16 productivity tips that will crush your to-do list and supercharge your life!

16 productivity tips that will crush your to-do list and supercharge your life!

If there’s one thing that all of us on this earth share, it’s the desire to GET STUFF DONE!

We humans are a productive species, and that means that we need to do things in order to feel fulfilled. In fact, a recent study found that the more busy a person is, the happier they are!

So what does this mean for us?

It means that we should think of increasing our productivity as a worthy goal – not only for the sake of ticking things off our to-do list – but also for our happiness in general!

That’s why I’ve decided to round up 16 of my best, most effective productivity tips to share with you. So get those pencils ready, ’cause after you’re done here, you’re going to be ticking a whole lot of stuff off that list of yours!

 

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1. Create a morning routine

We may not all be morning people, but research shows that there’s a direct correlation between how early a person wakes up and how successful they tend be. This is because of a couple reasons:

First of all, the earlier we wake up, the more time we have to spend doing healthy morning habits. These habits will then set the tone for the rest of our day. Some examples include:

  • Writing stream of consciousness
  • Stretching
  • Mindfully drinking our coffee/tea
  • Writing down things we’re grateful for
  • Repeating positive affirmations to ourselves

On top of this, waking up early also means that we’ll have more hours in our day to get things done. Once we finish our healthy morning habits, we can just get straight to work (even before most people have waken up yet!).

2. Group easier tasks together and get them done first 

Here’s a good rule to follow: if it can take you 5-10 minutes to do, just do it (I promise this isn’t a Nike advert!).

Take a couple minutes (in your morning!), to list all the quick and easy tasks you need to get done – whether it’s responding to an email, calling someone back, or even unloading the dishwasher. These are super easy things to do, but if you keep putting them off, they pile up, and that’s when they start to get overwhelming.

Plus, when you do these quick tasks first thing, it’ll get you in the “get stuff done zone”. Once you start doing even the simplest of tasks, you’ll be surprised to see how motivated you are to keep going!

3. Do your most dreaded task right away

We all have that ONE task on our to-do list that we keep putting off because we just don’t wanna do it.

Whether it’s a big time-consuming project or just one little chore that we shiver at the thought of actually doing (returning a phone call that makes you uncomfortable, perhaps?) – you just have to get it done.

The easiest way to do this? Get it done first thing in the – you guessed it – morning! After you’ve done a few of your small tasks, get the cringe-worthy one done and dusted and OUT of your mind (and enjoy how amazing it feels after you do so!).

4. Write everything down on paper

Sunday is great for so many things – movie nights, roast dinners, and planning out your next week!

Spend some time on Sunday evening listing all the things you want to get done in the following week. But here’s the catch – leave your computer and your phone turned off. Instead, write it all down on – GASP – physical paper!

Okay, in all seriousness, writing things down on paper rather than on your electronic devices has SO many benefits (as this article does a great job explaining). For me, the biggest benefit is being able to physically cross everything out when I accomplish it – there’s no better feeling in the world, I swear. 

And lucky for you, my Goal Planner was designed to help you with just this! I created this planner to guide you in getting clear on your goals so that you can break them up into smaller tasks to do throughout your day. It’s a fantastic resource for helping you take charge of your daily habits so that you can manage stress much better!

5. Don’t hesitate

Shout out to all my fellow procrastinators out there! Okay, this is one tip that I struggle following the most, but it’s also one of the most important ones (funny how it always seems to work like that!).

When we look down at our to-do list (handwritten on paper of course!), it can be overwhelming to see everything we have to get done. Often when this happens, we have this funny little habit of doing nothing at all rather that just doing something!

This is called procrastination, but I like to call it inaction. Why? Because it has the solution right there in the word – ACTION!

Honestly, just start doing something. I promise, once you do, you’ll get in the zone.

6. Eat healthy

If you want to be productive, there are 3 key times during the day you’re gonna want to pay special attention to:

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner (okay, let’s be honest – snack time too!).

What you put inside your body is going to make all the difference with how many things you’re able to get done throughout the day. Food is fuel, and your body and mind need fuel to be able to focus hard and work harder (if you want more insider tips and tricks on how to incorporate healthy eating habits into your daily routine, I suggest heading on over to my website and checking out my Design Your Anxiety-Free Life course!).

7. Take breaks

We’re all human, and that means we can’t be operating on superdrive all day long.

No matter how overwhelming your to-do list may seem, you MUST take breaks. Not only will it give your mind and body a much-needed rest, but it will also allow you to be more productive when you start back up again!

Schedule in advance small chunks of time throughout your day that you will dedicate to doing something that isn’t work.

Now, as much as our phones and the TV remote may be tempting, I advise against just flipping on a screen. Instead, the best thing to do on your breaks is something that rests you but also charges you. These things include:

 

  • Reading a book
  • Stretching/working out
  • Spending time in nature
  • Doing something creative
  • Listening to an inspirational podcast
  • Cleaning (yup, I said it! But honestly, you’d be surprised at what epiphanies you can have about your work while washing the dishes!)

8. Get in some exercise

Exercise is like the cousin of eating healthy – and you need the help of both these cousins if you want to get stuff done during the day! 

Working out is such an underrated component when it comes to being productive. I can’t stress this enough – if you want to feel motivated and productive, you need to get moving!

Whether it’s a stroll down your street, a quick yoga session, or even just a 5-minute stretch in your office – any and every form of physical activity is going to be your saving grace during your working day (which my Habit Tracker will help you stay on top of doing!).

9. Group similar tasks together 

This is what many people would call a productivity “hack”. Why? Because it’s a super easy yet not very well-known tip that only THE most successful people do (which will soon be YOU!).

When you’re planning out what you want to get done during your day, try as best you can to schedule similar activities in during the same time frame. For example, let’s say you have a lot of correspondence to do (phone calls, emails, texts) – schedule those in for one time block. If you have a bunch of cleaning that needs to get done, schedule each cleaning task in another block together.

When you do this, you’re allowing your brain to stay in similar “zones” as it does similar tasks. This means that you’ll spend less mental energy “switching” from one task to another completely unrelated task.

10. Break up bigger, daunting tasks into smaller chunks

This one is for that MONSTER on your to-do list (you know that one I’m talking about!). In order to defeat the beast, you gotta take it in chunks.

Instead of focusing on the WHOLE task, break it up into 3, 4, 5, or as many smaller tasks as it requires. Separate each task on your to-do list so that your brain just thinks of them as small, not-so-daunting tasks. 

11. Focus on one thing at a time

You have a million things to do. I know. I totally get it. But the only way you’ll get everything done is when you work on One. Thing. At. A. Time.

Whenever I have a never-ending to-do list, I tend to lose focus on one task because I’m thinking about that other thing I need to do, and that other other thing I need to do. I have to constantly remind myself that this way of thinking is NOT helping me – in fact, it’s distracting me from doing what I need to do!

Just take it one step at a time. You’ll get to everything. Don’t worry.

12. Have a good organizational system in place

If you’re anything like me, then you naturally have about TEN different places where you keep all your thoughts and notes organized (email, Google Grive, Dropbox, Microsoft Word, notes on my phone, notes in my notebook etc etc…). This is no way to be, and it will just end up adding more time to each of your tasks.

One of the best decisions I ever made in terms of my productivity was to streamline my organizational system. How did I do it? One word: Evernote

Evernote has been an amazing help in keeping all my many (MANY) thoughts organized an in their place. Honestly, if you haven’t already, I recommend downloading it (it’s totally free!).

13. Minimize distractions

Social media is great way to connect with people. It’s also a great way to lose FOCUS.

I, along with many of you I’m sure, have often fallen into the trap of taking a “five minute break” that turns into me scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed for HALF AN HOUR (I swear that social media distorts the time-space continuum).

My best advice to you? Switch your devices off. Your friends can wait, you can upload photos later, and you definitely don’t need to see who posted the latest vacay pic.

I know that this can be difficult to do on your own, but there are some super helpful apps out there that can help you out with this.

14. Get enough sleep

Who could say no to some extra Zz’s?!

Just like eating healthy and exercising, sleep is another vital function that our body NEEDS in order to be in tip-top condition to get things done.

If you struggle getting enough sleep, then I recommend you check out my Free Anxiety Handbook. In it, I share one super effective relaxation technique that works absolute wonders in helping you fall asleep easier and faster!

 

15. Say ‘no’ sometimes

One of the biggest things that has helped me focus more on the important things is learning the art of saying ‘no’.

It can be difficult to tell people that two-letter word, but honestly, once you learn how to, it’ll be a total game-changer. Whether it’s taking on more responsibilities at work, running some errands for your family, or doing a favour for your friend – you are always allowed to say ‘no’.

People will understand if you just explain the truth – “I’m really sorry, I won’t be able to do this for you because I have a lot of pressing things I need to get done but I’ll be happy to do it [insert time when you’re free]”.

 

16. Realize that the world will go on if you don’t get everything done

Go easy on yourself. If you don’t get everything on your to-do list done, it’s okay. You’ll survive. The world will go on.

You need to work through your to-do list with less of a “I-need-to-get-everything-done-OR-ELSE!” mentality and more of a “I-just-have-to-work-through-this-step-by-step” mentality. All is good, all is well.

You’ll get it done.

If you want more help crushing your to-do list and living a stress-free life, then check out my Productivity Secrets and Goal Planner! In it, I’ll be giving you worksheets and planners that guide you in structuring your day in a way that works for your schedule and aligns with your goals!

Natalie Burns-Holland

Natalie Burns-Holland

Content Creator at Mindaya

Natalie is a freelance writer living in Edinburgh, Scotland.

How to Design Your Dream Life: 5 Steps Towards Creating the Life You Have Always Wanted

How to Design Your Dream Life: 5 Steps Towards Creating the Life You Have Always Wanted

So today’s post is going to be a nice and inspirational one! I hope my other posts are also inspirational to you guys, but this one hopefully will get your butts in gear if you haven’t already started creating your dream life!

If you decide to focus on what you want and follow my steps, you can be as happy as this guy!

I think a lot of people have an idea in their head of what they want their life to be like, but don’t actually think that they can achieve it. I think some people are also too caught up in how they think life should be that they haven’t even considered that they could have a lot more of what they want from life!

What I have learned in the past few years, is that if you can narrow down what you want in life to the few (but important) things that make you happy and just focus on them, you will be able to achieve them and you will be very happy. Maybe you can’t do or have it all, but you can certainly have the things that will really make your life wonderful.

So here are the steps you can take towards designing your dream life.

Step 1 – Figure out what you actually want from life.

Maybe you know this already, but maybe you don’t. A lot of us forget what we really want from life as different stresses and events come up in our lives and get on top of us. There are also a lot of things that we think we want in life (a big house, a nice car, the best clothes) that actually don’t contribute to our overall happiness.

What do you want to do and accomplish in life?

How do you want to feel?

Who do you want to surround yourself with?

What skills do you want to learn?

Do you want to design your dream life around your career?

Do you want to design your career around your life? (I chose this option – I have way too many non-career related things that I want to do)

Step 2 – Figure out what you don’t want in life

There are a lot of things that we face on a daily basis that do not bring us joy and often bring us stress, anger, and sadness. Yet for some reason, we still allow these things (or people) into our lives.

You should do some reflection to see if there are certain stresses, people, activities, or burdens that would be better off not in your life.

This can also go for things that you may enjoy right now, but may not serve you in the long run.

For me, this is alcohol. It’s super fun, but it makes me way less productive and I feel like crap the next day – so I’m trying to just cut it out of my life.

You should also ask yourself how much money or how many material possessions you really need in life. This can take a lot of stress off in your life, and like most people, you might be inclined to work your life away just for money.

When I decided that I didn’t need a ton of money in my life, I felt a huge weight lift off of me and I felt like my options for what I wanted to do completely freed up. If I didn’t need a crazy amount of money, I could pursue a career that I love and not something that could make me a lot of money (but stress me out too much).

Step 3 – Get rid of things that get in your way

This includes the stuff that you have identified in step 2.

It also includes beliefs and negative self-talk that are preventing you from having the life you want.

Deep down, a lot of people will believe that they are not worthy or that they don’t think they will be able to achieve what they want.

You can read more about limiting beliefs in my article here.

Some people think that the only people who achieve these great lives were lucky or “caught a break”. While sometimes that may be slightly true, for the most part these people just worked really hard and completely focused on what they wanted and abandoned the things that got in their way.

You should also think about the other ways that you might be getting in your own way. The biggest way I can think of is procrastination. This should be something that you try to avoid at all costs. You can read my article on my effective ways to beat procrastination here.

Step 4 – Create a plan

Create a big plan. Map out how you want your life to look. Then identify your major goals. Then, identify smaller and smaller subsets of those goals that you can do in the shorter term to help you reach those goals.

If you want some extra help planning that, you should sign up for my free Dream Life Goal Planner that helps you find your passions and help you plan SMART goals in a way that will help you to achieve them!

Step 5 – Take action now!!

There’s no time like the present. You don’t want these dreams to stay as distant dreams, you want to start making them a reality.

As you work on these dreams more and more, you will start to feel more motivated and you will begin to see that this awesome life is really within your grasp.

And another thing to remember is to create a life that you enjoy while working towards the life of your dreams.

I have found that as I solidified what my ideals were and how I wanted to feel in life, I currently am living my dream life even though I have not reached all of the goals that I have.

You want to enjoy the journey.

And if you want some extra help designing your dream life and making it a reality, you should check out my Dream Life Goal Planner. It has everything you need to inspire and jump start your process of creating a life that you truly love. It has journal prompts, goal mapping inspiration, and a SMART goals worksheet! You can sign up at the bottom of this page!

How I found the courage to quit my job to travel the world

It’s the dream. Maybe not everyone’s dream, but for many people, quitting their jobs to go travel would be so amazing, yet most people don’t do it.

Why?

1.     Fear of the unknown – nobody wants to quite their cosy day job that pays them well and almost guarantees them security for years to come.

2.     Not enough money – kind of goes with the first point, but money can be a big roadblock for a lot of people.

Did I have these concerns when I quit to go travel?

Well, yes and no.

I mean, of course I had those concerns. It’s scary to quit your job and give up that “security” and money is always something to be concerned about.

How I made the decision: Risk vs. Reward

When I thought about all of the rewards and opportunities that could come from this, I basically had no other option.

When I pictured myself sitting at a desk for years to come, under such stress and not feeling that I was really doing myself – or the world, for that matter – any favours, I really couldn’t stomach it. My mind was made up, I had to get outta there!

Listening to my heart

I have always wanted to travel. Like really travel – going off on my own, staying in hostels, going on crazy adventures, but I never actually did it.

For years before I quit my job, I always put my desire to travel on the back burner because I either didn’t have enough money (or enough money that I wanted to spend on travel) or I was too busy with school or work.

I always thought that other things were so important.  But at that point, I don’t even think that I fully knew myself, so how could I know what was important to me.

I started to realize that I needed to find myself before making any other important decisions in my life.  And what better way than to go out traveling, exploring, having new experiences, and meeting new people with different perspectives to broaden my horizons!

My entire body and mind was filled with such an intense desire to just get out there and learn more about myself and the world. And just do some cool shit.

I think that if you really listen to yourself, you will start to realize what you really want. And then you have to go for it.

Dealing with the uncertainty of money

So yeah, I really wanted to travel, but then what was I supposed to do after going traveling? You can’t go traveling endlessly without some sort of income stream.

Well, that isn’t entirely true because there are actually lots of ways that you can travel while making some sort of income. But that’s a topic for another day.

What I did before I left my job was SAVE. I saved a lot of money. Thankfully I didn’t have that many expenses, but I also didn’t spend that much on frivolous things. I decided that freedom and travel were the most important things for me, so any time I was going to spend money – I reminded myself that that money could go towards travel instead!

And even if you don’t have a extremely well paying job, you can still start saving, little by little. You’d be surprised how much you save by just cutting down on some things, like going out partying so much, getting that new shirt, buying junk food, or your morning coffee from an expensive place.

But what about AFTER traveling?

I decided that after traveling for a few months, I would start working for myself. I am just at the very beginning of that right now, but I’m feeling very confident about it because I have a detailed plan.

And there is no guarantee that I will make money, but I’m a hard worker and I trust myself. I also know that if all else fails, I can go get a minimum wage job for a while until I get a “real” job. But that’s not going to happen, because I believe in myself!

Making a plan and believing in myself

Before I decided to quit, I did a lot of research on starting a business and making money as an entrepreneur.

In the end, I was very inspired to start working on things that I loved. But I had to weave through a lot of crap and negativity to get there.

People are always going to tell you not to do things.

You might even tell yourself not to do things.

This all comes from insecurities.

People will tell you that you can’t do something, because they are insecure and don’t believe that they could do it themselves. And in their minds, if they can’t, then neither can you.

You will tell yourself you can’t do something for the exact same reason.

But let me tell you something – you can do ANYTHING you want to! You just have to believe that you can do it and put the work in.

So if you get anything from this article, it should be to..

Trust yourself and don’t listen to the negativity!

Whatever your plan is, whether you want to quit your job to travel, you want to travel but have no money, you want to quit to travel but then get a job when you get back – you can do it!

All you have to do is believe in yourself, and do some research about how you are going to sustain the lifestyle that you want.

Now disclaimer: I am not saying that you should quit your job tomorrow and then just go travel with the hopes that you will come across some money. No. You need to research, and make sure that you will have a solid plan for having some source of income while you’re traveling, or when you get back.

This was not a willy nilly decision for me. It took months of research, budgeting, and planning to feel good about doing this.

BUT, you can’t wait until you feel fully comfortable about your decision because that will never happen. For anything good to happen in life, you need to take some risk and step outside of that enticing comfort zone!

So get comfortable being outside the comfort zone!

This is a bit of an oxymoron, and it’s also a bit cliché, but seriously, you need to get out of that comfort zone.

It’s a dangerous place to be. It’s where people fall into negative patterns and become complacent.

Anyone who has done anything great has stepped outside of their comfort zone.

Even if you do step outside of your comfort zone and totally get knocked down, all that will happen is that you learn from it and get stronger. That’s it.

Remember:

You are strong. Even if you get knocked down, you will get back up.

If you really believe in yourself and take all your hardships and failures as lessons, you shouldn’t be afraid of anything! If there is some sort of struggle after you go traveling and you can’t get a job right away or make money, you will pull through and you will learn from it.

All will be good (as long as you believe that it will be).

So I hope that my story and my tips have inspired you today! If you would like me to elaborate on any of the points I mentioned, please let me know and I gladly will! I would love to hear from you!

If you want to start building you dream life and maybe consider quitting your job or making time for more travel, you should check you my Dream Life Goal Planner! It has everything you need to inspire and jump start your process of creating a life that you truly love. It has journal prompts, goal mapping inspiration, and a SMART goals worksheet! You can sign up at the bottom of this page!

 

6 Ways Minimalism Will Help You Achieve Your Goals

6 Ways Minimalism Will Help You Achieve Your Goals

I’ve been a goal-oriented person for most of my life. From always trying to get the best grades in school, to getting my chemical engineering degree, to starting an online business! I like to focus on achieving things and getting things done!

Now, while achieving things is great, it can also cause a lot of burnout. This was so true for me – I was always doing WAY too much and stressing myself WAY out to the point that I just became overwhelmed.

I knew something needed to change. And this is where the life-changing concept of MINIMALISM comes in.

What is minimalism?

Minimalism is a fairly straight-forward idea. In a nutshell, it just means to live with less.

It’s not necessarily about getting rid of all your stuff, it’s about getting rid of the thoughts and ideas that are cluttering your life and holding you back.

In other words: just focus on the things that matter.

So when it comes to you goals, minimalism and achieving go hand-in-hand because minimalism gives you FOCUS.

If you’re a goal-oriented person like I am, then I highly suggested checking out this goal planner. It’s made by this super awesome blogger, Nadalie Bardo. She’s the Queen of slaying goals and the proof is in the pudding: she’s a super successful blogger and is just pumping out amazingly helpful content ALL the time.

If you’re a bit new to the goal planning world, you can check out her awesome Goal Setting 101 Course.  This course has everything you need to focus in on your goals and just get them done!

But in mean time, you can start out with my minimalist tips for achieving your goals!

6 ways that minimalism can help you achieve your goals:

There are two different elements of minimalism – there’s the physical side (having less stuff), and then there’s the mental side (thinking about less stuff).

So let’s start with the physical side of minimalism:

1) Less crap to deal with

This one is simple, but it’s also the most important.

When you become a minimalist – or even just start following some basic minimalist principles – you’ll be getting rid of a LOT of clutter. When you do this, you’ll probably begin to notice that all of a sudden you’ll have so much more time and energy that you can spend on doing stuff you actually love rather than just focusing on cleaning/dealing with/managing all your “stuff”.

2) Less distractions

If you have a huge house with tons of electronics, multiple cars, and different gadgets, those things are very likely going to distract you. And they probably aren’t the best use of your time.

Plus, material things eventually require repair/maintenance/replacement, which can take up your time that you could be spending on more important things

To top it off, when you keep wanting to buy more things, it’ll always be on your mind. That means more time spent thinking about shopping (an extreme time-killer).

3) Less spending and more financial freedom

This one’s a no brainer. If you have less and buy less, you will spend less. That way, you’ll have more money to invest in what really matters.

Getting rid of most of my stuff was the best decision I’ve ever made.

After spending 4 months living out of a small backpack while I was traveling, I realized just how happy I can be without all my junk.

I also feel more financially free than ever, because I know that I don’t need as much stuff in order to be happy.

I no longer feel the pressure to sell my soul just to make money – because I know I don’t need that much of it. I’ll be totally happy in my life with just a modest income.

Now that we’ve gone over the 3 “physical” elements of minimalism, it’s time to take a look at some of the more “mental” elements:

4) Less worry about things that don’t matter

If you really follow the principles of minimalism, you’ll probably feel the need to get rid of not only physical clutter, but mental clutter too.

I found that there were certain things that I thought about a lot on a daily basis, but they were not really serving me. They just kind of stressed me out.

One example for me was stopping the use of social media.

Now I still have accounts, but I rarely use them. Reason being is that I found I would think about it way too much. So, I unfollowed pretty much everyone on facebook, and basically only used instagram to follow my close friends and inspirational people.

This was a long time ago, and it has brought me so much mental space for other things, it’s crazy. I actually highly suggest it to everyone because social media can be crazy addictive.

If that example isn’t as relevant to you, here are some other examples of things that you could do to reduce some mental clutter:

  • Stop watching so much tv/Netflix
  • Stop watching the news, or looking up irrelevant information
  • Cutting out toxic people from your life (if possible)
  • Stop spending your time doing things that don’t truly bring you joy
  • Quitting a job or activity that is causing more stress than good

Just take a minute to think about things in your life that are taking too much of your mental energy and start reducing them. It will free you up for much better things.

5) More focus on the things that do matter

So with all that mental and physical clutter out of the way, you will naturally have more time to focus!

This is integral when it comes to achieving your goals because you really do need to be able to focus.

And then when it comes time to have a break, you can actually relax and not being doing a bunch of unnecessary things.

6) Having a clearer vision of what you want

After numbers 4 and 5 have started working, then you will naturally start to have a clearer vision of what you want.

Some of you might already have a very clear vision of what you want from life, which is amazing, but a lot of us don’t.

My vision of what I want is pretty clear now, but it wasn’t before. I had an idea, but I found I was still focusing on some of the wrong stuff.

Sometimes I still am. I find though that every day, what I want becomes clearer and clearer.

It turns into a bit of a positive feedback loop, because as my goals solidify and become clearer, everything I do is focused on that, and then I start the reassess and refine my goals even further.

Then, with that kind of clarity and focus, your goals will start to almost come to you naturally.

Obviously you will have to put some hard work in, but all that work will be completely directed at helping you achieve the life that you want.

So if you were maybe sceptical about minimalism before or you need a little extra focus with some of your goals, you should definitely give minimalism a go!

BTW – this barely scratches the surface. There are so many other ways that minimalism can change your life, mind, and overall happiness. So I will get to those soon!

If you’re interested in learning more about what lifestyle changes you can make to help you live better, then I suggest checking out my free goal setting course! Which comes with 5 days of helpful information that will help you to make the lifestyle changes that will help you reach your goals! Plus tons of other free helpful worksheets!