Megan imparts her tricks for reaching an optimal level of productivity as a food blogger:
Megan defines productivity = not just about getting things done, but about getting the right things done. Efficiently and effectively.
Be laser focused. It can take awhile to get into a groove, but once you do, you’ll get a lot accomplished.
Implement the “little” things that will make a big impact!
Learn keyboard shortcuts. Forcing yourself to learn those, really can make you faster!
Always have good WIFI. You can’t be productive without it. Megan quit working at coffee shops because of this.
Computer speed is important – don’t use an old computer OR clear out your hard drive – go to a computer store and get it cleaned up to work better.
Consider your environment. What helps you feel the most productive?
Can change season to season
Working from your couch
Do you need a desk to sit at
Busy coffee shop
Hot? cold temps?
Work CONCENTRATED. Megan doesn’t like the phrase, “work smarter, not harder” because you know you have to work hard in this business. But by working concentrated, you can focus on accomplishing your goals.
– Do not infringe on work times.
– Learn to say NO.
Eliminate distractions and interruptions – how you can avoid getting off track.
Planning is key!
If you have kids around, plan activities that can be done easily with interruptions when they’re around. If they’re asleep, gone or with a sitter, then take on tasks that you need total concentration for.
Get used to ignoring the environment around you.
You have to say “no” a lot and work to keep office hours; whatever you determine those need to be for you.
Put your phone down. Turn off notifications. Remove apps that are distracting.
– Fill your mind with quality information.
Plan and schedule as much as you possibly can.
Calendars are your friend and are so important!! From little and big things, schedule them. Think daily, weekly, monthly and even 6 mos out! Work backwards from your big goals and it’ll help you get a little more specific.
Use tools that are out there to help you be productive: Trello, Google Calendar
Automate tasks: Zapier (automates tasks across platforms and apps) it’ll send out emails for you once a task is completed. Or search for other helpful tools by doing a search for “work automation” online. You can create more time for yourself with these tools doing the work for you.
Schedule aggressively by having each minute accounted for. This really will help you stay more on track and get used to this being the habit. It can always be shifted as needed but you will know what you should be doing.
By planning in advance what you are going to do on any given day of the week, you’ll know which tasks you need total concentration for and can set up your environment so you can be conducive to being productive.
Write your schedule out on a physical or digital calendar. Share it with family and employees.
Get the tasks you don’t love set up early in the morning so it’s done and then you have it behind you and can do other items you want to do.
Schedule in those times on your calendar that are household needs as well so you know it’ll have a time slot prepared: family time, dinner time, laundry, self-care time. If you don’t, you’ll work around the clock because the work is never done.
Don’t do housework during “work” hours.
What do you do when you need a break:
Schedule in breaks so you know they’re coming.
Set up rewards for yourself for completing tasks/goals. (i.e. naps, a walk, etc)
To be effective: try to get a good night’s sleep, exercise, eat well, drink water.
Have a sick day? Feeling overwhelmed? It’s going to be one of those days? Create a back up task list: things I can do that don’t take a lot of brain power. Just keep doing the next thing so you do get something done. It might not be what you have scheduled for that day, but you are still accomplishing something.
You can always improve your processes. Look at your day and ask yourself, “Could I have gotten more done today?” If you said, “no,” then that’s a productive day. If you know you could’ve gotten more done, it’s ok. But look at your schedule, move things around to be more conducive to helping you achieve your goals. Constantly tweak your schedule to be the best for you. Remember, it’s a journey, not a one time job so remember you are doing a good job.
Procrastinating: by practicing and working on productivity skills, procrastinating goes away little by little.
Vacations: Set up expectations for yourself in advance. Scheduling and communicating is important. You can batch work so you’re set up for success.
Determine if the time away with family is a work free zone. If it is, you need to plan ahead.
If the getaway isn’t a work free environment, schedule a little work but stick to set times.
Plan ahead – plan the details so there’s no guessing or sneaking away.
Push yourself to accomplish more because it is POSSIBLE.
Doing work quickly and having quality work comes from having a strict schedule and keeping to the hard deadlines.
You have standards, and you want to keep them. There are different categories of zones: perfect, great and good zone and you know when it’s ok to let different tasks get into the right zone. Some tasks you can get into the world (aka publish) and go back to perfect them. Other things you are working on you need to delay publishing and get back on track asap to your schedule so you can put out quality content.
Commit to finishing everything you start.
Reward yourself for reaching daily and weekly goals.
Focus on self-care daily, weekly and monthly.
Avoid getting burned out – it can be hard to shut off when you’re a food blogger and give yourself time off. The work is never done. If you’re a food blogger, you probably love it and love your job. So it’s an important balance to not neglect yourself and your family.
Commit to productivity. Commit to self-care. Learn your balance and know your triggers. Look out for the symptoms. Listen to your body/mind so you don’t have to have a full blown out melt down.
A couple times a year it creeps up on Megan. Know what to do and handle it. Set everything down. Sleep. Self-care is important. Soak up family time. Get back into a plan.
This is why it’s important to schedule free time into your calendar. It allows your mind to relax and focus on the moment.
Scheduling is the brains, instead of the heart, because you put so much heart in the job but scheduling gives you perspective and the calendar helps you plan what’s important to you personally and professionally.
The more scheduled you are the more freedom you have.
There is power in looking ahead and planning.
You’ll learn better habits as you employ these productivity tactics. Habits are hard to form, especially if it’s not ingrained in you. But stick with it, even if you don’t want to, and you will begin a good habit before you know it. Start with a small goal, then build on that.
Write down what you want to commit to and see it daily. Calendar, journal, sticky notes. Encourage yourself. This is visual and important to keep it at the forefront of your mind/day.
Just do the best you can!
Give yourself GRACE!
Say this to yourself: Be the best (fill in the blank) I can be.