Due to my work schedule, I have many days off during the week where I am home alone. What happened for a long time on those days is that I would write myself a lengthy to-do list and then only accomplish a tiny portion of it because of one distraction or another. Afterward I felt like I completely wasted my day. Over time I’ve developed a system for actually being productive. If you have a conventional work schedule this could also apply to a weekend day. If you have kids at home I’ve got no advice for you, but this is what has worked for me during this stage of life.
1. Get a good night’s sleep.
This is probably the most important point. For a long time I found myself staying up way too late the night before a day off because I knew I didn’t have to go to work the next day. What I always forgot about is that my body doesn’t like those changes in routine, and I would wake up late feeling groggy. Getting your rest is a must.
2. Go through your morning routine.
I don’t know what this means for you, but for me it means GET DRESSED ALREADY. I find that if I put on real clothes I can get a lot more done than if I stay in my pajamas. It’s a mental thing, but it works. It’s also important for me to eat breakfast and do a little Bible study before I begin the day.
3. Drink some coffee.
I don’t know about you, but coffee works on me. My body is sensitive to caffeine, so coffee gives me energy and wakes me up.
4. Get comfortable.
If I’m too cold, all I want to do is curl up in bed and read. If I’m too hot–which I can’t remember ever happening, but hypothetically speaking–I’ll feel lethargic. Wear clothes that are easy to move around in and won’t bother you.
5. Schedule your day.
Treat your day like you would a day of work or school. Schedule out your time–realistically–so you won’t find yourself lost somewhere in cyber space hours after you should have been cleaning or running errands. One of my days off recently looked like this:
7:30 – wake up, get ready
8:00 – breakfast, Bible study
9:00 – computer time (blog, check finances, social media, etc.)
11:00 – clean, lunch
1:30 – grocery store
3:00 – swim
4:00 – shower, dress
5:00 – walk Cleo
6:00 – church
That day I accomplished everything I wanted to, and when it was time for bed I felt satisfied and ready.
What about you? Given all the distractions at home, how do you stay productive when you need to be?
I agree with you, if I get dressed, then I’m more likely to accomplish a lot more in my day.
I make a list and don’t let myself sit in front of the computer until everything’s checked off! Getting dressed is a big help too … When I’m in my PJs I just want to crawl back into bed!
From Girl w/the Red Hair:
Great tips! I think the getting enough sleep thing is especially important. On weekends I tend to think “Oh, I don’t have to wake up early tomorrow I can stay up late” and then I waste my whole day sleeping. OR I will go to bed on time but then STAY in bed after my alarm goes off and get TOO MUCH sleep! Then I just feel groggy all day. Either way it makes for an unproductive day!
From Kyla Roma:
Honestly, the get showered & dressed at the normal time is absolutely key! Once I do that I seem to be able to do pretty much anything =)
That first picture REALLY makes me want to go to bed.
Good tips! Especially the comfortable one. :)
From Emily Jane:
Great tips – enough rest is definitely key, all I can say is thank heavens for medication otherwise I’d never get any!
You’re totally right about getting dressed, though. I have a tendency to want to grab my big fluffy dressing gown for the first half hour of the day and I wonder why I spend that half an hour on the computer and then rushing to get my makeup and hair done.. :)
I feel quite dumb to admit this, but I never really thought about the whole getting dressed to feel more productive. It makes perfect sense though. I should try that, instead of staying in my plaid pajama pants and a tank top on my days off. :)
After last Saturday, where I spent it mostly being extremely lazy and getting nothing done, these types are really helpful! I think getting showered and dressed is the best tip you can give because I know how much more alert I feel when I’m out of my PJ’s and clean!
A regular sleep schedule is a key to good health and in my case important in keeping headaches away. I try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day, with a little leeway for weekends and holidays. It makes a big difference for me.
I completely agree with you on the get dressed already thing! I find that when I get up on the weekend, putting on my gym clothes first means I’ll actually go and get that done, then the rest of my day can start. Usually errands after the gym, where I hope the people around me don’t notice I’m a sweaty mess. On week nights I try to make a list for just one or two things I need to get done, schedule it and be done with it.
Sleep is definitely super important though, can’t live without that!
This was so helpful to me! I’ve had a series of weekends where my to-do list was completely impossible to accomplish. I would end up working on it non-stop all weekend and still be unsatisfied on Sunday night. This weekend I used your advice on planning and the other areas. The weekend’s not over yet, but so-far, so-good! I feel so much better about the way I’ve spent my time and I still got a lot accomplished! Thanks for the advice! (Also, I hope you’re continuing to feel better! You remain in our prayers!)
From A Plan:
[…] a list. A few months ago, Kathleen wrote a post about how she stays productive on her days off and one of her tips especially stuck out to me: […]