As the new year begins, most of us are setting our sights on new goals. For many of us, a new year means a fresh start and a clean slate. Maybe you felt a little stuck and stalled in 2016. We understand. Between juggling parent duties, leadership roles in the school, and other activities, it’s easy to get distracted.

So how can you ensure that 2017 is your most productive year yet? We gathered together the best productivity tips from around the Internet. If you implement these simple tricks, you’ll be more productive, overcome procrastination, and achieve what matters most. These tips are for everyone, but our busy, PTA moms will find them especially useful.  

1. Identify your “big rocks”

As you begin each day, identify your “big rocks.” What are the 2-3 big projects you need to take care of?  We all know what it feels like to get sidetracked by the tyranny of the urgent. You spend the majority of the day putting out fires but neglect to do the important tasks. Don’t let the small things prevent you from moving the ball forward. Identify your top priorities, and tackle them as early in the day as you can. 

2. Limit your appointments

How many meetings and appointments are on your calendar? If the majority of your day is taken up by meetings, maybe it’s time to reevaluate your schedule. Appointments are necessary, but having too many can prevent you from taking the time to get work done.

3. Make a list for the small stuff

You’re likely very familiar with a To-Do List. They’re actually very helpful for those small, urgent tasks that come up throughout the day. Write them down in a list to do after you’ve completed your big rocks. That way they’re not rattling around in your head and causing you stress.

4. Try the Pomodoro Technique

In case you’re unfamiliar, the Pomodoro Technique is a highly recommended productivity technique that encourages people to work in short but focused “sprints.” Here’s how it works: Set a timer for 20 minutes. Eliminate all distractions (email, phone, T.V. etc.) and work on your project for 20 solid minutes. Then take a five to ten-minute break. After that, set the timer for another 20 minutes and repeat. By working in short, focused sprints, you’ll be amazed by what you can accomplish.

5. Treat yo’ self!

Studies have shown that you’re more likely to do a hard task if you know there’s a reward waiting for you at the end. Give yourself a special reward if you knock out your big rocks for the day—maybe your favorite cup of coffee at Starbucks, a 15-minute walk, or even a short nap.

We hope that these tips will help achieve more for yourself, your family, and your elementary school in 2017.

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