What do you associate with April?
You might think generally about spring. Maybe you think about Easter or another holiday, or about an April birthday or anniversary in your family. Maybe you have young kids and think about the school spring break schedule. Or you think about filing your taxes. (If you’re someone who works in tax preparation, I assume you’re too deadline focused and tired to think about much of anything in April.)
We all have events and activities and traditions in April. But for most of us, it tends to be one of the most stable, “normal” times of the year. We’re nowhere near the chaos of the Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year’s season. We’re still months away from the distractions and fun of summer. Everyone who’s in school is probably settled into that schedule. There aren’t a lot of big external distractions like holidays and summer childcare problems and year-end deadlines popping up at this time of year.
So—if you’re not going to use your time productively and make progress on your goals now, when are you ever going to do it?
Let’s be clear: I know that just because we’re in one of those “lull” periods in the year doesn’t mean that everything is smooth sailing for you right now. You’re still dealing with family responsibilities and work stresses. You might have health concerns or house problems or a sick pet or financial worries… the list goes on.
Those are the daily, ongoing things that are always going to interfere with good time management and productivity. Learning to take control of your time and actually make measurable progress toward your meaningful goals is all about learning how to anticipate and plan for those daily challenges.
Time management only gets harder when you throw big distractions like vacations and holidays on top of everything else. If you feel overwhelmed or like you can’t find the time to focus on your most important goals now, when your routine is relatively quiet and settled, isn’t it unrealistic to expect things to improve once summer starts? We all know how summer flies by. Then all of a sudden it’s fall, the countdown to the end of the year is starting and you’re feeling panicked and discouraged because you haven’t engaged with your yearly goals in months. You either scramble to get going on them, or you give up and decide to start over the next year. Rinse and repeat.
That’s not the trajectory you want for yourself this year, and it’s not what I want for you either.
If you’re like a lot of people, April is a time of year when the conditions are right for you to be able to get a lot done.
You might not have any travel or special days off to plan around so you have a lot of flexibility with how you schedule your time. Even the environment plays a part. Plant life is growing every day. Longer days allow you to work a full day and still enjoy time outdoors in the sunlight. It’s kind of like the stars align to make it as easy as possible for you to really lean into productivity.
(I also want to acknowledge that this might not be your experience at all this April! Maybe you’re juggling some huge stuff and you’re in one of the most stressful times of your life, in which case I hope you’ll give yourself some grace if productivity just isn’t happening this month!)
Summer’s already just around the corner and you know that your routines are going to change once it starts. You can get so much done between now and then. Your relaxation-focused summer self will thank you for having leaned into productivity now so you can fully rest and recharge then.
3 Action Items for Leaning into Productivity This April
1- Get really clear about what you want to get done between now and the beginning of June.
A two-month period feels like a pretty manageable amount of time for you to plan out, right? Look back at your yearly goals. What are the steps you can reasonably take over the next two months that bring you closer to those goals? Put another way, what does a successful and satisfying April and May look like for you? What actions would you need to take to make that vision a reality? Write down a list of all the things, big and little, that you want to accomplish by the beginning of June.
2- Identify and shut down your distractions.
Five minutes here and 10 minutes there can add up to hours of wasted time every day. Be honest with yourself about the time-sucking distractions that tend to pull your focus away from work and take steps to limit them. Use your devices’ settings to block or limit your access to games or sites that you tend to waste time on. You need to be able to step away from work throughout the day, but without letting every 10-minute break turn into a 30-minute social media scrolling session.
3- Map out your most productive periods.
You might have the same 8 or 10 hours to use in every workday, but your productive abilities probably fluctuate across those hours. Are you clear about when those periods are that you’re at your most productive? Maybe you’re always sluggish in the early afternoon but have laser focus after your 3 p.m. coffee. Maybe a late Wednesday night workout class always makes you a little extra tired on Thursdays. Noticing those patterns lets you schedule your time as efficiently as possible. You might save email and administrative stuff for those times when you’re feeling a little tired and schedule high-level tasks for those periods of peak productivity so you can give them your full focus and get them done.
Need help setting yourself up for optimal productivity this April?
Join me for Weekly Planning That Works, Even When You Feel That You Can’t Keep Up. This no-cost masterclass will help you learn to create daily and weekly plans that you can actually follow to create the life you crave!
If you’re tired of feeling defeated and overwhelmed by your to-do list, you need Weekly Planning That Works. I’m offering this no-cost training on 4/13 at 12 pm ET, and it’ll last about an hour. Click here to save your spot – This one hour will pay you back in spades!