There’s no doubt our lives are busy… it’s one of the first things that comes to mind when people ask you ‘how have you been?’ And it’s the first excuse when we can’t find the time to do something (I’ve just been so busy).
But there’s a massive difference between being busy and being productive. In fact, busy and productive don’t even go together most of the time.
Busy doesn’t really feel good at all. You know the feeling, you’re overwhelmed, feel like you never stop but don’t feel like you really get much done at all. You’re constantly on the go, constantly doing… but never really achieving. Or if you are, it’s sporadic.
However, productivity feels so good. You’re ticking things off your list, your to do list is getting done, and you’re nailing your priorities. You might spend a lot of time doing things, but you’re not absolutely exhausted afterward.
Busy and productive can be so contrasting… so how do we move from busy to productive…?
It all comes down to the habits we create.
Productivity isn’t a secret… it’s a habit.
And there are certain habits we can create that make us more productive.
These are the habits productive women use every day.
They may not use them all (because we are all different) but you’d be hard-pressed to find a truly productive woman who didn’t have the majority of these habits in her day in some way.
These are the daily habits of productive women that you can add to your day too (less busy, more productive is something we would all love!!).
1 – They Create Routines
So many people believe they need to schedule their day in order to be productive – but the problem with strict schedules is that they rarely leave room for variance.
The reason this is a problem is because if something happens (let’s face it… it’s more of a ‘when’ something happens) that causes a delay or changes in your day, then your schedule is derailed and it can mess with your whole day.
Instead, routines allow for the security of a schedule, while being variable enough to fit into your day, regardless of what pops up.
With a routine, you have a sequence of tasks that happens at around the same time (ie, first thing in the morning), and the tasks happen in the same order.
For example, of a morning your routine might be that you wake up, have a coffee, do a workout, then eat breakfast, have a shower, then get dressed for the day.
This routine is the same regardless of whether you wake at 4am or 6am.
Routines mean you have to make less decisions about your day. You don’t have waste time (and brainpower) deciding if you’re going to eat before your workout, or shower before you eat, because your routine is the same each day – you can just get into it.
2 – They Have A Daily To Do List
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a productive woman who doesn’t use a daily to do list in some way, shape, or form.
There’s no perfect way to create your to do list (but there are a whole heap of not-so-great ways), the key is to create a list and a system that works for you.
Most of the time it will include priority tasks, then any additional tasks that need to get done but may not be absolutely essential that day.
Some productive women also like to run by schedules, particularly if they have a lot of time-sensitive tasks that day such as appointments or meetings.
3 – They Include Their Goals In Their Daily Plan
I cannot stress enough how much our goals will guide the decisions we make on a daily basis.
We want to do things that move us toward our goals, and away from what holds us back or takes us off course.
When you have written your goals down, every day they are on your mind, somewhere in the background guiding you toward taking the right actions.
A daily to do list is a great way to ensure you include your goal actions every day – it almost makes a daily reminder for you.
We know that it takes a whole lot of small actions to achieve our goals – and that’s exactly what productive women do, include these small actions every single day.
4 – They Use Their Calendar Wisely
You have on your phone one of the most powerful little productivity and planning tools possible…
Don’t believe me? Just as my husband how much gets done without our calendar?
Our calendar is the core of everything we do – it has my husband’s roster on it, my meetings, school commitments for the kids, weekend commitments, sports commitments, birthdays, events, holidays… everything.
If it’s not on the calendar, it doesn’t get done.
The KEY to making the calendar work is for whoever has an interest in the calendar needs to add to it. For example, hubs and I both add to our home one, my team and I add to my business one etc.
And then, you all have to actually use it.
Don’t think you’ll remember to put something in later because you probably won’t (trust me…). As something comes up, add it to the calendar.
This seriously saves so much stress and helps serve as a reference point for almost every other organization tool we use.
5 – They Make Time For The Important Things
The whole point of being organized is so we can make time for the important things, right? So we need to make sure it actually happens.
They know what is important in their life and they make sure they include time for these things every day.
We all have days where we’re busy. We may even have weeks or months where we are busy. But productive women make sure that what is really important to them happens every day.
6 – They Identify Their Priorities For The Day
We all have things we need to do, but the most productive women don’t just do any old task that comes along first. They know what their priorities are and they focus on those first.
They start working on what needs to happen and when. Then as time goes by they will move onto tasks that aren’t as important if they’ve finished what they were working on.
This allows them to make sure they get what matters done, and it helps avoid distractions or having too many things going on at once.
Another thing that is important to remember here is that often our priorities will change throughout the day, week, month etc.
So you do need to reassess and potentially put a new plan in place as needed.
7 – They Plan Ahead
A productive woman doesn’t just deal with the day as it comes up, they don’t react to things, they plan ahead both practically and mentally.
When they plan their day or their week, they look at their calendar and see what is coming up so they can organize themselves accordingly.
They also take time to mentally prepare for what’s on the agenda so they’re ready and in the right mindset when needed.
There’s no hard and fast rules of when to write a to do list or a daily plan, some do it the night before, other’s prefer to do it the morning of to help prepare them for the day, but the point is, it gets done and they plan ahead.
8 – They Plan Their Day Around Their Own Strengths
This takes a decent amount of understanding who you are, how you work, and being honest with yourself.
Many people will go into a day with the thought of meeting all their deadlines and wanting to get everything (and more) done in one day, but this isn’t always possible.
You can work really hard for 12 hours but there is only so much you can do during that time.
So knowing your own capacity and planning your day around this will help you to be more productive.
For example, if I know that by lunchtime I’m exhausted and not working at my best anymore because I’ve been on the go so long, then I need to take a break and start wrapping up what’s left for the day.
If I know that Sunday nights are my best nights for getting work done, then I’ll plan stuff around these nights accordingly.
This is where ‘busy’ starts to really shift into being productive because these women know how to make the most out of their time.
9 – They Focus On One Task At A Time
Single-tasking is something that productivity experts tell us all the time.
Many women, myself included, like to run through a million different things at once because it makes our days feel more productive, but in reality, we’re wasting time and not getting as much done as we could be (you don’t even want to know how many tabs I have open on my browser right now).
This is why productive women focus on one task at a time and only move onto the next when they’ve finished what they’re doing.
They don’t jump in and out of tasks, in and out of different windows on their computer, in and out of meetings, etc.
They do one thing at a time until it’s done then they move onto the next thing or finish the task so they can move onto the next.
10 – They Outsource Tasks
Outsourcing is one of those things that everyone always says they’re going to do, but most people never actually get around to doing it.
But as a productive woman, you know the importance of time and therefore how important it is to make sure you focus on what it is you’re good at, and letting others take care of things you don’t need to do.
This means knowing your limits and your strengths.
For example, I’m not good at intricate graphic design so when it comes to creating things like this for my blog or business, I hire someone who is because that’s not what I’m good at, saving me valuable time in the process.
By outsourcing tasks, you can free up valuable time so you can focus on what you’re actually good at.
This doesn’t just apply to business.
In our personal lives, for example, we outsource the management of our rental properties – sure, we could do it ourselves, but I’d rather let someone else take care of it and not have to worry about it.
Other things you can outsource to be more productive include house cleaning, cooking or meal prep, drop off and/or pick up from school, grocery shopping, yard maintenance, just about anything you can think of.
11 – They Make Time For Rest And Relaxation
Along with being productive, it’s important to ensure that you’re making time for rest and relaxation throughout your day.
This doesn’t just mean going to bed earlier or taking a nap, but this also means scheduling in relaxation time into your day.
For example, I love going for a walk and I find this to be incredibly productive because it allows me to clear my mind and reset.
If you don’t think walking outside is productive, then spend that time doing things that you enjoy such as reading a book or magazine, watching your favorite TV show or movie, meditating, etc.
This type of scheduled ‘down time’ is not only relaxing for your body but it’s also great for your productivity.
We can’t be switched ‘on’ all the time without burning out, a few short pauses throughout your day will have a far greater impact on your productivity than powering through ever will.
So stop telling yourself that you’re too busy and start working on some of these daily habits to become more productive, reduce the feeling of overwhelm and get the things done you need to get done so you can take the time to enjoy what is important to you.