My best productivity secrets

With my blogging and web design endeavors, there's something that I admittedly forget from time to time: Hard work pays off.

Quick note: This post is intense. You probably want to have your morning coffee before reading it!

Since I moved into my studio apartment and have gone through the transition of getting used to living by myself, I've fallen into a routine that makes me confident that I will get where I want to go.

My best productivity secrets

Recognizing priorities and setting task lists

Each week, I take a new page in my Moleskine sketchbook and outline each of my four priorities for my personal endeavors.

This week my four broad priorities are blogging, researching, designing, and organizing. Then in my notebook, I create sub task lists that contain specific to-do's that I would like to complete that week. It can be anything from "fix that darn sidebar issue" to "spend 30 minutes a day organizing my Evernote notebook".

Real time management

I get up around 6am without an alarm every day. Why? Because when my goals are outlined and revisited weekly, it helps to ignite my motivation. I jump out of bed as early as I can, because I'm just so excited to get to work.

For a while now, I've been mapping out my entire day from hour to hour, as a checklist. I will spend an hour focusing on one item at a time, and at the end of the hour I will stop, take a quick break, and start on the next block of time.

If I don't finish whatever I'm working on that was slated for that hour time-slot, I'll make sure to include it on my schedule the next day.

It's a little nuts, but giving myself a time limit for a task will help me focus and will also motivate me to work faster and more efficiently. Especially when I see the rest of my day mapped out ahead of time.

Time inventory

I've also been using Toggl religiously for a couple of weeks at this point. It's a free time-tracking app that allows you to start and stop a timer for whatever you're working on.

I keep track of everything from time spent working at my job, to time spent on specific tasks for my own stuff, and even time spent watching TV. (TV is a huge guilty pleasure of mine and I have to make sure I don't binge watch unless I absolutely need the break.)

I'm not crazy, I swear.

I feel more inspired and accomplished than ever.

You may think I'm torturing myself, but I have been enjoying my rigorous routine so much that I've barely taken a break from it, even on the weekends. I feel more inspired and accomplished than ever, even though I'm only seeing drops in the bucket of return so far.

I know that the time I'm putting into my goals now will pay off exponentially in the future. I have faith in that.

Do I have my days where I say, "How on earth will I ever get there?" "What do I even want to do anymore?" "Why… just why?" Absolutely. I overanalyze things way too much, especially concerning where I'm going to be in 5, 10 years. I'm sure you can relate!

The quote that helped me change my viewpoint

I'm not proud of it, but I moped around for quite a while after moving to Philadelphia last year. Considering all that I was going through in my personal life, it was good that I took it easy. But that transition period is over, and I finally feel like I'm back.

It was this quote below that I heard on Pat Flynn's office tour video that really got me going.

The harder you work, the luckier you get

All in all, what's most exciting to me about all of this "work" is that I can truly say I am living purposefully by spending a very real amount of time working hard towards my goals.

Do you have a favorite quote or a driving goal that really gets you inspired to work hard?