Hi friends! I hope y’all are having a wonderful week! I’ve been working away and enjoying time with the kiddos. Jordan is in her second week of swim lessons and she’s doing so well! Hopefully, we’ll be able to go to the pool this weekend and get more practice in, but only if the rain stays away.
And today, I have a much needed hair color and cut appointment, which always feels so great! I’m gonna take detailed notes on my cut, color and share everything with you in a hair post soon!
Today, I’m turning our attention to one of my favorite topics- Getting Things Done! Summer has me enjoying slower days, which I really appreciate, but I’m still my happiest when I feel like I’m being productive and making the most of my time.
I hope these ten tips help you and I’d love to hear YOUR tips for getting things done in the comments!
10 Tips for Getting More Done Everyday
1. Get enough sleep
My first, most important tip is a no brainer, but easier said than done. That is, make sure you get enough sleep. You know the difference between how your day looks and, more importantly, feels, when you’re running on fumes.
There’s no way you’re going to be energetic, firing on all cylinders, getting all the things done if you’re dead tired. Just this week, I had terrible insomnia and it really threw me off. I wasn’t able to focus and just felt yucky.
My sweet spot is a solid eight hours, which means I can easily wake up at 6 a.m. without an alarm, if I’m asleep by 10 p.m. When I worked as a lawyer, we had a case where a truck driver working long hours day after day fell asleep at the wheel. I remember being fascinated with our sleep expert and he explained that when you don’t get the sleep you need, you accumulate “sleep debt.”
So, if you need 7 hours of sleep and are only getting 6, night after night, you’re basically getting in debt with your sleep, similar to how you can overdraw your bank account. And the scary thing is, your body may not even feel sleepy because you kind of get used to it, but, you’re declining in mental and physical performance.
Ways to help ensure you do get enough sleep include:
- Keep a set sleep schedule – try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends. I used to think that was crazy until I started trying it for myself. Now, even if I take an afternoon nap on the weekends, I still try to wake up and go to bed around the same time each day.
- Have a bedtime routine – about 30 minutes before bed, dim the lights, turn off electronics and wind down. I love to “prepare my room” for bed. I’ll turn down the bed, light a candle and sometimes turn on my diffuser which is scented with relaxing lavender essential oil. I also keep it one degree lower upstairs than downstairs and make sure to keep my room clean. It feels so good to get into bed in a calming environment.
2. Wake Up first
Once you get your sleep under control, waking up before your household can be so beneficial to your day. Over the years, my morning quiet time has become my favorite part of the day, and definitely worth waking up early for.
When you wake up at the same time as everyone else, you don’t get that time to yourself to be alone, reflect, read, write, exercise or do whatever is at the top of your priority list.
This one might sound counterintuitive because we’re trying to get more done in a day and working out takes time. And not just the time spent actually exercising, but the commute time as well if you’re going to the gym.
But, I can tell you based on my own experience, that days when I make the time to workout are far more productive than the days I don’t. There’s just something about getting up and moving and working those muscles that fires up your brain and body to get more done in the day. Not to mention all the other health benefits.
Since I like to workout at the gym, I sit down every Sunday evening and plan out my workouts for the week. I calendar them in and set them as important appointments with myself. Then, I fit in everything else I need to do around those appointments.
If I truly can’t make it to the gym, I’ll walk/jog outside or on my treadmill at home.
I’m a busy, single mom with an online business, a boyfriend and friends and family to keep up with. I’m tempted to say there’s not enough hours in the day, but guess what? We all have 24 hours in a day.
It’s a matter of making yourself a priority and saying no to things that waste your time and don’t benefit you. I cancelled cable at the beginning of this year, so tv is one of those things for me.
4. Get ready in the morning
If you want to be more productive during the day, get yourself ready. Put on a little makeup, fix your hair and wear something you feel good in.
Since I work from home, it’s easy to sit around in joggers with my wet hair piled on top of my head and no makeup. And yes, that happens sometimes. But, I’m always so much more productive when I get ready in the morning. And I always feel more confident and put together when I get ready.
Last year, one of my mantras was, “My goal isn’t to get more done, it’s to have less to do.”
I’ve worked on this with decluttering nearly my entire house and now I’ve started simplifying routines and habits. Last weekend, I actually took down the star jasmine off of my backyard fence because the maintenance was getting to be too much and I didn’t want another “to do” on my list. I also didn’t replace the flowers in my front patio because I didn’t want the chore of having to water them everyday. It’s just not that season in my life where I have the ‘extra’ time for those things.
When my daughter wants to play, I don’t want my first reaction to be, ‘but mama needs to x, y, z first.”
I used to always be thinking of what I needed to clean and organize before I could relax and play. Now that the house is so much more minimized, there’s way less to do. It’s easier for me to say, “yes, let’s play now” and actually do it without thinking of the ten million things that need to be done.
We used to have four stair bins on my stairs for all.the.things that needed to go upstairs. Now, we have one.
If you want to start simplifying your life, I’d recommend starting with decluttering and getting rid of the things that are taking up physical space in your house. Eventually you’ll find that that also frees up that mental space in your brain.
I’ve not only simplified the rooms in my house, I’ve simplified our routines. Which brings me to my next point.
6. Meal Plan & Use A Grocery Delivery Service
One of the best things I started doing for my health and to save time has been meal planning, grocery shopping online, and having my groceries delivered. Especially if you’re trying to eat healthy and avoid all those temptations in the grocery store, ordering your groceries online is so beneficial.
Y’all know I use Walmart+ to order my groceries online and I find it so convenient to start my cart and keep it going until I’m ready to checkout. I’ll just add things to it as needed, like this morning I realized I was almost out of dishwasher soap and Jordan mentioned she wanted mac and cheese, so I just went online and added it to my cart that was already in progress.
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I love that I don’t have to stop the flow of my day to get in my car and head to the store. Also, my kids never want to come, so it’s always a hassle bringing them.
If I’m in a hurry to get my things, I pay a $10 Express Delivery charge (as a Walmart+ member, they waive the delivery fee) and get my things right away.
Usually, I opt for the ‘need it soon’ and get free delivery from my store the same day with my $35 minimum order.
Or, you can choose to get your items tomorrow with free shipping and no order minimum, just be sure to select Walmart+ eligible products, excluding freight and Marketplace items.
Did you know that the free delivery from your Walmart store isn’t just for groceries? You can choose from almost anything they sell in the store. So, if you’re looking for a convenient one-stop shop, you can also add to your cart that birthday present, pet toy, computer charger, or whatever else you need!
7. Batch cook, freeze
You don’t need me to tell you how much time cooking every night takes. That’s why I prefer meal prep and usually do it twice a week. But, you can also batch cook and freeze meals so that you only have to reheat them. I like to do this with dishes like lasagna or casseroles. They defrost and reheat really well and it’s only a little bit more effort to make two at a time.
8. Make a to-do list before bed with your top 3 items
I used to be in a good habit of planning my day at night before bed. But, sometimes I was so tired that I didn’t feel like I had the energy to plan out my whole day.
Then, I’d wake up in the morning without a plan and I always felt behind.
So, I decided to make it easy on myself and just write down the top three things I want to get done the next day.
I have a planner I can use, but if it’s not handy, I keep a notepad in my nightstand or use the notes app in my phone to jot them down. I think three is a realistic number of items to try to accomplish and when picking my top three, I choose the MOST IMPORTANT.
9. Complete the Most Important Thing first
And then, when you get about your business of getting things done, do the most important thing first. Do the one thing that it’s the only thing you got done today, would have the biggest impact on your priorities and goals.
10. Keep Master to-do list in a notebook – keep it handy and add to it
I mentioned before that I do have a planner that I use, but the simplest, most effective thing I do is keep a Master List. This is an ongoing brain dump that I just write down in a notebook and cross of things as I complete them.
I open the page and write HOME on the left page and WORK on the right. Anything that has to do with home stuff like kids, meals, bills, school, activities goes on the left and all things pertaining to my blog go on the right.
It’s not pretty or perfect, but it works. I’ll highlight important things and then use those as my Top 3 when I’m planning out my day. I love that I don’t have to be ‘precious’ with this list and if I’m feeling anxious or uneasy, I usually know it’s because my brain is full of too many things, so I just sit down and dump it all out onto those pages.
I’ll start a new list page when most of the things are crossed off or it gets too messy to read.
I love to keep this handy while I’m working at my computer because it helps me stay on track and not lose focus. If a “to do” pops into my head while I’m working, I just jot it down and keep going. That way, I’m not afraid I’m going to forget about that thing, but I don’t interrupt myself to start working on it until I get done what I was doing.
I hope this list is helpful for you. I know that we want to be productive with the time that we have so that we can spend more of our time doing what we love with who we love. That’s what I keep in mind when working. Just stick with it and get this done so I can rest and relax later. It’s an ongoing work in progress, but these tips have helped me tremendously over the last couple of years.
Especially that online grocery ordering and online pickup. I don’t know how I’d live without it now. If you’re interested in signing up, go HERE to start your FREE trial.
Have a fantastic day friends!
*Thank you to Walmart+ for sponsoring today’s post.
I’m a huge list maker and make at least one to-do list daily. It just helps me get stuff out of my brain and onto paper, and each time I check something off the list, it makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something. And as far as simplifying the household is concerned, my husband and I live in a small two-bedroom apartment in western Austria, where real estate is prohibitively expensive. Whenever my American friends and family see it in person or hear what size it is, they can’t believe how small it is compared to about 99% of the homes people have in the US. But there’s a reason downsizing is becoming a thing, even in the US, and having a small place helps to minimize the amount of things you have. And someday we plan to move, so we’ll be happy not to have SO much stuff to take with us.
Amen to the lists! I have also daydreamed about downsizing! And if I ever do move, I don’t want to move things I don’t use and love. It’s so cool that you are reading from Austria! Big hugs from Texas!
agree with entire post!!!
I love this post! I always enjoy learning from others. Thank you for sharing this as it is so timely for me as well. I follow your lead on many of your posts, reading books that you have recommended, etc. I’ve been decluttering and list making too. I truly enjoy your blog! A million thank yous!
Thank you so much for being here Val!
I always love your productivity posts! And you’re so right about sleep – easier said than done. I wish I slept better, but insomnia is my constant companion.
That is so hard Lisa! Whenever my sleep gets off track, I don’t feel like myself and then I have to struggle to get it back in line. I’ve been more lax with my sleep schedule in summer, but I even feel a little “off” with that.
I love these kinds of posts and I love the ideas you live by daily. Totally agree, on simplifying and decluttering the home. Especially drawers, closets, etc. The home just breathes more freely and it is a much “lighter” feeling personally. As a Mom with two grown boys now. We always allowed them to do one activity/sport per season and did not overload them with all the activities…..cramming your life with “things” just isn’t worth it. Family time, self care time and enjoying your life are far more important than keeping up with the Joneses, and or telling yourself you always have to be “busy”. Love your outlook and how you are managing your life and your kids life. Big hugs to you.
I can totally relate to that “lighter” feeling in the house. And I’m so with you on not overdoing it on activities! One is plenty for us too – because it’s not just the activity – but all the planning, money, effort, energy and ‘extras’ that go with it! We tend not to think of that part when considering what to sign up for.
This post has been super helpful and I will apply more of these tips. I’d love to see how you organize your closet. I did see the layout of the space a few years ago. I’m sure you’ve improved your ability in that realm also! Please share how you organize the active, workout, leisure, dress categories of clothing and what to do with the shoes, handbags, swimsuits and cover ups. Thanks so much!
I have! I decluttered and gifted so much of my closet that you might be surprised to see what’s left! I’ll put that on my list to share in the future!
I love your ideas; they all are reasonable and doable. I retired a year ago and I’ve been struggling with setting a routine, doing loads more housework (my housekeeper retired, too), purging my old life, and trying to find time for fun hobbies. Your suggestions help! Thanks!
I’m so glad this post was helpful and good for you for retiring! Enjoy this new chapter!