Life is busy and if you’re like me, you probably find yourself being pulled in too many directions. Your schedule is full and there are never enough hours in the day.
But with a few productivity tips, you can do more in less time. You can meet your deadlines and have fun. You’ll be healthier and happier.
Doing it all is possible with a little help from some tried and true productivity tips to be more efficient and effective!
1. Make a to-do list with 5-6 items
Choose only 5 or 6 items that are the most crucial. Don’t work on anything else until those items are done. This will force you to pick the most important things. Anything more than these 6 is probably not that critical and can wait until you have a less hectic day.
2. Set an alarm and wake up without snoozing
I know, I know. The snooze button can be really appealing, especially for those early wake-up times. But don’t fall for it. Set one alarm and immediately get out of bed when it goes off. Bonus tip: put your alarm clock on the other side of the room so you have to get up to turn it off. Make sure you are leaving yourself 7-9 hours to sleep. This might mean heading to bed extra early so you can actually be well-rested when that alarm rings.
3. Drink a glass of water
If you’re feeling stuck or unproductive, get a glass of water. Most people are dehydrated and this can lead to shorter attention snaps, loss of focus, and drowsiness that all cut into your productivity. You don’t need to worry about getting 8 glasses a day, just drink throughout the day and have some water with each meal and whenever you stop for a break. Keeping a waterbottle with you will make this easy.
4. Get moving for 30 minutes
Exercise has been proven to improve focus and brainpower. A 30-minute bout of exercise will get your body and brain ready for what’s ahead in your day. It doesn’t even have to be intense. Light stretching, chair yoga, or an easy walk around the neighborhood will get you ready to be productive.
5. Eat 1 fruit and 1 vegetable every day
Good nutrition is just as important as staying hydrated and getting good rest. We get the chance to eat several times a day. Make sure that every day you are making room for 1 serving of fruit and 1 serving of vegetables. For some, this seems easy. For others, this will be a radical change. Try adding a banana or other piece of fruit with breakfast. Then grab some baby carrots or sliced bell peppers with lunch. 1 serving a day of each can easily become 2 servings a day. Ideally, these healthy options will be replacing a serving of processed junk food. Healthy bodies are productive bodies.
6. Schedule downtime
When you plan your schedule for the week or day, make room for relaxation! Instead of filling that 10-minute gap between meetings with emails, plan to take a break. Go for a walk, read a book, take a nap, or try a meditation app. If you’ve got bigger chunks of time in the day to dedicate to downtime… block it off. Setting aside time to do nothing may seem counter-intuitive to someone wanting to be productive but you can’t just go non-stop. A set break will let you recharge and get your second wind to keep going strong. Putting it in your schedule will help hold you to it and ease the guilt.
7. Do one task at a time
Multitasking seems like a great idea if you’re busy. But humans are pretty arrogant. We assume we are good at doing multiple things at once, but really, we suck at it. Choose a task and work on it until it’s completely done. Send that email, then start prepping for the next meeting. Finish the report before listening to your voicemail. One thing at a time. Multitasking feels like productivity, but it’s a time-wasting lie.
8. Take breaks every 2 hours
Remember how I told you to schedule downtime in tip #6? Well, if that’s too much work, then just put a break in every 2 hours! Don’t overthink it. Every 2 hours of work means a 15-minute break. Keep it simple. Set an alarm for a reminder and stick to it.
9. Turn off message alerts
This one is hard, but I guarantee you will be more productive without distractions. You don’t need to turn off all email and phone alerts all day, but a dedicated block of time to finish a single task, uninterrupted, can go a long way. For me, I’ll turn off all alerts on my phone and computer for 1-hour blocks when I’m doing homework. No work emails coming through pulling away my attention. No alerts to say my package is arriving today. When the focus block is done, turn on alerts and deal with the new tasks.
10. Block out distracting noise or add good noise
This productivity tip is a 2-parter because everyone is a little different. If you work better in silence, block out all other noise. Try noise-canceling headphones, close your office/bedroom door, or go to a dedicated quiet space. Reducing noise reduces distractions which increases productivity. On the other hand, there are people that thrive on background noise. Just make sure the noise is intentional and allows you to focus. If you like listening to music, but your favorite jams have you singing along instead of studying your vocab list, try switching to video game music or classical music. Songs without lyrics can be motivating and inspiring without being distracting.
11. Delegate or eliminate tasks
This one is my favorite because it’s all about doing nothing! If you have a task that is truly unimportant, just don’t do it. If it’s important, but can be done by someone else, delegate. This could be a formal work associate who can take on tasks when their workload is low. Or this may be a partner or other family member for domestic duties. Frankly, you need to reassess what is really important. Dusting the baseboards would be nice, but it’s not gonna kill you if it doesn’t happen. So just take it off the to-do list altogether so you can focus more attention on the tasks that really matter.
12. Put your phone in another room
Oh, the horror. If you can’t imagine being farther than 3 feet from your phone, this one is for you. Put away the social media and the text messages. I find that my phone is my biggest distraction. The world is in my palm and it’s hard to ignore. But when you really want to get some work done and be productive, removing distractions is key. And your phone is probably your biggest one. Try leaving your phone in another room for 30 minutes while you work. Get up and check messages, then leave your phone for another 30 minutes. Before you know it, you’ll be able to leave your phone alone for hours at a time even if it’s in the same room. Practice makes perfect.
13. Use a calendar
Put big events on a central calendar. If you plan out the biggest things that are time sensitive, it’s easy to plan the smaller tasks around them. If you see you have appointments around town at 10 and 1, plan to do some errands in between that are nearby. Pick up that birthday gift ahead of time from the shop next door, return those library books, or get your car oil changed in between the things that can’t be moved around. Putting big things on the calendar allows for easier planning around them to increase productivity.
14. Set a timeline
If you don’t know when something must be done, how do you know when you need to do it? This productivity tip is about knowing when to schedule tasks. Think about deadlines and due dates for work or school. This could even apply to holiday gift shopping or paying a bill. Lay out your due dates. Determine how long it will take to do that task. Then work backward from the due date to start scheduling time to work on each task. Long projects will require several days to complete. Simple things can be done quickly right before the deadline. Setting an end date and working backward will help keep you motivated and productive to stay on task.
15. Find your reason why
I saved this productivity tip for last because it’s the most important and I want it to stick with you. Find your reason for doing things. Reframe your tasks so they feel important. You’re not just doing laundry and washing the dishes; you’re creating a clean home because you deserve to live in a peaceful, tidy space. You’re not writing a book report and studying for an exam to pass the class; you’re doing it because you’re worthy of an education that can expand your horizons. The things you do have meaning. The more you understand why it’s worth doing, the easier it is to do.
15 Productivity Tips!
Productivity isn’t just staying busy for the sake of being busy. It’s a tool to get important things done in a timely manner. It’s a way to maximize your work time and your playtime.
Use these 15 Productivity Tips to make your day more efficient. Get more done with less effort. Make the most of your time.
You can do everything you want. Having it all is possible.
Just do your best and live life.