6 Things That Help Me Stay Productive

Working for myself means I have to keep myself motivated every single day, whether I’m in the mood or not. Staying productive and keeping on top of things is so important to ensure I’m paying those pesky bills!

So how do I do it? What keeps me productive through the lazy moods? The illness? The late nights? The ‘everyone else is out having fun without me‘ days? Well, I have six things that keep me buzzing around like a mad woman. Allow me to share them with you…

1. Weekly and Monthly Goals

Writing down what I need/hope to achieve each month is the starting point for me. How much do I absolutely HAVE to make this month to cover food, bills, etc? What goals do I hope to conquer in that time? Then I break that down into each week, creating a realistic amount of work per week that I have to do, with a plan on what I have to do to get there. You can apply this to whatever your own goals are too. For example, want to get 100 new followers on a social platform this month? Okay that means you have to get at least 25 each week, or 3 or 4 each day. Now write a list of ways you can help push this. It’s a really simple system, but this can work to help you stay on top of anything!

2. Specific Tools

How the hell do I keep on track of bills, blog posts, design schedule, deadlines, new projects, and all the rest that life throws at me? Well, there are a number of things I use to keep me productive. I use spreadsheets for blogging (my monthly schedule and new blog ideas), and I also use a spreadsheet for bills too. I write a list of all bills and outgoings for the next month or so, them dates they need to be paid, and highlight them once they’re paid. As for daily to-do lists, chores, and my design schedule; that all goes into my journal. And for anything else that I need to constantly keep on my mind? Post it notes on my desk/wall. Simple, yet effective.

3. Feedback

Nothing makes me more productive than someone saying they liked a particular piece of work, or a suggestion for something new I could do! I keep on top of my Etsy shop feedback reviews, and I regularly ask for people’s opinions on new projects on Twitter, and then make a note of them in my journal. Your audience can really push you into being productive, so use them well!

4. Planning Ahead

I’ve probably already shown how methodical I can be with most areas of my life, so it should be no surprise when I say planning ahead is one of my key tips to being productive. The biggest reason for this, is that it means I feel super organised and on top of my game. When I feel like that, it means I have free time to explore ideas, take a step back, and see the big picture. Those moments usually lead to the greatest accomplishments, IMO.

5. Inspiration Sources

Inspiration is like a magic beam of light inside you, that sparks a fire under your ass when you need it most! Sometimes it happens when you’re on the bus daydreaming, sometimes it can be when we have music on and we’re tidying up, or something when we’re drifting off to sleep. Always make notes when you get inspired, or even better; start new projects as soon as you think of them! That’s when they’ll be freshest in your brain and most exciting. I’ve spoke before about things that inspire me; and tapping into those sources is always so helpful.

6. Breaks

Was it obvious this one would crop up? Probably. But it’s SO TRUE! Taking breaks is an absolute MUST to stay productive, even though it sounds a little counter-intuitive. Giving your mind a rest, taking some time out and ‘refreshing’ your brain a little always works wonders for me. I’m much more likely to get loads more work done with a few breaks between jobs, rather than trying to power through it all. Also, the quality is so much better too! So give yourself a damn break 🙂


I hope this helps! 🙂




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  • I thought that being on mat leave would make me super productive.. it hasn’t, haha! Some days I just can’t get shit done, y’know?
    I recently started writing small to do lists and goals that I wanted to achieve daily, weekly and monthly and it is really does help doesn’t it!

  • I feel like I probably give myself too many breaks haha, it’s so important though not to be too hard on yourself, it’s so hard working from home and having to find your own motivation and inspiration. I’m gonna really try to plan ahead so that on those not so motivated days I don’t need to panic about content! That’s the plan anyway haha x

  • Thank you so much for writing such a great post, Jemma! I love writing goals but I’d never thought of doing them weekly before, I think that will help motivate me a lot! Usually I just focus on to-do lists! xx

  • I am so rubbish at staying motivated, most of the time I want to curl up in a ball and eat my bodyweight in chocolate haha – I never really thought about setting myself weekly goals, which is silly but I’m going to have to start doing that I think!

    Lucy | Forever September

  • This is really helpful 🙂

    Megan /www.meganmarieblogs.blogspot.co.uk

  • Leslie Nichole

    These are great! I have the flu and have been in bed for 2 days but i feel so unproductive. I’ve been reading when i can but i plan to knock it out of the park next week. I need to set weekly/monthly goals, i think that would help a lot.

  • Alisha Marie Rogers

    Breaks are so necessary! It took me so long that just studying or working for hours without a break would make me less productive than having a short break every hour or two. x

    Alisha | http://www.alishaspinkdaisies.com/

  • I was expecting to click on this and read a list of ways to manage your time, but I think you are completely right that finding inspiration and embracing positive feedback is also integral to keep you chugging along! One of my tips would be when you feel spent, to put on a timer and be productive for 15 mins. I work full time, and am terrible when I get home from work at not just collapsing in front of the telly, but however lethargic I am feeling I tell myself before I relax I at least have enough energy todo something productive (wash up, pay bills etc) for at least 15 mins. Normally I get into a task and want to finish it and tick everything off my list and if not, hey at least I’ve done 15 minutes!

  • Having weekly & monthly goals really helps to keep focus and defo increases productivity.. such a great point of tapping into inspiration whenever it happens.. i always find thats around 2 am for me


  • You’re so right about breaks – whenever I switch off for a couple of days I end up with TONNES of ideas! x
    Sophie Cliff

  • Erin Russell

    I have really loved keeping on top of my goals using my Bullet Journal this month, something I am really hoping to keep up over the next year! You are so right, keeping goals and making them achievable is key, I am setting monthly goals and trying to go for them! Definitely helps keep me productive!

    Erin || MakeErinOver

  • Love this post! I also really find that setting goals helps keep me driven and motivated to be productive 🙂

    Rachael xx.

  • Megan Klauck

    This post rocks. Your are so colorful and inspiring and have quickly become my fave blogger. I relate to you on a special level because I have rainbow hair myself, lol 🙂 . Seriously, thanks for the inspiration!


  • Nadia

    Sometimes a good break is what helps me to stay on top of everything. Life does get busy sometimes so it’s a must 🙂 I love planning & setting goals as well. Breaking them down into micro goals is super helpful! And girl, I couldn’t live without my spreadsheets 😀
    xox Nadia

  • Aimée Julia Cottle

    Love this post Jemma – it can so hard to stay motivated and productive! I definitely find yearly and monthly goals help me no end; they really motivate me to work hard! x http://www.aimeeraindropwrites.co.uk x

  • Motivation when working at home can be so hard! But you’ve got some awesome tips here!

    Millie – http://www.millie-ryan.com

  • Today Souhaila

    breaks are definitely needed sometimes,you come back all energised and full of motivation afterwards and of course all of the things you mentioned I agree,love this post xx


  • These are all great tools to stay productive! I’ve never set weekly goals before, but maybe it’s time to start!? Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    — Lisa // FjordsAndBeaches.com