A couple of weeks ago, I felt like I was majorly in a rut. I felt kind of blah, kind of stuck, kind of lacking motivation, and guilty about the fact that I wasn’t doing much. I realized I had to proactively make a change to get my life together, because quite honestly, at this point I don’t have time to waste with my school work.

I decided I needed to not only reintroduce routine into my life, but order as well. I’m one of those people that feels the mess in my surrounding area. My emotional life tends to reflect in how my room looks, and I think the state of my room influences my emotions. (You should have seen the state of my dorm sophomore year…that was a rough year.)

So, I set about getting organized. The first task? Clean out our pantry. For some reason this only happens when I’m home. The holidays are a great time to do a pantry clean out. Not only will you likely be having an influx of holidays goodies, but it’s a great time to donate the foods that you impulse bought but have since realized you’ll never eat, to those less fortunate.

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Next on the agenda? Start to tackle my closet. I haven’t really done enough since returning from college. A major closet clean out was in order. I have so many clothes that I’ve held on to over the years but know I’ll never wear. So I made a challenge out of it. Every day for 1 week, I would spend 5 minutes, and select 5 items to donate. Not too much thinking. Some days it was easy, some days it was a challenge.

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One thing I finally did was get rid of some of my pretty dresses from high school. It was definitely time. The styles were young and I could fit them over my head, and that was it.

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Graduation, formals….

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How’s that for a throwback?

Then it was time to try some productivity tricks. I made a list of things that have have needed attention for a while. Having that list made each task seem less daunting. Yesterday, I knocked off one item: clean out my makeup/gum drawer. I was known in high school for my extensive gum collection, and I’m pretty sure some of the gum was that old. Yuck. I also don’t know why I had such a crazy amount of makeup given I use the same 5 or so items every day and never really deviate.

Another thing I tried? A “power song.” Choose a song, and for that 3 minutes or so, dedicate yourself to cleaning and tidying up your surroundings. This was helpful to me at times when my motivation was waning. Once I started, I was often compelled to keep going. It’s all a matter of getting started.

The last productivity hack I tried was the “pomodoro method.” I saw this on the internet. the idea is that you set a 25 minute ticking timer, such that you can hear it tick, and work for 25 minutes, and then rest for 5. I tried this briefly because I thought the ticking would be helpful, but I’m one of those people that has trouble focusing with sounds (I could never listen to music while working) so I just found it distracting. It turned out for me though, all I really needed to be productive was some time in the library.

What are your “productivity hacks”?

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