Hello, everyone! Julie Jarnagin here.
We all have seasons in our lives when we’re B-U-S-Y, and I’m there right now. I have a one-year-old boy and a six-year-old boy, a full-time job in marketing, and book deadlines. On top of that, my husband and I decided to put our house on the market and build a new one. Next on our list of things to do is to get our heads checked out because I think we’ve lost our minds.
But we’ve all been there--when we feel like there just isn’t enough time in the day.
I’ve always loved learning about time management and productivity (it’s one of my many nerdy quirks), and during this time in my life, I’ve been able to really put the things I’ve learned to the test.
Here are some of my favorite tips, the ones that have really worked, for getting more done.
1. Establish good habits
We don’t realize it, but a lot of what we do each day is determined by our habits. When you woke up this morning, what did you do first? Shower, brush your teeth, put on your shoes? Did you put on the right shoe or left shoe first? We do all these things without even thinking about them. Have you ever taken a wrong turn because you were on auto-pilot and headed down the road to your house or to work by mistake?
Habits, scientists say, emerge because the brain is constantly looking for ways to save effort. Wouldn’t it be great if we could simply train ourselves to do the things that are most important to us--be healthier, write that book, get organized. But changing our habits or creating new habits is hard! Just ask anyone who made a New Year’s Resolution this year.
One of my favorite tools for managing my time is using mini habits. What are mini habits? They’re tiny daily goals that can help us establish positive routines in our lives. Here are a few of my current mini habits.
* Make our bed
* Write ten minutes each day
* Read one chapter of the Bible
* Drink a large glass of water first thing in the morning
They sound easy, right? That’s the reason behind them! They’re supposed to be small enough to not be intimidating. I don’t have to get my entire book edited today. I just have to work on it for ten minutes. But do you know what usually happens? Once I get started, I end up spending way more time than ten minutes on it.
And after I made my bed this morning, I figured I might as well pick up the dirty socks too. Do you see how they work? I definitely need to write more than ten minutes per day to meet my June deadline and I always drink more than one glass of water per day, but these mini habits get my day started right. If I have a busy day, I may actually only finish ten minutes, and that’s enough to keep my momentum going for the next day. Does ten minutes sound like a lot to you? Start with only three minutes.
Some other mini habits you could try are:
* Do 10 push ups (or sit ups or jumping jacks) each day
* Walk around the block
* Read a craft book for 10 minutes a day
* Choose one thing in your home to give away each day
* Write down the things you eat each day
That last point leads us to #2 on our list.
2. Write it down
I love a good to-do list, or any list for that matter, but this is about more than writing down your grocery list. Only about 3% of adults have clear, written goals. This means 97% of us are walking around with no goals, even though it’s scientifically proven that we would accomplish more if they were written down. There’s just something powerful about putting it on paper.
But it’s not only your goals that you should write down. Track your progress toward those goals on paper. A recent study showed that people who kept a food journal lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t. Again--there’s power in writing things down.
If you’re like me and you geek out on this stuff, you may be tempted to make a big fancy spreadsheet with way too many columns. Don’t! Keep it simple. A list of goals taped to your desk and a notebook beside your computer where you track your daily word count or time spent with your rear end in the chair will do the trick.
3. Do the hard stuff first
There’s a great book by Brian Tracy titled Eat that Frog. In the book Tracy explains that your "frog" is your biggest, most important task. It’s that thing on your list that you know is a priority in your life but you still seem to procrastinate on it.
We know we should write that synopsis or finish that proposal the agent requested at conference, but it just seems too big and scary. What if it isn’t good enough? It’s easier to check social media or put in another load of laundry. Resist the temptation to begin with the small things first. When you sit down to write, “eat that frog!”
If you’d like to get more productivity and time management tips sent right to your inbox, sign up for my Girls’ Guide to Getting More Done Newsletter:
So what’s your best tip for getting it all done? And if you had to choose one mini habit to start today, what would it be?
Julie Jarnagin is a multi-published author of inspirational romance. She grew up in a small Oklahoma town where her family farmed and ranched. These days she lives in a not-so-big city with her amazing husband and two young sons who tolerate all her nerdy quirks. Julie earned a B.A. in Journalism / Professional Writing from the University of Oklahoma and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. www.JulieJarnagin.com
The first book in the Taste of Texas series, The Art of Falling, is available for pre-order on iBooks https://itun.es/us/RP0S5.l and will be released on April 21.
Heather Tornsten needs a man…a celebrity, more specifically, for a fundraising gala for the Dallas art museum, where she works. And what better headliner than bull rider Wyatt Lawrence? Although why people idolize grown men who make their living falling off animals, she’ll never understand.
When his mom was diagnosed with cancer, Wyatt determined to focus on doing what she wants—like visiting some art museum. But when his mom teams up with Heather Tornsten to get him involved in a fundraiser, he knows he’s been set up. The more involved he gets with the pretty events coordinator, the more he realizes falling off a bull is far safer. Because falling for Heather–who has made it clear that she won’t risk her heart on any man who courts danger–might break a whole lot more than his bones.
In addition to our #LibraryMade drawing today, Seekerville is giving away an ecopy of Brian Tracy's Eat That Frog to one commenter. Let us know you want it! Winners announced in the Weekend Edition!