7 Practical Tips for Increased Productivity

With October in full swing, schedules are getting busier and they’re not slowing down. It’s like I blinked in July and opened my eyes to see fall; it’s weather, football, and commitments. In our home alone, travel plans are multiplying, committee meetings are popping up more frequently and my personal and professional to-do list is ever-growing. With all that’s going on, it can seem impossible to be intentional with our faith, health, relationships, and the rest of the personal goals we set for ourselves. I totally get it!

Going back to a few short months ago, I looked up and realized I was going through the motions. I was sleepwalking through my days and couldn’t figure out how to wake up and create movement spiritually, physically and mentally. More than that, I couldn’t understand why I would crawl into bed at night exhausted while knowing that I was still not getting that much done. So I took an audit of my time. What I came to find was a lack of intention in my day-to-day life.

  • I was hitting snooze and finally crawling out of bed 40 minutes after my alarm (or when Shawn finally got up to get in the shower.)

  • I was filling my nights with hours of mindless activities like scrolling social media or watching TV.

  • I was making multiple trips to the grocery store every week to piece meals together, spending more time and money than I needed to.

Can you relate?

After getting a wake-up call about my time, I decided to make some changes. We become what we cultivate and practice, and I needed to practice being my best self every day, week, and month.

Wondering what routines I changed or added to the mix? Here’s a list of all the things that have helped me be more productive with my time while moving the needle in setting future Jantzen up for success:

Daily Routines that Make a Difference

3 by 8 - Make a list of three things every morning that you can do before 8am that will move you towards your goals. For me, the top two are my quiet time which includes Bible reading, prayer, and gratitude journaling and physical movement (even if it’s a walk around the block). I leave room for one task or to do that is on my brain. Sometimes it’s personal like sending a text to a loved one that’s on my heart. Other times it’s writing a new blog or Instagram post. And maybe your three becomes five. Whatever you decide on, don’t make the list so massive or heavy that it seems impossible to accomplish. The 3x8 rule will help get your brain warmed up for being productive and crossing off tasks throughout the day.

  • Digging Deeper: Stop and Give You 10 - If the thought of doing three productive things each morning scares you, put a time goal on them. Ten minutes is all it takes to create some big changes in your spiritual, mental and physical health. A ten-minute walk, yoga session, bodyweight workout or cardio circuit can help create great changes in your physical health, while ten minutes of quiet time, meditation, gratitude journaling or reading first thing in the morning has the power to change the course of your day. Three times ten minutes is thirty minutes. YOU CAN GIVE YOURSELF 30 MINUTES EACH MORNING!

One Thing Before Bed That Your Future Self Will Thank You For - Pack your lunch, set out your gym clothes, pick out what you’re going to wear tomorrow, put all the dirty dishes from the sink in the dishwasher. These are just a few small things we can do before bed that will create positive habits and set us up for success for the next morning. Whatever you’re used to “putting off for tomorrow” is usually the one thing you should act on doing today.

Complete the Non-Negotiables - These are the things I tell myself I need to do no matter what. They take the least amount of time but are must-dos in my daily line-up. Put a post-it note on your mirror as a reminder each day. These might be “duh” things on your list, but just in case you need another reminder, here they are:

  • Supplements - Just by making the habit of taking a multivitamin, women’s health probiotic and a mega dose of Vitamin C on a daily basis, I’ve noticed a huge difference in my health. I don’t get sick as often and my body functions better.

  • Flossing - How many dental hygienists out there just shouted HALLELUJAH!? It isn’t sexy, but neither is rotting teeth, so….. Just do it.  

  • Water Intake - Feeling sluggish, hungry, or cranky? These are great indicators that you’re thirsty. Grab a 20-ounce water bottle and make a point to fill it up four times throughout the day (I would win the gold medal in drinking a bottle of water without coming up for air.) If you drink one in the morning right when you wake up, that just leaves you with ONE extra fill up other than lunch or dinner. Totally doable.

  • Making Your Bed - Sure, there’s no tangible change to your body or health with this one but the small step of making your bed everyday can work wonders to kick-start your kick-assness.

Weekly Routines that Make a Difference

Sunday Prep - Keep it simple! Start by grocery shopping and then washing, chopping and storing fruits and vegetables for your week. Again, set a timer for 10 minutes - GET. IT. DONE!

  • Quick Clean-Up Tip - Wash your produce using a colander, then wrap the plastic produce bags around it when you peel vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers, and potatoes. This helps make cleanup super quick!

**Disclosure - Full transparency: I’ve personally been riding the struggle bus and slacking with Sunday Prep, but I know it makes a difference for me and could help you too, so I listed it!

Break Out the Crockpot - You have no idea how much time and energy I’ve saved by using my crockpot on a weekly basis. What’s funny is, the tastiest recipes are usually the easiest, taking less than 10 minutes to prep. Bonus points if your crockpot meals call for those veggies you already chopped ahead of time!

Dust with a Swiffer Cloth - Guys, I just took lazy status into hyper mode. I try to dust and sweep the floors once a week, and I finally figured out that my Swiffer cloths for the floors are great dust catchers on furniture and picture frames. It’s not a long-term, deep cleaning solution, but it gets the job done fast.

Monthly Routine that Makes a Difference

Creative Retreat - Okay, this is the ONLY thing on this list of practical tips that can’t be done in 10 minutes or less. Most of you already know how big I am on my yearly Powersheets Goal Planners, but in case you don’t and are interested in turning dreams into goals that you can create action plans around, check them out here →  One of my Powersheets goals this year was to invest in my personal and professional development, and I made a point to set aside a 4-hour block once a month to have a “creative retreat.” During these retreats I caffeinate, dream, write out everything in my head and think about the months coming up. These dates with myself have become sacred, and they’ve produced more fruit than almost anything on this list.

If you took a look at this list and felt intimidated, don’t be. Not every day will be a perfect day in terms of productivity. Even when we slip up and fall off the intention wagon, each new day brings an opportunity to begin again (just read Lamentations 3:22-24 for a pep talk). And with the motivation of setting yourself up to be your best self every day, you’ll keep moving in an upward trajectory towards the person you’re called to be.

As always, I love you being here and am thankful for an opportunity to walk through life together. And I want to hear from you! Was this list helpful? Do you have your own favorite daily, weekly, and monthly routines that help your productivity and growth? GIVE ME THE GOODS.

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Joyful Takeaway: We become what we cultivate and practice.