6 Expert Tips for a Crazy Productive + Stress-Free Life
The Art of Stress-Free Productivity: David Allen at TEDxClaremontColleges (July 2019).
Everyone's time is at a premium. We're all busy launching side hustles, raising smart kids, fitting in quick core workouts and hosting bangin' boho dinner parties; it seems like there's no time to just… relax. Laura Vanderkam, author of several time-management and work-life balance books, including I Know How She Does It and 168 Hours, says that actually, everyone has time in their schedule to relax — you just have to get on top of your productivity game. She set us up with six killer time-management hacks that will transform your schedule from packed with responsibilities to full of coveted down time.
1. Log your hours. Laura chronicled all of her hours for an entire year to understand where her time was going (you can read part of her fascinating account in this New York Times piece). For us mere mortals, she suggests a week, so that you can get an exact understanding of where all of your time is going. It'll help you prioritize and identify some major time-wasters (procrastination, anyone?). Laura promises that "even busy people find time that can be re-purposed for more enjoyable things and filling your life with enjoyable things reduces stress." Win-win.
2. Plan your weeks ahead of time. Before you get your weekend started on Friday afternoon, Laura suggests making a three-category priority list: career, relationships and self. Write in two to three high priority items in each category and then factor them into next week's calendar. "When we put in the important stuff first, it happens — and then the unimportant stuff naturally takes less time," Laura says.
3. Give yourself space. After making the schedule, look it over and determine what things don't need to be done, what other people can do for you or what you just don't want to do. "In five minutes you can literally buy yourself hours by clearing out anything that does not need to happen," Laura says.
4. Let your errands run themselves. Groceries, dry cleaning, household goods — basically everything can be delivered anywhere these days. And as Laura says, "Your time is worth more than the delivery fees." Once you cut out errands by setting up delivery options, you can fill that time with more enjoyable things, like grabbing coffee with a friend, taking a walk or reading a new book. For people on a tight budget, try to identify the one service that will make the biggest impact, based on cost to time ratio. Whether it's outsourcing laundry or signing up for Amazon Prime to avoid all those trips to pick up toiletries for your growing family, that one change will open up a ton of time.
5. Give yourself a break. Remember, Laura says, that "there is no 11pm home inspection. It costs money to outsource household chores, but it costs nothing to lower your standards." As Elsa says, let it go, let it go!
6. Work when you're most productive. If you're a morning person, make sure you prioritize your most important and hardest work for the morning. Putting it off until you're tired will only make you feel worse and inevitably make the task take longer than if you'd done it earlier.
Do you have a time-saving productivity hack that you live by? Tweet us @femininecluband share!