my hands. I pulled the plug on cable and found other, more productive and valuable, ways to use my time. Whether that was blogging, reading, working out, cleaning, or doing things to build my brand, I was investing my time into things that would yield a positive return. Five years later, I still don’t miss watching television (or paying that bill). Don’t get me wrong, I always find time for entertainment, but  in limited and planned time spans. No longer do I sit around on the couch for hours watching the latest ratchet, wedding, or home renovation (so addictive!) shows. 

  2. I removed (and hid) social media apps from my phone. *Gasp!!!* You read correctly.  According to Social Media Today, the average person spends approximately 2 hrs per day on social media. Two hours!! I’ll admit that I’ve been guilty of spending 2 hrs or more scrolling around on social media when boredom struck; however, I quickly learned that if I make things harder to access, then it won’t become a crutch. It’s kind of like not buying those potato chips. You can’t eat them if they aren’t there, right? With the help of current events in the US, I gladly deleted my Facebook app and buried my Instagram app in a folder conveniently located on the second “page" of my iPhone apps screen. Yes, even swiping over is enough to make me not want to open it. Instantly, I gained those 2 hrs (or so) back into my day to do things like write this blog post. :)

  1. I  starting planning ahead. You know those muscle heads on Instagram who always #mealprep? Well, I became one of them...minus the muscles, of course. Prepping my meals and wardrobe for the week the Saturday or Sunday prior opened up my mornings to do other things. I no longer just throw on whatever isn’t wrinkled or have to rush to iron clothes in the morning. Even better, I don’t have to buy an unhealthy lunch because I “didn’t have time” to prepare anything that morning. Instead of wasting time rushing to get ready in the morning (because you know I didn’t get up earlier to do it), I’m able to work out and even put on some makeup to be slayed at work.  Although I haven’t gotten to the point of living by my calendar,  I do hope to get to that level of discipline as my responsibilities and brand continues to grow. 

  2. I turned off my email notifications. This. Is. Everything. I first learned this trick at work and have adopted it in my personal life. There’s nothing worse than trying to actually get some work done (and not be on social media) and having that annoying pop up letting you know that someone else is requesting something from you. Bruh. Can I catch a break?? The simple solution is just turning off your email notifications and checking them at your own convenience. For my fellow Apple Watch wearers, this will work wonders for your life. Nobody wants that annoying buzz just because your favorite store is running a sale...or do you?? Personally, I only allow notifications on my watch from text messages just in case there’s an emergency that I need to address or my husband is trying to reach me.

  3. Speaking of technology….

  4. I turned on my Do Not Disturb feature. You cannot be productive without a good night’s sleep or by being accessible 24hrs a day. There has to be dedicated time in your day for you, your priorities, and your rest. That is exactly why I started using the Do Not Disturb feature on my iPhone. (I’m sure that Android probably has an equivalent.) From 9:30 PM - 7:00 AM, my “office” is closed for business. Unless there’s an emergency, in which case successive calls would come through, I’m not being bothered by anyone. Period.

Ok, so I’ve shared mine. Now, what are some of your productivity hacks? Don’t be stingy! Share, share, share!!