It’s no secret we ALL have a lot of shit to get done every single day… I’m a busy, boss ass betch getting shit done and so are you.
I have limited energy, brainpower, and fucks to give, so making the most out of what I’ve got has become a big focus for me lately… Specifically, I’m talking about productivity hacks, and how to use them to optimize my time and make the most out of my life every day.
I first learned about this game changing, lifesaving timer cube this past summer, and then nothing was the same. Implementing time blocking has had a trickle down effect that has helped me develop good habits in various other aspects of my life, and I am thrilled. I have ADHD so finding a “structure” that worked with my idiosyncrasies as well as my work and life schedules has been a struggle… This is truly a great tool for anyone looking to get a better grip on their time, to-do list and life. I’m writing this to share info about the cube and time blocking as a productivity tool in general, but also some personal anecdotes for color as I assume I’m not the only one with my kind of struggles.
It’s literally… a cube with a timer… It has 4 options to set: 5 min, 15 min, 30 min, 60 min. You place it on whichever side of time you want to give yourself, and it starts. You can see how much time is left as it counts down on one side, though I usually keep it out of sight so I’m not thinking about how much time I have left.
I used to/still struggle with the bad habit of overbooking myself and expecting myself to get more done in a day than is realistically feasible. This keeps me stressed out and running late, two things I hate being but have never really found a permanent way out of… Using a timer and blocking out my time/schedule/LIFE has been hugely effective with resolving both of those issues.
I have also always been motivated by deadlines, so this is a stress-free way to replicate that kind of environment without the actual pressure on my performance. (I think there’s some kind of bad that’s what he said joke in there.) That’s probably the biggest benefit of using it for me – having the chance to immerse myself in something without having a nagging fear of losing track of time or becoming late, something that has always haunted me.
It reminds me of a simpler time in my life, HIGH SCHOOL. We had block periods and it was so great because I had only 3-4 classes each day. I didn’t have to jump from subject to subject all day, which I loved because spinning up and down and shifting topics quickly can be tough for me. I like to take my time and get balls deep with whatever I’m doing. You know?
Also, like a high school bell, the timer cube’s beeps SCREAM at you when time is up — there is no ignoring it. I have jumped out of my chair multiple times because I’d get so in the flow and forget I had even set a timer (which is exactly why I started using it in the first place, LOL).
Another productivity hack I’ve started doing is grouping similar tasks together to knock out in a sequence for optimal efficiency. I drill down on my action items and list all the steps required for completion, find common ones, and then sort and schedule them into my day in my planner. Doing this extra step to plan out my process for accomplishing my tasks each day helps me get WAY more done because if I don’t have a plan, I’ll start doing one thing and before I realize I’ve blinked it’s been an hour and I’m now trying to do 5 things at once, and wonder how that even happened?? Using time blocking and this timer cube has really helped to keep my feet on the ground even when my head is in the clouds.
It’s helped to manage my unrealistic expectations for how long something will take me… I now write my life and work schedule in blocks as much as possible, in an hourly planner I have from Erin Condren. I write EVERYTHING down. When I wake up, work out, take my meds, eat lunch, go to the store, meditate, read books, etc. Surprisingly, this method has also made me better at penciling in and following through on important self-care activities, like taking epsom salt baths or meditating. Having hard stops on my time with the timer helps me to actually use the time I theoretically blocked out for myself, on myself – instead of 300 extra emails or running errands. I know I can do that because I already blocked all that other shit into other parts of my day on my calendar! In case you hadn’t noticed, keeping a hard calendar (especially because I can cross tasks off) really makes me feel confident and like I have my life together.
I’ve also narrowed down my to-do list each day because I know I don’t have enough time for everything anymore, which has done wonders for my stress levels and mental health/peace of mind!!!!!! I can’t emphasize this one enough!!!!!! Do the exclamation points make my point clear?!?!?!?!?! PEACE. OF. MIND!!!!!
And, having a more realistic to-do list and expectations for myself each day has done WONDERS for my anxiety. It feels like it has just evaporated from some aspects of my life because they’re finally working in smooth order.
PS. Big thanks to Lauryn of The Skinny Confidential who first tipped me off about this miracle productivity cube!
What’s your best productivity tip or trick? Please share.