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How many times have you looked back at the accomplishments of the last day, week, or month and felt like crap? If the answer is “often,” then you need to do something ASAP to learn how to get things done effectively and increase productivity.
In this article, I am going to walk you through some very doable and easy habits that can significantly increase your daily productivity.
Whether you are a student, an employee, or a business owner who thinks that he is capable of much more than what he is producing right now. This article is for you.
Disclosure: There are some affiliate links below, and I may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this post at no additional cost to you.
1. Set your goals and plan to achieve them
A goal without a plan is just a wish.Antoine de Saint-Exupèry
With that being said, you know what’s coming next… Stop dreaming about all the things that you want to achieve in life and start planning every little step of the process that is going to take you there.
First, break down your bigger goal into small ones. They have to be precise, measurable, and attainable.
Let’s say you want your company to be larger and make more money. How are you going to attain that? Maybe you should hire someone professional to take care of a certain aspect of your business, or maybe find two new clients, etc.
But make sure that every little goal is realistic. You don’t want to set yourself up for failure and kill your productivity momentum.
Once you have set your goals and created your vision board, print it and put it everywhere you can see it: on your desk, on the wall, on your fridge, and as your desktop screensaver so that you never forget why you started, and you never lose your productivity momentum.
2. Customize your to-do list
The thing about your to-do list is that it’s yours. YOU know what your frog is (from the best-selling book by Brian Tracy, Eat That Frog! ), so you prioritize it on your list. YOU KNOW when you’re the most alert and when you’re the most tired during the day.
So when you make your daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly to-do lists, keep this in mind. Make sure to include all the details: every task that you have, important ones and less important ones, with the designated working hours and also the break periods.
But be careful not to complicate things. A bulky to-do list can be intimidating.
3. Take multiple breaks
Research has shown that taking breaks during the working day can improve both your physical and mental health, reduce stress and anxiety, and significantly increase productivity.
When you have loads of work on your to-do list, you convince yourself that you can’t take breaks. You keep going non-stop, ignoring the SOS signals from your body until you finish up burnt out, needing a super long vacation to recharge your batteries.
But the thing is, a little break every 45 to 90 minutes can do wonders. Not only can you stretch your muscles and clear your thoughts, but you can also set a mini-deadline at the end of every working period to keep you motivated.
Another very popular method that you can use is the Pomodoro technique. You work for 25 minutes straight and take a 5-minute break, then repeat. This method is great for preventing burnout while preserving momentum.
4. Prioritize by using the Eisenhower Matrix
When you start executing your tasks, sometimes you delay the most important task for later and start with the less important ones, thinking that by doing this you will quickly knock off multiple items from your to-do list. Who has done that before? I know I have, many times!
But the truth is that you will end up procrastinating on the most crucial task, and at the end of the day, you will feel that productivity shame even though you have done many other little things.
Therefore, if you want to level up your productivity game and accomplish more of the things that matter, you need to prioritize.
Checking items off a to-do list doesn’t determine progress; focusing on your priorities is what counts.Frank Sonnenberg
For that matter, you can use the Eisenhower Matrix.
- When you determine what the most important and urgent task is, do it first. Afterward, you can tackle the rest of your to-do list.
- When a task is less urgent but still important, schedule it for later.
- Delegate or ask for help when something is urgent but can be done by someone else. Well, if you are a control freak like me, this one is going to be hard. However, you need to loosen up if you want to get things done effectively.
- Finally, know what to say “NO” to. For instance, scrolling down your endless social media feed or mindlessly watching TV. Those you have to eliminate completely from your list.
5. Have a healthy routine
To be able to build up the energy needed to accomplish your daily tasks, you need to create a healthy routine that is going to accompany you on your productivity journey.
First of all, your morning routine is going to set the tone for your entire day. Therefore, make sure to create a healthy one and stick to it. For example, have a healthy breakfast, do some exercise, pray or meditate, and don’t look at your phone until let’s say, it’s 10 am.
Secondly, designate a time to go for a walk, breath some fresh air, get some vitamin D from the sun, and hit that refresh button.
Thirdly, set a self-care routine. It can be anything! From taking your time with that skincare routine to enjoying a cup of coffee or reading some pages of your favorite novel, it can be practically anything that can bring some joy to your daily routine.
Finally, sleep at the same hour every day and make sure you get enough of it. A well-rested body is what you are going to need first thing in the morning to continue being productive.
6. Do one thing at a time
You need to know that multitasking is your enemy. And if you think that it’s going to help you do more things in less time, you’re probably wrong!
Researchers from Stanford University found that heavy multitaskers can’t stay focused and get easily distracted because they can’t filter out irrelevant information.
Not just that. They are probably also damaging their cognitive control by constantly taking more than they can handle because the brain can’t process multiple streams of information at the same time.
The bottom line is that multitasking is going to slow you down, and you are just going to be worse at whatever you are doing. However, by doing one thing at a time, you will do more, increase productivity, and be more efficient.
7. Cut down on your decision-making time
To think too long about doing a thing often becomes its undoing.Eva Young
Being a high overthinker, this one has personally messed up my productivity momentum more times than I can remember.
When you try to perfect everything that you do daily, you tend to overthink every little decision that you have to make, from whether to wear the white or the off-white sneakers, to whether to go to the local store first or the pharmacy first. And it gets worse with bigger decisions.
What can help is to think of your time as money, believe that it is precious and that you can’t waste any minute of it on nonsense. Therefore, if it’s not that important or if the decision can be taken back, don’t waste a split second thinking about it.
Even if it’s more important, just trust your gut feeling, it’s mostly right. Because the more you think, the more uncertain you’re going to become.
Being stuck making those decisions is not going to help you get your things done. So if you want to be more decisive, just stop thinking too much. Because decisiveness grows with every decision you make.
8. Work before you get motivated
Don’t wait for the motivation to come; it may never come. I’m sorry to tell you this, but sometimes it doesn’t.
At first, focus more on the process and the little steps that you outlined in your initial plan, and make sure to accomplish one thing at a time. This way, when you see those first achievements, you WILL feel motivated to do more.
Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.Napoleon Hill
Yes, don’t wait for anything, don’t wait for the motivation to come, don’t wait for the right time, and don’t wait to be ready. Just do it. All you need is discipline and perseverance.
9. know your strengths and patterns and use them to get things done
You see, some people are more alert in the morning and others in the afternoon or at night when everybody is sleeping. That’s because every one of us has a distinguished biological rhythm that controls our bodies’ functionalities during the day.
So what you have to do is identify your peak productivity hours and then plan your difficult tasks around those periods when you have the most energy. And leave the times when you feel less energetic to plan and reflect.
Another thing you have to know is what you are most good at. What are your strengths? Then work on them some more. Yes, work on your strengths, not your weaknesses. You’ll become less stressed, more confident, and more energetic.
Know yourself to improve yourselfAuguste Comte
10. Clean up your workspace
The place where you get things done has a huge impact on your overall well-being. According to recent studies, the general layout of your workspace can significantly impact your health, well-being, and productivity.
A study that measured the impact of cleanliness on productivity found that employees working in cleaner workplaces were more satisfied and therefore more productive.
That is to say, to increase productivity and get things done effectively, organize and clean your workspace. You will feel better about yourself, and it will motivate you to do more work.
11. Reward yourself when you get things done
This one is mostly overlooked because people think that they don’t have time for celebrations until they have accomplished all their big projects.
Instead, what you have to do after reaching one milestone is to take a step back, enjoy that happy feeling, and reward yourself, because you have earned the right to celebrate. This will boost your confidence, and after doing this several times, your brain will link that pleasure with reaching goals and accomplishing tasks, which is going to make you unconsciously reproduce it in the future.
Every day that you accomplish something, claim your reward. Celebrating your wins is a great motivator to keep getting things done. You really need to consider this.
12. Use apps and tools to increase productivity
Depending on what you are struggling with, there are hundreds of good productivity apps on the internet that could help you boost your productivity.
So, if your problem is social media distraction, you could use apps to block all the distractions and keep you concentrated on your task. Freedom is one example.
Many tools are out there, free and paid. Use whatever suits you to help you get things done.
13. Love what you do.
I know I can’t say this to someone who hates their job and can’t find the will to work and came here to learn how to get their things done. But you know what? That’s the problem right there.
If you hate what you do, all the productivity hacks won’t work for a long time. The secret is to enjoy what you do. As Dale Carnegie said,
People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.Dale Carnegie
Therefore, if you have the choice, do what you love or find a way to love what you do. Because this is the only thing that can keep you going for a long time. But if you don’t have that choice, what you can do in the meantime is to focus on what you will achieve if you push yourself a little more.
To sum up, increasing productivity can be achieved if you always know what your next move is, listen to your body, value your time, have a healthy environment, and know who you are and who you want to be.
Maybe you have already tried some of the habits we discussed in this article, wanting to get things done effectively and increase productivity, but you’re still not there yet.
But the truth is, being highly productive is a skill that can be learned. It only requires time, practice, and knowing yourself.
If some of these habits are working for you, stick to them. If not, keep experimenting until you find what works best for you. Only you will know what that is.
Pin this on your personal development board!
Here is a related post that you may like: How to Stop Being Lazy and Unmotivated
Was this helpful? What productivity tips are you using right now? Tell me in the comment section!