Do you ever think about the long list of tasks you have to complete and instead of getting them done you mentally shut down and start watching Netflix until your eyes bleed?
Here’s the thing. I can be organized, productive, and all around a functional human being. But, I also have anxiety, so there’s a little extra prep work involved to make “functional” possible.
The truth is, I do have days when the list of chores I need to carry out seems too long. I get overwhelmed and want to shut myself in a dark closet with reruns of The Office and a bag of Doritos. I have seen the entire series over four times, and have eaten over 30 tons of Doritos, I know how to avoid my responsibilities.
However, at the age of 29, I have learned what it takes for my days to be successful. I have fine-tuned my process to maximize productivity. And if used properly, it’s effective. So, I thought I’d share.
Start with the Schedule
It all starts with a plan, a schedule, and calendar alerts on my phone because I forget most everything unless I write it down.
Make a good list. Every day I like to start out with a list of items I need to do. This list helps me focus on and visualize what a successful day looks like for me. Writing tasks down gets the list out of my head and allows me to see, realistically, that I don’t have as much to do as I think. I can look at what is urgent, and what can be pushed to the next day if needed. The list is never as scary on paper as it is in my head, and checking completed items off my list is pretty satisfying.
Use the calendar. Anything important that I could forget goes in my calendar. I use the one in my phone because it’s the most practical for me. I also set alerts one hour before the events so that I won’t forget. I am not above using technology to make my life a little easier. After all, that’s what it’s there for.
Celebrate the small wins. Treat yourself! We have a lot going on! Family, friends, socializing, work, school, trying to keep the house clean, etc.! The to-do list is daunting, and you deserve to reward yourself for getting shit done! I live for rewarding myself for being productive. If my list is long, I will treat myself to a coffee, or lunch, or an episode of my favorite show. At the end of the day if it motivates me to get the list done, I’ll take it. And surprise, getting the list done is the greatest reward of them all, because you will feel so good. Go you!
Take Care of Yourself
I can be organized and scheduled all day, but success does not happen unless I take care of myself and start each day off in a good place. So, here are my tips.
Get a good nights sleep. I always try to get 8-9 hours of sleep every night. I know this seems like a lot, but I know my body, and I am ready for a nap at noon without at least eight hours. My spouse can work on five hours, I don’t get it. This means I have to be strict on my bedtime even if I am pressured to stay up by my partner. Sleep deprivation leads to stress, falling asleep at work, and crab-applery. Just doing my part for the betterment of society.
Drink water! I drink a full 16oz of water right when I get up and then 60-64oz throughout the day, sometimes more. When I get dehydrated I feel tired, groggy, and even cranky. Not pleasant for anyone. If you see me, I will probably have a giant water bottle with me because there’s never enough water available in public, and I am always overly prepared for a drought.
COFFEE. I think its common knowledge that the secret to a great day is having the best cup of coffee in the morning. I love coffee and knowing that I get to have it when I wake up makes getting out of bed almost enjoyable. (I’m not a tea hater either, do your thang, tea.)
Personal hygiene. A great day starts with great grooming. Showering and brushing my teeth in the morning makes me feel more approachable and thus, a little more confidant.
Dressing for success. Having a clean and neat appearance before I go out to work, or wherever the day takes me, gives me the confidence I need to be successful. When I feel like I look good on the outside, I feel good on the inside and I behave in a more confidant manner.
The interrogation. Before I leave the house I like to ask myself two questions: “are you prepared for this day?” and “can you succeed today?” It may sound silly to do this, but I think that the best way for me to be productive and successful is being sure of my abilities and letting myself know that I am capable of doing what I need to do. Self doubt is the killer of all dreams, and I try my best to avoid it.
Checking in. It’s also important to check in with yourself throughout the day. Sometimes I have to put my to-do list on hold and spend some time taking care of my mental health. This may mean taking a nap on my lunch break, talking to a friend, or tuning out in my car and listening to a podcast. It’s okay to take a break from life to recharge.
These are some ways I am able to combat my anxiety and also use it to my advantage to get through the day. There will be twists and turns that I may be under prepared for, but that’s okay. If there’s anything I have learned from existing, it’s that I have and will get through it. But darn it if I can have a bit of control I am going to take it!
Now get out there and get shit done!
Thanks for reading,