I have what they call “The inability to focus on just one thing” syndrome. Also called.. workaholic-ism (sure let’s make that a real word). It’s not just a matter of Shiny Object Syndrome (which I think everyone has to a certain point), but I really just like to pile on the work as much as possible.
I don’t necessarily recommend it, but if this sounds like something you do, you might be like me where your biggest struggle is managing your time.
I’m no expert, but since I love reading what other people do for productivity and managing their time better while working on multiple projects, I figured I would share with you what has been working for me.
1. I am a Stickler for Lists
If you don’t currently keep about a million lists, you’re doing it wrong. I wouldn’t get shit done if I didn’t have about 5 different to-do lists to focus on every day. It might seem like overkill, but I have so many projects going at one time, this is the only way I am going to get everything done.
The reason I don’t just have one daily to-do list is because it doesn’t provide enough detail for each task of an individual project. So, I have one main to-do list of what needs to be done that day. Then for each of those main projects, I have a separate to-do list that shows the individual tasks to be done.
It works great at motivating me to finish everything if for no other reason than I feel accomplished every time I can cross something off one of my many lists.
2. I Work in 2-Hour Time Blocks
This is something I have started doing recently, and to be honest with you, I don’t always keep up with it. It really depends on the day and what I have going on. But on days when there is mostly writing to be done, I find 2-hour blocks to work the best. This allows me to really sit down and get a big bulk of writing done in those time blocks, but also gives my brain and my hands a rest from all the typing.
Working in time blocks lets you set a different project for each time block, but you can decide on how long they should be. I recommend a short break in between each one, but if you have a habit of a “quick break” turning into a “short 5-hour Netflix marathon”, you might want to time them.
3. I Get Work Ready the Night Before
If there is one thing that helps the most (aside from my lists), this is it. It’s something I noticed over time based on my own personal habits. You may love spending the first hour every morning just working on what has to be done that day, that’s great! Congrats on being better than the rest of us 😛
For me, I have noticed if I don’t start my work day on the projects that need to be done immediately, I get lazy and my brain has a hard time focusing. What works for me is doing all the prep-work, whether it is making detailed lists, researching articles, or outlining blog posts the night before, so that when my work day begins in the morning, I just open up documents and go.
4. I Reward Myself for Finishing Projects
This is something I do when I am not working in strict time blocks, so really it is an alternative to that. There are some days where time blocks don’t work because I have all these mini projects, not necessarily a day that includes 12 hours of writing. On these days, it works better when I work on one project as quickly and efficiently as I can, then reward myself with something. As a TV junkie, it’s usually an episode of something on Netflix, but it can be anything you want. When I get into a really good book, it’s sometimes reading a chapter or two between each mini project I do throughout the day.
Sometimes playing tricks on yourself works best.
5. I Hit My Morning Routine Hard
I have talked about my morning routine before, which is really how I am getting ahead with work right now. I was stuck for a while in a huge rut where I had no motivation and massive burnout. I still do get burnout sometimes since I try to do too much, but for the most part, my morning routine has improved my work days.
Basically what I did is add some tasks to do right when I wake up, from doing a morning workout to journaling and sometimes doing motivation – in the hopes I won’t fall asleep in the process.
I’m going to sound like a broken record here, but that’s because it’s important – You have to do what works for YOU. If some things on this list won’t work for you, your lifestyle, or your schedule, don’t do them! Just find whatever helps keep you motivated and helps you to manage your time throughout the day.