How I Stay Productive


How is it May already?! This topic seemed especially relevant with how fast time is flying by…

Some days it can be hard to sit down and really be productive, instead of just surfing the web and realizing half an hour later I’ve checked nothing off in my planner. The to-dos can relate to blogging, wedding planning, other emails I’ve marked for later, whatever really – they’re different for everyone, but I think we can all relate to being hit by this struggle.

The main thing I’ve learned is that you have to plan just as much time to relax and recharge, as you do to knock out those to-dos.  I try to continuously keep this top of mind. I also try to not feel guilty when I watch Netflix instead of sitting down to do more work at the end of a long day.

When I am ready to go though, here are some ways I typically stay on a roll when it’s time to get stuff done –

Lists // If you haven’t picked up on it already, I’m a list person. I jot appointments and tasks in my planner religiously – the Rifle Paper one I swear by in my current design here. If that’s not around and I’ve gone things on my mind, I grab the nearest sticky note. I’m also a sticky note person. I love the feeling of checking something off, and physically seeing progress in that way. I’m definitely guilty of having jotted something down once I’ve finished, that wasn’t there before, just to cross it off for a little victory. I realize this probably makes me sound totally lame.

Snacks // I’m kind of a snack addict in general – pita chips, carrots and hummus, pretzels, apple slices, those Trader Joe’s white cheddar puff things, etc. Eric says I have the diet of a toddler, but that’s not true and besides the point (did he see me scarf down that sushi, pizza, and wine this weekend?). When I’m at my desk and feeling slow, pulling out a snack usually provides some good fuel.

The Jams // Music. Music. Music. I love working with the tunes on – whether it’s playing in the space I’m working in or coming through headphones, I feel most focused when I’m working to a soundtrack that suits my mood. This varies from a variety of Spotify playlists: 90s pop throwbacks, 80s rock, worship songs, broadway tracks, coffee shop vibes, Beyonce. I’m very bad at picking a favorite type of music as you can probably tell. I know for some people noise interferes with productivity, but it helps me get the most done.

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Location // See coffee shop vibes above. They’re usually my favorite spot to sit down at. Preferably by a window, with some latte art in my cup, and lots of natural light. Eric, Becca, and I love to spend Sunday afternoons in coffee shops, working away at our hobbies or planning our next trip abroad. Coffee shops just feel like cooler offices, and I’m always feel motivated by the other art, knowledge, and business that seems to be pursued there.

Timer // This is a good one for when the list of things to get done seems daunting, or there’s a task you’re out to avoid. I just pull up my iPhone timer and do periods of 20 -30 minutes of total dedication. Then in between these sprints, I take time to make a quick phone call, read around on Buzzfeed, or chat with friends also doing the same.

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Buddy // Perhaps one of the most important ingredients to a productive session – someone also with work to do, ready to sit down and enjoy your company while stuff gets done. Usually for my evening or afternoon pow-wows, Eric is with me. It helps to have someone to bounce questions off of or provide a boost of motivation. It also makes getting your to-dos done super fun! We like to change it up by picking a new spot we haven’t been to before, so we can keep exploring Chicago.

Some Chicago favorite spots: Bow Truss | Bourgeois Pig | Osmium Coffee Bar

What are some ways you stay productive?? Share your best tip in the comments below. 🙂

Days By Day


  1. Kelley
    May 2, 2016 / 5:51 pm

    Taking your tip of snacking and timer tonight as I work on a final paper!;) love you!

    • Dayna Reyna
      May 2, 2016 / 7:34 pm

      Ah girl you are going to rock it! Love you bunches!!

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