list making for productivity

by Kaylah Stroup

Fairly often I get emails asking how I’m so productive and I always kind of feel stumped – I don’t necessarily feel more productive than other people but I guess being my own boss and being the sole person who keeps this ship up and running has taught me a few things about getting stuff done.

Jeff and I were sitting at the train station the other day and he was telling me about how he read list of things that successful people did and one of the items that really stuck with him was making lists. He told me what he’d read and my response was “Well, yeah! That’s how I make lists!” Most people make lists daily but it’s how you write those lists that really matters.

So your typical list might be:
▴ clean house
▴ buy groceries
▴ laundry
▴ do social media stuff
▴ blog

It looks simple enough but those tasks aren’t very specific. I’ve found that when I break my lists down as simply as possible I am SO much more productive. My lists look more like this:
▴ wash dishes
▴ vacuum house
▴ make bed
▴ clean kitty litter
▴ write grocery list
▴ get groceries
▴ wash clothes
▴ fold clothes
▴ queue Friday Favorites
▴ edit project 365 photos
▴ draft Monday’s post
▴ share post on FB
…etc, etc

The things on the second list are easier to cross off. They get right to the point. There’s no questioning whether or not you completed the task.  Being able to cross of items more quickly will make you feel more productive. I wish there was a prettier way to write this but nothing is better for productivity than feeling productive. Looking at a massive list that you’ve already half crossed off by noon feels like you’re majorly kicking some butt which makes you want to keep on chugging!

For larger tasks that can’t be completed in a day I usually set a time limit so that I can cross it off and move on to the next. For example instead of “design media kit”, I might write “work on media kit for one hour”. This means instead of avoiding it and deciding “oh, I don’t really have time today. I’ll do that tomorrow…” I can tackle it knowing that I don’t have to finish and that’s okay.

notebooks from Moorea Seal, who seriously has one of the greatest “office” categories. So many beautiful paper things!

This very simple little tip drastically improved my productivity when I figured it out. Hopefully it does the same for you. Do you guys have any easy tips to boost productivity? I’d love to hear them.

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