Summer is a notoriously busy time, what with balancing work with your kids, vacations, keeping your home organize, parties, and BBQs. But, there’s something about the longer days of summer freedom that trick us into thinking we have more time than we really do.
If by this Fourth of July you realize you’ve fallen victim to this illusion of summertime productivity, it’s time to rethink your daily schedule and recapture your freedom this summer. Check out our article to learn more about productivity apps and tricks!
Plan Your Day Each Night
There are many reasons to take some time each evening to plan your day ahead. The first is evenings tend to be calmer, especially if you have little ones. Second, organizing your day the evening before helps make your morning less-chaotic.
1. Bullet Journal
You don’t have to purchase the certified bullet journal to practice bullet journaling. A simple, unlined notebook will do nicely. Bullet journaling is a form of rapid logging where you jot down tasks, events, thoughts, and reminders, all with the help of key to keep your symbols in order. For example, you might denote a task with a dot, an event with a square, and a thought with a star.
If you’re the kind of person that writes lists down on paper with every intention to complete them and never does, Evernote could be the system for you. It is a dynamic electronic notebook system which allows you to separate and find notes by notebook, tag, and plain old search. You can even clip web articles into Evernote to read later.
The best part about Evernote is you don’t need to carry an extra item around with you. Evernote syncs in the cloud, allowing you to bring up all your notes on any device. No more forgetting your grocery list at home!
Todoist is a simple electronic task list. You can create “projects” like Work, Appointments, and Errands and add due dates to those tasks. Like Evernote, it syncs in the cloud, so you can have your list everywhere you go. It also plays well with other task management systems like Google Calendars through IFTTT.
Have a Mindful Morning
Regardless of your opinion on mindfulness and meditation, practicing some form of mindfulness in the morning has helped countless people feel less stressed and more energized throughout their day. Here are a few things you can incorporate into your routine for a mindful morning before the kids are up.
4. Guided Mindfulness
There are many apps and podcasts available, paid and for free, that can help you get your feet wet in mindfulness. Some of the more popular apps on the market include Headspace, Calm, and The Mindfulness App. It might take some time to find the app that works best for you, but do yourself the favor and take the 10 minutes each morning to practice mindfulness on one of these apps.
Journaling doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment or incredibly detailed. If you commit to blocking off 15 minutes each morning - 10 minutes of meditation and 5 minutes of journaling - you’ll find you can channel a lot of positive energy into your body and expel anything weighing on your mind. Your journaling doesn’t have to be structured; set a timer for 5 minutes and brain dump everything you can onto the page.
Make the Most of Your Day
Whether you head to an office in the mornings or work from home, there are plenty of ways to be productive during the day so you can spend more time with your family.
The Pomodoro technique is built upon the idea that a person can focus on anything for 25 minutes. You give your full attention to the task at hand for 25 minutes and get a “brain break” for 5 minutes. While you don’t need an app to use the Pomodoro technique, you can find several free ones out there like Be Focused. Give this method a try and see how many tasks you fly through in the day.
7. HIIT Workouts
High-intensity interval workouts are a great way to pack a punch with not much time. They’ve been proven to be better at burning fat and better for your cardiovascular health. The idea is to get your heart rate into the cardio zone quickly for 20-30 seconds, then having a 30 second rest to bring your heart rate back down. What’s great about these workouts is you can do them pretty much anywhere and get them done quickly.
Save Time in Unexpected Places
Are there ever moments when you think, “man I spend so much time doing this, but I have to.”? Many people feel they say this a lot about errands and doing electronic tasks that should seemingly be done automatically. Luckily, there are a couple of great ways to save time in these areas so you can spend more time with your family.
8. Dry Goods Delivery Services
We don’t want to limit you to any one service, but if you have AmazonPrime, you have so many services at your fingertips. AmazonPrime has a Pantry feature where you can order a large box of your home staples like laundry detergent, oatmeal, Coke, and dog treats. You can fill up the box as much as you want, and even put certain items on a recurring subscription if you go through them quickly.
9. Food Delivery Services
To spend even less time at the grocery store, you can subscribe to meal boxes like Blue Apron, or produce services like Instacart. You can even check with your local farms to see if any of them provide weekly produce boxes you can have delivered on a weekly or bi-monthly schedule.
IF This Then That is an online web app that lets you connect hundreds of applications you use to do certain things once a certain event is triggered. These triggers are created in Applets which dictate what happens once an event is triggered in a certain app. Going back to our example of Todoist, you can create an Applet that says, “when I create an event in Google Calendar, a new item is added to my Todoist inbox.” Using IFTTT can help you save tons of time in adding items into various apps twice.
Have a Freedom-Filled Summer!
Now that you have tons of time-saving tips and apps to use, it’s time to put them to full use to maximize your summer. If you have any other questions about being organized and productive this summer, be sure to get in touch with Ditch the Clutter here.