Saturday, August 27, 2016

Plan Your Week: 5 Productivity Tips That Might Fight Stress

Are you busy? Stupid question, I know. We are all busy. Life is busy. Crazy. And awesome. All at the same time. It's one of the reasons I stopped blogging for so long, mostly because I couldn't keep up with everything. I know I'm not alone, and I know it's no excuse. Life isn't going to slow down, in fact, it's only going to get busier and busier as my kids grow older. So one of the things I've been working on lately: Planning out my week so I can avoid turning into a huge bit...stress ball.

Maybe what I do can help you, too.

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Here are five productivity tips that help me fight stress. (Also, it's Saturday which means you have two days until the crazy commences again. So it's the perfect time to regroup.)

1) Get a planner you love and use it.
I started using a planner in grade school. Our teachers made us. In high school and college, it wasn't required but I still purchased the school version that was offered to us. When I started working, I used a Kate Spade planner that I got as a graduation gift. It was the first of many I've tried out over the years. They all worked, but none of them ever felt 100% right. But a few months ago, I found THE ONE—it's the Purposeful Planner by Corie Clark.

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Worth. Every. Penny.

This planner is my life bible.

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Everything on my schedule is listed within. I sit down very Sunday night and update it for the week ahead. If I don't write something down, I'll forget about it.

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2) Plan your food as best you can.
Meal planning is a huge thing right now. People spend entire Sundays prepping a week's worth of breakfasts, lunches and dinners. I don't know about you, but I don't have time for that. And I don't always want to make time for that when there are other things that need to be done (or other fun that needs to be had). But, healthy food is important to me. And I live with two kids. When it's feeding time at the zoo, it helps to have a plan. So I make a grocery list every week. It takes me ten minutes to write down staples that need to be restocked and ingredients that need to be purchased for recipes I intend to make. And this, in turn, makes mealtime a little easier because #hangry is a very real thing at my house.

3) Use a notebook.
My planner is for my schedule, but my notebook is for everything else:

• Grocery lists
• Class plans
• Recipes
• Meeting notes
• Ideas

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Literally, everything. So if I need to find something, I know right where to go. I don't have a million pieces of paper floating around. I have one notebook (and my planner).

They're like my wedding rings.
I feel naked without these two things.

4) Stay focused on one thing at a time.
I wear a million hats, have a million things to do and a million people that need my attention—but I am one person with one brain, and I can only handle one moment at a time. This, essentially, has become the mantra that I repeat every single day. I cannot do it all, and I cannot do it all right now. So I do my best to focus on one thing at a time. One task. One job. One day. When I spread myself too thin or try to get too much done at one time, I get nothing done. I am ineffective. So take it from me:

Stay focused.
Pick just one thing.

5) Accept madness and mayhem. 
There are days (and weeks) where, despite doing all of the above, I feel totally out of control. Off schedule. Disorganized. Stressed and overwhelmed. I've been trying really hard lately to accept those days because #life. It's too short and all of the tasks that feel important...they're really not. They'll get done, maybe not when I want them to. Maybe never. And if that's the case, it's probably because something else is happening that could (quite possibly) be even better or more important.

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"There is no great genius without a mixture of madness." So true, right? So be prepared to throw your best productivity tips out the window, and accept the results. Stop, take a deep breath, then start over in that very moment that feels totally and completely out of control.

You don't have to be perfectly in control all of the time, I promise.

Question: What productivity tips do you live by in order to keep the stress away?

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