It’s fair to say that, enjoyable though the summer was, having the kids off school for 7 weeks has broken my work mojo.
Not only do I have to catch up work that I just had to park due to time constraints – but I also need to get back into the working mindset in general. I have to admit that I’m still a bit in holiday mode. Am I alone in that?
Now that the little darlings been back for a couple of weeks, and we’ve figured out timetables and after school activities (of which there seem to be more each year!) I thought the time was ripe to set myself some work resolutions to help me to get back into the flow of work, routines, and general productivity.
1. Batching Work – I already do a bit of batching when it comes to writing, and I find this a really productive way of working. As I’m writing posts for this blog, as well as guest posts and other client work, it’s really useful to have time dedicated to researching, drafting and then writing for all of these writing jobs at once. I find it helps me to get more done than when I plan and write them all separately.
So, with that in mind, I’m going to try batching more of my similar activities to see if that helps productivity in other areas too. I’ve blocked off time in the calendar for writing, research, promotional activities and admin – so let’s see how I get on with it. (So far, so good I have to say).Batching tasks can improve your productivity - give it a try! Click To Tweet
2. Social Media Spring Clean – one of my top tips for staying ahead of the social media game is scheduling. (And you can get my free Twitter Scheduler here if you’d like a kickstart yourself).
I use Hootsuite to help me to batch and plan my social media for the coming week – you can read more detail about how I do that here – but it’s fair to say that I was running this in a very reduced way over the summer.
Now we’re at the start of the new school year, I’ve blocked off specific times in my diary every day (yes, that’s right, every day) to catch up with my social media activity* – as well as a regular hour each Friday to batch updates for the week ahead. And it feels good to finally be getting ahead rather than constantly playing catch up like I did in July and August.
* Once you have a plan in place and a system for managing your social media activity, you only need to dedicate between 10 to 30 minutes per day – more if you have time – to keep it all ticking over and your profile ‘out there’).
3. Drink More Water – I survive on cups of decaff tea, which is all well and good but usually means that I’m lucky if a glass of pure water actually passes my lips. The only days I seem to drink enough water are the days that I go out running, so I’ve set myself the goal of drinking a litre of water every day. (Not doing so well on this one so far – but I’ll get there).
We need to drink water to stay healthy, productive – and apparently, beautiful (it’ll take more than water for me).
I’m going to implement some of the tips here for getting more H2O each day.
4. Eating Less Carbs – yep, I am also guilty of living on carbs. Toast, cereal, crisps, oatcakes. Too many carbs can lead to a bit of a post-lunch slump – which is hardly great in terms of productivity.
I should say that I’m going to cut back on the bad carbs (i.e. the ones I like the most) but still eat good carbs – like oats, vegetables, fruit and rice.
Almonds are currently perched on my desk uneaten. I will try to eat them soon though!
5. Get Up Earlier – I already use my spare hour in the morning to check emails, respond to any that are urgent, and check social media updates – which means that I feel confident that at least I’ve caught up on anything that’s come in overnight.
However, I read this post yesterday about getting up at 5am (yes, really) and how it can increase your productivity and just generally, improve your day .It’s inspired me to try to do the same.
I have to admit that I felt exhausted just reading it, but I figure it will give me so much more productive time when the house is relatively quiet, that it might just be worth a try. And I really do need to stop working on the Mac until midnight as research shows that it interrupts your sleep (which might explain why I feel so tired).
6. Rule of 3 – I already do this to a certain extent but, over the summer and since the kids have gone back to school, I have slipped up a bit.
So, pen at the ready, Outlook calendar open, I have blocked off each day into 3 main categories: Promotion, Writing (both of which I do every day) and/or Admin, Planning, Research depending on what the priorities are.
Promotion covers a multitude of activities – from social media updates, to contacting potential clients while writing includes client work, as well as this blog. The Rule of 3 really does work – so I am determined to get back into the flow.
7. Me Time! – going for a run, seeing friends and just generally chilling out were not key activities over the summer.
Ferrying the kids around, acting as referee (an increasingly common activity as the weeks went on) and arranging play dates were the main focus.
I only managed 1 run a week. I went out with my girlfriends once. And I most definitely didn’t chill out.
Taking time out and recharging the batteries is essential if you want to stay productive.
Armed with my trusty calendar, I’ve blocked off time in the diary to go out on 3 runs per week. I’ve just booked myself into adult beginners ballet (I’m not a beginner but given that the last time I donned a pair of ballet shoes I was about 15, I think it’s fair to say, I’m not going to be that good either).
And – after my hour of social media scheduling on a Friday – the rest of the morning is free for coffee with friends. My sanity will (hopefully) be restored. Not to mention, I might lose a few pounds (from the exercise NOT the coffees). Perfect timing in preparation for putting them all back on again over C… (no, it’s September, I won’t say it).
So that’s it. Enough to be getting on with and nothing too difficult. In fact, lots of things I should be doing anyway if I want to stay productive – and sane.
How are you getting back into your work flow after the summer?