Keeping productive

Claudia Aalderink mulls over the continuing theme of lists and productivity…

Image: a beautiful jar of flowers adds a splash of colour to a workspace.Finding a balance in our everyday activities is challenging. Last week I talked about working with lists and how they can make life easier that way. I work with lists too; I have to, otherwise my mind overflows with all the ideas, to-dos and appointments floating around in there. Why is it then that whenever I start my week with a list, I never really get it all done at the end of it? Maybe I’m setting myself too many goals at the start of the week. Making that list shorter is an easy solution you would think, but then new things come along and need to be squeezed into the existing list resulting in more madness. And of course the whole purpose of a list is to help you to organize the chaos to start with.

Getting all your self-imposed goals done needs focus, determination, patience, flexibility, time management and sometimes a miracle. Procrastination is the worst enemy of my list and the difficult part is that I am very good at that. To avoid the less fun tasks on my list I come up with the most inventive chores (not on the list!) that need to be done urgently. For example, re-arranging my office, because everything works better in a fresh set up with a new view at the world. Space, that’s what I need, so I end up de-cluttering all the things that are of no use in there. I move them to a new place that I can use for an excuse to clean up at a later stage. Fresh flowers on my desk and I’m off.

The best way to get moving, I found, is when you find a balance between body and mind (and a tidy office). I recently started running and found an enormous pleasure and fulfillment in achieving the distance I set for myself. Taking the time to work on a healthier body filters straight through to the mind. After my run I feel revived and ready to take on any task on my list. It is also good to know if you’re an evening person or a morning person. I usually get more done before 10.00 am then any other time during the day.

To slowly get rid of all the tasks you set for yourself at the start of the week is a challenge for anyone and when you find a balance in your work rhythm you will be guaranteed to tick off all those jobs. An important factor is that we stop chasing perfection all the time. Finishing a task doesn’t always mean you have to master perfection. Remember that when you start your list you evaluate the time you have to do it in. Prioritize what needs to be done first and finish the job. After each completed task allow yourself a break, have a coffee, go outside for some fresh air or do nothing.

At all times, try to avoid distractions. All your friends on Facebook will still be there in an hour and your phone will be there too. Distractions will take you off course and finishing your task will be doomed for failure. It is also not always necessary to say yes to everything. Mind you, I find it very hard to say no at times and that is a danger to my list as well.

One final tip I can give you that has worked for me every time is to just go ahead and do it! Once you start something and you reach completion a sense of success takes over and you’re ready to take on the next one.

Have a great week, all!

So much to do, so little time.



Claudia Aalderink produces Claudia’s Corner exclusively for N8N. A whimsical, weekly photographic column on anything that takes her fancy.


Check out her website here.



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Number 8 Network - a community website for the rural areas northeast of Hamilton, NZ, is run by Gordonton journalist/editor Annette Taylor.

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