My secrets to staying productive and getting organized!

by Study With Jess

Organizing your life and your belongings makes it a lot easier to be productive on a day-to-day basis, because you are minimizing any potential distractions and creating an environment conducive to work and study. Here are my top 10 things I do to be productive every week!

1. Change things up at home: I recently went on a re-decorating spree following a few big days of cleaning (I think the cleaning was a way to feel more in control of life following a very busy and somewhat turbulent few weeks!) and the changes I made to my environment really did help. I invested in some new house plants, a few shelves for the bedroom and a couple more storage solutions including a great garment rack from k-mart that doubled up as décor in the living room. Re-organising my home helped increase my motivation to get back into work again and also to feel more in control of life.

2. De-clutter regularly: I try and do a little every week, whether it’s cleaning out my closet, tidying the bathroom cupboard, sorting through old makeup or storage boxes under the TV cabinet, or cleaning out my desk draw. Doing a little bit of tidying up frequently means I don’t feel overwhelmed by a huge mess that seems to take over the apartment!

3.Prepare in advance: I’m much more productive when I have less things to worry about so I try to prepare what I can in advance so I can focus my energy on the most important things each day. A few examples are:

  • I started cooking meals in bulk and freezing them. This way I am able to be more productive in the afternoons and finish off my work tasks without having to think about what’s for dinner. You should see my freezer. It’s packed! Also, we even have go-to meal ideas written on the fridge to save time contemplating our next dish to cook.
  • I film my YouTube videos in bulk (2-3 at a time) so I save time each week doing my hair and makeup, setting up my gear and then packing things up.
  • I organise a photo shoot with a friend for a day and we take loads of photos for social media so that I can organise my photos for weeks in advance and not worry whether I have something to post each day.

There are other ways to prep in advance such as choosing your clothes the night before school or preparing cut up fruit or veg in small containers for your lunches throughout the week.

4. Find what inspires you: Everyone finds inspiration in different ways. Think about what inspires you and the different formats you can rely on when you’re needing some extra motivation to put some positive changes into place. I love watching inspiring clips on YouTube (Xandria Ooi and Jay Shetty in particular) and I find when I watch videos I am much more immersed in them than I am when I look at photos on pinterest. Watching these videos when I need some motivation to get going or make changes such as tidying up, cleaning, or de-cluttering my life has been really effective.

5. Keep your desk décor to a minimum: I love to style and decorate my apartment and being such a creature of comfort I always want my work space to be inviting, however the décor on and around my desk is something I keep to a minimum so I can spread out my work and minimize potential distractions.

6. Schedule your days in advance: I always rely on my diary to help keep me on track and organise my days. The key to remember though, is that diaries can’t organise your days per say, that’s up to you. They are there to store your appointments and bring some structure to your days but it’s up to you to decide how to allocate your time and when to say no so that you don’t take on too much.

7. I try to break up my days with some form of exercise or activity. I have gotten into the routine of practicing yoga 4 times a week; two classes during the week and two on the weekends. I also do my best to head to the beach and go for a couple of walks each week, especially if I have been working hard in the morning and feel my focus start to drop. Being active and having a set exercise routine is one of the most effective ways to boost your focus and help you to be more productive!

8. Have tech-free time: I never have my phone handy while working and I often keep it on silent so that notifications and calls don’t interrupt me and inhibit me from being productive. Organizing my work sessions this way has helped a lot!

9. Try out some productivity apps: I’ve mentioned a few apps that can help with productivity while studying or working such as forest or pomodoro, but lately I have been discovering the growing online mindfulness industry and there are some great apps I recommend, including smiling mind, headspace and mood mission. Setting aside 5-10 minutes a day to practice your breathing, be mindful and train your mind to quiet down can set you up for a more productive day.

10. Reduce your focus to a few things each day: I get easily overwhelmed when I try to juggle too many tasks/ projects all at once. I try to devote my attention to 1 or 2 things a day when it comes to work. For example, I will block out a day just for filming YouTube videos, just for editing, or just for writing scripts but I do my best never to combine these tasks or my day ends up jam-packed and my mind gets overwhelmed!

There you have it! There are plenty of ways to feel more in control of your days and these 10 are some of my favourite and most effective habits I have put into practice. Trust me, I wasn't always this organised or calm. It took multiple burn outs and moments of stress to make me realise that I needed to make some positive changes and honestly, I'm thankful that I did!

xo Jess