Lesson #314: Your guide to being productive when you want to be anything but.

5/31/15.

Needing to be productive when everything and everyone around you is beckoning you towards fun is tricky.

But there’s good news.

I’ve found that it’s actually possible.

Here’s how.

1. Make a list.

Check it twice. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been naughty or nice—but you get the point. Write down everything you need to get done. Even put it in order of importance. What needs to get done first? What can truly wait? It definitely helps to have it down on paper (or phone notes—I’m a fan) in front of you rather than floating around in your head where tasks can easily slip between the cracks.

2. Fight the urge to pick up your phone. 

(Which I just did. And wasted a focused five minutes that I could have been typing. Help.)

3. Give yourself a (reasonable) allotted time to accomplish task, depending on how quickly you get things done.

Be honest with yourself about how long it might take you. But don’t give yourself more time than you need. You’re just setting yourself up for more of an opportunity to fiddle around and waste time because you know you have more time to get it done.

4. Balance is the key.

You can’t always be working. You can’t always be playing. But you can alternate between the two. Even better… you can find ways to combine the two. Listen to your daily podcast or devotional or make that important phone call while you wash the dishes or do laundry or (in my case) unpack. Read or do your homework while you’re chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool (by the pool), or while you’re hitting up the exercise bike. Maximize your time.

In conclusion…

It’s easier said and done. But between balancing grocery trips, needing to unpack, finishing my reading assignments for next week, and prepping for my internship, with bonding and meeting my fellow study “abroad” mates, answering people’s “best wishes” on social media, and going on spontaneously fun outings my first week in LA—I’m doing it.

Barely.

But I’m learning.

And hey,

it’s actually starting to work.

Day 315.

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