Can a Productivity Ritual Help You Get More Done?

Can a Productivity Ritual Help You Get More Done?

productivity, ritual, hacks, reviews

Can a Productivity Ritual Help You Get More Done? Image courtesy of Gualberto1070 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Are these emails ending up in your Promotions folder on Gmail? Here’s how to get them out. I just discovered that this post was delivered as scheduled. My sincere apologies! 

This is Week 24 of a Year of Living Productively

This week I tested whether a productivity ritual (as described by Simple Productivity Blog) of preparing for each work session mentally with prayer and physically by gathering materials would help me get things done. Scroll to the bottom of last week’s post for more details.

How a Productivity Ritual Saved My Sanity This Week

  • Gave me a sense of peace. I used to be careful to pray before I wrote. This week I realized I haven’t been and I haven’t enjoyed the focus and flow I used to have.
  • Helped me work more efficiently. I remembered to grab my blogging notebook, for example, and was able to get more posts written in less time than I have in weeks.

How a Productivity Ritual Made Me Crazy This Week

  • Not conducive to much of the week’s work. I hosted two large parties and a house guest this week. There wasn’t a simple way of “gathering materials” for this, though I made plenty of trips to the store! I’ve been going strong all day long and had rare occasions when I felt like a new work period was starting for which the ritual would be effective.
  • Kept forgetting to use it. I haven’t kept the usual schedule this week and this habit hasn’t been developed, so I forgot about using it. When I did remember, I wasn’t sure how to use it for the work in front of me.

Did a Productivity Ritual Help Me Get Things Done?

Yes, when it was appropriate. When I sat down at my desk to work on my blog, I loved it! Most likely I was intuitively using this ritual as I got everything together I needed for entertaining this week. I could have benefitted from it more had I been more efficient in gathering cleaning supplies and more intentional about praying before activity changes. It’s something I want to continue to do in the future without trying to shoe-horn it into all of my work.

**UPDATE**

I still use productivity rituals to good effect. I make sure I’m comfortable, check my computer, and pray before writing.

make it happen in 10 minutes

The Productivity Approach I’ll Be Using for Week 25


This week I’ll be testing Make it Happen. Make it Happen in Ten Minutes a Day: The Simple, Revolutionary Method for Getting Things Done {affiliate link} doesn’t offer a revolutionary new approach to getting things done. Rather Lorne Holden offers motivation for getting just about anything done 10 minutes at a time.

The concept. I’ve already tested Pomodoros and found them to be beneficial. However, I was working for 50-minute periods. I already use ten-minute cleaning periods with the kids and they work. But I haven’t been using these short work periods that overcome resistance and procrastination in other areas of my life. For example, I have some paper scrapbooking kits that I keep saving for “when I have time.” You and I both know I won’t get to them with that criterion. This week, I’m going to spend ten minutes a day on them.

The other concept explained in Make it Happen that I was very excited about was making a list of things we want to create and things we want to conquer. This dichotomy really resonates with me. The labels we use for our work are very powerful. Imagine having a “to conquer” list vs. a “thankless” list. This week I want to create two scrapbook pages using a kit and I want to conquer selling things on eBay and Amazon. I already feel relieved thinking about working on this just 10 minutes a day.

If you’d like to join me this week, here’s what you do. Buy and read Make it Happen in Ten Minutes a Day {affiliate link} if you want to, but it’s not required. Choose a create and a conquer task for the week and work on them just ten minutes a day each. If you can’t afford twenty minutes a day, choose just one of these tasks to focus on.

Click here to see how my week of 10 Minutes a Day went.

You can now subscribe to productivity posts separate from the rest of Psychowith6 content here.

If you’ve tried a Productivity Ritual to increase your productivity, please comment. I will no longer be including polls.

Here are the links to the productivity hacks I’ve tried so far:

A Year of Living Productively

Week 1: Paper To-Do List

Week 2: Covey’s Quadrants

Week 3: Routines

Week 4: Paper Planner

Week 5: SMEMA

Week 6: Guilt Hour

Week 7: Envision Ideal Day

Week 8: Do it Tomorrow

Week 9: Pomodoro

Week 10: Time Warrior

Week 11: Scheduling

Week 12: The Repeat Test

Week 13: Personal Kanban

Week 14: Eat That Frog

Week 15: Vacation

Week 16: David Seah’s 7:15AM Ritual

Week 17: Another Simple and Effective Method

Week 18: Daily/Weekly/Monthly To-Do List

Week 19: Ultimate Time Management System

Week 20: Getting Things Done

Week 21: Time Blocking

Week 22: Morning Ritual

Week 23: Beat the Week

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Can Beat the Week Help You Get More Done?

Can Beat the Week Help You Get More Done?

Can Beat the Week Help You Get More Done?

Can Beat the Week Help You Get More Done?  Image courtesy of arztsamui / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This is Week 23 of a Year of Living Productively

This week I tested whether attempting to get a week’s worth of work done by Thursday (what I called Beat the Week) would help me get more done. 99u calls it “reward efficiency.” The motivation was to have time at the end of the week to do what I wished.

How Beat the Week Saved My Sanity This Week

  • The weekly planning focused my efforts. A number of productivity hacks I’ve tested have made me a believer in reviewing the week ahead. It helps me feel on top of things.
  • Helped me keep my expectations realistic. As I considered what I could really do in a week (a short week no less), I was reminded of how important this is for me to learn. I always think I can squeeze a year’s worth of activities into a week.

How Beat the Week Made Me Crazy This Week

  • Hard to maintain a closed list. I didn’t add new tasks to the week’s list, but they appeared and had to be done anyway. Even though I made progress, I didn’t feel like I was because of the other work I had to do.
  • I had a singular focus this week. I have an international house guest arriving this week and I found myself ignoring my list in favor of getting ready for his arrival. The list actually annoyed me like a distraction.
  • I felt like I was cheating. Because I didn’t do a good job of keeping my list manageable (especially in light of pressing commitments), I found myself postponing tasks I had included on the list. I didn’t feel I deserved the reward of time off since I hadn’t actually completed those tasks and quite frankly I gave up. I completed the most important tasks on time, but this felt due to the impending arrival of our guest more than anything.

Did Beat the Week Help Me Get Things Done?

Not really. I did work hard this week to get things done by Thursday, but not because I wanted time off. I really won’t get time off as I have an out-of-town trip and two big parties to get ready for. It wasn’t the best week to test this approach. I also think this approach could be useful in helping me be realistic about what I can get done. However, scheduling a la SmartPad already works for me in this regard.

**UPDATE**

Now that I keep Sundays as a completely free day, I find I am very motivated to get my work done by Saturday at the latest. In a sense, Beat the Week is working very well for me now.

 

The Productivity Approach I’ll Be Using for Week 24

productivity, ritual, hacks, reviews

Can a Productivity Ritual Help You Get More Done?Image courtesy of Gualberto1070 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This week I’ll be testing a Productivity Ritual. Simple Productivity Blog offers three aspects to a ritual that can help us get more done: clearing the mind, gathering the materials, and resetting/shifting. For me, this is different than the morning ritual because it is done prior to each work period. 

The concept. Clearing the mind helps to maintain focus on the task at hand as does some kind of a resetting ritual. Because I change activities several times throughout the day, I can benefit from this. I am going to pray before I begin a new activity period to satisfy both of these components. Not only will I be forced to focus on the anticipated work, but I should have a better attitude about the work.

The final aspect of a productivity ritual that I’m really excited about is gathering materials. Here’s why I’m so eager. I am one of the children’s worship leaders at my church and until recently I had begun to dread my week to serve. Pulling craft and music materials out of the cabinet was risky because it was stuffed and disorganized and nothing had been prepared in advance. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago when a new coordinator took over. Not only were all the supplies organized, but everything was set up and ready for me to use. I enjoyed leading so much in this environment that I told the coordinator I would serve more often.

The takeaway for me is that I am more productive (and happier) when I have what I need ready to go. I do this when I cook, but rarely when I work. For example, I will sit down to write a week’s worth of blog posts for The Inspired Day and realize that my blogging notebook is not on my desk. Rather than run to get it, I skip planning a week’s worth of posts at once, losing time in the process.

If you’d like to join me this week, here’s what you do. Read Simple Productivity Blog’s post on a productivity ritual. Decide how you will clear your mind and reset between activities and pledge to gather materials before you begin.

Click here to see if a productivity ritual worked for me!

You can now subscribe to productivity posts separate from the rest of Psychowith6 content here.

If you’ve tried Beat the Week to increase your productivity, please vote in the poll below.

Here are the links to the productivity hacks I’ve tried so far:

A Year of Living Productively

Week 1: Paper To-Do List

Week 2: Covey’s Quadrants

Week 3: Routines

Week 4: Paper Planner

Week 5: SMEMA

Week 6: Guilt Hour

Week 7: Envision Ideal Day

Week 8: Do it Tomorrow

Week 9: Pomodoro

Week 10: Time Warrior

Week 11: Scheduling

Week 12: The Repeat Test

Week 13: Personal Kanban

Week 14: Eat That Frog

Week 15: Vacation

Week 16: David Seah’s 7:15AM Ritual

Week 17: Another Simple and Effective Method

Week 18: Daily/Weekly/Monthly To-Do List

Week 19: Ultimate Time Management System

Week 20: Getting Things Done

Week 21: Time Blocking

Week 22: Morning Ritual

 

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Can a Morning Ritual Help You Get More Done?

Can a Morning Ritual Help You Get More Done?

morning ritual productivity

Can a Morning Ritual Help You Get More Done? Image courtesy of winnond / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This is Week 22 of a Year of Living Productively

This week I tested whether a morning ritual could help me get more done using Curt Mercadante‘s article as inspiration. I already have a morning ritual in place of exercising first thing in the morning followed by a devotional time. What was new was not checking email in the morning. Click here to see more details.

How a Morning Ritual Saved My Sanity This Week

  • I finished everything faster. From getting out the door to my workout, everything I did prior to checking email went smoothly, allowing me to get more done.
  • I had less stress. Part of my morning ritual is to review my day. Without including incoming emails in that review, I found that the day seemed more manageable. By the time I checked email at lunch time, I had already accomplished a lot and was ready to add new tasks to my list (typically to be addressed the next day).

How a Morning Ritual Made Me Crazy This Week

  • Habit withdrawal. Breaking a habit requires quite a bit of mental focus. I realized how often I was relying on my email for downtime in the mornings and had to pay attention to not “lighting up.”
  • Feeling disconnected. I have a few people in my life I’m close to who communicate with me primarily via email. Waiting to check my email until later in the day made me feel distanced from them and even rude. Even though this is how I felt, I don’t think it was valid. I seriously doubt anyone was thinking, “WHY hasn’t she responded yet?”

Did a Morning Ritual Help Me Get Things Done?

It really did. I didn’t realize that in trying to wake up by reading email and checking it during down times, that I was actually wasting time. I don’t feel I was any less social this week and I was much more efficient at processing email when I did get to it. I already know how critical all the other aspects of my morning ritual are to having productive days. Now I know that I should break the email-in-the-morning habit for good.

**UPDATE**

Even though I get more done when I don’t look at my email, I have to admit it’s a habit I still have. I don’t feel very motivated to break it, because it doesn’t interfere with my overall morning ritual. I’m very happy with how I use my time in the morning and I do believe it’s a critical component of productivity for me.

The Productivity Approach I’ll Be Using for Week 23

Can Beat the Week Help You Get More Done?

Image courtesy of arztsamui / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This week I’ll be testing what I call Beat the Week. The idea is to work from a weekly to-do list. When you finish the list, you’re done for the week. 99u calls this “rewarding efficiency.”

The concept. If the reward for working harder is more work, the motivation is lacking. Having the opportunity for free time by getting your work done faster should foster efficiency.

There are a couple of considerations for those who work at home and those who have traditional jobs. First, the weekly list has to be manageable. It should be a true week’s work, so you can finish early and feel justified in being rewarded for doing so. Second, the reward may not be time off if you have a traditional job, but it could be more enjoyable work or tasks. Finally, not all work will be completed. As a homeschooling mother, I can’t tell my kids I can’t help them because I’ve finished working for the week. Neither can a small business owner do that. But the big weekly tasks can be finished early, leaving us with a lot more margin for dealing with urgent tasks and even fun.

If you’d like to join me this week, here’s what you do. Read the “Rewarding Efficiency” section of 99u’s article on productivity. Create a manageable list of to-do’s for the week. Get them done as early in the week is possible, so you can enjoy flexible time. I’m aiming for Thursday!

Click here to see if Beat the Week worked for me.

You can now subscribe to productivity posts separate from the rest of Psychowith6 content here.

If you’ve tried a Morning Ritual to increase your productivity, please vote in the poll below.

Here are the links to the productivity hacks I’ve tried so far:

A Year of Living Productively

Week 1: Paper To-Do List

Week 2: Covey’s Quadrants

Week 3: Routines

Week 4: Paper Planner

Week 5: SMEMA

Week 6: Guilt Hour

Week 7: Envision Ideal Day

Week 8: Do it Tomorrow

Week 9: Pomodoro

Week 10: Time Warrior

Week 11: Scheduling

Week 12: The Repeat Test

Week 13: Personal Kanban

Week 14: Eat That Frog

Week 15: Vacation

Week 16: David Seah’s 7:15AM Ritual

Week 17: Another Simple and Effective Method

Week 18: Daily/Weekly/Monthly To-Do List

Week 19: Ultimate Time Management System

Week 20: Getting Things Done

Week 21: Time Blocking

 

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Can Time Blocking Help You Get More Done?

Can Time Blocking Help You Get More Done?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This is Week 21 of a Year of Living Productively

This week I tested time blocking, specifically as recommended by The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months {affiliate link}. I scheduled a 3-hour Strategic block, a 3-hour Breakout block, and two daily Buffer blocks (click for explanation). Scroll to the bottom of last week’s post for more details.

How Time Blocking Saved My Sanity This Week

  • I got my most important tasks done first. I neglected to mention last week that the 12 Week Year recommends scheduling the strategic block during the first part of the week so it’s likely to get done. I did my 3-hour stint on Monday and couldn’t have been more excited about making progress on work that I’d been neglecting so I could attend to day-to-day tasks.
  • Pre-planned activities made the time go on and on. I didn’t just use time blocking to “work on homeschool planning” or “start my book.” Having used the 12 Week Year program to set three goals for the next 12 weeks and weekly benchmarks that had to be achieved for each, I knew exactly what to do with my 3-hour strategic block. I took no breaks, choosing instead to switch goals when I needed a change of pace. I’m almost a week ahead and couldn’t be more thrilled with what I’ve gotten done.
  • Having guilt-free relaxation time made me more productive. Trying to mix work and play and family can be pretty frustrating. Knowing that I had a 3-hour block of time to do absolutely anything (I read and watched TV) helped motivate me to return to work. I wasn’t interrupted, but in the future I would like to make sure everyone knows that Mom is on a mini-vacation during this time.
  • Motivated me to finish the rest of my work. After finishing my 3-hour time block on the big stuff, the rest seemed easy to knock out, regardless of how I approached it.

How Time Blocking Made Me Crazy This Week

  • Buffer blocks don’t work in the summer. I think having buffer blocks twice during the day to field the kids’ homework questions and my husband’s requests will work great during the school year. When my husband isn’t working as much (he sells library books to schools) and the kids are jumping from one fun activity to the next, they couldn’t be less interested in whether or not I have a “Buffer Block.” I didn’t find it necessary for handling other work because I already have a routine.

Did Time Blocking Help Me Get Things Done?

A very enthusiastic YES! What I’m most pleased with is the fact that I made serious progress on goals that would otherwise have been neglected. What’s more is the fact that I had peace of mind both in knowing I’d gotten the important work done and had reserved free time, too. I will be continuing to use the time blocks as part of the 12-Week Year and will give a full review of the approach in September (as it’s impossible to test in a week).

**UPDATE**

I still love time blocking and scheduling. By taking time blocks seriously and making them a habit, I have been able to accomplish my goals.

The Productivity Approach I’ll Be Using for Week 22

morning ritual productivity

Image courtesy of winnond / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This week I’ll be testing a morning ritual. I have a morning ritual–most people do. But I could benefit from an improved one. The change I am most interested in making this week (because I already exercise and have a time of prayer and Bible reading) is not reading email right away.  

The concept. Curt Mercadante encouraged me to give up my habit of checking email first thing in the morning, attesting to the benefits on productivity.

A morning ritual can be used much like stretching for an athlete. The activity we engage in first can set the tone for the whole day and can be used to increase our productivity and improve our mood.

If you’d like to join me this week, here’s what you do. Read Curt’s article. Decide which activity will best prepare you for a productive day and plan to do it first. I will not be checking email first from now on when I roll out of bed. Exercise is my best first activity (after the necessaries ;-)).

Click here to see how my week testing a morning ritual went.

Are you on Google+? Follow me and join the Productivity community for great ideas on getting more done.

If you’ve tried Time Blocking to increase your productivity, please vote in the poll below.

Here are the links to the productivity hacks I’ve tried so far:

A Year of Living Productively

Week 1: Paper To-Do List

Week 2: Covey’s Quadrants

Week 3: Routines

Week 4: Paper Planner

Week 5: SMEMA

Week 6: Guilt Hour

Week 7: Envision Ideal Day

Week 8: Do it Tomorrow

Week 9: Pomodoro

Week 10: Time Warrior

Week 11: Scheduling

Week 12: The Repeat Test

Week 13: Personal Kanban

Week 14: Eat That Frog

Week 15: Vacation

Week 16: David Seah’s 7:15AM Ritual

Week 17: Another Simple and Effective Method

Week 18: Daily/Weekly/Monthly To-Do List

Week 19: Ultimate Time Management System

Week 20: Getting Things Done

 

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