16 January 2015

Getting shit done. On being productive.

I'm a busy person. And I enjoy it. I don't like to complain about being busy because most of what keep me busy is my choice. On top of a day job I maintain this blog, do freelance writing, some speaking events, cook, socialise and sort of keep house. I never switch off. My mind is ALWAYS working.


Last weekend, I was pretty sore and so I stayed home for most of the time, apart from going out to breakfast and picking up a few groceries on Saturday, and meeting up with friends for a late lunch on Sunday. Still, I got stuff done - completing six pieces of writing (five for my blog and one commissioned piece) and drafting the content for the blogging course I'm creating. I also workshopped the course graphics with a friend. I was proud of my productivity. And on Wednesday morning I got up really early, excited by potential, and worked for an hour and a half before I set off for my day job. Productivity plus.

People have asked me for some tips for getting shit done. Here's what I know and do:

Lists and tools

✓ I make to-do lists, checking the items off as they're done.
✓ I have about 10 blog posts in draft. These are all made in my iNotes, and they sync across my iPhone, iPad and MacBook so I can access the notes anytime.

Writing and social media

✓ I do a lot of writing and work in bed or on the couch! This is probably not great for posture, but I feel rested doing it this way!

✓ I work up to writing big things by writing smaller things. So I might start with replying to an email-interview or an easy post like this list post.

✓I batch write. I spend a night writing multiple blog posts - often over a bottle of wine.
✓ I write a blog post and create the social media posts (text and images) at the same time. Then I can just copy and paste these when the post goes live.
✓ I often rework Facebook statuses into blog posts - copying and pasting these (and relevant comments) into iNotes and then expanding on what I've written for a long form post.
✓ I bookmark news items and blog posts that I want to refer to or share later, and then paste the links into the relevant note if they will be used for a blog post.

✓ I do social media in bed from 6.30 - 7.00 am, checking posts, scheduling posts.

Around the home

✓ I have a cleaner - the money spent means I have time to do the other stuff.
✓ I try to prepare one big meal for weekday lunches on Sunday - sometimes in the slowcooker. I cook easy stuff in the week. Adam helps a lot with food preparation.
✓ I eat well and get lots of sleep. I should exercise more.


✓ I multitask. TV time at night is spent writing, replying to emails or making social media posts. I often listen to podcasts or music while writing too.
✓ I learn by listening. My attention span for long reads is so poor now that I find that I learn more by listening to podcasts.
✓ I make the most of day job lunchtimes by making the phone calls that need to be made in business hours.
✓ I make the most of my commute by scheduling social media posts. There's not enough time to read a book or listen to music. Sometimes I write on the train.

Time management

✓ I don't keep a calendar for stuff outside my day job. For some reason I just remember it all. I do break my day into chunks during my day job - and this works well for that stuff because it often involves meetings with others or doing things for others, but I don't follow such a schedule when I work for myself.

✓ I make time to do what I love. Lots of people tell me they wish they had more time for writing. I recommend setting aside time to write 15 minutes a day. And then if you enjoy it, build that time up.

There are things that I am not great at - like keeping up with invoices, keeping an immaculate house or just switching off and stopping - but I love what I do and it doesn't feel like work.


How do you get shit done?



  1. I am very busy and very focused during my days as a classroom volunteer, but when it comes to "homework" like formatting pictures and creating Word documents for our classroom scrapbook, it all comes down to late Sunday nights. That's the way I got through school, too, so I usually finished my high school homework assignments to the accompaniment of the Beatles or Rolling Stones performing on the Ed Sullivan Show in the background.

  2. You know that internet meme picture with the dude who plans to get stuff done... and then ends up at the computer all day watching Youtube? Yep, that's my life. Especially when it comes to housework stuff. If I do try to "get shit done", I usually end up traversing the whole house over the course of a day - I'll find something in one room that needs to go into another room and then I'll see something in that room that needs to be done, so I start that and find something else that goes into another room, so I'll go into that room... no kidding, I am knackered by the end of the day and nothing is done! lol At work I am better. I just sit and work through my tray without moving. I like watching the pile shrink. :)

  3. Really good tips. The only way I can get shit down is to turn off from social media.
    This year is going to be really tough with some very challenging exams (who knew wine study would be harder than a Pharmacy degree!). It's making me all a bit miserable.


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