How to Be Productive When You’re Crazy Busy: 75 Ways

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I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m CRAZY BUSY. I take on too many projects at once (I just get so excited!), and I have this natural-born tendency to over-schedule myself. . . a lot. But. I’ve learned how to be productive each and every day, even when I’m crazy busy.

Want to learn the secret?

See, the trick is that you don’t have to be productive ALL DAY in order to have a “productive day.”

In order to be productive and have a productive day, you simply need to knock out one real task. That’s it.

how to be productive when you're busy

Maybe that takes you 15 minutes, maybe it takes you 3 hours. That’s up to you. For the purposes of this discussion, we’re going to focus more on the tasks closer to 15 minutes long.

You’re crazy busy, after all!

How to Be Successful and Productive in 15 Minutes:

how to be productive when you're busy

If you want to successfully knock out one or more of these tasks every day, you’ve got to carve out just 15 minutes of time where you can truly focus on the task at hand – without interruption.

Here are some ideas for ways you can find those 15 minutes of productivity time.

  • Do it early or do it late: Maybe this means waking up 15 minutes earlier than your family or roommates. Perhaps you’re a night owl like me and prefer to knock out your ‘chores’ at night. That’s cool, too!
  • Do the tasks while others are still at work or school.
  • Do them during your lunch break – if you’re in a position to do so. By this, I mean if you are physically in the correct location, and if you have enough time to eat and relax and THEN knock out a task. Don’t throw away your you time for a task.
  • Choose a task to knock out if you finish something else early or find an unexpected window of time in your day! Instead of scrolling through social media, pick a task and crush it! You will feel MUCH better after it’s done, trust me.
  • Do them during your regularly scheduled day with blocked hours. This is my personal favorite time to knock out tasks like these. I work with laser focus on a project for 45 minutes, then knock out a 15 minute task – allowing my brain to rest and take a breather from the project. When I return to my work, I’ve both taken a break and knocked out a productivity task! SCORE!
  • Don’t do this during scheduled down time. It will cause you to resent or avoid these tasks, and more importantly – will take away your well deserved and greatly needed time to relax.

75 Ways to Be Productive Every Day in 15 Minutes or Less

The idea here is to get these tasks done to the best of your ability, in just 15 minutes or less. Don’t spend much more time on it than that.

There are plenty of other ways to have a whole day or week of productivity – but right now just focus on small, 15 minute blocks each day.

I’ve split these up into categories so you can choose what TYPE of productive task you want to do today.

Some are repeatable. In fact, you can’t avoid some of the repetition. They are things that need attention every day, week, or month. Others are kind of a one and done deal, though they bear repeating every year or so, if you’re into personal growth and self reflection!

But not to worry- if you do one of these productive tasks each and every day, you will soon have a more organized life, and an organized mind. YAY!

Decluttering Tasks

how to be productive when you're busy

There’s nothing like clearing out a bunch of junk to make you feel SUPER productive, and feel like a million bucks! Just looking around an area with lots of newfound free space feels – well, free!

  • Clear off the kitchen counter clutter
  • Put the shoes away that are in the entryway or garage
  • Clear the junk out of your car: water bottles, trash, snack wrappers, receipts, shoes, jackets, etc.
  • Clear off your desk: Recycle, Shred / Burn, File, or Respond
  • Get rid of magazines older than 3 months, or save specific articles you want (just rip them out – it’s okay!)
  • Get rid of contact information you no longer need (the karate teacher from your 21 year old son’s dojo when he was 4 before you moved across the state? Probably don’t need that.)
  • Clear out the junk drawer. You know the one.
  • Clean out all of the old clothes from 1 closet (do the next tomorrow) – anything you haven’t worn in a year or more, that doesn’t fit, went out of style, or you just don’t like.
  • Shred tax documents older than 7 years (check with your CPA first)
  • Clean out expired or unneeded things from your medicine cabinet
  • Go through your sock drawer and throw out socks with holes, single socks without a pair, and socks you just NEVER wear (hit up your kid’s sock drawer tomorrow)

Cleaning Tasks

how to be productive when you're busy

Sometimes you’ve just gotta suck it up and clean something. BUT instead of spiraling into a cleaning frenzy before your mother in law comes over, just take care of one quick task each day. This freedom from the frenzy-cleaning will open up a whole new realm of peace, calm and happiness for you! Just be productive for 15 minutes a day!! Easy!

  • Wipe down the kitchen counters & kitchen table – with a clean sponge or Clorox Wipes
  • Clean the kitchen sink
  • Clean the toilets – all of them!
  • Sweep the kitchen & other hard floors in your house
  • Mop the kitchen floor
  • Vacuum 1 or 2 rooms with carpet (You can knock out the next 2 tomorrow)
  • Use Windex to clean the mirrors
  • Use Windex to clean the windows in 1 or 2 rooms (You can knock out the next 2 tomorrow)
  • Dust the living room and 1 or 2 rooms (You can knock out the next 2 tomorrow)
  • Clean 1 shower or bathtub (You can knock out the next 1 tomorrow)
  • Take out the trash (and CLEAN the trash can)

Organization Tasks

how to be productive when you're busy

You already know how I feel about organization. As far as I’m concerned, organization is the key to happiness! Why on Earth wouldn’t you want that key!?!

So now that you’ve cleared out the clutter, and physically cleaned surfaces and all that – it’s time to get organized! This will make all aspects of your daily life better! You’ll be able to find things more easily, spend less time hunting, and more time doing, and will have a clear, clutter-free mind! SCORE!

  • Hang up your clothes (in color order or some other way that makes sense to you)
  • Put away all jewelry that’s not in its “home” I like using organizers like this or this – or if you only have drawer space – this!
  • Put away all shoes that aren’t in their “home”
  • Re-organize your school supplies or office supplies (from your desk, backpack, purse, car, or house)
  • Organize your emails from this week: respond, delete or file/ label
  • Organize your internet downloads from this week: delete, print, do, or file
  • Turn the calendar to the correct month, and update it with your scheduled activities, appointments, reservations, and GOALS.
  • Alphabetize your books
  • Sort the foods in your pantry into categories to make meal planning and packing lunches easy for your family (chips, cookies, cereal, protein bars, soup cans etc). Use baskets if they will help!
  • Alphabetize your CDs or DVDs
  • Consolidate the foods in your pantry (put the bags of popcorn from those 3 different boxes into one container and get rid of the excess boxes)

Exercise Tasks

how to be productive when you're busy

Here are a few different short exercises you can probably do without going to the gym, suiting up or getting absolutely drenched in sweat (probably). Combine a few to fill your 15 minutes and be as productive as your can with your time!

  • Do a short yoga routine
  • 25 squats – body weight squats or weighted
  • 30 calf raises- body weight only or weighted
  • Planks – start with 15 – 30 seconds and work your way up over time! Your strong core will thank you!
  • 15 Bicep Curls – you may need an actual weight, resistance band, or other equipment for this
  • 15 Tricep Extensions – This can be done with a full (large) water bottle, can of soup, or something else you promise not to drop on your head
  • Push ups: Diamond push ups, assisted “girl” push ups (can you tell I freaking hate that term?), regular push ups, one armed push ups, whatever floats your boat. Start where you are, and work your way up to more each day.
  • Walk a mile
  • Jump Rope – this isn’t just for kids, it’s a great workout!
  • Arm Circles – it’s more fun if you know the song!

Home workout hack: Your ‘weights’ don’t have to be dumbbells or a kettle bell. You can use a gallon of milk, sack of flour, bag of potatoes, an adorable toddler – whatever works for you!

Self Care Tasks

how to be productive when you're busy

Yes, you deserve attention, thought, and care too! Being productive doesn’t just mean checking off a long to-do list that will keep your house tidy and your bills paid. You can be productive and nurture your own body and mind, too! In fact, you should!

  • Journal! Write your thoughts, worries, concerns, ideas, etc from today!
  • Take a hot shower – slowly. Enjoy the hot water. Empty your mind
  • Cut & Paint your nails.
  • Trim & Moisturize Your Beard or Mustache (I don’t want to leave the guys out!)
  • Brush your hair & teeth
  • Create a set of personal rules and expectations – What do you want from life? And how do you promise to act to make it happen?
  • Put on make up & do your hair
  • Write out your goals – small goals for the day, week, or month OR life goals! What do you want to be doing in a year? 5? 20?
  • Make a schedule – for the day, the week, month or year
  • Meditate
  • Pray
  • Clear out your social media feed – i.e. stop following the people that make you feel bad about yourself, cause drama, or create an unpleasant experience online

Fun Tasks

how to be productive when you're busy

These are things that need to be done, or you want to get done.. but are still productive. Notice I didn’t include “watch Netflix” or “have a mimosa” on here. These are fun tasks, but they are productive, too! They get something done. Improve your life. Move you forward. You know the drill.

  • Make (start, work on, or finish) a craft!
  • Plant a flower, herb, or other plant
  • Tend your garden
  • Watch an instructional or inspirational Youtube video or short Podcast (how to ___do a thing you want / need to learn___, Understanding _____a thing you want or need to know___, Bible Study, lecture, Ted Talk, etc)
  • Read the news, or a chapter of your book
  • Write a short story, or a chapter of your book
  • Choose your next vacation destination!

Necessary Tasks

how to be productive when you're busy

These are tasks that are so productive, they fall under that “adulting” umbrella (but I don’t like that term, and I couldn’t bring myself to title this section that way). You simply have to do them. Sure, you COULD avoid them, but at some point, the system will break down somewhere if you don’t.

Woman up and get it done. 🙂 (or, Man up and get it done – whatever applies to you.)

  • Return a Call (mom, grandma, dentist, etc.)
  • Make The Appointment – don’t put it off anymore. Make the dentist, doctor, hair, interview, whatever appointment. Do it!
  • Pay the Bills – if this takes a long time for you, do 1 today. Take care of the next one tomorrow.
  • Balance your checkbook – yes, this is no fun, but it needs to be done. Just knock it out.
  • Return the emails – if this is part of your actual job, do this during work time. If this is for you, your family, your hobby, etc – do it now.
  • Drive through the car wash – if you don’t want to wash your car yourself, drive through!
  • Get Gas – Go fill up at the station around the corner – then you won’t be in a big rush when you’ve got to be in 3 places at once tonight!
  • Get an oil change (at one of those speedy places, if you want to fit it in 15 minutes)
  • Assemble an emergency kit for your family (first aid, flash light, water, radio, etc.)
  • Create an emergency plan for your family (where to go, how to respond, code words, etc)
  • Fix something around your home – that thing you’ve been putting off is probably just one easy turn of a screwdriver or strike of a hammer away from being done.
  • Pack your lunch, or meal prep for the next couple of days (for you or your family!)

How Will You Be Productive Today?

Which one of these ways to be productive in 15 minutes did you choose today? I know you’re crazy busy, but I believe in you!! 15 minutes is so quick – you won’t even realize you did a chore!!

It might even be fun! Who knows!

Leave a comment below and let me know which of these tasks you’re going to start with! Then go forth! Be productive! Get organized! Be happy!

and remember: make good life choices!!

~Allison

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how to be productive when you're busy
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how to be productive when you're busy
how to be productive when you're busy

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