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Want A Productive Day But End Up Wasting It? Here Are 3 Obstacles You Need To Remove

Want A Productive Day But End Up Wasting It? Here Are 3 Obstacles You Need To Remove

Remember all those times you wanted to get back in shape and you told yourself, “I’ll start Monday”?

Sunday night rolls around, you set your alarm, it goes off in the AM, it’s earlier than you would normally get up so you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through your social media and the next thing you know, two hours have passed by and now you have no desire to go to the gym. The day comes to a close and you find yourself wondering at what point in the day your desire to be productive dwindled away.

Sound familiar? Well, there can be quite a few contributing factors that can affect your productivity and end up wasting the day away.

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3 Obstacles You Need To Remove for A More Productive Day

1. Optimism

You have a day off from work coming up so you plan ahead all the things you want to get done that day with the intention of tackling them all. The day comes and you realize that one of the things on your list is taking much longer to get done than you had anticipated, and you realize that there just aren’t enough hours in a day to get it all finished.

Being optimistic is a great quality to have, however, it will really get in the way sometimes when you’re trying to get a laundry list of tasks done in a short 24-time window.

2. Distractions

When you have a task to complete but there is no one around to check up on your progress or put pressure on you, probably you’ll end up procrastinating and allowing yourself to become distracted. You get distracted by the computer or your phone checking social media and sending texts back and forth you aren’t getting anything done. Pay attention to the people that you are surrounded by as well as your distractions. These play a big part in whatever environment you are in.

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3. Being overwhelmed

You wake up ready to take on the day and crush your tasks. You sit down to eat your breakfast and suddenly you start thinking about all the things you need to do that need to be done that day. Suddenly, your anxiety sets in and you’re extremely overwhelmed. You feel that you just won’t get everything done, and you start feeling discouraged. So as the day progresses, you start losing your motivation to get anything done that all you have to show for yourself is a half-completed task in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.

Whether you want to admit it to yourself or not, we have all done these things at one point or another. You are probably wondering what you can do to help overcome some of these issues, and it really can be quite simple.

3 Ways to Overcome these Obstacles

1. Shorten your to-do list

Realize and accept that you only have 24 hours in a day. It sounds like a lot, but when you have a million things to do it isn’t. Then also realize that you are a human being and not superman/woman. Think about what needs to be done and what you want to get done. By doing this, you’re surely going to cut that list in half.

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2. Start a routine

Once you get yourself into a routine, you’ll be surprised at how much easier it is for you to stay on task. For example, if you want to get back in shape, get yourself in a good morning routine to get ready for your trip to the gym. Instead of checking your phone when you wake up, get up and take a big stretch, walk to the bathroom and brush your teeth, wash your face, and change into your gym clothes.

Make yourself some breakfast and head out the door. Doing this every single day will eventually become a habit to the point where if you missed something in your routine, something would just feel off.

3. Put your phone down

Put down those cell phones! More often than not, our phones can be one of the biggest reasons we lose our motivation because they are so distracting.

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You wake up in the morning and one of the first things you do is pick up your phone and check your social media apps instead of getting up right away and getting things done. You get caught up in the motion of checking the same apps, refreshing, and scrolling. It happens.

When it’s time to get something done and you know you need to focus, put your phone out of reach so you don’t get the itch to pick it up. Leave it in your car, your purse, at home. When you start doing this you’ll begin to realize how much more you can get done when you aren’t constantly being distracted by what’s happening on your phone.

Featured photo credit: https://www.understood.org via understood.org

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Erica Wagner

Erica is a passionate writer who shares inspiring ideas and lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What to Do in Free Time? 20 Productive Ways to Use the Time

What to Do in Free Time? 20 Productive Ways to Use the Time

If you’ve got a big block of free time, the best way to put that to use is to relax, have fun, decompress from a stressful day, or spend time with a loved one. But if you’ve just got a little chunk — say 5 or 10 minutes — there’s no time to do any of the fun stuff.

So, what to do in free time?

Put those little chunks of time to their most productive use.

Everyone works differently, so the best use of your free time really depends on you, your working style, and what’s on your to-do list. But it’s handy to have a list like this in order to quickly find a way to put that little spare time to work instantly, without any thought. Use the following list as a way to spark ideas for what you can do in a short amount of time.

1. Reading Files

Clip magazine articles or print out good articles or reports for reading later, and keep them in a folder marked “Reading File”. Take this wherever you go, and any time you have a little chunk of time, you can knock off items in your Reading File.

Keep a reading file on your computer (or in your bookmarks), for quick reading while at your desk (or on the road if you’ve got a laptop).

2. Clear out Inbox

Got a meeting in 5 minutes? Use it to get your physical or email inbox to empty.

If you’ve got a lot in your inbox, you’ll have to work quickly, and you may not get everything done; but reducing your pile can be a big help. And having an empty inbox is a wonderful feeling.

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3. Phone Calls

Keep a list of phone calls you need to make, with phone numbers, and carry it everywhere.

Whether you’re at your desk or on the road, you can knock a few calls off your list in a short amount of time.

4. Make Money

This is my favorite productive use of free time. I have a list of articles I need to write, and when I get some spare minutes, I’ll knock off half an article real quick.

If you get 5 to 10 chunks of free time a day, you can make a decent side income. Figure out how you can freelance your skills, and have work lined up that you can knock out quickly — break it up into little chunks, so those chunks can be done in short bursts.

5. File

No one likes to do this. If you’re on top of your game, you’re filing stuff immediately, so it doesn’t pile up.

But if you’ve just come off a really busy spurt, you may have a bunch of documents or files laying around.

Or maybe you have a big stack of stuff to file. Cut into that stack with every little bit of spare time you get, and soon you’ll be in filing Nirvana.

6. Network

Only have 2 minutes? Shoot off a quick email to a colleague. Even just a “touching bases” or follow-up email can do wonders for your working relationship. Or shoot off a quick question, and put it on your follow-up list for later.

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7. Clear out Feeds

If my email inbox is empty, and I have some spare time, I like to go to my Google Reader and clear out my feed inbox.

8. Goal Time

Take 10 minutes to think about your goals — personal and professional.

If you don’t have a list of goals, start on one. If you’ve got a list of goals, review them.

Write down a list of action steps you can take over the next couple of weeks to make these goals a reality. What action step can you do today? The more you focus on these goals, and review them, the more likely they will come true.

9. Update Finances

Many people fall behind with their finances, either in paying bills (they don’t have time), or entering transactions in their financial software, or clearing their checkbook, or reviewing their budget.

Take a few minutes to update these things. It just takes 10 to 15 minutes every now and then.

10. Brainstorm Ideas

Another favorite of mine if I just have 5 minutes — I’ll break out my pocket notebook, and start a brainstorming list for a project or article. Whatever you’ve got coming up in your work or personal life, it can benefit from a brainstorm. And that doesn’t take long.

11. Clear off Desk

Similar to the filing tip above, but this applies to whatever junk you’ve got cluttering up your desk. Or on the floor around your desk.

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Trash stuff, file stuff, put it in its place. A clear desk makes for a more productive you. And it’s oddly satisfying.

12. Exercise

Never have time to exercise? 10 minutes is enough to get off some pushups and crunches. Do that 2 to 3 times a day, and you’ve got a fit new you.

13. Take a Walk

This is another form of exercise that doesn’t take long, and you can do it anywhere. Even more important, it’s a good way to stretch your legs from sitting at your desk too long.

It also gets your creative juices flowing. If you’re ever stuck for ideas, taking a walk is a good way to get unstuck.

14. Follow up

Keep a follow-up list for everything you’re waiting on. Return calls, emails, memos — anything that someone owes you, put on the list.

When you’ve got a spare 10 minutes, do some follow-up calls or emails.

15. Meditate

You don’t need a yoga mat to do this. Just do it at your desk. Focus on your breathing. A quick 5 to 10 minutes of meditation (or even a nap) can be tremendously refreshing.

Take a look at this 5-Minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime

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16. Research

This is a daunting task for me. So I do it in little spurts.

If I’ve only got a few minutes, I’ll do some quick research and take some notes. Do this a few times, and I’m done!

17. Outline

Similar to brainstorming, but more formal. I like to do an outline of a complicated article, report or project, and it helps speed things along when I get to the actual writing. And it only takes a few minutes.

18. Get Prepped

Outlining is one way to prep for longer work, but there’s a lot of other ways you can prep for the next task on your list.

You may not have time to actually start on the task right now, but when you come back from your meeting or lunch, you’ll be all prepped and ready to go.

19. Be Early

Got some spare time before a meeting? Show up for the meeting early.

Sure, you might feel like a chump sitting there alone, but actually people respect those who show up early. It’s better than being late (unless you’re trying to play a power trip or something, but that’s not appreciated in many circles).

20. Log

If you keep a log of anything, a few spare minutes is the perfect time to update the log.

Actually, the perfect time to update the log is right after you do the activity (exercise, eat, crank a widget), but if you didn’t have time to do it before, your 5-minute break is as good a time as any.

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Featured photo credit: Lauren Mancke via unsplash.com

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