Have you ever woken up one day, hoping to get things done, only to realize at the end of the day that time has passed and not much was achieved? We have all been in this situation at some point in our lives. It is not fun when tasks get piled up one after the other, causing us stress and anxiety as poor task management can end up hurting our professional as well as our personal lives.
There are many different approaches for increasing your productivity, both professionally as well as personally, nevertheless, here you will find ten simple habits you can cultivate to get the most out of your day and start accomplishing all of your tasks without sacrificing hours of your sleep.
1. Get in the right mindset from the start
Each morning has an impact on the development of your day thus, making morning time crucial for your productivity. It is very important to enjoy your morning, otherwise you might feel demotivated from the start, making it much more difficult to be productive later in the day.
Wake up early and have a calm breakfast, spend time with your family or work on the things you love. Remember it is less likely to be interrupted with work emergencies at 6 a.m., so enjoy your “me” time as this will have an impact in the output of your work later in the day.
Finally, when you are ready to start your day, remember to review all the tasks you have for the day, prioritize them and start thinking on how you will accomplish them. This will give you a time advantage as it will help you approach your tasks in a much more efficient way.
2. Stay away from your phone
People constantly underestimate the time they spend on their phones. According to Deloitte, the average American checks their smartphone 46 times per day, which translates to almost 5 hours a day on your phone. Moreover, even short distractions can have a big impact on your productivity as it can take you up to 25 minutes to go back to your tasks. This is time you can use to work on other things, therefore, distancing yourself from your phone is crucial if you want to get things done. Here are some few tips you can follow to break the habit of constantly looking at your phone:
- Avoid using your phone as an alarm clock, you might be curious to check irrelevant information and waste time.
- Change your phone’s screen to grayscale mode (iOS, Android) to make it seem less appealing and help you with temptation.
- Turn off notifications to reduce potential distractions.
- Consider installing a time-tracking app like Moment for iOS or QualityTime for Android. Using such a tool will help you know exactly how much time you are spending on your phone and get notified if you are using it too much.
3. Start a media diet
If there is a day where you really need to be productive, you may consider taking a media diet. On average, people spend nearly 8 hours of their day consuming some kind of media. These many distractions make it really hard for you to stay focus, therefore avoiding checking the news or social media for a day can really help boost your productivity. Remember the world will not fall apart in a day and you will be able to accomplish so much more.
Out of all distractions, the internet is one of the most difficult type of media to avoid, so consider using an app like SelfControl or Freedom to block sites that hinder your productivity on days where you need to get things done.
4. Be organized
Organization is key for productivity. If you don’t organize your tasks, you can end up forgetting some or wasting time thinking what to do next. So, try to make the best out of your time by planning what will you accomplish each day or setting deadlines for your obligations. Additionally, it is also important to organize your workspace as this will enable a good workflow and promote productivity. Therefore, take some time to make sure your space is uncluttered and offers you easy access to the tools or documents you might need to accomplish your goals.
5. Break down big projects into smaller tasks
Big projects can be overwhelming and tempt you to constantly push them aside but doing this will only hinder your productivity. In order to reduce the stress that may prompt you to procrastinate, you can opt to break them into more manageable tasks and work on them little by little. You can easily do this by:
- Listing and prioritizing all the tasks needed to be done for the project
- Preparing an action plan for each task
- Assigning tasks to each day of the week
- Assessing your progress at the end of each day
- Evaluating the results after completing all of the tasks to see what can you do better next time
6. Find your small blocks of free time
Sometimes, you may realize you have 15-minutes or even 30-minutes blocks of time that are in-between other responsibilities or are simply not assigned to anything in particular. Although, you may not be able to accomplish big tasks during these small openings, you can still take advantage of it and undertake low-value but necessary tasks and avoid delaying any of your obligations. If you don’t have any small blocks of time free, you may consider purposely scheduling some for these type of tasks, as they will offer you a break from complicated and stressful responsibilities and let you take a break without hurting your productivity.
7. Don’t forget about your commuting time
Whether you take public transport or drive to work, there are many ways for you to use this time. Read your emails, check the news or documents from work, there are always things you can do on your way to work and if your hands are busy, you can consider using the text-to-speech option from your smartphone or an app. You can learn how to use this feature or app options here.
8. Schedule your emails
Emails are a great way to communicate, however, sometimes they can be distracting and time consuming. For this reason, it is a great idea to schedule them. Remember that if you send 50 emails in one day, you run the risk of getting 50 replies, which may set you back a considerate amount of time and reduce the number of tasks you can achieve in a day. Therefore, consider scheduling less important emails to be sent later on the week or in another time of the day. You can learn how schedule emails in Microsoft Outlook here or use other options such as RightInbox.
9. Surround yourself with productive people
Research has found that the people around you have a great impact on your work. Therefore, try to surround yourself with hard-working people and avoid the ones that are not productive as they can negatively impact your productivity. It is unsure whether this is caused by inspiration, peer pressure or a combination of both, nevertheless, this is a great possibility to boost your productivity.
10. Remember to rest
No matter how much more productive you want to be, you also need to rest. Not sleeping properly will only affect your productivity the following day as you might feel tired and unable to focus. Therefore, do not sacrifice the hours you need to stay well rested.
This said, even after properly sleeping sometimes you might still feel tired during the day. In order to stay alerted and focused on your tasks, you can consider a coffee nap. This type of power nap is proven to be more effective than regular naps and can help you get a boost of energy during the day. In order to take a coffee nap, you’ll need to drink a cup of coffee and immediately follow this by trying to sleep or relax for 20 minutes. After this time has passed, you will wake up much more energetic and ready to keep on working at your usual speed.