business

Let’s get Productive: 4 tips to get to it and get shit done

This is a post in my dildoholiday series. If you’d like to read the whole shebang of what happened while we were out there, you should totally start out here.

Moving right along.

Day 2 in the #dildoholiday household started at a reasonably late hour, with a few cautious tweets from a couple of us around noon. As we stumbled about in our sleepy bodies, we found the Cherub of Shame juding our food choices from inside the refrigerator. Jerk.

Photo by Girly Juice

Photo by Girly Juice

The day had one main topic to be touched on at some point: productivity. Trouble was, we’d all stayed up so late being excited and settling in to the house that we’d all barely slept. I’ll touch on why that’s shitty for productivity later, but I imagine you can draw a correlation in your own life beteween those nights that we get 4 hours of sleep and the amount of work you (don’t) get done the next day.

We all eventually gathered around the big kitchen table with our laptops and ideas, and Girly Juice led us in a chat about productivity. Her output is amazing, and we all particularly adore her for it. Her dedication to a regular release schedule, and the amazing content that she throws out shows that not only does she write a lot, but that she does work to make that writing turn out so well.

Look 'ma, we got off the couch!

Look ‘ma, we got off the couch! photo by Reenie

So, without further ado, here’s Kate’s tips for productivity, inspired by #dildoholiday and Girly Juice:

1) Make more effective lists

I live by lists. I can’t concentrate on any one thing for longer than half an hour generally, and so I really need to write down all the shit that I need to get done in a day or none of it will happen.

I also know how I handle stress, and how I let myself get defeated by tasks. For example, if I have the list item “Clean your office”, I might start that task but will quickly get distracted and move on to some other thing that is either on my list or just something shiny nearby that catches my attention. At the end of the day, my office still looks like shit and my list has just as many things on it as it did before, since I didn’t really finish cleaning my office.

So instead, here’s an example of my lists:

-Pick up papers off bed and sort them
-wrangle sex toys
-dust desk
-take out the garbage
-replace bag in the garbage bin

Can you see the difference there? I’ve made all kinds of little list items based around cleaning the office, but I get to check off way more shit way more quickly. It really helps me to manage larger tasks by listing the steps involved.

The exact same thing goes for work tasks. For example, I’m in the middle of planning an East Coast screening tour with a colleague on Evernote (which is great for coworking). Obviously the list could include something like “Get venue”, but there are so many steps hidden in that one step. The list, as it stands, for the venue in each city contains the following types of steps:

-research venues via locals
-find contact person
-email re regulations on screening nudity
-settle date
-book venue

Break it down into small, manageable tasks that you can check off easily and, more importantly, keep track of super easily.

2) Make yourself get out of your comfy spot

I never do anything but this in bed.

I never do anything but this in bed.

I have a super comfy spot on the couch in my living room, and also I have my bed. I’ve spent a long time perfecting both of these spaces so that everything around them calms me and makes me think gleefully of the past, present, and future. While that’s awesome, I often find myself just sitting there, thinking, for literally hours. I can’t be stopped.

I like to physically put myself in a space that is built for my productivity, or in a space that is quite simply not my fucking couch. While my couch is great, it lacks a place for me to put my mouse and use it in any useful capacity. Most of the work that I do require some serious mouse use, and I primarily work from a laptop since I travel so much.

All of that said, your space to work in should be comfy. My office in my house is a space that celebrates the accomplishments of my reasonably short time here on earth. I keep framed copies of newspaper articles about me, awards I’ve won, etc, all around just to remind me to keep at it. But it’s a space that’s specifically meant for work. The couch was not meant for work, for me. If it was for you, then by all means work on the couch. But try to separate your comfy relaxing spaces from your work spaces, whatever they look like.

3) Get fancy

Here I am, getting fancy for a day of productivity.

Here I am, getting fancy for a day of productivity.

This tip definitely won’t be the same for everyone, and I understand the classism inherent in getting fancy for business. But this element really works for me, so I’ll talk about what it means to me in the context of my own experiences.

I started to like “dressing up” around the age of 24. I had previously been a very jeans and a t-shirt kind of person, and didn’t really do the femme thing. I think I owned two pieces of what I’d call makeup, no nail polish, and maybe one dress. I also didn’t have much disposable income. But even back then, I remember that getting up, putting on whatever made me feel good, doing my hair (it was short, easy to do, but even just the act of *doing* it was important), and sitting down to work on whatever was in front of me really got me started.

Since then, I’ve amassed a lot of “fancier” items, but the ritual itself remains the same. Now it includes things like earrings and fancy nail polish (I cut the waiting time involved in this by using Julep’s Polymer Topcoat, which dries super fast). The trick is to get a bit fancy, feel good about yourself, but also not spend the entire morning/afternoon/whatever getting fancy. I try to limit myself to about 20 minutes, and I should also note that the idea of getting dressed is actually a thing that motivates me to finally get out of bed. Maybe this is a way that I can pitch to myself that buying all the clothes I buy is actually an investment in my business. Yeah.

For me, it’s a dress, earrings, brows, lipstick, putting my hair up, and a nice set of underpants. For you, it could be your best sweat pants and a top that makes you feel awesome about yourself. The idea of the whole thing is to make yourself feel really good about yourself before you start working. As a few #dildoholiday participants pointed out, feeling good about yourself can also mean feeling *super* comfy. Harness the power of clothing, however you like!

4) If you work from home, try leaving home every now and again

It's my laptop working on things from a college campus in Winnipeg.

It’s my laptop working on things from a college campus in Winnipeg.

This is more important than you’d think. Getting out of your space can stimulate creativity in ways you didn’t know it could. Being in a new environment kicks you out of your habits and into new ones.

I tend to either rent space at 245 McDermot, which is a coworking space in Winnipeg owned by ACI (Creative Manitoba) that rents hot desks for $30/day, go to an hOffice, or go to a local haunt that serves frosty beverages, since I don’t drink caffeine at all. I have a magical productivity spot that lives around 1.5 drinks and then sharply drops off, and so I do have to make sure that I pace myself with great discipline. I imagine this is the same for coffee drinkers. (and please don’t think this means you need to consume alcohol or caffeine or any other drug in order to be creative or to focus)

Stay tuned for the next episode of #dildohoilday on my blog, where we’ll talk about making our own glass dildos!!

And if you haven’t read part 1 of the #dildoholiday series, go read it right now!! 

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