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How to Really Get Things Done: Your #1 Tool for Staying Productive

Tool for Staying Productive

Your #1 Tool for Staying Productive

The thing about multitasking is this: we all think we’re good at it.

Just to be clear, I’m not talking about the kind of multitasking when you’re making dinner, while also calling your doctor’s office.

I’m talking about tasks that require your focus and mental engagement. I don’t know about you, but for me, multitasking usually ends up with me starting a whole bunch of things and completing none of them.

There’s something else that stands in your way to being productive.

Distractions. And those, my friends, are everywhere.


Distractions are everywhere and I’m sorry to say, but they kill your productivity. It doesn’t matter if you’re working in an office environment or you’re working from home. Your phone, email, social media, the overly chatty co-worker, your dog, the TV- distractions are everywhere. Finding some quiet time to get things done can be a challenge- which is why you need to recognize and eliminate those distractions (well.. except for your dog, I wouldn’t want you to “eliminate” your dog).

I have a very short attention span and it’s been killing my productivity for years. I’d start working on one thing, then I’d think of another thing, while I’d get an idea for some new thing, and next thing I know I’m getting nowhere with all those things.

Are you still with me? I know. I said “thing” a lot.

I noticed that while multitasking kept me busy, it wasn’t bringing any results. That is why I started scheduling everything in my calendar. And I mean everything- even things like “feed the dog“. Why? Because otherwise, I’d be all over the place. There are certain times of day when I put my phone in an airplane mode for an hour or two because I know that otherwise, I’ll be reaching for it, every single time I hear a notification go off. No, turning on the silent mode doesn’t work, because I’ll still reach for it anyway, out of habit. By putting it in an airplane mode or turning it off, I’m eliminating the distraction and allow myself to focus entirely on my work. Next time you’re working on something important, pay attention. There might be something that distracts you and pulls your focus from those important tasks, without you even realizing it.


This is where your #1 productivity tool comes to play: time blocking. There are many names for it, but the main idea behind it is that it’s a scheduled block of time, with no distractions; a block of time just for you and your task. Think of it as scheduling time around your priorities.

NOT my actual schedule, just a sample I created for you.

You can make your schedule in blocks of 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour- it all depends on how detailed you need it to be. Your schedule might look completely different from mine and the truth is that sticking to it isn’t always possible. However, having everything scheduled in this manner will equip you with tools and ability to get back on track quickly, whenever something unpredictable happens. Your schedule can be as detailed as you want.

I also like to take a break during weekends and don’t follow such a strict schedule on Saturdays and Sundays. As much of a control freak as I am, I do need a bit of spontaneity in my life. I’m actually grabbing dinner with a friend tomorrow and can’t imagine looking at the time and saying: “ohhh is it 4.30pm already? Listen.. my schedule says laundry at 5 pm so… if I’m gonna make it home on time then, I should probably leave. But chat soon?!”

No. I’d probably go crazy if I ever got to that point.


What is the most important thing that you need to work on? Identify that task and schedule a block of time to work on it. Whether it’d be 15, 30 or 45 minutes- decide what works best for you and set up a timer. Give your task your undivided attention and focus during that time.  I find that having a tool like this one makes it a lot easier to really stick to the schedule and make sure that you spend no less and no more time working on your tasks, than you planned to.


Being productive doesn’t mean working non-stop, it means working smarter. Schedule in regular and mandatory 5-10 minute breaks and take them- even when you feel like you’re “in the zone” and want to keep working. Sometimes stepping away from your desk and from your tasks for a few minutes, can be a great thing. It can give you a new perspective- almost like looking at your work with a fresh pair of eyes.  Do some gentle stretching, drink some water, you can “reward” yourself by checking your Twitter feed, but once those 5-10 minutes are up, go back to work.

My writing process wouldn’t be the same without me taking regular breaks and I never finish my work one sitting (unless it’s something very simple)- and I mean both here; my “work” work and my blog work.

Working full-time and running a blog means that I’m always busy. I’m almost never not working on something, and I’m totally fine with that because I love staying productive. I can honestly say though that I wouldn’t be able to juggle the two and get as much work done as I do, if it wasn’t for time-blocking + having a good schedule. I schedule in time for everything: writing, editing photos, answering emails, catching up on social media, working out, cooking. I did the whole multitasking thing for years, and it just doesn’t work.

Time blocking and setting up a schedule for yourself is a commitment. It’s not enough to just create a schedule- you also have to actually stick to it. You have to follow through and create a routine that works you. There are a ton of things that we constantly tell ourselves we don’t have time to do. Truth is, it takes discipline to really manage your schedule and stick to it.

Scheduling everything in time-blocks might seem a bit OCD but trust me, it makes all the difference and really helps develop stronger discipline, especially when you’re juggling both a full-time job and a blog.

If you want to know how to start your own lifestyle blog for just $3, make sure to check out my step-by-step guide right here


  • Reply
    December 10, 2016 at 1:06 am

    I agree with you on so many things, Paula. As a professional writer (outside of my blog) I have learned that I need to be in my home office with nothing but a little music playing. I do need to have some structure because even though I make my own hours, I have errands and meals and laundry and blah, blah, blah.

    I think you are really on to something as we need to be organized to eek out some personal time. I, myself, could never schedule in 15 minute increments. It’s a little rigid and I would be a little uptight with that. I guess the scheduling would be more about what I’m working on personally and everyone can modify that according to their work and/or lifestyle.

    As always, an excellent post! I love a written planner and I need to get one now! Where did the year go?!

    • Reply
      Paula @
      December 10, 2016 at 9:09 am

      Oh yes, I probably wouldn’t be able to section it off in 15-minute blocks either haha, unless it’s a specific task like giving myself time to catch up on different social media channels.

      I can’t live without an actual planner. There’s just something about actually writing things down, that helps my brain register what I’m writing in a different way haha ;) Thanks so much Janet!

  • Reply
    Misc Bliss
    December 10, 2016 at 3:30 am

    These are such great tips! I struggle with distractions all the time, but also find that prioritising and focusing on my must-do’s helps a lot. I love your schedule too — I’ve recently started keeping a stricter schedule, and it’s definitely helping!

    Lovely inspiration as always Paula, thank you! :)

    Steph | Misc. Bliss

    • Reply
      Paula @
      December 10, 2016 at 9:10 am

      That’s not my actual schedule, but mine is similar to that one. It helps out a lot! Thanks Steph!

  • Reply
    Kiss & Make-up
    December 10, 2016 at 4:36 am

    Keeping a tight schedule definitely helps!

  • Reply
    Ashley Christabelle
    December 10, 2016 at 4:36 am

    Ooh scheduling things is such a great idea! Is it weird to say, but seeing that chart of your weekly schedule brought me a great ton of satisfaction inside of me! Might have to give that a go as I have a short attention span.

  • Reply
    Dea Andriany
    December 10, 2016 at 5:10 am

    I really need this now that I’m struggling with unfinished writing, i just found myself ended up in youtube or twitter again. Eliminating them works for me, but sometimes I can find scheduling to the most miniscule level stiffling, so I tend to keep them on larger scale.

    Selene Addicted

  • Reply
    Ambar Syed
    December 10, 2016 at 5:57 am

    I love planning out a schedule at the start of my day and allocating times to do each task – I literally just finished writing mine up for today before reading this post haha :)
    – Ambar x

  • Reply
    Rosie von Waldherr
    December 10, 2016 at 6:26 am

    Taking breaks is so important, most people don’t realise if they do not have enough breaks, the productivity decreases. I needed to learn this too xD

    xoRosie // Rosie’s Life

  • Reply
    Samantha Frances
    December 10, 2016 at 9:25 am

    I love when you said ‘It’s not enough just creating a schedule, you have to actually stick to it’ because that is so true!! I’ve created so many different schedules/to-do lists/plans etc in the past but if I don’t actually put the effort in myself, they never work! Lovely post <3 xxx

    • Reply
      Paula @
      December 15, 2016 at 7:59 am

      Haha yes! I used to do the same thing. Create a to do list and get super excited about it but don’t get much done :) Thanks Samantha!

  • Reply
    Natalie Harney
    December 10, 2016 at 10:08 am

    Using a time blocking schedule has been so so useful for me, much more so than just a to do list

    – Natalie

  • Reply
    Frances Kayleigh
    December 10, 2016 at 10:21 am

    This is soo helpful! it seems crazy to block off time for the simplest of things but I’ve recently learned that I have to focus my mind onto one task, otherwise I’m getting completely distracted and confused by what to prioritise! And I love working and having a blog too! Love to be occupied and always have something to do and something to work on :) xx

    • Reply
      Paula @
      December 15, 2016 at 8:25 am

      I know it seems a little (or a lot) OCD and I don’t always make such strict schedules but it really helps to get a ton of things done. Thanks Frances! x

  • Reply
    Mila S
    December 10, 2016 at 11:09 am

    I NEEDED this!

    omg I’m not sure that I’ll be as good at timetables as you tho, but it’s worth giving it a try! I’m SUCH a procrastinator! shah

    x M

    • Reply
      Paula @
      December 15, 2016 at 8:26 am

      Try doing this without a schedule or a time-table first, that’s how I started. I’d just use a timer when working on different things. I’d give myself an hour for taking photos, 45 minutes for catching up on social media, etc. That way I don’t spend too much working on one thing, while falling behind on others.

  • Reply
    Erin Azmir
    December 10, 2016 at 11:45 am

    I am so disorganised and unproductive 5 days out of the week so I really needed this. Thank you x

  • Reply
    Macy Brown
    December 10, 2016 at 11:49 am

    Great post! I’d love to see exactly how you create and color code your schedule! I’m always looking for new ways to keep myself organized and productive because sometimes the same old methods just don’t work that great.


  • Reply
    Lottie things
    December 10, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    This is amazing! Just what i needed. Im trying to work full time, finish a fiction writing course, and try and get my blog back up to speed! Thank you xxx
    Charlotte xxx

  • Reply
    December 10, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    I am going to try this! I keep procrastinating despite coming up with a list of to-dos and this seems like a real promising idea! Thank you Xx.

    Sarah | Beautybyrah

    • Reply
      Paula @
      December 15, 2016 at 8:20 am

      Time-blocking was life-changing for me! I first tried doing it without such a strict schedule, just using a timer when working on something and it worked really well.

  • Reply
    December 11, 2016 at 7:00 am

    I must say that I am always distracted. It can be my phone, someone talking to me while I type or even a smell of coffee. I should think more about some of the tips you gave in this post. Thanks a lot for sharing!

    Naya xx

    • Reply
      Paula @
      December 15, 2016 at 8:21 am

      I’m very easily distracted too, my mind is always racing. Time-blocking definitely helps with that and helps me stick to my schedule. Thanks Naya!

  • Reply
    December 11, 2016 at 10:33 am

    The example time block you came up is really helpful, I definitely need to try this myself since I work full time and blog too!

  • Reply
    December 12, 2016 at 4:32 am

    Thank you for the the tips!!

  • Reply
    Kristina Wilde
    December 13, 2016 at 9:00 am

    GIRLLLLL, you know I needed this! Bookmarking yet again! <3333

  • Reply
    lilian Tahmasian
    December 17, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    This is something thats perfect for getting things done!!
    It will def be used! Thank You :)

  • Reply
    Alison Heath
    December 18, 2016 at 11:32 am

    I was only just saying to my Mother the other day that I need to manage my time better, I find I am all over the place, doing a bit of this and a bit of that but not actually getting a lot done. I’ve now created my Time Block in Excel and will begin my new time management regime on 3 Jan when I go back to work after the holidays. Thanks for the nudge to get this done

    • Reply
      Paula @
      December 18, 2016 at 1:25 pm

      That’s exactly how I felt! I’m so easily distracted that I’d be all over the place too, trying to get several things done at once. You’re very welcome, thanks for stopping by and good luck! :)

  • Reply
    Best of Brač
    December 18, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    My biggest problem would be not being able to function well so early in the morning – I am a late night type, but I still have to get up early for work.. :(

    • Reply
      Paula @
      December 18, 2016 at 1:23 pm

      That’s why everyone should adjust it to their own schedule ;) If you’re a night owl, then maybe there are some things you could get done late at night, instead of early in the morning? It’s all about making this work for you :)

  • Reply
    Natalie Redman
    January 27, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    I definitely need to schedule my time more!

  • Reply
    Helen Wakefield
    May 18, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Following these tips has definitely helped me to be more productive! I now hide my phone and find when I can’t see it, it can’t distract me. I try and make a schedule every day, completing different tasks little by little towards my new blog and taking regular breaks which is helping me to progress quicker :) thanks for the great post!

    Helen | The Little Giraffe

    • Reply
      Paula @
      June 13, 2017 at 4:01 pm

      Yes, love that! I seriously couldn’t work without a schedule- especially as someone who gets distracted so easily. So happy these worked for you!!

  • Reply
    Cheryl Timoszyk
    December 28, 2018 at 10:26 am

    I have realized lately, that I have a hard time staying focused. Yes, I am easily distracted. I am using a timer more now. But I am thinking about starting to schedule everything and see how that works. Your post has been very helpful.

  • Reply
    Lisa Santos
    January 31, 2019 at 6:32 pm

    So, so helpful!!!

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