If you are reading this I’m sure you are that person who is always trying to rush in order to complete daily tasks. You are that person who doesn’t know how to manage their schedule to get things done on time. You are that person who has a long to-do list, but doesn’t know how to organize their time properly. And most important, you are that person who wants to stay productive, but doesn’t know how!
That's who I used to be until one day I realized that I wouldn’t be able to keep up if I make a change. I knew I must find a way where I would be more productive and feel energized throughout the day. Therefore, I made a few tips that have worked well for me, and I am excited to share them with you!
I know that situations we are in are absolutely different. Someone may be a student at University, someone has a full time job, someone is a stay home mom, or maybe someone, like myself, is a solo-preneur who is working from home. All in all, we are all women who need to get stuff done, who need to stay productive, who need to feel happy and positive about what we are doing, and that’s what we all share in common.
Tip#1 Plan ahead
Don’t try to squeeze all the tasks in one day or week knowing that you won’t be able to accomplish them! Instead, make a to-do list at least 1-2 days ahead of time.
1. Each day has to have 3 top priorities, which must be accomplished. Everything else could be done later, or the following day.
2. Each week has to have maximum 15 top priorities that couldn't be rescheduled for the following week.
Tip#2 Best Learning is in the morning
If you do have to study or do the work that involves a lot of brain activity, try to plan your schedule, so that the first half of the day is dedicated to brain work specifically because your brain is at the most peak of activity after a long night sleep.
Don’t try to learn something new at night. It will be just a waste of your precious time. In fact, at night your body is prepared for rest and your brain is prepared for creating long-term memories. Good article about that is here.
Tip#3 Take breaks
Don’t overdo a task for a long time. You might not realize that, but your body will eventually cause you so much pain because of that one extra hour you spend behind the laptop instead of taking a short 10-minute break.
If you do something that involves a lot of thinking, try to take breaks every 45 minutes because your brain will stop being as concentrated after a certain amount of time unless you give it a break. So, if you don't want to take it easy on yourself, take it easy on your beloved brain!
Tip#4 Workout at least 5 times a week
I know it might seem like a lot and you might think that you are too busy for the gym, but really you don’t have to spend hours exercising to get this part of your routine done. It usually takes 30 minutes a day for you to get a good amount of workout done. I personally love Pilates because you get to work on your breathing while at the same time toning your body. However, if you are not a fan of those slow pace exercises, feel free to go for a run, do a HIIT training, or any other physical activities at least 30 minutes a day. Trust me, you will feel more productive as well as your immune system will strengthen and your body will become more toned. Don’t we all want that?!
Here in a link to excellent pilates exercises.
If you are looking for something more intense, please check their page.
Tip#5 Love Yourself
Learn how to dedicate some time to yourself in the middle of the week. Pick any day, like for example Wednesday, and unplug all your electronic devices, make a cup of good coffee or tea, and prepare a little spa session at home. Relax, close your eyes and don’t think about what is coming up next on your to-do list. Trust me, after this one or two hours session you will feel more energized and productive and eager to rock that day!
Tip#6 Make your own plans and know your limits
I remember myself how I would receive a call or a text with an invitation to meet for a cup of coffee and I could not resist that even if it was in the middle of the week! I was like, “It’s a coffee, come on, who can resist that?” However, I realized that I could have completed so many tasks that day and I could have done it only if I didn’t simply follow my desires so easily.
No, I agree that sometimes it is necessary to have a catch up chat in the middle of the week with your friend to express your feelings and relief some of the stress, but really you have to learn how to go within the limits (at least during the week days). It’s not okay to spend hours and hours in the coffee shop or elsewhere because as you get home you won’t do anything either and then eventually the day is gone.
So, lesson learned. Learn how to control your desires and you will become more productive.
P.S. At least limit yourself on the week days so that you could be absolutely guilt-free on weekends while spending all day outside having fun!
Tip#7 “Chocolate comes from cocoa, which comes from a plant. So, chocolate is essentially a salad. Right?”
Seriously, who doesn’t have a sweet tooth?! Almost every single woman out there has this craving from time to time, when she has to eat something sweet and unhealthy, especially during PMS, pregnancy or breastfeeding, and of course during any intense brain activity. Well, did you know that sugary foods that have tons of sugar do actually make you feel sluggish after you eat them? I’ve felt that on myself. Ice cream, waffles, a piece of cake, sugary coffee drinks…all those tempting, but awfully damaging to your wellbeing as well as to your waistline treats can make you feel even worse.
So, why do you need to lose that extra power into those useless sugars when instead you could have done something more beneficial, right? Well, hold on. Don’t completely stop yourself from sweets and treats. In fact, dark chocolate, the darker the better, comes directly from the cocoa beans without being processed as much as any other type of chocolate. It has tons and tons of health benefits, it will help you to stay more productive, and it can relieve any of your sugar cravings.
So, don’t completely stop yourself from such a pleasure like a desert, but just learn how to find an alternative option, which will not affect your health, well-being or a waistline.
Tip#8 family time
We as humans require balance in everything, but sometimes we get so busy with our work and school that we forget how important are our families in helping and supporting us after a stressful day at work or lifting our bad mood.
Try to find time during the week to call or visit your parents. Try to organize a family gathering on weekends. Arrange a date night out with your spouse. Play with your children for an extra hour. All in all, appreciate your family members because they are truly blessings. We can find so much peace and comfort around them, which is a natural mood lifter after a tough day at work as well as they tend to encourage us to become more productive.
Tip#9 Pray on time
During the day, we underestimate the power of prayer because we think we are too busy and praying will only slow us. I don’t generalize, but there are people who do actually think so. We tend to forget that prayer was set upon us so that during a hard day at work we would feel less stressed and more productive. Unfortunately, sometimes we as Muslims underestimate how blessed we are to have such an obligation to pray five times a day. Allah has made it so that we don’t fall into the trap of worldly matters. Through the prayer, Allah wants to remind us that what we have here and now is just temporary. We should feel like travellers in this dunya and we should not focus only on the worldly matters. On contrary, we should be reminded through the prayers that we as humans have a much bigger purpose in our lives and it is the forgiveness of Allah and His blessing with Jannah al-Firdaus, where the eternal life will actually begin in sha Allah.
Shout out to all those busy full time college students, working moms, women entrepreneurs, and all other busy women out there who are trying to develop, grow, and succeed in whatever they are working on. I hope you found those advices helpful and I hope that it will ease your daily life just like it helped to ease mine!
If you want to share your tips and tricks on how you deal with your busy life and staying productive, please share your recommendations here! It will aid not only myself, but others too in sha Allah.