Top tips to get through your to-do list

We know motivation and energy are in short supply these days – that’s why, now more than ever, we want to promote the adage of ‘work smarter, not harder’. So stop fighting your to-do list, and start feeling more accomplished, with these gentle productivity hacks

Find your power hour

Energy can be a slippery little devil and, the truth is, we all have different ebbs and flows throughout the day. One of the best ways to harness your flows is to spot when you feel most energetic.

Are you a morning person who feels they can take on the world before nine am? Or do you need a bowl of coffee and a few hours to wake up before you feel ready to face your inbox? Make notes throughout the day of when you feel most energetic, and try to whittle this down to your ultimate ‘power hour’.

Remove (or block) distractions

It’s one thing to feel energised, and ready to work, it’s another to not let distractions creep in from the side-lines. These can come in various forms, from social media apps winking at us with their irresistible notifications, to that pile of laundry that’s begging to be put on before you do anything else.

Try to remove or block as many distractions as you can, especially during your power hour. Plan a time when you’ll tackle the laundry, and shut it in another room until then. If you have an iPhone, you can use the downtime feature in your screen time settings to limit apps at certain times, or download an app, such as Freedom, which blocks distracting apps and websites.

Take breaks

Having regular breaks scheduled throughout the day will not only help you to keep your energy up, they can also serve as great motivators. How much can you get done before the next break?

To keep your energy going, try to use these breaks as an opportunity to move your body, nourish it with some tasty food, or text a loved one. These breaks can be helpful reminders that we are multifaceted humans, not highly efficient robots!

Plan rewards

Motivate yourself by planning small rewards for finishing a task. This could be as simple as treating yourself to a biscuit and a cup of tea. It may not sound like much, but when you’ve got something to look forward to you’ll be surprised at how much this encourages you to keep going.

Write a ‘ta-da list’

Don’t feel like you’ve achieved a lot today? Try writing down all the things you’ve actually done – from showering and calling your mum, to taking care of the kids and signing off a big project at work – and leave nothing out. Look back at it and give yourself some credit for how much you have accomplished. It’s guaranteed to be more than you realised!

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