Work-life balance on your terms. Part 3 – Productivity tips

productivity tips blog title

This is part 3 of the work-life balance series on the blog. If you missed the previous ones, go here for week 1 and here for week 2.

After making sure you’re happy with your job and then setting some boundaries to make space for the most important things in your life, there’s one more piece of the puzzle. Being productive helps you not only deliver faster but gives you a sense of accomplishment.

Have you ever felt that you’re working and working and it’s still not going anywhere? Lacking results can make you enjoy your work less and add frustration that can bleed into your personal life.

So today I’m going to give you a few productivity tips that I use successfully. You will finally understand what “results-oriented” means. You see it in job descriptions all the time, and you might even have it on your CV. But are you really?

My 7 favourite productivity tips

1. Switch your brain into “production mode”

You need to fill your todo list with the wanted results, not vague actions. For example, I don’t have “work on the blog” on my list, I have things like “write the productivity tips post” or “modify footer to include privacy policy link”.

If someone invites you to a meeting, ask what the result should be. You need to leave the room with an action list, a plan or even a finished product. Don’t just go to 1h long meetings to talk.

When you know exactly what you need to achieve, the steps are more clear, and you can push yourself and others to get there.

2. Timebox it

Fill your calendar with chunks of time dedicated to work on one of the specific items on your todo list. I usually split my day into 2h chunks of work, with bathroom breaks when needed. But I also split my week into types of tasks – Mondays I only work on quick testing tasks, Tuesdays I only work on automation, Wednesdays I only work on mobile tasks, and I dedicate Thursdays to design work.

This way of compartmentalizing your work makes you stay focused on one single task at a time while knowing that you will eventually get to work on everything you have to do. Or am I the only one who complains about never getting to do certain things?

3. Add it to the calendar

Those little time boxes you create, add them to the calendar. That will block other people from inviting you to meetings and interrupt your production time. It also helps you visualize how busy you are and how much more you can take on.

I talk about this little trick in this YouTube video, let me know what you think of it!

Bonus tip: plan your day according to how you function best. More creative in the morning? Add tasks that require creativity in the morning.

4. Remove distractions

I have a confession to make. I wanted to start writing this post 2 hours ago, but I spent part of that time on Instagram stories and the rest on Facebook and Twitter. And I also checked my email a few times.

Social media, other people, noise – they all want to kill your productivity. So block your calendar, put your headphones on, put the phone away and close all your internet tabs. If you do a quick search, you’ll find apps or browser extensions that can stop you from opening certain websites. If you think that can help, do it!

If you’re working from home, it’s important to know your usual distractions (kids, pets) and plan your day accordingly. For example, walking the Beagles first thing in the morning will allow me to work uninterrupted until lunch time.

5. Do it now

Have a look at your todo list in the morning. If something requires 5 minutes or less, do it immediately.

7 productivity tips to pin image

6. Process requests into a queue

If you get asked to do a new task while still working on something else, add it to your todo list and reprioritize the list. In this way, you don’t have to struggle to remember anything and you know you’ll get to it when the time is right.

7. Don’t be too generous with your deadlines

Who here used to do their homework the evening before it was due? (Raises hand)

Parkinson’s law says that “work expands to fill the time available for its completion“. If you give yourself a week to complete a task, it will take a week. Allocate 3 days for the same task, and you’ll complete in 3 days.

So give yourself the minimum amount of time necessary to produce a good result.

And don’t hang on to perfection, because you will never get anything done.

This ends our little journey to better work-life balance. I hope you enjoyed it and I will happily remove one item from my todo list. YEY

This was a topic requested by my email list community, so if you have special requests too, I encourage you to jump aboard the email train! I sometimes give additional tips and share stories that never make it on the blog or social media.
This was a topic requested by my email list community, so if you have special requests too, I encourage you to jump aboard the email train! I sometimes give additional tips and share stories that never make it on the blog or social media.

And before I go, tell me, what’s your favourite productivity tip?



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