3 things I’ve been doing lately to boost productivity

I am so sick of wondering where the day goes lately, looking at my to-do list on a Thursday from Monday and generally feeling out of control that I decided to try and make some small changes to every day life. Here’s 3 quick and simple things I have tried that have been working (it hasn’t been long so watch this space) but they have left me feeling like I am getting stuff done, making progress and (for me the most important) feeling in control.

1. Write a daily to-do list

In my past life in corporate world every night before I left my desk I would write a new to-do list of all the things that I needed to do the next day. I would include some simple things that I knew I would definitely do (for satisfaction of crossing off) and others that I knew wouldn’t get done that day or week or even month, but there they were. Ready for the action. A fresh list, and fresh day. And recently I have started doing this at home. I have worked off different kinds of lists and to-do apps for some time now and I always keep coming back to paper. Each night when I know I am logging off my laptop or putting away my phone for the night I write a new list and I make it a goal to try and get through it. This simple process has seen me get more done than I normally would with even the odd happy dance when I got ALL OF THE THINGS done.

2. Being accidentally active in my active wear

Again this is something that I have written about before but I have tried again to put the clothes on, put the shoes on which is FORCING ME to go for that walk, or do a HIIT workout when Maggie is asleep. Plus! As a bonus I have just been ploughing through tasks faster and quicker than I would in normal clothes. I know this is weird, but it’s true. If I have to collect wood if I do it in my active wear I run with the wheelbarrow between the garage and home. I run down to the bedroom…it’s weird I know but it just happens when I have these clothes on. I can only apoloise to all that bastards in the supermarket that have to see me doing my own supermarket sweep in my active wear! As Rob said this morning, are you going out like that? Yes Rob, yes I am.

3. Setting an alarm clock

I can see eyes rolling now. DER. Every one has to do this. Well if you have kids and little ones that are up early you pretty much don’t have to. And if you have almost 11 years of sleep deprivation, it goes against everything to set an alarm. We are lucky where we live that the girls start school at 9.05am and so we can leave home at 9.03am which means we have lots of room to get up and do homework and get ready without too much rushing. But with a 2 year old that sometimes skips her sleep the hours for me to get “work” done are getting smaller and smaller. So I have started setting the alarm. 5.40am for now (I think I need to make it 5am though) and I sit in the dark, next to the fire just me and my inbox and to do list and I plough through stuff before 7am, getting stuff done and then feel like I am starting the day in a good place. I know this should or could be time to exercise, but right now on my limited time in the day, work it is.

So there’s my 3 quick and easy tips which have been making a real difference to my days.

Do you have any quick tips to share with us?
Are you up first in your household too?
When are you most productive morning or night?


  1. It’s like you can read my mind Beth and write exactly what I need to read!
    I am a HUGE list writer and sit and write one every morning or sometimes the night before.
    I have found that if I get up before I wake the kids, shower and get myself totally ready, getting out the door in the morning is a tiny bit quicker and absolutely have to pack the lunchboxes the night before. This will of course all go out the window once the baby arrives in December but I’ll give it a go!
    Doing the majority of the housework on your “maintenece Monday ” is also helping!

  2. Gibbergunyah says

    I get up at 5.15 and have my walk, shower, meditation and the lunch boxes done before the kids get up, get dressed, have breakfast, do music practise, fight, etc. Then it’s off to school and work and preschool most days. I’m much less productive in the afternoon so the morning it is.

  3. Yes. 5 am makes everything happen. The only down side 8:30pm and I’m falling asleep!

  4. I know this is going to sound so stupid but I set a timer. Maybe I will allow half hour to clean up the kitchen and put the rubbish out or hang out the washing. It works. Some times I feel like I am a winner if I beat the timer. Silly I know but I have always done that. Even though we are basically empty nesters our home still gets messy. When the kids were little I would spend say 15 mins first thing in the morning and go from room to room with a basket and collect whatever is laying around, a sock, toys, books etc. sit down with a coffee and sort through the crap and put it away. Lists are a big thing as well. I have bored you enough but I love to be organised

    • That doesn’t sound stupid at all – genius maybe! I will be doing this for sure – thank you for sharing!

    • Another Timer-user here! Because I work from home, it’s sometimes easy to just get caught up in (paid) work and ignore the house falling apart around me…so I set the timer for blocks of work, time out (eg make and eat lunch, go for a walk etc), and housework. I love me a hand-written list as well 🙂

  5. I literally just this week discovered bullet journalling. Look into it. At first glance it looks seriously time consuming (and a little wanky – lots of gratitude logs EYEROLL) but it’s a brilliant and simple way to organise all those lists into one place.

    • Interesting…just had a read about all that. How is it working for you? I might investigate further…

      • I’m only a few days in but it’s already got me to do things from my to-do list instead of re-writing them AGAIN. I write in it for about 10 min or less before bed. Took an hour or two to set up on the first day. I’m a convert.

  6. Oh god, I could message you at 5.40am 3 days a week, I’ll have my active wear on and will be getting ready to head out to the trainer at her little gym down the road. Back home by 6.45, where I crawl back into bed beside the husband for half an hour! Could get on with something else but hugs call! The other mornings the dog wakes up anyway and demands attention at that hour. Should stay up and get things done but lack the extra motivation.
    Trying to get to bed earlier is the major challenge.
    I write a daily list (most days). Sometimes it all gets done, sometimes it doesn’t. Have days of mad motivation followed by ones of slow, steady nothing-much.

  7. I tried the electronic lists, but it just doesn’t work for me. Im a hairstylist and I love my paper appointment book…it’s easy to erase and move around. (First rule of beauty school…ALWAYS write in pencil, #2…never turn the sink on without having the hose nozzle in your hand. )

    Plus the satisfaction of crossing that task off the list.

  8. Yes to getting up before the rest of the family. Alarm goes off at 5am, I may hit snooze once but I’m up by 5.30am. Also love enjoying my breakfast and cup of tea in the quiet of the morning before the breakfast demands begin. And I’d be lost without my lists!!

  9. I’m with you on the exercise gear – it’s weird but it works!

  10. The exercise gear totally works! Everything is so much speedier! I also love a paper to do list. I also like to set my set things to do in between other things. Like when I’m cooking dinner whilst it is cooking away in the oven or on the stove, I might mow the lawn or put the rubbish out or put some washing on. I fold the laundry off the line or in front of the tv and if there’s a show I really want to watch I’ll put wishing away in the ads.

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