how to make productive to do lists!

2019, lifestyle, organisation

Hello!

Thought my confidence in my ability to do literally anything right now is rock bottom, one thing I know I can do for sure is make a list and get stuff done. In the two years since I’ve had my bullet journal I’ve got a lot better at figuring out what works best for me.

How I make my to do lists has changed a lot – in the summer of 2016 I remember making lists that were 9 or 10 things long and then getting really demotivated because I wasn’t getting anything done. In the following January I started my first bullet journal and from there I started experimenting with writing a long weekly to do list so I could see what I needed to achieve over the whole week and then I could pick out tasks that I needed to do on each day.

I stuck with that structure for a while, developing it to split my weekly tasks into categories like Uni, Society, Personal, Long-Term etc just to help me focus more. But when I finished uni I felt I didn’t need the focus as much and I didn’t have the same need for tasks that were completed each week so I stopped using this around June 2018.

And between summer 2018 and the end of the year I really refined how I make my to do lists and it’s working really well for me to have a balanced productive day – not giving myself too much to do, making sure I finish all my computer jobs during the day and doing as much as I can to make sure I get everything done.

Shock horror, she’s talking about her bullet journal again. This is my nearly finished weekly spread – on the left page I write the content I want to make for the week, my monthly goals and tick boxes (because is there anything more satisfying than ticking a tick box?) for my daily tasks and this is working really well right now.

Then on the right I have my daily to do’s – each day has 4 lines for me to plan things to do and the highlighted numbers is my word goal for my writing challenge this month. I keep my Sunday box longer because I can catch up on things  I’ve missed during the week and make notes for the following week.

I think if I had a better memory and such I wouldn’t need to rewrite each list every day but I really like writing my to do’s for each day on a post it note and stick it to the front of my bullet journal so I can just tick it off without having to have it open all the time.

The way I make each list is I write the day of the week at the top, because let’s be real – I forget what day it is at least 7 times a day, then I draw 5 boxes and 3 dashes.

(not the greatest picture but gives you the idea of what my lists look like!)

The 5 boxes are for me to write the must-to do’s and those are my kind of bare minimum tasks for the day – it’ll include things like any editing or writing I’ve got to do, if I’ve got a dance class or work or anything like that, it all goes on the list with any other tasks I want to do for the day.

Then I use the dashes for tasks that aren’t too important or wouldn’t be the end of the world if I didn’t do – things like my daily writing challenge that I’m doing at the moment, any tasks I could do if I finish everything else on my list and any little jobs that really need doing but it wasn’t worth a tick box.

And this system works really well for me. That’s not to say I get everything done on my list every single day – I have bad days that I just can’t bring myself to do the things I need to do and I’m frustrated and tired. But this is the best system I’ve found so far – some people get 10 things done every day, some people get three things done a day, some people go to the gym at 6am, work 9-5, volunteer at a food bank after work and have a solid mental health so comparing your productivity to mine or anyone you see online is utterly pointless. It’s all about things like substituting phrases like ‘I was so productive today’ to ‘I got everything on my to do list done today!’ – productivity is so highly valued in society and on social media right now but every person is different and everyone works differently.

Conclusion – to do lists are great and all and I’m really happy with how I make mine now but we shouldn’t compare productivity because everyone is different.

I hope this has been even a little bit helpful! I do love talking about organisation and things like this so if there’s anything you’d like to hear my two cents on, let me know!!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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January Goals

2019, goals

Hello!

And the last of the trilogy of blog posts about New Year’s Resolutions and goals is upon us! I’m so excited to have another year of focusing, setting myself little goals and giving myself the exciting feeling of new year’s at the beginning of each month.

I’ve decided this year that each month I want to set my goals in accordance with my 2019 resolutions – last year I did them based off what I want to achieve each month and I’ll still do that this year but I really want to properly focus on my goals to make sure I’m working on achieving them every month.

Progress is a huge motivator for me and finding new ways to work on that and ensure ongoing development makes me happy! So let’s jump right in.

[ J A N U A R Y   G O A L S : ]

  • get back to healthy eating and a workout routine – the whole reason I focused on for losing weight (a family wedding) is coming up at the end of the month so I’ve decided, quite spontaneously, to go part time vegetarian – not for any moral reasons (don’t come for me pls) but just for health reasons I’m planning to eat veggie up until dinner time every day during the week. And I definitely need to get back to working out – my tap classes start again next week but I’m aiming for one at home workout each week. If I put a number on something I’m more likely to actually do it so once a week – sorted.
  • work on prioritising productivity – I have refined the way I make my to do lists so I have 5 tick box jobs, 3 additional tasks that are not quite important enough for a tick box or would be useful if I have time after I’ve finished everything else (I don’t know if this makes sense to anyone but me!). The next step for me is to make sure I get them all done during the day rather than working half heartedly on my laptop till 9pm – essentially I want to have business hours and unless I’m using my laptop for something like creative writing I don’t want to use it in the evenings. That’s the goal!
  • working on hobbies – start my knitting project – to go hand in hand with the productivity, making time for hobbies is something I really want to work on! I think knitting would be a great activity for me because I’m not very good at sitting watching TV and just watching, so I think a non-committal task like knitting would be a good start for me. The other half of this one is not taking my laptop into the living room so I’m not tempted just to scroll through Facebook for the sake of it. Knitting and no laptops!
  • get more freelance work – I mean, this one is kind of a necessity more than a goal but it’s got to be a real focus for me this month! I’m going to reach out to local businesses and get as much work as I can, because I miss it and I need a focus. If anyone has freelance advice that would be much appreciated thank you!
  • focus on blogging and YouTube – I’ve been really happy with the content I’ve been making and how regularly I’ve been creating and uploading in the last few months but I want to step up my game this year – I’ve got a few ideas that I’ve been a little apprehensive to make and I’m just going to bite the bullet and make them this year! I want to work on growth and read advice from other bloggers and YouTubers and think about building my platform a bit like a business. Maybe that’s pretentious, or presumptuous that I think my platforms deserve to grow (I seem to be allergic to followers anyway), it’s all a bit complicated and I feel like a proper dick about it but I want to at least give it a go!

I got proper rambly in this goals post! I think I got a bit lost in it, sorry!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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happiness = productivity?

2018, lifestyle

Hello!

I feel like it’s a huge part of today’s society, everything is about productivity and getting stuff done – being successful is a measure of how regulated your sleep schedule is, how on top of your work out routine you are and how many things you got done that day.

It’s gotten to a point where if I’m not out of bed by 8am I struggle to feel motivated to do anything and I’m not sure how it got to this point because I’m pretty sure it used to be cool to sleep till the afternoon and not do uni or school work.

Personally I find it so much harder to be content and motivated when I know there’s a list building up of stuff that I’ve been writing down for a few days – there’s only so many times I can write ‘apply for a job’ before it becomes utterly soul destroying to actually do it.

I don’t know where the pressure is coming from, who I feel judged by or where this all began but I really hate that my productivity is directly equal to my happiness on a day to day basis and let’s be real, there’s no pressure from anyone or any kind of society, it’s just me beating myself up and I need to come up with some methods to stop… doing… that?

Step 1 – don’t be a dick. I mean, that’s generally good life advice but I need to stop telling myself I’m not good enough! Because it escalates very quickly from ‘I didn’t apply for a job today’ to ‘I have no skills and don’t deserve a job anyway’ and I’d like to think that’s not true.

But you know, step 1 is pretty difficult when it’s quite deeply ingrained in your brain. But what can I say, I’ve acknowledged the problem and I know roughly where to start. I think that’s progress?

Step 2 – figure out why I’m not productive and adapt my to do lists accordingly. But that’s not really addressing the problem of my productivity being related to my happiness.

Step 3 – it sounds too simple but just let it go. Let the list go, no pressure to do more than I’m capable of – work on relaxing even if I didn’t quite get everything done and enjoy an evening of not squeezing in more work and doing whatever it is I’m doing below average anyway.

Step 4 – I don’t even know anymore, I’m rambling for the sake of rambling.

It gets to this point in a blog post where sometimes I’ll doubt whether I really want to publish it – am I making a point or am I complaining about something that no one else really cares about? But I think it’s defying thoughts like that are important – this is something I’ve been thinking about for a while and I want to share!

I think there’s a lot of pressure in our generation on the internet that you’ve always got to be doing something, making something, working towards something and we all know that the internet can be a pretty toxic place. But defying these things that we’ve been conditioned to feel is the best way to combat it.

Today hasn’t been a productive day, but I had a really lovely afternoon working on my scrapbook and that doesn’t make how I spent my day any less valid.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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5 mini goals for March

2018, lifestyle, photography, student

Hello!

I definitely stole this idea from Dorkface but anyway – I’m a very goals orientated person. I spend a lot of time thinking about my goals, where I want to be and whether I’m achieving what I want to achieve.

Often, this just involves me thinking about where I want to be and why I’m not there yet whilst eating copious amounts of chocolate but it’s a work in progress and progress is something I think I can fairly confidently say is somewhat getting there (but the fact I worded that so speculatively suggests otherwise).

Either way, I saw Jemma writing these ‘mini goals’ blog posts and this month I decided to give it a go – it might help me focus and I’m going to make a pretty spread in my bullet journal to incentivise me to tick things off. I’m going to start with just 5 and if it goes well I’ll reflect on them before setting April’s goals.

  1. Really focus on my FMP (my final major project, my degree’s equivalent of a dissertation) – this sounds dumb, because I’ve been thinking about and working on this project since last summer but I’ve been really struggling in these past few weeks to focus and get anything done but March is going to be the month I get shit done.
  2. Blog more regularly – again, potentially a stupid goal but every time I sit down to write I fall in love with blogging again but I just don’t make time to do it. I’ve been really enjoying my blog photography at the moment and I do want to make more time for it because to be honest I spent too many hours of an evening just playing on the xbox with my boyfriend. I don’t want to stop doing that per say, but it’s a balance isn’t it.
  3. At least three more instagram theme colours – I’ve not written about this here, but I’ve got an instagram theme! I was trying to make the yellow thing work but it wasn’t working so I was chatting to my wonderful friend Kathryn and we decided that a new colour every row could be a really nice theme without the commitment of sticking to one colour forever so I gave it a go! I had a pastel yellow, red and I’ve just finished my blue row. It’s a work in progress and I’m still figuring out the balance of what looks good and what I post just because I want to post it but I want to get at least three more rows finished this month. 9 photos doesn’t sound like a lot but I’m still getting my mind around planning and taking all the photos to fit the theme.
  4. Cook more – maybe all of these goals sound stupid, obviously I make myself dinner every night (save for a take out night every now and again) but I want to invest more time in to cooking more complex dinners. I love cooking and even setting aside an hour every night I think will both be good for my diet and my mental health, because I find cooking really therapeutic.
  5. Apply for some post-graduate jobs – I graduate in July, my final project hand in is at the beginning of May – the sooner I apply for stuff the happier my brain will be to know what’s going on after July, because right now the anxiety of not having a single ounce of a plan after I take off those graduation gowns scares me a lot and it’ll give me some peace of mind to at least know I’ve applied for stuff. I’ll tentatively set the goal of three jobs, but I know that these applications will take a lot of time so even one would be enough.

I probably could have just left it at the parts in bold but it’s nice to have a record of what I actually want to achieve this month. Maybe some of it does sound a bit silly but maybe that’s just my insecurities. I think these goals are useful, somewhat realistic and completely feasible if I stick my mind to it.

What are your goals for March? Do you have goals that you set yourself over a time period? What works for you? Let me know – I could do with all the help I can get!!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

Side note, can we talk about the crafting I did to make the feature photo for this post, actually thoroughly enjoyed it!

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productive, but chilled

2016, lifestyle

Hello!

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve had three deadlines and a lot of stuff to do, so managing my time has been a particular challenge. But I’ve found a way that helps my productivity sky rocket so I thought I’d share!

Working with 100% focus, no distractions and complete silence doesn’t work for me – I get really tempted to do anything but what I’m meant to be doing and I spend the whole time thinking about everything else I could be doing.

In the run up to a big hand in of a research workbook, I knew I had a lot of work to do. I sat on the sofa in the living room whilst my flatmates played GTA, my iPad set up to one side with YouTube playing, headphones on and just slowly worked away at my workbook.

With having YouTube on in the background and being with my friends, feeling like I was only working at 60%-70%, I worked for five hours straight and got about 15 pages (of what would become a total 41) done. I continued this success with more ‘chilled productivity’ sessions and got the whole thing done and uploaded with plenty of time to spare.

Since then, I’ve done pretty much all of my work with YouTube on in the background, or in a coffee shop or with my friends in the room, rather than in complete silence and isolation. I feel like it means I can work for longer without feeling as tired and what I make in the end is of higher quality too because I wasn’t pushing myself to make it.

Obviously this only works if you allow yourself enough time to work that way and it doesn’t work for every kind of workload – I have a lot of coursework based assignments but if you’re wanting to do some intense revision, having YouTube videos on in the background you probably won’t absorb any information, but it can still be applied in other ways.

If you have the kind of workload that allows for ‘chilled productivity’, I thoroughly recommend it because in the end, I enjoyed making my workbook and I liked making the pages look as creative as I could. And I caught up on so much YouTube in the process, I’m nearly not behind anymore!

And to anyone that says the quality of the work won’t be as good because you’ve not paid full attention to it – I got a first for this assignment and my workbook was the highest part of my marks.

Different things work for different people, but everything I’ve ever seen about revising or being productive has involved putting your phone to one side or not letting yourself listen to music, when depriving yourself of these little pleasures aren’t always certain to make you more productive. It takes a lot of experimenting before you can find out what’s right for you!

Another thing I’m thinking about trying in the New Year to help my productivity is bullet journalling but I have no idea where to start right now, so if you know anything or have any tips please do leave it in the comments!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sophiecountsclouds/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-3CmMYbZuSV5eSvGgkW5Cg
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sophiealuckett
Instagram: http://instagram.com/sophiealuckett
Snapchat: @SophieALuckett
Uni blog: http://sophieannblogs.blogspot.co.uk/
The Student Seat: https://thestudentseat.wordpress.com/

What my links mean!

2016

Hello!

I put my links at the end of every blog post I write but I’ve never really talked about them or promoted them in any other way so I thought I’d talk you through them and explain in a bit more detail, in case you want to follow me anywhere else!

Facebook: I set up my Facebook page earlier this year as a communal place where I can post everything I’m making all over the internet in one place – blog posts I’m writing over all my many blogs that I run, YouTube videos I make, things I’ve done on News Day, things I’ve made with other people – everything. It’s going to get busier and busier as the end of this year and the beginning of next year approaches!

YouTubeI make YouTube videos! If you’re new, hello that’s new information, if you’re not new – I’ve actually been making videos longer than I’ve been blogger but I find blogging a lot easier than YouTube so I have done a lot more of it. My channel is nearly three years old now and in the New Year, I’m going back to weekly content. I’ve been jotting down loads of ideas and I don’t know if I can wait two more months to be creative again I’m so excited. I have a schedule. An actual schedule!

TwitterI tweet a lot. Like a lot of things, most of my thoughts are tweeted. That’s not always a good thing but I tweet a lot so it’s worth mentioning.

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I have a lot of twitter accounts that I run – @SophieALuckett is my oldest account for generic thoughts and things. @sophie_luckett is my ‘professional’ twitter where all of my blog posts and stuff go. @hamwicproduces is a twitter I set up for the ‘production company’ that my friends and I were going to set up but I feel like I’m the only one that cares so there’s nothing on it. @thestudentseat is the twitter for the student blog I’ve set up! All the links to blog posts that are written for The Student Seat and for networking a little bit – I’m trying to make that blog a bit more business like? Penultimate twitter – @sophintheclouds is essentially an extention of SophieALuckett where I don’t limit myself with what I want to tweet – it’s a lot of tweeting shit. The things I restrain and don’t post on SophieALuckett, go on sophintheclouds. I don’t even recommend following about it.

I shall talk about SSUJournalism in a little bit!

Instagram: I’m really into Instagram right now – I just like pretending I’m more indie tumblr hipster than I actually am but I really love my Instagram and I love posting on there quite a lot recently. Pictures are fun!

Snapchat: @SophieALuckett – I snapchat a lot I’m obsessed with snapchat. It’s usually just my flatmate and boyfriend doing stupid things and a lot of pretentious selfies. Love it.

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Uni blogI set up this blog last year to document what I was doing at university from an educational point of view, whilst this blog is more for what I do in my personal life. I’ve just started using it again so if you want to have a look at what I’ve been doing at uni in the past couple of weeks go have a look!

The Student Seat: The new blog I set up for students and student experiences! You can read more about what this blog is about and what it’s for in the About section of the blog but I always link it here so you can have a look if you’re interested! I love running this blog and writing for it because I love student life and working with other contributors.

And for this week only, SSU Journalism! As part of News Days this week, I’m the Social Media Assistant Producer so I’ll be putting up a bunch of content over the Facebook page and the Twitter page until next Wednesday where my privileges will be revoked and I’ll just be a news journalist again.

I hope you feel a bit more informed about my links and where else I live on the internet! I’m feeling very motivated to make content right now.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sophiecountsclouds/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-3CmMYbZuSV5eSvGgkW5Cg
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sophiealuckett
Instagram: http://instagram.com/sophiealuckett
Snapchat: @SophieALuckett
Uni blog: http://sophieannblogs.blogspot.co.uk/
The Student Seat: https://thestudentseat.wordpress.com/

Finding my productivity | Update Monday

2016

Hello!

August has been a much more productive month so far than July was – I keep forgetting that it’s only the 8th because it feels so much later in the month because I’ve done so much! I uploaded my May vlog at the end of July, June was uploaded yesterday and July will be uploaded before I go to London for Summer In The City. I don’t want to have any more backlog on these vlogs!

But these updates aren’t about editing vlogs, they’re about my writing and workout progress!

Writing started well at the beginning of the month, but as the week went on I found it more and more difficult to push through – I didn’t naturally want to write so it was really difficult to push through it.

I’m currently at 31,019 words. At this point, I ‘should’ be at 62,907 words or 41,631 words, it depends how I’ve recalculated it at this point but to finish on time, I have to write 2874 words which at this point is feeling someone achievable. Writing blogs definitely helps me feel more motivated but I’ve also been having a lot of headaches and not feeling very well recently, which doesn’t help!

I’m about to start Chapter 10 (I often write a whole chapter in one go and I don’t like leaving it in the middle of a chapter).

Again, there are a couple of high points that I’m excited to write but it’s the bits in between that are feeling like a bit of a drag right now. It doesn’t bode well for anyone reading them but hopefully I’ll push through!

It is looking more and more likely that I won’t hit 100,000 words by September first but I’m slowly coming to terms with that. Probably not a good attitude to take, I should feel motivated and inspired to get the words down on paper (virtual paper) so I can start the edit and actually do something with it but here we are. Not rushing too much!

In terms of workout, it’s a much brighter story! I worked out six days consecutively this week from the 1st to the 6th and I’ve really noticed some actual progress! There’s one stretch that I’m meant to use a resistance band for but I find that asking Lucas to help just pushes me a lot more than if I tried to do it by myself.

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So as a night point of reference, it’s more like 10 than 5, when 5 is what I’m meant to be doing every day.

Days 1 to 6 were really successful, but on Day 7, yesterday, Sunday, I went to Bournemouth to see my sister for the day and I let myself get really dehydrated and I felt kind of sick and it really wasn’t a very nice feeling and I went to sleep before midnight for the first time in literally weeks. I collapsed.

It works out quite well in my favour though because Day 8 is a rest day for the ab workout, so I’ll do day 7 for that, I’ll do day 7 and 8 for flexibility stuff because it isn’t as taxing as the ab stuff. I’m yet to do my workout today so I’ll let you know next week how that goes.

I’m hoping the second week of August will be as productive as the first, but I’m going to London on Thursday so I’ll be working out in a hotel room for a few days and then there’s trying to write around the YouTube convention but we’ll see how it goes. That’s the point of Update Monday – so I can see how it goes!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sophiecountsclouds/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-3CmMYbZuSV5eSvGgkW5Cg
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sophiealuckett
Instagram: http://instagram.com/sophiealuckett
Snapchat: @SophieALuckett
Uni blog: http://sophieannblogs.blogspot.co.uk/