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Productivity Tips For Women Who Feel Stuck

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Productivity Tips

Do you constantly feel drained by your daily working practices? In this blog I will introduce some of my favourite time management and productivity tips that can help you feel more organised, in control and ready to tackle your work with confidence.

When we learn how to work with our energy things change. Although this post is aimed at women, it's relevant for anyone who may be introverted, have low energy or who manage chronic illness.

Learning how to work with your needs, energy, abilities and limitations will help you grow in confidence and avoid feeling exhausted at the end of each day.

If you're currently working flat out, but feel like you're getting nowhere fast, and feeling exhausted as you're trying to achieve your goals, take a look at some of the ideas below.

*Affiliate Disclosure: Some links in this post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something via this link then I may receive a small commission. This doesn't affect the price you pay for the product.

If you have any questions, reach out for a chat [email protected] or check out my other blogs

Prework:

Do a Reality Check

Okay, to begin with, the first productivity tip is for you to become fully aware of what your current life looks like – your commitments / abilities / limitations etc.

If you’re about to work on a project – e.g. building a business, writing a book or setting up an online store, this awareness needs to be the very first thing you focus on.

This gives you the foundations – the benchmark of what you have to work with. Yes we all have 24 hours in a day, but that looks and feels a lot different for lots of people and for various reasons.

24 hours for someone who is energised, fit and healthy will be experienced differently to those who manage energy or health issues. For example, you work Monday – Friday 8am – 5pm and also have the stamina in you to do things outside of work. For someone like myself, the regular routine of 8-5pm 5 days a week isn’t possible.

The extra activities outside of work are not possible, even on reduced hours if I need to be able to show up the following day. 

Every single decision I make has to be carefully considered to ensure that I am able to honour my responsibilities. Planning ahead becomes automatic with these things, with something always being sacrificed to ensure progression or to be able to enjoy an event like a meal out.

This isn’t a woe-is-me thing – this is my reality. I am okay with it – I just have total awareness of my situation and how to manage effectively.

I shared this so that you can see that although it’s different, there is absolutely a way to create this balanced life – especially if you’re a coach / therapist / solopreneur. You can use your reality to shape your working week.

Using this awareness will mean that you can figure out a way of working that matches your energy, the fluctuations that inevitably occur each day, and lessen the risk of burning out whenever you try to get work done.

Similarly, your reality may be that you are also juggling children, a second job or caring for a loved one. These things will impact the amount of time, energy and mental capacity you will have each day.

What do you need to take notice of?

The main things that I tend to make a note of and that I feel would be most beneficial for you to pay attention to are:

  • Your energy levels
  • Fluctuating health issues (e.g. acute symptoms like migraine, nausea, flu etc.)
  • Other commitments (eg children / family)
  • Current work commitments
  • Your mindset
  • Your overall goal and the timeline you’re working towards
  • How long you spend on your work / specific tasks each day

The reason why I mention how long you currently spend on your work / specific tasks is because we often underestimate the time something will take.

I highly recommend doing a Time Audit so that you can evaluate your focus and productivity. This will help you create the most efficient daily schedule and identify those danger zones where time appears to simply disappear…

I know my main time thieves  – creating things on Canva and getting caught up in new emails as they fall into my inbox throughout the day. I love using Canva and due to my online stores and planner / journal business I spend a big percentage of my time there. It’s so easy to overextend my time. 

With emails, it can be too easy to check them as they pop in, especially if it looks interesting or I’m feeling less focused. 

The time and energy audit was eye opening for me. I first came across it from the fabulous Sadie Smilie from Passive Income Pathways where I’ve learned all about blogging and more. I developed my own version (which you can grab for free). It's a brilliant way to get total clarity on where you spend your time and what changes you need to make.

If you do this as part of your pre-work I promise you’ll be surprised and you’ll definitely identify areas where you could bring in change.

Brain Dump to Prioritise

I LOVE Brain Dumping – honestly I do, plus it’s a great way to introduce a daily journaling practice. It features in all of my productivity tip posts because this and journaling have been key for me in my work.

Brain dumping is decluttering for your mind, and you know how satisfying having a clear out is…! If I become aware of feeling a bit out of touch with my work, or more distracted than usual I will do a brain dump to help regain some clarity.

I also do one at the start of a new project, each month, week, or whenever I feel I need to.

How to do a Brain Dump:

Firstly – there’s no right or wrong way to do a brain dump, and it will vary depending on what you’re currently needing to gain clarity for. A brain dump is simply a tool to empty all of those thoughts in your head that are impacting your focus, energy and making you feel overwhelmed.

Secondly – it’s supposed to be a quick and easy tool for you to clear your mind not to add to it like you would a plan. Keep it simple – always!

Here’s how you could use a brain dump:

  • Write down everything you have going on. Personal and professional.
  • Separate personal / professional things (or split the page before you begin).
  • Write down things you’ve learned or new ideas that you have and want to start.
  • Make a note of your current goals (things you’re already working on).
  • Identify all of the tasks you’re working on or need to work on to reach this goal.
  • Using everything you’ve written down, highlight or organise all of the things that are key to moving your progress forward. This is to help you prioritise with more confidence.

Another use for brain dumping is when I’m attending some training or see something online that sparks my creativity and think “I need to do something like that!” 

I make a note in my brain dump journal so that I can let the thoughts go and not get distracted by the shiny new idea that’s making me feel excited. 

It helps me stay focused on what I’m currently working on and not adding more to it. I can come back to this later. When I leave the ideas floating around in my mind it becomes a distraction really quickly.

Break down your Goals

Getting crystal clear on your goals is crucial if you want to work more efficiently. When you have a clear plan, and you break these goals into medium and short term plans, you not only reduce the risk of overwhelm, but you also make it much clearer on exactly how to get there.

When I knew that I had to begin working on my MA dissertation, I won’t lie – I absolutely did not think there was a chance in hell I’d get it done. I honestly considered not completing the final year and just opting for a PG Diploma. I totally justified this and even spoke with the course lecturer about my options.

Instead, I did some research before the 2nd year was out and found how to approach a research-based dissertation when you had little confidence in yourself to achieve it.

The key was to break the dissertation into stages, and from there I created checklists for each part that needed to be completed.

If you’re working on a big goal, like setting up an online store, or launching a new membership, break the goal into smaller steps. Work out what you need to get done and by when. Have a clear overview of the steps so that you can pick up where you need to depending on the time you have that day.

When you plan your month / week according to each step, it enables you to only focus on the next step rather than the whole process. It removes the overwhelm and lessens the risk of procrastinating.

How can you break your quarterly and monthly goals into smaller steps for your weekly and daily focus? 

Plan For Your Energy Levels

Productivity tips aren't just ways to work faster, for me it's much more than that.Your plan needs to be realistic. Think back to the pre-work – what is your current reality and how does this impact your monthly, weekly, daily goals?

Some tips:

If you know that you work better in the mornings or afternoons, plan your day around this.

If your daily screen limit is a few hours, let this guide how you plan what tasks you’re going to work on first. 

Do you have a Bare Minimum Plan? If not, is it something that would be useful? I love my bare minimum plan and it helps with my fluctuating health and energy levels. If I know I am not going to be able to work to my best, I only focus on the things that I need to (e.g. client communication / calls), then I rest.

Look back at your time audit to help you prioritise tasks that take less energy. Don’t put too many high-energy tasks together. Spread them out more, and add break times in as well.

Using a time audit is a great way for you to plan your week if you have lots of other things going on, or if you want / need to take things a little easier this week.

Become aware of when and how you work best and put Do Not Disturb on your phone to remove distractions from emails or calls.

I recently changed my working patterns because of a drop in my energy levels. I revisited my goals, identified steps and used the time audit to help me plan the next few weeks out.

I work better in the mornings, so my new desk time is from 9am-1pm. Previously I’d start before 7am and sometimes not switch it off before 7pm. The issue with that is that although I could stop for breaks, my brain didn’t switch off.

Having this clear boundary has not only helped me feel less busy, I’ve been getting MORE done than when I could sit there for 8+ hours each day.

It’s so hard when you’re working on something big and exciting, but my frequent energy dips were my warning sign to change things.

It’s helped my mindset, I have more time for me in the mornings and the afternoons. My house feels cleaner and I feel more present with my family – win win!

Be mindful of your energy whenever you sit to do your planning. It’s something I do monthly (as a minimum) because patterns of working (like I mentioned above) easily sneak in and we’re not always aware of it until your body starts to show you!

Time Blocking & Task Batching

Time blocking is another favourite productivity tip of mine. t's where you map out in your planner what you will be focusing on over the next week. You can do this in a paper planner or you could use a spreadsheet / your digital planner of your choice.

I clearly mark the start and end of my days and then I block out time according to what’s happening. I begin by blocking out (Highlighting with different colours), the times I’m working with clients or have meetings.

I then block out free time / breaks (eg lunch)

As I complete my weekly planning I can then clearly see how much time I have across the week to work on things. I plug this into the planner either using:

  • Daily Themes (eg admin day)
  • Hourly Themes (eg marketing)
  • Energy Based Actions (eg high / low energy tasks)

For Batching I create themes for the different tasks or stages of work. For example, when I write blogs I don’t write one then upload, add images, publish, do SEO tasks and share. I split it into separate stages.

  • Researching and planning
  • Headings and Subheadings
  • Writing
  • Image Batching on Canva for post and Pinterest
  • Publishing and SEO

The reason why batching can be so effective and one of my favourite productivity tips, is because it lessens the start / stop. If you’re in the flow with writing, it makes more sense to carry on writing as you’re in the zone. If you then stop to do the other bits, that flow is broken and costs you time.

A study from the University of California-Irvine found that when you stop working on one thing and put your attention elsewhere, when you return it takes around 23 minutes to become as focused as you previously were.

This is why multitasking can actually impact your productivity and cost you time and money – even if it feels like you're getting a sh*t tonne of stuff done because that to-list is full of green ticks.

The problem is though, it's more likely that those green ticks are for tasks that are less important or challenging, meaning you'll just have to come back and start again on that task anyway!

Plus you may not actually take the information in if you're not fully focused on what you're reading / learning. This means it's less likely that you'll even retain the information consumed!

Mindset For Motivation:

Self Belief – As with everything, your mindset will influence your actions. My dissertation example is one of where my self belief wasn’t playing ball. I convinced myself that there was no way I’d do it.

Thankfully my stubbornness wouldn’t let me quit, and once I began to put these things into place, and the work began to snowball, my confidence grew and I did it.

Perfectionism – If you struggle with perfectionism, know that this will hold you back. If you’re aiming for the best version of everything before you get started, the risk of not starting, or procrastinating will be high.

It’s also when you find yourself 5 hours later still creating that worksheet that you pretty much finished within the 1st hour, but you’ve continued to tweak over and over… 

When I work with my students, this is one of my most used productivity tips. I suggest that they initially aim for good enough if they’re finding it hard to get started. This release of pressure to get it spot on straight away is usually enough for them to move past the block.

Courage to Begin – If you’re someone who also waits for things (or yourself) to be different, it’s time to change that! Have the courage to take that first step – even if it’s a mini shuffle across the starting line. A lot of the stress and worry about a new project happens before you make a start. By committing to start, you can step away from those worries and actually focus on what needs to get done.

Compassion – Along with courage, a huge dose of compassion is needed. When you first start something new – you’re a beginner. Own that and be okay with that. Release the pressure of getting things exactly how you want them right away. Give yourself the grace to learn and develop without heaping unrealistic expectations on yourself. Your confidence will grow as you become more familiar and naturally improve!

Getting Unstuck Prompts

  1. Feeling stuck & full of “what if’s?” Ask yourself instead: What if it all works out?
  2. What can you do today to make things easier for yourself tomorrow?
  3. What time of day are you most focused and productive?
  4. What is one task you always put off? Why do you put it off, and how could you approach this differently to make it less daunting?
  5. How can you become more consistent with your approach to work without feeling suffocated by strict timelines?
  6. What tasks do you love working on?
  7. How do you show yourself compassion when you’re experiencing low energy?
  8. What do you find most helpful when you’re focused on your work?
  9. What’s something you’re putting off because you don’t feel ready? What would being ready look like for you?
  10. What words of encouragement could you give yourself when you don’t believe you can?

Tools Resources & Support

I hope you found these productivity tips useful. I'm a firm believer that one cap doesn't fit all. From my experience, with things like productivity, it's about finding what works for you.

If you're also managing low energy / chronic health issues, finding a way to understand what your mind and body needs is essential. Improvements happen once you begin working with your energy and your strengths, and being fully aware of limitations or things that you tend to avoid.

For some useful productivity tools and resources – Take a look at these below:

Time Audit Workbook (Free)

Tailwind for Bulk Scheduling your social media / Pinterest posts

YourBizTools – My Etsy store for people who need to save time & energy. Great for busy coaches / therapists / Entrepreneurs.

Learn to Say No – This is a great post about decluttering your home & life & the importance of saying no.

If this post helped or you enjoyed reading it, please share one of the images below as it really helps my blog – Thank You!

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Meet Lynsey

Lynsey Wall, Coach & Mentor at Coach Writes. About me - A headshot of Lynsey smiling. Wearing a black t-shirt, blue framed glasses. Office walls behind her.

Hey there! I'm Lynsey, a coach, counsellor, and mentor for low energy, introverted or low confident female coaches & small business owners. With over 5 years’ experience of running businesses, and over a decade as a tutor and trainer, I've learned the value of effective time management that energises you through working with your energy.

I've lived with chronic illness – ME/CFS since 2011 and since then I re-trained as a counsellor, and achieved a distinction for my MA in Counselling and Psychotherapy Practice; all while running 4 businesses! I want that for you as well & it is possible with the right support and pathway to success.

Improving your mindset, finding acceptance and developing a solution-focused approach to achieving your goals is my passion. Blending mental health support where needed, as well as a supportive space and methods to manage your work more effectively.

If you'd like to know more about working with me, you can email [email protected] or find me on socials (links in the menu)

Have you seen my online store Your Coach Tools? Find DFY templates & more!

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