Being productive hasn’t exactly been my strong point in the last few years. I’ve had a ton of distractions and challenges but other times I’ve just been lazy. Despite being somewhat consistent, I feel like my results have been mediocre and I plan to change that.
I’ve given up on making New Year’s resolutions. They always seem silly and I forget them almost immediately. Does that happen to you? I find that having some structure helps and I tend to be more productive if I have them in place.
Set your office hours
Even if you’re retired, you should still set office hours for the tasks you want to accomplish whether it’s an art project, making sourdough bread, or working on a business opportunity. I find it’s helpful to go to bed and wake up at regular hours that are in alignment with your body’s circadian rhythm. Some of us are morning larks and others are night owls.
I love mornings so I go to bed around 11 pm and wake up at 6:30 am almost every day. Sometimes I wake up at odd hours if I’m stressed about something but I find that having a regular sleep schedule regulates my sleep patterns and gives me more energy throughout the day.
My most productive time is early after a cup of coffee and some exercise. Then, I’m usually good until late afternoon when I’m ready to turn myself into a couch potato.
Keep your goals in front of you
Some people are avid list makers but I’m not. It must be the Sagittarius in me. However, I found a cool app that sits on the desktop of my computer called Microsoft to Do. It reminds me of tasks I need to do that I would otherwise forget.
Scraps of paper lying around or cluttered bulletin boards that get messy makes me nuts. With Microsoft to Do, I check off a radio button when I’ve completed a task and it keeps my desk clean.
Work with a calendar
Google Calendar is my go-to online calendar to keep me organized. It syncs to my phone, other devices, and gives me notifications for meetings and other appointments. You can color-code events if you want. You can also share your schedule with others you are working with. Your calendar goes with you wherever you go on your phone without taking up space in your purse. Google Calendar also integrates with a myriad of other apps like Zoom, Eventbrite, and Meetup.
Never forget an appointment
An app I love that integrates with my Google Calendar is Once Hub’s Schedule Once online scheduler. It allows clients and others I want to network with book appointments with me. All they do is click a link or button in my email or on my website and they are taken to see what times I am available. Then they can choose a date and time that coincides with their schedule.
Once they book a time, the appointment automatically gets entered on my Google Calendar with all the details. I have it integrated with Zoom as well and the person I’m meeting with receives a unique meeting link. We also both receive reminder notifications.
Schedule Once makes it hard for me to miss an appointment or double book them on my calendar. I just need to remember to enter things I’m doing like go to the dentist or drive time so it knows when I’m available.
In addition to Google calendar, Schedule Once also works with Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Go to Meeting, Cisco Webex Meetings, Microsoft Outlooks, Office 365, and iCloud Calendar, Salesforce, Infusion Soft, Gmail, Zapier, and Paypal.
Turn off counter-productive distractions
This is a challenge for me because I’m easily distracted. Now that we all carry smartphones around with us wherever we go, I have to discipline myself not to respond to messages every time I hear a ding.
It’s best to set specific times to watch TV or check our phones. You can always set ring tones for important people you need to talk to right away or turn off unnecessary notifications. The world will go on without us, believe me.
All work and no play will make you less productive
As older adults, we don’t have to work ourselves to death anymore. But no matter how old you are, it’s important to incorporate enjoyment into your day. Taking time to play makes you more creative and keeps you connected to your environment. Take a walk to clear your head, work in your garden, talk to family, play with your pet, take a virtual travel experience, take online classes, or whatever else gives you pleasure.
It’s a balancing act
Adding fun to your day is important but don’t use it as an excuse to procrastinate. How many times have you said you’re going to write a book or refurbish an old chair and then never get to it because you find every reason in the world not to? We’ve all been there, right?
Have you found yourself to be less productive or more productive these days? What has helped you get more things done? Please leave a comment below.