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3 ways to start getting more done immediately.

I'm

 HANNAH

I'm a writer, author, and online educator who loves helping others build intentional lives through the power of habit and meaningful routines.

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There’s a lot on my plate these days: juggling motherhood with my career, taming a neverending inbox, unplugging and spending time with my family, somehow making time for all the things that matter to me, and making self-care a priority in this season after a stressful season of book writing.

The list sounds exhaustive, but, so long as I stay focused, I seem to be able to strike a good balance.

Where I expected to be really tired, I find I am really tired but in a good way. 

I’m getting more done as a new mom than I ever got done when I was single or newly married. The difference? I’ve built up discipline and better habits over time and now I’m finally in a really good stride that serves me, my family, my clients, and my readers.

Today I wanted to share with you my top 3 methods for getting more done in your work so you can experience a growth in productivity and more feelings of accomplishment. 

001. PHONE IN THE BOX

Okay, friends… Let’s have some real talk. 

We are WAY too distracted by our phones and we are MISSING OUT on valuable work– things to create, lives to change, products to better our lives. Poems. Books. Blogs. All of it.

The biggest thing that allowed my productivity to skyrocket cost me zero dollars.

I took a box that I got from IKEA. And then I took my phone and I put it in the box. 

Yup. That’s my big secret for how I get so much done. I put my phone in the box… a lot.

I keep my phone in the box until I’ve slayed the tasks on my list, or until I’ve written a great piece of writing, or while I’m playing with Novi girl. 

People ask, “How do you know when to take your phone out of the box?” Oh, you’ll know. You’ll just know when it is time to get the phone out and plug back into the world.

While the world talks loudly about multitasking, the research shows us that it isn’t all that effective. I’d rather be focused on my work and making sure it is dang good work then working while listening to podcasts, scrolling on IG, or responding to text messages.

This little box is how I get my very best work done. 

002. THE POMODORO TECHNIQUE

I am a big, big fan of focused and undistracted work.

I discovered the Pomodoro Technique a few years ago when I was struggling to focus (and not spend a bajillion hours doing one task).

The technique was invited in the 1990s by an entrepreneur who named the system “Pomodoro” after a tomato-shaped timer he would use to track his school hours when he was in university. Whether it’s a large task or a series of small ones, the technique has you break the work down into timed intervals with short breaks in between each one. What’s beautiful is that as you focus, you train your brain to be able to work in short bursts and concentrate like a boss.

One Pomodoro is typically 25 minutes long followed by a quick 5-minute break. 

I love to time myself to see how long it takes to complete a task. 

But you need to remember: this is focused work. The goal is to not be doing anything but that one task for the 25-minutes. No emails (unless the task is going through your inbox). No scrolling. No website searching. Just the task at hand. 

003. THE BIG THREE

I started creating this list about 12 months ago when I finally got fed up with allowing my workday to be fueled by anxiety. I always answered to the nagging accusations: you’re not getting enough done. Your work doesn’t matter. You’ve been sitting at your desk for 2 hours and what do you have to show for yourself? Those feelings alone will stop you from being productive.

In creative work especially, sometimes it is hard to know how productive you’ve actually been. For me, I want to be productive in both my work and my everyday life. Both matter to me and I always want to make sure I am cultivating all areas.

So I make a list every morning called “The Big 3.” 

These are the top 3 tasks that I need to accomplish within my day in order to be able to say it was a success. Here’s an example of my Big 3 for today:

001. Restructure the blog homepage.

002. Go through 2nd round answers for MLL Intern Applications

003. Send out meal train links for Hayley + Taylor + Sloan

Two of those tasks have to do with work. One of those tasks is a more personal thing. All the tasks matter. This how I create a work-life balance: I blend work with life with work with life.

But I start by having a focus and picking those focuses out each morning.

Sometimes the tasks are big.

Sometimes the tasks are annoying and I don’t want to do them (like making doctor appointments or taking Tuesday to get his nails clipped)

Sometimes the tasks will take 5 minutes but I will feel like I’ve gained 5 years of my life back when they’re finished. 

Sometimes the tasks are just plain fun. 

But there are always three. And I am always super committed to making those 3 things happen. If I can do those 3 things, I count the day as a big, fat win.

I WANNA KNOW…

I’ve probably said this over 1,000 times but it’s worth repeating: discipline is like a muscle. You have to train it. Day by day, and little by little, the progress will come. So I might not tell you to implement all three of these practices in one day (because that would not be sustainable). But how about you try one? Let me know in the comments below which practice you want to start adding to your daily life! I’ll be reading.

LEAVE A LOVE NOTE +

  1. Nancy says:

    I left my phone in the car accidentally one day last week and it was so freeing! I plan to put it away daily for a few hours to focus on the tasks at hand. Thank you for the push!

  2. Cynthia says:

    I already do a type of Pomodoro and I am learning not to overload my day with too many task, so I am trying the phone in a box technique. I don’t think I am on it a lot, but when my phone give me my weekly stats I am amazed and disappointed in how much time I spent on it.

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Hi, I'm Hannah

I love writing about all things faith, mental health, discipline + and motherhood. Let's be penpals!

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