How to Stay Productive on Shorter Days

Today's topic is another one I'm quite passionate about, and that's how to be productive even when on this hemisphere the days are getting shorter and the lack of daylight can make one tired and unmotivated. If that's something you struggle with, I'm here to share my tips on how I stay grinding even when it feels a little hard. Now, since the internet promotes the unhealthy 24/7 grind, my responsibility to you is to say that my tips and tricks are not supposed to, by any means, encourage you to an unhealthy grind, especially not long-term. But rather, this should be helping you to have a lifestyle that supports you to reach your goals and dreams.

Does that sound good to you? If it does, keep on reading!


Plan, but don't micromanage

This is a common tip in many time management blogs, videos, and other related sources. While it's good to plan and have so-called time blocks to schedule your day, an overly detailed schedule will most likely work against you. This makes sense as sometimes a task may take a little longer than you think, and then a plan timed per minute will get messed up and make you more stressed. You don't want to try and be the exception to that rule, trust me, my stubborn head tried it and it never works out. 

So when you think about the things you have to do in a week, list them out on a notes app or paper (I prefer paper for this as it is more tangible). Then, take a minute to figure out which ones take a longer time to do, and which are shorter, as well as which need to be prioritized and which can wait for a few days. After that you can start fitting them in your schedule. In my case, I plan my studying, blogging and social media stuff around my workday - mostly to the nights and weekends - and basically have to get my non-work things in 6-ish hours every day. Now, that is plenty of time, but then there are things like cooking, showering, tidying the house and so on, that actually snag surprisingly lot from the after-work time frame. But trust me, it's all about planning.

Don't try to cram too much into a day

Speaking of planning, an important aspect of it is knowing your limits. You shouldn't try to get an inhumane amount of things done constantly, because again, in the long run, that will only exhaust you. Of course, we all have days when we need to get a ton done, and that's life, but it shouldn't be your norm. If you try to do way too much, you most likely end up not doing things properly, and that can lead to having to do things again and that hinders you unnecessarily. Also, while many of us feel like so many things are necessary to do, when you take a little while to evaluate, you'll see some are not necessary right now or at all, so don't be so hard on yourself if that kind of things don't get done right away. 

For example, in my planning, I prioritize the school tasks that have a deadline, things that affect more people than me (cleaning, laundry, groceries, contracts, paying bills, etc.) and things that will cause problems when not prioritized (eating, sleeping, taking care of the body, etc.). I give myself a pass on blogging and social media when things get hectic since as of now, they're just hobbies that won't pay my bills nor give me my professional degree. But what is vital to you is absolutely up to you, I'm not the one to tell you what you should put first. For you, social media might be a source of income, and in that case, by all means, make sure you have the time for it.


Create a balance of fun and relaxing vs productive

I talked quite a bit about prioritizing, focusing on the important and productive, but, there's a little exception to that rule. Your brilliant mind works better when it gets to jump off the grind every once in a while. There are studies about little boredom making you more creative (you can read more for example here), so while I'm the kind of person that's all about doing a ton all the time, I'm not afraid of doing nothing and even getting bored. So remember to plan some downtime into your schedule, and trust me, you'll thank yourself for it. 

And no, I don't mean binging Netflix or YouTube from day on end, that won't spark your creativity nor your savvy thinking. Watch an episode or two of your favorite series or one movie after you're done with day's tasks - or watch more while doing other things if you can. I personally always have some video in the background while doing my DIYs or when baking or cooking alone, to keep me company and to kind of multitask with the fun stuff. I very rarely just sit down and brainlessly binge videos, that's not my speed, but for others that might be necessary to truly wind down so don't feel you can't just kick back with videos and do nothing just because I don't do so. 

Set daily or weekly goals, and stick to them

Isn't one of the most rewarding feelings reaching a goal? What if you could reach multiple ones each week? You can, I promise. You just need to set them and stick to them, and there you go. If that sounds too simple to be true, let me break it down for you. Let's say I'm planning to write this post right here, for this Wednesday. I don't actually expect to have it done in an hour the day I want to post it, no-no. I've had this topic waiting since August, I've been making notes to it along the way to build an actually useful post, and every time I've talked to someone or done something and gotten an idea for this post, I've made either a mental note then and there or actually written a line down in my draft of the post. Then, a few days before I plan on having the post up, I make sure I have enough ideas and make time to write the post. I also make sure I have enough time to proof-read what I'm posting and to plan the pictures that would be somewhat relevant. In short, one of last week's goals was to have the ideas for this post and start writing it. This week's goal is to actually publish the post, and as you are reading this now, you know I did it.

I also believe writing down goals in any form helps you manifest them, as you will be unconsciously working towards what you promised yourself. Try it, it might surprise you.


Keep the goals reasonable

And while we are in the topic of setting goals, keep them reasonable. No matter what your end goal is, it can be broken down into smaller goals. Say you're writing your thesis or your first book. You won't just set a goal to have the whole thing done in a week or two. Rather, you have the end goal (the ready project), and along the way many smaller goals. Just like in my example for this blog post above. 

Why am I saying this? It's quite typical for us humans to get discouraged or overwhelmed when tasks we're facing seem too big, too long or too hard. So, chopping the big thing into little goals and tasks makes you feel like you're constantly making progress towards to end goal, and that keeps you motivated and happier with what you're doing. For me personally this is very true, seeing progress is what motivates me nearly more than anything in the world. So makes a ton of sense to have these little goals a.k.a. constant motivation.

Don't lose focus of why you do things

Meaning, be always mindful of the big picture and end goal. Whenever you feel unmotivated about a little thing, think about what it goes towards to. Whenever I feel bummed about doing school stuff, I think about getting my degree and it makes me more motivated. But this also works for when you get too stressed about something. You can then, too, refer to the bigger picture, and wonder will the little thing matter in 3, 5 or ten years even if it's not quite perfect. If the answer is no, don't worry about it too much. (Vita, if you're reading this you know I totally stole that line from you, it's too good to not share!)

I wholeheartedly believe that people who achieve big things always manage to see the end goal and big picture at least in some form. And that's one of the keys to reach dreams and amazing things. When I reflect that to anything I've ever done, most of the things I've "just winged" without clear vision or goal, have never been as successful as the things that have had a goal, a meaning and a plan behind them. For example; I've done DIYs with both totally unplanned and well prepared, with a finished product in mind, possibly with tutorials to help. You can just imagine which ones are the ones I share with people and tag brands in on Instagram. They're the ones with the big picture. 


Find the right ways for you to do things

You can read for hours about everyone telling what's the right way to do things - as you're doing right now, or watch all the huge lifestyle vloggers telling their secrets to success, but you have to put in a little work yourself too. With so many different personalities, we are motivated very differently, have different work ethics, function best at different times of the day or in different situations, so the key (in my opinion) to succeed in anything is to know your best ways to do things. Never blindly trust me or anyone else to tell you literally how to do anything. I share what works for me and my reasoning behind everything, but only so you can try them out and tweak them to your lifestyle. 

There are highly successful people who do things very differently than I would ever do things, and with who I strongly disagree with about ways of working and planning, but they've found ways that work for them, and that's amazing. Similarly there are people who do things more my speed, and they are just as successful as the ones going about it in a vastly different way. What I'm trying to convey to you with this is that there is no one code to success and productivity, if there were, me writing this post would be absolutely pointless. I rather want to encourage you to try and find your way of doing things and your own path to your dreams. Because trust me, you can figure it out. 

Manage your stress

If you've made it this far in this longish post, you may be starting to stress out about being productive, making things happen, being the boss bish of your life... Don't stress. Rather, keep the stress level in check. While a little amount of stress may in some situations give you the kick you need to work better (I'm certainly that way), it's overall not healthy to be very stressed all the time. Stress can lead to anxiety, sleeping disorders, eating disorders and other unhealthy things, so knowing how to decrease the levels is a vital life skill. 

I could go painfully long in detail about how I find it's easiest to get unstressed, but for your convenience, I'll just leave a link to an earlier post here (click!) in case you need tips for that, and if you have this in check, you can move on to the next point of the post. 

drinking coffee

Take care of your diet

This may sound like a needless thing to mention, but I couldn't disagree more. Nutrition is one of the key things to keep your head sharp and ready to be brilliant, so what you eat and how you eat is really important. Whether you are a vegan, vegetarian or omnivore of any sort, it's vital to make sure you eat enough, but also that you eat enough healthy fats and other nutrients that keep the function of the brain up. There are countless articles on good foods for your brain out there if you need help with it, an moreover I recommend consulting a nutritionist if you're unsure about how you're doing. In general, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruit are obviously very good for you, just find the right ones if you have any allergies. 

And also, while it might be tempting to live off of caffeine and sugar to stay energized, I would possibly recommend water more. From a few articles I've read, staying hydrated is one of the best ways to stay functioning even when being a little tired. Sugar and caffeine may give you a quick boost of energy, but they also make you crash out of it faster. Whereas bit more water never hurt anyone. 

Rest enough & have a schedule

And last but not least, the one thing that keeps me the most productive is to rest and sleep enough. Any time my sleep is less than 6 hours per night, the next day is sluggish and unproductive, each time. But when I'm at least somewhat well-rested and giving my brain the time to recover from the day before, I feel like I can conquer the world. What helps me have enough rest is to have a regular schedule I don't ditch too much even on the weekends. I fully believe in the fact that most people benefit from as regular schedule as possible, because our bodies do enjoy "knowing" what to expect when. That also contributes to sleep, because if you have habits before bed, your brain starts to recognize the pattern and learns to start creating sleeping hormones when you go through the things in your routine.

If you'd like to read more about my tips on better sleep, you can check out a related post here (click!).

Do you have any tips for productivity that were not mentioned in this post? Share them in the comments!

That's it for today, and when this goes live, I'm at school trying to learn a thing or two about graphics. Meaning I'm conveniently being productive while this goes up. Later this week we will have a little talk about my latest DIY projects, and another Support Sunday feature. If I have time, I will also post a little something on Friday, but I'm keeping that option open in case my school work needs my focus more. If you like my content, I recommend following me on my most active platform Instagram (I'm @silvertigo), since I can be reached there daily. I'll see you in the next post!

Have a lovely day ♥

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