Staying productive throughout the day can be a challenge sometimes… okay all the time. There are several things you can do, however, to help you maximize your productivity and improve your ability to tackle work and your personal life getting the most out of both.
Try using these tips to increase your overall productivity and get more things done.
1. Create A To-Do List
One of the most helpful tools for staying on track and increasing daily productivity is to write out a to-do list. Make time to outline all the things you need to accomplish and organize them in order of importance if you have the time. It also helps if you store the list in your phone or make a physical copy and bring it with you.
According to Shopify, when you note down your ideas, thoughts, and emotions, it helps your brain unload some baggage, giving it room to think about other things. Or better yet, with all that extra space, it could even begin to relax.
Tip: Have sticky notes on hand and whenever you think of something you need to do, jot it down and stick it somewhere you will see it.
If you need to go to the store after work, stick the note on your car dash and you will remember to go on your dive home.
It also feels amazing checking that thing off your list and throwing the sticky note away.
2. Take Breaks
You can’t stay completely focused and productive if you don’t allow yourself to take a break occasionally, your body and mind needs it more than you think. Schedule short breaks throughout the day, especially if you work on a computer for an extended amount of time, and allow yourself to unwind and take care of personal needs.
Tip: When you take these breaks, also take a break from your phone whether or not you were on it before. This way you are letting your brain take the full 100% break it needs to refresh and restart.
Work break ideas:
- Clear your head with meditation breaks and breathing exercises.
- Go to the gym on your lunch break; this helps increase blog flow and stimulate the brain.
- Walk with a colleague or engage with one to get social connections.
- Set a future goal to see the bigger picture of life in a positive way.
3. Important Tasks First
Outline your most pressing or important tasks first and focus all of your energy on getting it finished. Remember, don’t put off the most important things until later, always get the hardest part of your day done first, so the rest of your day seems easy. Get them finished as soon as possible and then move on to other work. This will help keep you on track and prevent things from slipping through the cracks.
Tip: If you have time to spare and enjoy reading, I recommend “Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done In Less Time”. This will teach you all about getting the hardest part of your day done first, hence ‘eating the frog’ and everything else will fall into place.
4. Tackle One Thing At At Time
Productivity declines when you try to tackle over one task at a time, also known as multitasking, a skill almost everyone brags about in job interviews. Instead, focus on the most important things first and give them all of your attention. This strategy will maximize the quality and efficiency of your work and allow you to 100% complete the task at once and move on.
Most people aren’t aware of the bad effects that can come with multitasking such as:
- Lacking focus
- Increased stress levels and being easily overwhelmed
- Lost or forgotten details about a task
- Harder to meet deadlines
5. Store Your Phone Away From Your Work Space
This is a HUGE problem in today’s work world because everyone has a personal phone with them almost all the time.
Those annoying notifications may tempt you to check it and waste time while you could be working. Instead, find a safe place to store your phone and put it on silent or “do not disturb” (make sure vibration is off) or just turn it off and only check it on breaks. Give your immediate family and close friends your work number to contact you in case of emergencies.
Try this as it feels nice to not have your phone on your for once.
King University Online provided a few stats regarding the top phone addicts in our world. Check it out and make sure you aren’t falling under these categories.
- People touch their phones an average of 2,617 times per day
- iPhone owners unlock their phones 80 times per day
- Americans spend an average of 5 hours per day browsing
- 50 percent of young people admit to cell phone addiction
Signs of cell phone addiction include:
- Reaching for the phone first thing in the morning: When something becomes a vital part of your daily routine, it can affect thinking and emotions. As Entrepreneur notes, 68 percent of adults sleep with their phones near the bed.
- Using cell phones when bored: Many people experience feelings of excitement or euphoria before or after using their smartphone. This creates a highly addictive response, causing them to want to repeat the action over and over, the same article explains.
- Increasing cell phone use: “Tolerance is the need to receive an ever-increasing dose to reach the desired high, and is similar to alcohol abuse. And with the increasing number of new uses for the cell phone, and the proliferation of available downloads, it is easy to access the next exciting new thing,” Entrepreneur notes.
- Becoming anxious or agitated when the cell phone is out of sight: Symptoms like stress, irritability, and panic that occur when individuals can’t find their phone or are separated from it indicate that they have formed a dependency. Entrepreneurcites research that notes “Sixty-eight percent of all adults have an irrational fear of losing their phone.”
- People complain about cell phone use: If loved ones frequently mention that individuals are always on their phone and that it bothers them, it is likely time to cut back. Smartphone use could be negatively impacting social life or family time.
- Inability to cut back on cell phone use: “Relapse occurs when you set every intention to cut back on your phone use, but find yourself reaching for it with a force that seems beyond your control,” Entrepreneur explains.
6. Eat Healthy
Individuals who are highly productive know the value of eating right and what it can do for your mind and body at work. A healthy diet helps fuel your brain and allows you to tackle projects with more ease; some foods even help increase your focus.
Do an honest analysis of your diet and adjust it to include healthy foods such as fresh fruits and vegetable that benefit your lifestyle. Stay away from processed food and sugar and you will see a big difference in your ability to think and produce quality work.
Here are foods that can increase your overall focus, brain power and concentration.
2. Green tea
5. Dark chocolate
6. Nuts & Almonds
Tip: Make sure you are having a balanced diet as eating too little or too much can affect your concentration. After a heavy meal you might feel too tired to work, or experience distracting hunger pains from not eating enough. So listen to your body and make sure you are eating a variety of healthy foods.
7. Drink Water
Drinking water will help you feel more energized and prevent brain fog most people experience towards the middle of their day. Water is listed above as an important part of a healthy diet because of the amazing benefits it has for your body. Remember, if you can’t think straight, sometimes a glass of water is all you need to get your brain working again.
Earlier studies in adults have suggested that dehydration can affect mental performance and mood.
For instance in one study in 2012 found that being even slightly dehydrated is enough to cause moodiness, problems concentrating, headaches and fatigue in women and studies in children have suggested water consumption can improve memory.
Today, the NAM recommends letting thirst guide your water consumption habits but set an even higher volume of total daily water intake: 3.7 liters (15 cups) for the average adult male and 2.7 liters (11 cups) for the average adult female.
8. Stay Organized
Organization is a great way to maximize productivity because you don’t have to waste time searching for things you need to complete projects, it also helps compartmentalize your brain; the more organized you are on the outside, the more you are on the inside too.
Keeping your space organized, whether it’s online through a task management software or filed at your desk, will save you time and effort when looking for a certain project, invoice etc. to complete your work.
9. Stay Composed
Small mishaps and issues can irritate us to the point where it consumes our time and energy, but it is important to not let these problems derail your positive and productive track. Deal with them as they happen and maintain focus not only on these issues, but the tasks that need attention for the day. Avoid stressing out and move on to the next task as soon as possible with a focused, positive mindset.
10. Prepare For The Next Day
In the hour before you get ready for bed, allow time to prepare for the following day. That may consist of organizing a schedule, making a small to-do list, or gathering all of your supplies and paperwork for the next day.
Giving yourself a small window of time to plan for the next day such as preparing a lunch or laying out an outfit, will help start your day off easy and ready to go.
So if you are ready to set yourself up for tomorrow, here are a few thing you can do:
- Check your agenda
- Note important tasks
- Layout your clothes for tomorrow
- Meal prep (breakfast and lunch)
- Drink a glass of water before bed
- Go to be early
11. Meal Prepping
As mentioned above, this is a great way to save yourself the time and energy during your work week.
Because everyone is busy most of the time, home-cooked meals are becoming less and less common; meaning people are turning to eating out and more processed foods.
Setting aside a block of time on an off day to cook a few meals for the coming week, will allow you to not only have food for on the go, but eliminate eating out and support a more healthy lifestyle. Everyone is too tired to cook after a busy day, so you will thank your past self for preparing meals that you can heat up, kick your shoes off and enjoy.
Here are some on the go, easy meal prep ideas for breakfast (follow the link for the recipe):
12. Make Time For Exercise
Making time for exercise can seem like a hassle, but productive people realize the benefits of incorporating exercise into their routine.
According to Harvard Business Review, regular exercise should be part of your job. They identified that the following cognitive benefits come from incorporating a regular exercise into your routine.
- Improved concentration
- Sharper memory
- Faster learning
- Prolonged mental stamina
- Enhanced creativity
- Lower stress
Even if you don’t have time in the morning, you can do a brief exercise routine on your break like a quick walk or gym after work. Many people prefer to exercise in the morning to help get their blood flowing and speed up their metabolism for the day, but for those who don’t have time, try to squeeze it in during the evening hours.
13. Every Day Is Different
Each day is unique and should be approached from that perspective. People who tackle work in the same manner daily will experience less productivity, an unfulfilled attitude and not treat each situation with the specialized attention it deserves.
This mindset helps keep you from getting in a rut and will encourage better results with every interaction you have.
14. Weekly Work Review
A great way to track your productivity and help you modify the way you tackle your workload is to do a weekly review of everything you accomplished and how long it took to finish.
If you are going to track you work, it’s recommend you create a spreadsheet and enter each project and time as you go.
This strategy helps outline any issues with efficiency and will allow you to plan more appropriately for future work weeks or related projects.
15. Schedule Admin Tasks Daily
It is easy to get caught up in a variety of other tasks and functions pertaining to a business, but it is also important to set aside time each day to read and send emails as well as business related correspondence such as phone calls and video conferences. Set aside time each day to accomplish these admin tasks so things don’t fall through the cracks and your inbox doesn’t overflow.
Staying productive from day to day is easier when you use helpful tips and strategies that allow you to feel your best and keep you on track. Try some of these ideas and watch your daily productivity improve over night!