Photo by Fonna Seidu - Pink post-it note with a to-do list. Item 1: upload portrait session to flickr and tag images; item 2: finalize social media workshop outline; item 3: confirm transportation details for feb and march events

My Most Productive Day Ever in 3 Easy Steps

Have you ever had a day where you wanted to get stuff done but the odds were against you? Maybe a day binge-watching shows and movies on Netflix? Or possibly, being scatter-brained and working on 7-10 things interchangeably in a day? Hopefully the steps below will help streamline your work practice for a better work day!

Step 1. Pick Your Top Three Tasks

Task lists can always grow. My action list on Asana is how I track looming deadlines. But, completing my list gives me so much joy! When you start your morning, select 3 big action items that would feel like a weight off your shoulders after being complete. They can be relatively big or small tasks. Choose them and write them somewhere so that you can cross them off throughout the day.

For example, (1) Research the legalities behind stock photography; (2) Confirm the ETA of unpaid invoices; (3) Edit a few pages of a resource toolkit.
Another example, (1) Complete a 30 minute guided meditation; (2) Book a meeting with two clients; (3) Organize my sock drawer.

Of course, try to have it align with your weekly and monthly goals

Step 2. Pomodoro The Fuck Out Of Your Tasks

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How-To Pomodoro:
– Set a timer for 25 minutes
– Focus only on one task for the duration (with possibly some non-lyrical music in the background)
– Take a 5 minute break after the timer goes off
– Repeat 2 more times
– On the 4th repeat, take a 35 minute break
Recap: 25 min, short break, 25 min, short break, 25 min, short break, 25 min, long break

Make sure your breaks feel like rewards, not like more work.
When I am in strategic alchemy and film production meetings, we use this technique. Breaks can range from bathroom breaks, to social media breaks, to tv show breaks. I started watching the Mindy Project and Hunter x Hunter because I needed to get my mind off the meeting at hand.

So far, I’ve been able to complete maybe 4-5 consistent pomodoros in a day.

Step 3. Tidy Up

At the end of a busy day, I tend to have sticky notes, pens, and snacks everywhere. Simply just putting some things, if not everything, back in it’s spot helps me feel accomplished. Studies (and my mom) have warned against messy rooms for the longest time. For example:

“A messy room has been proven to both correlate to and cause depression in people…Unlike a cluttered space, an uncluttered room won’t overstimulate your senses, distract you, make relaxation difficult or trigger guilt for letting things get out of control” (source).

“The study found clutter junkies – who were at risk of hoarding disorder – took longer to fall asleep, are more likely to suffer disturbed rest and are more tired in the daytime as a result. In turn, a lack of sleep can increase stress and depression and slow down thinking, experts warned” (source).

So after a long day of getting work done, clear your room and enjoy your accomplishments!

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