How To Train Yourself To Be Productive.

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This is part of my Productivity Series! See also ‘How to have a productive day (even with the kids around)‘ and ‘How to be productive even when you’re feeling like death.’

train, yourself, productive, trick, lazy

I am a lazy person.

It is my default setting, I admit it. With children of course, you can’t  really afford to be lazy anymore, so things have had to change somewhat for me.

However, it is pretty hard to shake some of those bad habits. Some days I still find myself slipping into those old ways, especially when the kids are actually giving me an easy day.

Those days, despite being awesome on the ‘kids are behaving’ scale, are usually pretty rubbish in other ways. Mainly the ‘staying organised and being productive’ kind.

The days I get the most done and feel the best about my productivity, are absolutely the days I stay on my feet and keep myself active. I’ve got a couple of tips and tricks I try to use to stay productive and curb my old, lazy behaviours from resurfacing.

If you’re a former lazy person like me they might just come in useful for you!

How to trick yourself out of laziness and train yourself to be productive! 

1. Get Up!


No arguments. No whining.

If you truly want to make your days productive, you have to get out of bed.

– Before I had kids I would lay in bed until ten in the morning, then i’d moan I had no time to do anything with my day!

– After having my first child I would let him wake me up; then drag myself out of bed feeling groggy and flustered as I was rushing to get everyone breakfast.

– Now, I set my alarm for six no matter what. I usually get at least an hour of writing in before the rest of the house stirs and I always feel more able to handle the day ahead.

If you think you will be too tired to handle this one, start small; ten minutes earlier every couple of days until you’re getting up at least a half hour before everyone else. Trust me, your body can and will adapt to virtually anything, and you will thank me for it.

2. Have a To-do List.


This is a must if you want to control your laziness. 

You probably expected me to say ‘this is a must to stay organized/be productive’ but in my personal experience, that isn’t what a to-do list is best for.

My list is often sporadic. Sometimes I only list big things, sometimes little, sometimes my list is ridiculously long one day and laughably short the next.

That doesn’t matter, as long as you are making a list.

Why? Because you are holding yourself accountable.

Accountability will account (Hah!) for roughly 50% of your success here: if you do not feel as if you have someone to answer too/impress/prove right or wrong, you are far more likely to give up and go back to lazing on the sofa while the dishes slowly pile up in the sink.

I love a good to-do list, it takes so much stress out of the day knowing all the things I have to do are lined up for me to see. Organisers are an obsession of mine, I love this one:

3. Clean as you go.

clean, tidy, kitchen, oven, organised

This one I still struggle with myself. I like to be able to just eat and chill, not stand around doing the washing up! But then I walk through the kitchen later on and I cringe to see the giant pile of dishes next to the sink.

I used to be so lazy before kids that I’d have two or three days’ worth of dishes to do in one go (I’d run out of clean ones by then). Now if I get to the end of the day without doing any I feel like a squatter in my own home!

We often put off tasks we don’t enjoy, I really am guilty of this! But ask yourself is a couple of short, easy tasks throughout the day better or worse than having one big, awkward task to do when you’re trying to relax in the evening?

Cleaning as you go only takes a few seconds of your time, the tasks are so small and usually directly follow on from what you’re doing anyway. Employing this mindset is truly rewarding.

Imagine putting the kids to bed and turning around to see nothing left to do but relax!

4. Don’t sit down until you’ve got nothing left to do.

I know, this one sounds kinda harsh, right? Well let me explain it more clearly and then you can decide for yourself.

I love this tip. It is the one that has absolutely helped me the most.

Remember that to-do list? Don’t let yourself get half way through and start thinking ‘Hey, I’ve earned a break!’

It’s a trap! 

Every. Single. Time I think I can reward myself with a break, it derails my whole day. Don’t get me wrong, if you’ve been on the go since dawn and want to sit and enjoy lunch and a cuppa, go for it.

What I’m talking about is that hazy period where you’re not quite done. Maybe you’ve just put the kids to bed, the fatigue starts to creep up on you…

Sitting down when you start to feel that old ‘please let me be done for the day’ urge creeping up is productive suicide. If you’re anything like me? Yeah, you won’t be getting up again. Everything you just don’t have the energy left for will get pushed to tomorrow and, as a result, tomorrows to-do list will be less likely to be completed in turn.

Thus the vicious cycle commences…

5. Go to bed!

When you get down to it, this one is connected to #1. A follow on, if you will.

Let’s face it, when we get older we just can’t be the night owls we used to be anymore. You might have kids or a career or both to contend with, meaning you are most likely being woken up at least once a night every night for a feed, up early for work or up early because your toddler thinks five am is the most exciting time of day (true story).

Hey a night out with the girls/guys every now and then is a great idea, or perhaps you and your partner are catching a late movie on date night, good for you! But staying up late every single night to binge watch Netflix or play Xbox One is not healthy for anyone, let alone someone who knows they have a limited time to sleep.

If you have your to-do list nicely wrapped up you absolutely deserve to relax, but why not take a bath and read a book? Or curl up together and watch a movie? Just remember to set realistic limits. One film, not an entire trilogy. One chapter, not half the book.

You might be used to late nights so this might seem stifling to you, so why not approach it the same way as #1?

Start going to bed just ten minutes earlier, every couple of nights, until you have a more reasonable bedtime. I usually aim to be getting ready for bed by ten pm at the latest, because I know my personal limits. (And I love my sleep. Love love love!)

I promise you will notice a huge difference in your mood, productivity and energy if you get the right amount of sleep.

cat, kitten, lazy, sleepy, sleeping, cute

What harm could it do to just give it a try?

My personally tried and tested tricks to train yourself out of laziness and boost your productivity!

I really hope you guys find these as useful as I did. As with just about every bit of advice I post on this blog, remember these are my personal experiences and everyone is different.

If you think these tips might work better for you if you approach them from a different angle, go ahead! Make them work for you.

Have a productive day!

Don’t forget my other productive posts, just in case! ‘How to be productive even when you’re feeling like death‘ and ‘How to have a productive day (even with the kids around‘)

productive, working, lady, tea,

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15 thoughts on “How To Train Yourself To Be Productive.”

  1. Ha, I’m so guilty of being a lazy bum. I’ve got one to add though: once you’ve written that to do list, do the most horrible job first. There’s always one thing on there that I really drag my heels over doing, and it’s usually the epic washing up or phoning for an appointment. My mum always washes up as she goes, which I think is made easier by the fact she always has a bit of water in the sink. Realistically, if I’ve just made cheese and crackers, I’ll be more likely to actually clean the knife and put it in the rack if it only involves dunking a sponge. Actually works. 🙂

  2. I found I have had to write myself a weekly cleaning router that is stuck to my fridge. I found doing a list daily I would put an unrealistic amount on there then be disappointed at the end the day when it wasn’t complete. So all the big thing are carried out through the week changing bedding, hovering mopping, dusting, laundry days etc. And I just do the little things as an extra every day wiping kitchen sides, washing up etc. If I manage to do hovering or laundry as an extra I feel very happy. That is my happy balance. I know I am a sucker for “taking a break” half way through doing something to. I just can’t help it. Thanks for you blog claire. X

    1. Hi Haley, you’re very welcome! That sounds like an excellent idea for the big things, in all honesty I find myself unable to stick to a weekly list for the reasons I’ve developed these tricks! I’m glad you have a balance, keep working on those breaks! xxx

  3. I needed this post. I am sometimes the model wife but the majority of the time I am a fucking bum who is dreaming of having a maid and a dish washer or watching my brood grow up and do all the housework for me. Wishful thinking

  4. Great tips! I struggle with #5 as I’ve been a “night owl” most of my life! As I’m getting older though it’s getting easier to go to bed a little earlier and a full night’s sleep really does make a huge difference the next day! “Clean as you go” is a great goal as is “pick up after yourself.” Thanks for sharing your tips! Blessings, Janet

  5. Love these. I’ve put a few into practice over the past month and it has worked WONDERS! I find myself coming home to a clean house, more items that lurked on the list from day to day completed. A better sense of well-being a peace. I’m definitely going to add a few of yours to my family’s. Kudos!

    1. Thank you! I’m so glad things have been going well for you and that my post might be able to help also! x

  6. I love these tips, I’m a planning and productivity junkie and I think I obsess over it so I can make the best use of my time with limited energy. I have 3 kids and a chronic illness so my energy gets zapped fast. I tell myself that too, I won’t sit down at the end of the day unless I know I’m done because it’s so hard to get back up! 🙂

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  7. I love my bed, so I don’t know how I would cope with getting up earlier. I am lucky that both my kids are at school/college so I have quite a bit of time during the day. It is so easy to sit down and have a cuppa and not get back up again lol.
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  8. Get up and use to do lists – definitely!! So easy to lie around in bed checking social media and wondering where to start with your day so I find these two things really help. Thanks for sharing on #fortheloveofBLOG

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