I know, I know. You’ve heard it all before. “New year, new me.” Whether you subscribe to that mantra or not, the new year is a great opportunity to make some changes to not only your life, but your business. After January 1st, it’s pretty easy to get down-in-the-dumps and unmotivated once the holidays are over. The best way to combat that feeling is to challenge yourself and establish a goal – no matter how cliché it may sound. Looking ahead to 2023, I want to challenge you to make 2023 your most productive year yet. And I’m sharing my best tips to help you achieve exactly that. Let’s dive in!
5 Tips to Make the New Year Productive
Establish a Morning Routine
It may seem small, but establishing a solid morning routine where you do something for yourself, rather than your business, makes a huge difference. Allow yourself an hour to eat breakfast, get ready, read, journal, etc. Something for yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup. Establishing a morning routine, no matter how long or short, is the best first way to make 2023 a more productive one.
Dedicate a Workspace in Your Home
Spoiler alert: I’m guilty of working from the couch some days. And I assure you, these days are not my most productive. If you can designate a room to work from, do it! If you only have a desk available, use it! While some days will definitely be spent on the couch, challenge yourself to working from your workspace 3 days a week. Odds are, you’ll discover how much better your mood (and posture) is working from your dedicated workspace.
Establish Office Hours
Hey, I’m talking to you! Create office hours, and stick to them. A big “issue” with being a photographer or small business owner is the idea that you have to always be available. Newsflash: you don’t. Office hours can mean different things to different people. For me? I utilize my office hours so that my clients know what time so the day they can expect to hear from me. Others may use their office hours as the time when they are actively working. Whichever way you prefer, creating that boundary is a huge lifesaver for your time and sanity.
Create a To-Do List/Braindump
I don’t know about you, but if I just dive right into work without a direction, I’ll fail pretty quickly. Whether you operate better by creating a to-do list the night before, or the morning of… make one! I’ve even found that having a to-do list and a running braindump to be the biggest gamechanger.
To-Do List: 3-5 priorities for the day. Avoid more than that, otherwise you may get overwhelmed.
Braindump: Exactly how it sounds. Write down each thought onto a piece of paper. Whether it’s a task that needs to be completed at some point, an idea for your business, or a stressor in your personal life, put the pen to paper.
Block Scheduling vs. The Pomodoro Technique
If you are neurodivergent like myself, it’s easy to bop around from task to task without getting much done. Throughout my journey as an entrepreneur, it took time to establish a solid workday for myself (and I’m still modifying it). I had heard of block scheduling, but was never 100% sold since my brain doesn’t work like that. But when I heard of the Pomodoro Technique, I was intrigued. So what works best for me is dedicating the first 30 minutes of my workday to administrative tasks like emails, invoicing, and laying out my day. After that? It varies day-to-day.
With a typical block schedule, most days are the same. 1 hour for your morning routine, 1 hour for administrative tasks, 2 hours dedicated work time, 1 hour lunch, 2 hour dedicated work time, break, 1 hour dedicated work time. With the Pomodoro Technique, workdays are broken up into attainable chunks. It begins with establishing the task you need to complete, setting a timer for 25 minutes, and solely focusing on that task for those 25 minutes. Once the timer goes off, take a 5 minute break. You can continue the process for as many times or as long as you need.
For me, I like a mixture of both the block schedule and the Pomodoro Technique. Here’s an example of how your workday could look while utilizing both methods:
By creating a rough schedule for the day, I know not only that I have dedicated time to complete tasks, but that I also have dedicated breaks. I encourage you to narrow down how your brain works best. Maybe you really thrive with a block schedule, but maybe you also need to know when you’ll tackle certain tasks. Establishing your work schedule will make a huge difference in your overall productivity (and help eliminate burnout).
Whether you use these tips to make 2023 your most productive year yet, or you use them to upgrade your monotonous schedule, I can’t wait to see how these tips help you! Change doesn’t happen overnight, especially not from December 31-January 1. Let’s get after it, babe!
Be sure to follow along on the ‘Gram (@cpproductivity) for more tips! And stick around HERE to keep up with the blog.