Question: How Productive Are You In a Working Week?

And can you help me manage mine better? I’m sick of panic-working on a Sunday night because I keep procrastinating.
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Rebecca Holman
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And can you help me manage mine better? I’m sick of panic-working on a Sunday night because I keep procrastinating.

Here I am thinking about my to-do list. Or tacos. Definitely one of the two. 

Here I am thinking about my to-do list. Or tacos. Definitely one of the two. 

I’ve become a bit obsessed with my time management skillz since coming back to work from Christmas a week-and-a-half ago.

To be fair, as I’m not drinking in January, obsessed has become my middle name (JOKE!, it's Anne, FYI).

I obsessively go to the gym, obsessively tidy and re-organise my flat, and obsessively try and get a builder in to sort out all the broken things I’ve been putting off fixing for five years.

I’m also obsessively reading a book I never even got round to starting properly in 2012, and obsessively drinking 2 litres of water a day. In fact, it’s possible that without the mellowing affect of a pint of cider/a massive hangover, I’ve become a little…. high maintenance.

But don’t feel bad, dear reader; I’ll be back to my usual sluttish, slovenly ways come February.

Anyway, my concentration levels have definitely improved from no booze, and because I’ve actually been getting up as soon as my alarm goes off, I’ve been getting in early enough to get admin out of the way and do a proper to do list before my working day starts.

I've also had the chance to take an objective look at my productivity throughout the week (i.e. not sullied with hangovers or late nights, and the corresponding guilty productivity the next day), I can definitely see how my concentration levels ebb and flow throughout the week. And to be honest, I think I could do with a bit more flow, and a bit less ebb.

This is how I work the week: 

On a Monday, I’m a machine. I tend to have a catch up with Corynne (hi Corynne!) in the afternoon. So, as well as getting up that morning’s content, editing stuff for the afternoon, checking the papers for any potential stories and doing a schedule for the week, I also try and do a run down of what’s been working well on the UK site, plus any new ideas I’m working on for her to look at beforehand.

Because I’m not all that organised, I sometimes take this opportunity to….think of some new ideas.

Anyway, being really busy suits me – I’m faster, more efficient and less likely to get distracted by falling down the Daily Mail/Twitter/xoJane US hole (a bit like the K hole, but less foaming at the mouth, I find).

In summary, I get loads done on a Monday, have loads of energy and often find myself staying late to finish things.

I’m still pretty good on Tuesdays – this is Phoebe’s day off, so, again, I’m pretty busy, but, this seems to work in my favour. However, I often find that this is when emails start to pile up and the bottom half of my to-do list starts to get left undone. I’m just getting that little bit more distracted.

Then suddenly, it’s Wednesdays, and everything starts to go wrong. This is Phoebe’s first day in the office all week, so we have a lot of work stuff* to catch up on – and I have the attention span of a gnat when I’m even the teensiest distracted.

Also, most days I don’t bother with a lunch break, and so I think that by this point in the week, I’m just a bit…restless.

I try to make the effort on a Wednesday to go out of the office for a catch up with the fragrant Miss Frangoul at a coffee shop or something near by. Being out of the normal office environment for a couple of hours seems to be a better way to generate ideas.

Plus, if I know my attention span’s going to be crap, I might as well run with it, and do something that doesn’t involve me staring at a computer screen.

My to-do list from a couple of days last week. No idea. 

My to-do list from a couple of days last week. No idea. 

I normally pick it up again on a Thursday, mainly because the unread emails or increasingly lengthy to-do list are starting to freak me out. But unless things are super-urgent, I get into the bad habit of putting things off at this point in the week (on a Monday, no task is too big for me to tackle head on. By Thursday, forwarding someone an email with a brief explanation can seem like a gargantuan task).

Fridays are anyone’s guess. Sometimes, buoyed by the fact it’s the end of the week, I get obsessed with clearing everything out of my inbox or to-do list before the week is over. Other times, I’ll push anything fiddly to one side, promising myself I’ll ‘do it over the weekend,’ (cut to: Sunday night, me in a panic, doing my self-inflicted ‘homework,’ while Jolene-ing my top lip and watching Downton Abbey).

Aaaand, this is where I need your help. Can you tell me how your working week shapes up? Are you more productive some days than others? How do I avoid getting bogged down with admin so I can actually stop and think creatively about things? How do I get better at concentrating? I’m not a toddler, I SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO THIS!

Rebecca is procrastinating. Probably. @Rebecca_hol.

*70% work, 30% the latest ridiculous personal problem I've created for myself that I need Phoebe to help me fix. She should probably get danger money for working here.