5 Ways I’ve learned to Trick my Brain into Being More Productive


I have one of those brains that won’t behave.  In the mornings when its supposed to be all alert and waking me up, it groggily tells me to pound that snooze button and slumber on.  At night, its supposed to calm down and go to sleep like a good little brain, it thinks its time to play.  If my brain was a dog, it would be a Yorkie.   I lay in bed, and it keeps yipping at me annoyingly, barking all the things I’m supposed to be doing, I need to do, and what I’m sure were billion dollar ideas, that I conveniently can’t remember the next morning.

If I was a Yorkie, this would be perfect!  Sleep when I want, play when I want, bark when I want, but unfortunately, I was not born a dog.  No, I’m a human.  A human who has to get stuff done during the day- a lot of stuff.  (I’ll spare you the bore of reading through paragraphs of me whining about having to be a grown up with grown up responsibilities).   I’m also guilty of trying to do everything all at once which ironically ends with me getting nothing done before wisely taking a nap instead- super productive.

So I turned to people far more skilled than I, to see how other people manage to “adult” better than me.  I’ll post below some of the best tips I’ve found.  Keep in mind, I’m nowhere near popular enough (read: at all), to be getting paid by anybody, so these are honestly just brilliant ideas that helped me get focused and moving forward.

1.“Brain Dumping”

I have heard about this delightful little trick, but I like how thirtysomethingangie explains it.  (She has a lot of great tips actually, you should check her out).  Before you organize all your brain gems, you have to know what they are first.  She shows us how to get them all out on paper first- doesn’t have to be pretty, just get it out.

2.“The Bullet Journal”

In spite of its name, the Bullet Journal isn’t so much a diary, as it is a souped-up personalized planner.  I’ve tried it for a couple of months now, and I’ve got to say, I love it.  As Thirtysomethingangie mentions above, it’s a great way to organize what your brain has dumped: everything you have to get done- big and small, as well as things you’d like to get done.  It helps keep track of short term goals while keeping you focused on your long term goals.  I like it’s not a “one-size-fits-all” kind of planner, you make it fit your needs.  Its also one of those things you can spend as much or as little  money as you want to on.  They recommend a specific type notebook, or some people buy those beautiful leather bound journals, surely how Hemmingway would have done it.  Me?  I just use a plain old 99 cent spiral notebook I picked up while grocery shopping one day.   I’ve attached below the original video by creator, Ryder Carroll:

3. “Bullet Journal Gone Wild”

I had an art teacher once who said you have to learn the rules before you can smash them.  You have to crawl before you can walk.  Well we’ve crawled, now check out how the ladies of Pinterest have moved straight past walking, to running wild with their bullet journal ideas.  Yes this is another point about Bullet Journals, but they’ve taken it to a whole new level.


See for yourself with this link from the blog plumandproper .  Aside from providing examples of stunningly artistic bullet journal pages, they have 47(!) ideas, ranging from tracking spending habits, to fitness goals, to books to read, and other pages designed to help you make your mark.



“But, Anne! You claim to be an artist! Show us your bullet journal, is it pretty?”feo-blog-productivity-my-borning-jhornal

Ummm….mine looks like this —->

I know, I know- it looks BORING, but it gets the job done.  Trust me, I’ve got “be less boring with my bullet journal” down as a task in my bullet journal.

#4 Actually doing it

Yes! We have all our ideas out, organized, and artfully contained in one neat little notebook.  But as much as doing all that makes me want to take a nap, we must power on! Planning is good, but finding the motivation and drive to actually get it done is icing on the cake.  I love this article from tipsographic, especially the infographic from Wrike.  They show us some great ways to trick ourselves into being productive, check them  out.

#5 Chill

Ah yes, my favorite step.   Now that we have learned how to squeeze every last drop out of our yipping, Yorkie brains, we need to give them the break they’ve earned.  I like this infographic from Sharon Martin Counseling on how to de-stress.


Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m going to go punch a pillow and then take a nap.

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