My Top Five Productivity Tips to Help You Meet Your Goals
These are my top five productivity tips that help me, as a neurodivergent and chronically ill first-gen Chicana, stay on top of my tasks and goals. If you’re new to my page, welcome! I’m Doctora Yvette, an academic coach, author, speaker, and founder of Grad School Femtoring.
You may or may not know that I am a huge fan of learning about sustainable productivity tools, proven goal setting strategies, and ways to work smarter rather than harder. As a mom of two, someone who is neurodivergent, and a person who manages multiple chronic illnesses, I have learned that my time where I can work optimally is limited and therefore when I have the time and am able to work, I make sure I focus on what works and what matters most! So today I thought I’d share a few productivity tips and strategies that have worked for me. I hope that you’ll find at least one that can help you in your own sustainable productivity journey.
1. Rely on your trusted timer!
Use a 25-30 minute timer, log what you completed, and take 5-10 minute breaks in between each session. Timers are great if you struggle to focus on a task. Working in 25-minute increments is called the Pomodoro Technique, and it’s a proven way to help you focus on a task and log how long any given task will take.
For even more accountability, meet with an in-person or virtual study buddy and set timers to co-work with them. Knowing you’ll be checking in with someone at the end of the timer will enhance your likelihood of getting some work done.
2. Forget your never ending to-do list.
Don’t get me wrong. I do enjoy checking things off of a to-do list but sometimes those lists can be overwhelming. Instead, prioritize your tasks for the day and identify the top 1-3 things you need to get done today for it to be a successful day. If you focus on those high-priority tasks first, then you might notice some of the non-important and non-urgent tasks on your to-do list that have been taking so much of your time and can be reduced or removed from your workload altogether.
3. Break it down!
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, odds are that you need to break down task or project into a smaller more manageable step. Sometimes a task can be especially difficult if we do not have clear instructions or models for how to complete it. The most you can break down a task and simplify it, the easier it’ll be for you to start and then eventually complete the task. If you struggle to break down big tasks, reach out to a trusted femtor or friend and ask for help.
4. Focus on mono-tasking rather than multitasking.
Unlike multitasking where you might try to get several things done at once, monotasking refers to the act of focusing on one task at a time. Contrary to popular belief, multitasking isn’t the best productivity technique because it divides your attention and can slow you down. If you struggle to focus on one task at a time, consider also incorporating timeblocking into your calendar. Timeblocking, or dividing your week days or certain chunks of time daily for specific tasks (e.g. writing, teaching, admin) can help with focusing on one task at a time.
5. Create a reward system.
Whether you’re nurturing your inner child with a sticker or point system, or you are treating yourself to a few episodes of your favorite show, rewarding yourself and even gamifying your to-do list can help keep you motivated. Reward systems are especially great if you are trying to start and keep a new productivity habit because rewards help to increase your sense of motivation and positively reinforces that behavior change.
Which one of the five tips is your favorite? Please feel free to reach out and let me know.
Also, if you’d like to hire me to give a keynote, host a workshop, or to provide academic coaching services to students needing support in meeting their personal and professional goals, please reach out. You can learn more here!