I get a fair few questions over on Youtube and on here about how I stay productive and motivated. I have been thinking for a while about how to make some content around this and have ultimately decided to just put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and just start writing about it - after all just getting on with something seems the best way to practice what I am about to preach regarding productivity. Sitting alongside this we have some photos that bare no relevance to this post - because unless I share some photos of me at my desk looking pensive then what is going to fit here?! So, instead, we have a laid back Summer outfit from last weekend in Athens. Easy summer styling that I rely on every single Summer.
Working for yourself does demand a level of self-motivation and drive. I know so many people who say they couldn’t do it because they would end up spending the while day in bed working (believe me, you wouldn’t, but I get why people think that). I realised I would love to work for myself when I was Uni and I loved how self-led my course was and how much I was left to my own devices when it came to getting work done. And seen as this blog has been my job since I graduated, I have never really known any different than being my own boss. I am definitely a little bit of a workaholic at times, but I think when you’re running your own business and love what you do it’s almost inevitable that would happen. But, despite that being my natural tendancy, here are some tips I have learnt along the way;
1. Work out what time of day is best for you
No one can work at 100% for a whole day. There will be hours when you fly through your to-do list, and some when you grind to a huge halt for no reason whatsoever. My most productive hours are between 7am-12pm, and 6pm onwards. The afternoons are the times I find it hardest to get things done. A simple email can take me hours to get through because I am distracted by everything any anything. I do always try and power through those hours, but if I have errands to do like post office trips and shopping to get done, I will try leave it to the afternoon when I wouldn’t be getting much work done anyway.
2. Go for a walk.
Walking is an oddly huge part of my life. Whenever my head is in a mess, I go for a walk. Whenever I am feeling really down, I go for a walk. Uninspired? Walk it off.. the list goes on. My general rule in London is that if the journey can be walked in less than an hour, then I go about on foot. But sometimes it’s just as important to walk without purpose, so not always to go to a specific destination. I know if you’re in an office you can’t just get up from your desk and go for a stroll, but maybe put some time aside on an evening. I have had some of my best ideas while walking, I make lists mentally as I go for what I will do when I get back, ponder life’s big questions, and generally straighten my head out as much as I can.
3. Don’t be unrealistic.
I have tried all the usual things about cutting out the procrastination, none of which work. If I tell myself to leave my phone in the other room, it will be five minutes before I realise I need it for something work related anyway. If I tell myself to stop scrolling through Tumblr I just stare into space instead when my mind is slowing down work-wise. Of course cut out the obvious; don’t work with the tv on if it distracts you, don’t work with a friend if neither of you can shut up for five mins to get things done. But other than that I think procrastination is inevitable and is part of resting your head before you become productive again. I of course have days where that productivity doesn’t come back to me in the way I would like, in which case I make sure I am up earlier the next day to make sure I can make the most of the productive morning hours.
4. Don’t live by lists.
I love a list as much as the next person and make on everyday. My rule in life is that if it doesn’t get written down, then I am not going to remember it. But at the same time any given day can change at any given moment so don’t get too reliant on a list. When the bullet journal craze kicked off I too lost many hours watching videos on YouTube of how people laid there’s out, and ultimately decided that if you were spending time drawing some A-Level art masterpiece everyday to track how many glasses of water you’re drinking then it’s not time best spent anyway. I could have drunk two glasses in the time I spent drawing that out.
5. Do be a little bit hard on yourself
I think a bit part of being motivated is registering the guilt you feel if you haven’t got something done. I don’t mean beating yourself up because you haven’t worked 13 hours a day and not seen daylight in weeks, but if there was something you know you could have got done and haven’t, then a bit of guilt is a good thing. It doesn’t mean I get up and do whatever the task is right away, but knowing you really could have got that done and didn’t for whatever reason means I am more likely to make sure I get it done the next day.
PHOTOS BY DEAN MARTINDALE