Here at The Everygirl, we know a thing or two about productivity. As a team of under 12 people, we each have a lot of responsibilities and work that needs to get done on a daily basis. (Let’s be real, we all love it!) We run a tight ship, so we’ve had to figure out what exactly works for each of us to get quality work done in as little time as possible.
Productivity and time management are definitely skills, but it’s something you can master if you take the time to practice. So, we’re running you through our top six favorite ways to stay motivated, check more off our to-do lists, and actually enjoy it all in the process.
This is a trick most know about, but it’s extremely important for us. Batching is when you do all of the same tasks in one go. We batch edit articles and photos — this is especially helpful for editing and taking photos if you’re an entrepreneur or just love Instagram! — scheduling social media and meetings, and more.
Doing everything at the same time (i.e. taking a bunch of photos on a sunny day because the lighting is just right instead of spacing it out for when you exactly need them) takes up less time in the long-run and usually results in higher quality work overall. You get in the zone, so it makes doing the same thing over and over again a little bit easier.
2. Apps to keep us off our phones
Everyone struggles with staying productive when his or her phone is right there. Our job makes it pretty impossible to go a day without looking at our phone, so we had to get creative for finding a balance. We make the best of it by using apps (yes, that’s right) to deter us from being on our phones.
We love Flora (which plants a tree when you want to stay off your phone and the tree dies if you leave the app — cute, but effective!), Moment for tracking screen time throughout the day, and Flipd for locking apps that distract you (hello Instagram!). Not only do these apps help you stay off your phone during the workday, but they help for cleaning, trying to finish any last-minute at-home project (taxes, anyone?!), or just when you seriously need some peace and quiet.
We’re always working together. This might seem counterproductive — most think that working collaboratively takes up extra, unnecessary time, but think again. Working together allows you to think smarter and come up with better ideas. Two heads are better than one, and you’ll come out with better work in the same amount of time asking for advice or working with someone else.
Some ways we collaborate is through group brainstorm sessions, crowdsourcing information or resources for an article topic, and just talking to each other. Some of our best ideas have come from seemingly mindless midday chatter!
4. Prioritize tasks
When your to-do list seems never-ending, it’s easy to just go straight through trying to go from top to bottom. Instead, separate your tasks into A, B, and C tasks. “A” tasks need to be done as soon as possible, and you must get those done today. “B” tasks should get done today, but it’s OK if you do them last or at the end of the day. “C” tasks are extras that can wait if you don’t get to them.
This allows us to get done what has to (like me, writing this article!) before focusing on other tasks. Prioritizing is especially important for days when you have a full to-do list, allowing you to finish what you need to without stressing yourself out over the small stuff that can wait.
5. Use a paper planner
We need somewhere to put all these to-do lists! We all use a paper planner to keep track of due dates, make lists, plan out our week, and check off big tasks.
The best part of a paper planner is keeping everything in one place. Due dates, notes, to-do lists, and any other lists you might need for work stay compiled in one notebook. No more searching for that list you made in a random notebook or figuring out which calendar you put that meeting on. This is one of the many ways a paper planner saves tons of time in the long run.
We also love using our planners to plan for the future. Plug in all the dates you’ll be out of office, a coworker or boss might be out, any holidays or days off, company events (holiday parties, lunches out, etc.), business projects such as new product launches, and more into your calendar and daily sections (this is key to keeping everything in the same places!). You won’t have to check your company calendar every week to make sure, and you can plan ahead — especially for vacations or events where you or someone crucial on your team might be out.
6. Take breaks
You’ve heard this one before, and there’s a reason why. Giving yourself some time away from whatever tasks you’re working on is key to keeping your motivation high throughout the workday. Whether it’s a reward for checking something off the to-do list or just a much-needed cup of coffee, giving yourself up to 20 minutes without work to relax and de-stress is necessary to produce high-quality work.