Have you ever had one of those days where you sit down at your desk, not feeling particularly motivated, work a full day, and 8 hours later you’re exhausted, but not entirely sure what you accomplished that day? Maybe you’re too embarrassed to admit it. Okay, I’ll admit it. I’ve totally had those days. I’ve had them in my own blog/business, and I’ve had them in my full-time job. Sure, you feel like you were busy all day. But you weren’t really productive. As frustrating as it is to admit sometimes, busy and productive aren’t the same thing. Maybe your day at work was filled with tedious busy work. Maybe you feel into the all-too-common trap of spending hours scrolling social media. Here are a few tips to help you stay busy and productive at the same time.
List Your Priorities
One of my biggest downfalls when it comes to productivity is sitting down to work without really knowing what my priority is, or what should be done. This used to be an all-too-common occurrence for me when it comes to blogging. Maybe I would sit down and browse social media for an hour, under the pretense that I was looking for great content to share with my own audience, only to realize afterward that I had a blog post that is supposed to go live tomorrow that I should have been writing during that time. It would also happen frequently when I was trying to balance the blog with my Etsy shop during my free time. It’s difficult to determine which is more important at the time when neither are particularly time sensitive.
One of the absolute best ways to battle this problem is by using a to-do list. I do most of my blogging on the weekend and like to work on my to-do list for the entire week leading up to it. That way, every time I think of a task that needs to be accomplished, I can add it to the list. Then, on Friday, I can prioritize the tasks and determine which are most time sensitive, and which are going to be most beneficial in the long-run. I have found this to be a great system for me and has allowed me to find a balance between busy and productive.
If you’re struggling with productivity, my favorite notepad in the Etsy shop will be perfect for helping you plan out your week and prioritize tasks!
Avoid the Social Media Trap
One of the perks of being a blogger (and many other careers today) is that we get to (or have to) hang out on social media. If you aren’t connecting with your readers on social media, you’re missing one of the greatest assets a blogger has. That means you’re probably checking your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest on a daily basis, if not more. Because of that, it’s easy to fall into the trap where your time on social media is no longer productive and has become a waste. Perhaps you started on Pinterest so you could pin some quality content related to your niche but ended up spending half an hour on food boards trying to find a recipe to make for dinner that night. Or maybe you hopped on Facebook to connect with a few other creatives in one of your favorite Facebook groups but ended up reading about the daily drama of someone you went to high school with. It’s a common trap.
So next time you open social media during working hours, have a purpose. Know ahead of time what task you’re there to accomplish, and exit the site or app as soon as you’ve accomplished it. Make the most of your time on social media to ensure you’re being both busy and productive instead of just busy.
Take Frequent Breaks
I find I’m most likely to fall into the trap of being busy but not productive when I’ve been sitting at my desk for hours and have completely lost track of my purpose. Instead of working on a project with the intention of finishing it before you take a break, take more frequent breaks. Each time you return to your computer you’ll be forced to refocus and remind yourself what you were working on (versus what you should have been working on).
Almost every job I know of is made up of essential tasks that are highly productive (and make you feel super accomplished when they’re done), along with tedious busywork that isn’t particularly exciting or productive but is required in the long-run. I think a great way around this is time-blocking. Choose a few tasks from each category that will fill your day. Then create time blocks for yourself. This will allow you to refresh your brain each time you switch tasks, but will also allow you to feel productive on a day when you have a lot of busy work to do.