Lately I've been really struggling with my productivity and I can't figure out why. Typically during the summer months I tend to lose focus because all I want to do is frolic outside the in the rare Toronto sun, and my work/creativity suffers because of it. However, it's been especially difficult this summer because this is the first year I am working as a remote freelance writer who doesn't need to go into an office every day. I have the luxury of staying in the comfort of my home and working in my lounge wear and that's proven to be a bit distracting this summer. I haven't been able to separate work life from home life quite yet, which has made it extremely hard to balance my work with my creative endeavours, like my personal writing and this blog.
However, lately this inability to focus and be as productive as I would like has been affecting my sleep, and that's where I need to draw the line. I've become restless due to my lack of focus and I need to set myself on the right path going forward so I don't continue feeling so lost. Below I've listed a few ways I plan to become a bit more productive and how I hope to achieve them.
Waking Up Earlier
I love sleep, but I've realized that the more I sleep in, the less time I have in the day to accomplish what I want. Since I work from home, I've been loving that I can basically set my own schedule, and most of it has been catering to my sleep schedule. However, I do need to get myself back into a "work" mindset during the week, which inevitably means getting up earlier to get work done during the prime hours of my productivity. I'm by no means a morning person, but I do need that morning time to eat breakfast and fully wake up before delving into work. Waking up later means all of that has to be pushed back to later in the day and I'm definitely not as productive at 6pm as I am at 12 or 1.
I am planning on experimenting with an actual alarm clock rather than my Iphone as a method to wake me up and get me out of bed. I find that if I use my Iphone I tend to snooze it and then scroll through it aimlessly in bed, wasting time that could otherwise be spent doing something productive. It's been so long since I've had an actual alarm clock that I don't even know where to look for one, but I'm hoping to not spend too much on one as I figure out if it'll work better for me.
Trusting My Path
As a creative person who also suffers from anxiety it can be difficult accepting that the path I've chosen in life is good enough. I've always been told that there's only one right way to succeed and it involves a path that is not my own and does not sound appealing to me at all. And yet, I still question whether the choices I've made toward my career and my passion are right. I know I'm not the only person that deals with this insecurity, but it can be quite isolating in the moment. Realistically, I'll never know for sure if what I choose will work out, I just have to be willing to trust myself and the direction I want to take my life enough to focus all my energy into it. Right now it feels like I have one foot in this creative life and another in the corporate office life I've always been told I should do and it's really affecting my productivity when it comes to my passion. Luckily, I am in therapy and I have a professional helping me through this indecision, so hopefully going forward I can find the best way to let go of the life I thought I should have and really embrace the life I want.
Planning Out My Day (And Sticking To It)
I am a planner. I thrive off of structure. However, I also LOVE lazy days in bed and without a prepared schedule for the day, that's exactly what I'll end up doing. Of course, being a freelancer means I need a certain level of flexibility in my schedule, and that's completely acceptable and preferable. But without some structure - even a skeleton of a plan - the day will slip right out of my hands without any sort of productivity or accomplishment. My goal going forward is to plan my days out and actually stick to the schedule, even if it is a small to-do list. I need to entrust my future self with responsibility and then prove to myself that I can actually follow through with it. Any time I don't, I feel myself become anxious and overwhelmed to the point where I just give up and avoid responsibilities altogether. Right now to-do lists have been helping me to get my productivity back on track, but I want to start creating a more specific schedule so that I can see my entire day and all my necessary tasks beforehand.
And, finally, none of these goals even matter if I don't push myself to accomplish them. I've never been extremely hard on myself when it comes to success, because success looks different for everyone. But, looking back, I do wish I had a bit more of the drive for success instilled in my at a young age so that it wouldn't be so much of a struggle now. Going forward I want to work hard on including this perspective into my daily life when it comes to succeeding in what I want and not what others expect me to. I want to wake up every day with the drive to push through any mental block or anxiety and confidently say that I am trying my hardest at what I believe in, if nothing else. I know these changes can't happen over night, but I'm hoping that with enough work in therapy and the right techniques and can slowly, but surely, shift my perspective day by day.
What do you do to become more productive?