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36 Life-Changing Productivity Hacks To Streamline Your Life
You aren’t going to streamline and improve your life if you are feeling like there is not enough time in the day. In order to be able to master your next career transition, you have to be able to master your life right now. That starts with good time management habits.
I would love to say that I have mastered all of these productivity hacks but just like you, it’s a struggle. What I do know is that every single day I wake up and do my best to accomplish these tips. Why? Because, when I do these 36 hacks, I am 100% a happier, more balanced and less stressed person. That means I am a better wife, mother, and CEO. I try my best. I am not perfect. These are my goals.
I am making my dream business happen while also juggling my personal life, too.
So let’s dive into these life-changing productivity hacks. My challenge for you is to pick just one habit that you are going to implement this week and do your best to start changing your mindset using the tips below.

BUT FIRST…

When you have a lot going on, your only choice is to be more productive. So, let’s start by being positive. Let’s be positive that we have a lot of stuff going on in our lives and we are an important people in our family and at our company, etc.. We have a lot of relationships and are successful in our careers. It comes with a lot and there’s a lot of juggling and learning every day.

36 Life-Changing Productivity Hacks To Streamline Your Life

MINDSETS:

1. Take Control Of Your Calendar.

You are in total control of your calendar. Your calendar doesn’t control you. Way back a few years ago when I was in my corporate job, I had this calendar and I felt like people just put appointments on my calendar. I would look at my calendar before the week started and it would be totally booked and overwhelming.
At no point did I have any time for me or read or blog or anything that I wanted to do. I needed to start taking charge of my calendar and be really disciplined about it. I needed to take control and put what I wanted to put on there.

2. Batch.

This changed everything for me. This was when my business took off. When it went from a blog into a real business….when I learned how to batch. This is when you put similar activities together and do them at the same time. For example, I check my email twice per day. And that’s it. I am batching all of the time I am checking email so I am not doing it throughout the day. I save time not checking my inbox all day.
If you are starting a business, you want to make sure you batch together revenue-producing activities like marketing or sales calls. Have a lot of time batched together to focus on that activity so you aren’t interrupted. Also, make sure you only do social media at certain times of the day. I have certain times of the day when I check in on Facebook to answer questions and I am not spreading myself too thin throughout the day.
If you are job searching, batch your job searching activities. For example, Linkedin. I spend one hour per week where I batch together my LinkedIn activities and respond to connection request and messages. Batch together as much time as possible to not be interrupted by other things when you are working on your resume.

3. Boundaries

Put boundaries on your time. For instance, that could mean at a certain time at night you are shutting down your computer or spending time with your family. Maybe dinner time is a “do not mess with” time. I find that boundaries help me be way more productive in the times that I can work.
For instance, the times when my daughter has childcare, those three hours are my golden time and I get so much done. Then, the other days we don’t have a schedule and we are just trying to juggle everything, that is when we really don’t get anything done.
I want my Sundays to be no social media and no work. That’s the one day where I shut down as much as possible and go to church and have that family day. This is important when you are creative and producing content or launching a new career, you have to have that downtime.
There are so many distractions right now so it’s important to set those boundaries of when you won’t be on social media. I also put boundaries in my morning time. I want to create my own content before I start consuming other people’s content. Once I go on Facebook and read the news, what I had to share goes away, and helping people. If I can help others before I start consuming other people’s content, that makes me a lot happier.

4. Categories

Categorize your time into different sections. I want you to think about your time in three different categories.
Focus Time: The time that will get you closest to your goals. If building a business, it’s all about focusing on revenue-producing activity. If job searching, it’s going to be the activity that gets you closer to the job which is networking, it’s not updating your resume. 80% of jobs are found through networking. If you want a new career in the next year, it’s important to batch that networking time into your calendar.
And if you love your career right now and want more leadership opportunities, your focus time is doing amazing things in your job that will set you apart and build you up for a promotion. You want to work hard on activities that will be seen by your boss and bring in more revenue at the company you work for. If you focus on email, you won’t get as much time to focus on this stuff that will move your career forward.
Administrative Time: This is stuff you have to do. We all have to check email and update our social media profiles to stay up to date with our personal brands. Paying your taxes or looking at your bookkeeping is admin time. Investigating how to start a website is admin time. Starting a website is not going to bring you income. You have to get it done. It’s actually is not going to get you a client tomorrow. Think about that.
You have to start talking to people and start making offers and sales. A beautiful website is not going to get you a client. You have to make a connection with people. This is also checking the mail and getting an oil change, etc.
Sacred Time: What is sacred and important to you? What are your values? Is family important to you? Is education or yoga important to you? Is hanging out with your mom important to you? That is your sacred time. Put those on your calendar too. It all goes back to your mindset. Put what is important to you on your calendar first.

5. Discipline is Required

It’s not easy to do this and to find the time to launch your dream job or dream business. When I want to go to bed or I don’t want to wake up in the morning, I just say this one word. Discipline. Maybe you can think of that word when you want to watch TV and don’t want to work.
Discipline is required if you want to make your goals happen. You have to have a plan and a schedule. It’s a lot of work. People say I thought this would be a lot easier or I thought this would have happened a lot faster. You can’t just read articles and think about it a lot and work on your website, you have to actually be disciplined to put that time spot on your calendar to move your career forward.

6. Practice the Pareto.

20% of what you are doing right now, leads to 80% of your results. It’s actually a total game-changer for job searchers and entrepreneurs. For me, when I look at my numbers, I can see in the past, if I look at 2015, I can tell you exactly of 20% of what I was doing led to 80% of my results. 20% of my products led to 80% of my income.
20% of the work I do marketing my website, leads to 80% of the traffic that I get from my website. I do just a little bit on Pinterest but the traffic way outperforms anything else. I never would have known that if I didn’t have google analytics on my website. Once you know what is work and what that 20% is, whether that is one product you are selling that is outperforming or one client or one advertising activity you are doing.
Same with job searching. 20% of what you do will lead to 80% of results. So a little bit of networking will lead more to your dream job over online job searching. It’s way more important to get out there and start talking to people. I could not be more of a proponent of networking. What are you doing right now that is leading to 80% of your results to help you build your calendar out each week. Facebook updates will not lead me to support me in my business. Eventually, you can start delegating the items that aren’t as important for you to be focusing on so I can focus on my good 20% that is going to lead to 80% of my results.

7. Say “No” More.

No. No. No.
This is hard. As women, it’s hard to say no but it’s really important. It goes back to putting what is important to you on your calendar. You have your values, sacred time and family time. You don’t always have to say yes you can say, “Let me look at my calendar and get back to you,” when someone asks for your time. We are not quick to immediately say yes. It’s good to think about events and see how they will work on your calendar so you don’t get overwhelmed. Sometimes it’s a professional association you need to say no to and networking groups are not right for you anymore.
“The most successful people say no more than they say yes.” -Warren Buffet
“Stress happens when your gut says no but your mouth says yes.” -John heard that somewhere. 🙂

8. Master Your Morning Ritual

Every morning I have a routine. I have it written out and I want to do these certain things. I am more balanced and happier if I can knock out those things each morning. It starts my day right. Some of the things that you can do are meditation, being quiet and breathing deep, journaling, success, and gratitude journal. I also have a mom’s journal documenting one thing we did together or something she did that was hilarious. I also read and put some content on the blog each morning because that just makes me happy. 🙂

9. Find Your Best Time.

Some people are morning people. Some people are night people. I am a morning person. I have creative juices flowing in the morning. That’s my best time. I try my hardest to get up at 5am. If I can get up at 5am it’s going to be a great day.
Sometimes night time is the best time for people. The key is to use your best time on you and your goals. Before I got my calendar on track, I was waking up and going into my day job I hated and using my best time to move my clients and my company forward instead of my dreams and goals forward. Make sure you use your best time moving your dream forward.

10. Hold a Weekly Review.

Every single week there should be some time set aside to go back and see what you did and did not get done and knock out the administrative items. Look at the plan for the week and see what is the plan. Prepare yourself for the next week. Prioritize the top 3 things you need to get done that week and other personal things like go to the grocery store and return shoes at Target.
I have been doing this weekly review every Sunday night before the week starts. That alone has changed everything for me. Having that routine so there is a certain time and day that you are reviewing things from last week and planning the week ahead is so important. We do have a to-do list and a weekly review schedule you can download at www.classycareergirl.com/freeplan.

11. Limit Your Priorities.

I only prioritize 3 things that I am going to focus on for the next week. I don’t do #2 until #1 is done. When I wake up on Monday I am not doing stuff that isn’t going to move me forward to my goal. Every month I know what my top priorities are for that month. Every week I see what is going to move me forward to my monthly goals and 90-day goals. If you have too much on your plate you won’t be able to get it all done. Maybe there are some things you just need to say no to.
If you get off track, just focus on your first priority and let everything else go. Also, take a shower.

12. You Are Not Superwoman.

You must ask for help. This is something I learned what I was a new mom and was trying to do it all. This was an eye-opener for me. I was trying to keep my house clean and feed my daughter.  I didn’t go back to my job after maternity leave so there was a lot of stress on me to build a business as a new mom.
My mastermind group was able to guide me and help me which was eye-opening. I had no idea how many hours I wanted to work or what my schedule was or when I would get help with my daughter. I thought I could do it all and run a business and do it all at once. This eye-opener for me was that we can’t do everything and we need to ask for help.

13. You Don’t Find Time. You Make Time.

I hear so many people say that they wish they could start a business but they can’t find the time. It’s a simple change in your mindset of MAKING the time. This is a lightbulb. It’s how you speak and what you say. When you say you are too busy, you have to change what you say. Make the time for what you value and for what is important to you. I know it sounds easier than it actually is. All of these tips are very hard. Just working towards this with your mindset is important.

14. Break it Down in 15 Minute Increments.

“Life is decided in 15-minute increments.” – Scott Harris
How many of us have little 15-minute increments here and there. What could you be doing with those increments? In 15 minutes you can get an informational interview on LinkedIn. You can reach out to a potential client. You could pick up the phone and call someone who is subscribed to your email newsletter. There are so many things you can do in 15 minutes. It’s great when you can batch them together but if you are overwhelmed, figure out where you can make those 15 minutes happen to help you reach your goals.

15. Don’t Be Busy. Be Productive.

We are all busy. It’s a matter of how efficient we can be. Changing how you think. Do you say I am really busy when someone asks how you are? Focus on being productive when you can find those 15-minute increments in your day. It’s about imperfect action. Things don’t happen overnight.

16. Work ON Your Business Not In Your Business.

There are times when we have to work on administrative items in our business but as much as possible, work on your activities that will move your business forward. Work ON your career not in your career. Focus on how you can move your career forward as much as possible.

17. Put Your Oxygen Mask On First.

This is what they tell you when you get on an airplane Self-care is really important to take care of yourself. One of my friends in my mastermind group has three kids and when she does have her nanny, she spends one of those hours her nanny is there going for a run. Then, she can come back and be way more focused for those next couple of hours her nanny is still there.
Maybe it’s a bath, manicure or book. For me, it’s my morning time. If I don’t get that, I am not a great CEO, mother, wife. The only reason I am here doing this video is that I am doing my best to take care of myself and stay energized in my personal life too.

18. Aim For 7 Hours of Sleep.

This is brought to you by Ariana Huffington’s book, The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life One Night at a Time. Try to get between 7-8 hours of sleep every night no matter what. This is a time tip I am trying to implement in my life as well. If I am getting up at 5am, that means I need to go to bed earlier.

19. Morning Time is Magic.

Do your best to see what you can get done in the morning. Just wake up 15 minutes earlier at least and it will be a total game-changer for you.

20. Don’t Check Email First.

We all know we should not be doing this when we wake up. When I was in corporate I was doing this and it brought so much stress and overwhelm first thing. Try to ease into that email as much as possible and start your day working on what you enjoy.

ORGANIZATION TOOLS:

21. Asana

Asana.com is a tool I use for my personal to-do list and my entire team uses it as well. This way we have decreased email dramatically. Everything is on Asana you can comment about tasks there. Every night I go to bed with a cleared inbox because I move everything in Asana if it’s a to-do, task, or even an email I need to respond to later on.

22. Timetrade

Timetrade.com is great if you work with clients or have people who want to talk with you. I have one day a week that I open my calendar to talk to clients and there are times when clients can book times to talk with me. Then, I don’t need an assistant, or I don’t need to figure out time zones, etc. It hurts my brain to think about time zones.

23. RescueTime

Rescuetime.com tells you how you are doing with your time. You have to install it on your computer and it will tell you how much time you are spending on social media and other certain sites and it will give you a report on how you can improve.

24: Google Calendar, Drive, and Gmail

I used to use Outlook but I have switched everything to Google. I keep track of notes on Google drive and things to share with John. Google calendar is shared between John and me so he knows what stuff he has going on and vice versa.

25. Dropbox

Every single file that we have (which is a TON) goes on dropbox.com. it would get enormous if we were putting all of this on our computers. I have had situations when my computer breaks or I left my laptop on a plane (yikes!). It was my first time traveling with a baby and I was trying to do it all. My dad was so worried about all the files on my computer. I was NOT worried at all because all of my files were on dropbox not on my computer. We can share back and forth around my entire team. I have two virtual assistants in the Phillippines that can access everything.

26. Evernote

This is great to sync across multiple devices. I have it on my laptop and on my computer.  Before I used Asana, I forwarded important emails to Evernote. It was my storage device. I now try to keep everything virtual in the cloud so I can access it on different computers and phones.

27. iPhone Notes

I use iPhone notes for hashtags on Instagram and blog ideas that come to me at any time.

28. Viral Tag

If you use social media in any way, I would recommend you check our ViralTag. We love this for scheduling our social media. This is a new one that has won me over because it’s saving me a lot of time because I can pre-schedule posts. If you are blogging they give you six months free. You can schedule Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. Instagram you do have to manually post but it helps you put the content on so it’s easier to post when you are out and about.
The main reason I love it is because it allows me to schedule my Pinterest images. This drives a lot of traffic to my website so I want to be putting pins up all throughout the day.

29. onlinejobs.ph

I love my virtual assistants. They have helped me stay organized and productive. This is where I found my VA. I hired a VA very early on in my business.
When I first started, I hired one that helped me with things I couldn’t keep up with like email and website updates. There were things I wouldn’t be able to work on my business if I didn’t have enough time. You have to start delegating things to other people and I am a big fan of VAs to help you do that.

30. Amazon Prime Now

This is not available in all cities yet but it is available here in San Diego where I live. It’s an app where I can get my groceries delivered from my local grocery store. I think you have to be an Amazon Prime member and you have to tip them for bringing the groceries to your house.
For me, it’s amazing because it keeps your prior grocery list so it’s easy to get repeat purchases. I know I save money because I am not at the store looking at all the things I want to buy. I am limiting purchases because I know my budget and I know what I don’t want to go over. I’ll make sure I get under a certain number. It’s actually saving me money.
I do this once per week and they deliver it to me up the stairs. I get to spend more time with my daughter instead of being stressed about going to the grocery store and carrying the groceries up the stairs while watching Mila. It goes back to your values and priorities and that’s my daughter, not shopping.

31. Pinterest For Meal Prep

I use Pinterest to plan my meals. Especially, to look up great crock recipes. I have a meals board on Pinterest if you want to look it up and follow it. I am always pinning great time-saving eats on there. I use that to organize the food I am going to prep every week and I try to prep food every Sunday.

32. Trello

We use Trello.com for our operations manuals and training purposes. If you are doing work where you have to train other people, check it out. I love it because you can put in video links to dropbox and you can put worksheets in there too.
Many people love Trello and if you are a creative person, you may want to use it for your to-do list. It has boards and there are colors similar to Pinterest. If you are visual, you might love this for your to-do list. Any sort of training we do internally goes on there for our assistants to look at.

33. E.ggtimer.com

E.ggtimer.com lets you time yourself and gives you a goal that will help you get more done faster.

34. Focus at Will

Focusatwill.com is an app with timed music that will play for a certain amount of time. The music will stop when you hit that amount of time. If you like music while you work, they have a lot of variety to choose from to help you boost your concentration.
Make sure you go to classycareergirl.com/timemanagement for a list of the tips and time tools I use.

35. White Boards 

Go digital! No paper! We have a ton of whiteboards in our office. I try to keep no paper in my office. I put my to-do list and my weekly calendar on a whiteboard too.

36. Beautiful Calendars and Planners

This year I used a Sugar Paper planner from Target and I love it. This really helped me with monthly and weekly goals. It helps me get into a schedule so every month I plan out my goals and every week I plan out my top 3 priorities. This has helped me focus on my whole routine and schedule that I have going on.
Thank you for reading! If you read this far down, you have some great tools in your toolbox to master your time management and become more productive!

Hi, I'm Anna!

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