We all have goals and things that we want to accomplish on a day-to-day basis, but we often struggle finding enough hours to getting things done. I’m no exception, especially as I try to juggle 50-hour work weeks, create content for my personal brand, connect with thought leaders in the digital world and maintain a healthy social life with friends and family. Whether it’s completing simple chores around the house or investing time in side projects, this post will provide a few ways on how to increase productivity without drastically revamping your entire daily routine.
- 1 Tip #1: Write Out Your Goals/To-Do List
- 2 Tip #2: Figure Out When You’re the Most And Least Productive
- 3 Tip #3: Avoid Distractions At All Costs
- 4 Tip #4: Wake Up An Hour Earlier Than You Normally Would
- 5 Tip #5: Write Out Monthly and Yearly Goals For Accountability
- 6 Tip #6: Make Sure You’re Sleeping Enough
- 7 Tip #7: Take Time To Unwind and Have Fun
- 8 7 Quick Tips On How To Increase Productivity Recap
Tip #1: Write Out Your Goals/To-Do List
As we start our day, we’re faced with a flurry of ideas about what we need to get done, but either forget or rush to do certain things as they come up. The best way that I remember to stay on task and to organize my game plan for the day is to write out my goals and to-do list in a notebook before I go to bed every night.
It seems small, but it works wonders in keeping yourself organized as you enter a new day with a busy plate. Writing out your to-do list also creates a positive snowball effect as you cross off the list of tasks you set for yourself to complete.
I try to perform small tasks when I wake up to get my day started, relegating more intensive tasks to the late morning or early afternoon once the caffeine rids me of that early morning grogginess. Usually I’ll make my bed, hit a cold shower, review my to-do list, go for a quick jog and do some light reading in the first hour of waking up to get me on track for the rest of the day.
Tip #2: Figure Out When You’re the Most And Least Productive
It’s impossible to stay motivated and productive every waking moment of your day. We all have our slump periods, whether it’s right after lunch or walking in the door after a busy shift and it’s important to identify when you’re productive or entering that slump period of the day.
Beyond writing out my to-do list, I assign each task with a difficulty ranking of 1 or 2. When I’m the most productive, I try to accomplish those higher difficulty tasks while performing the simpler ones for when I’m the least productive.
My highest hours of personal productivity are from 5-7:30 a.m., and from 7-11:30 p.m., while my productivity gradually decreases from 1-6 p.m. as I grind away at work.
One hack that I use to get into the right mindset after finishing a shift is to take a power nap as soon as a I get home. I’ll pop a caffeine pill before I take that nap and when I wake up, I’m refreshed, energized and ready to tackle the remainder of my to-do list before unwinding for bed around midnight.
Tip #3: Avoid Distractions At All Costs
As we start crunching away at our to-do lists, the biggest issue many people face is spending their time unproductively and wasting more time than they anticipated. For me this takes the form of mindlessly surfing through YouTube Videos and my social media feeds; five minutes might turn into half an hour if I’m not careful, and most people have the same dilemma. Whether it’s social media, reading random articles on Reddit and Google, or binge-watching television shows, we often spend hours every day wasting time for that quick dopamine hit and feeling of instant gratification from entertainment.
I’ve gotten into the habit of shutting my phone off, only turning it on to check on things every few hours. If I’m surfing around on social media, I will scroll 10 posts deep and then scroll up; once I hit the top of my newsfeed again I exit out of the browser or app. For television shows and YouTube videos I’ll play them in the background as I do more mindless work that isn’t thought-intensive.
Again, it’s impossible to be productive every waking moment of the day, but don’t fall into the habit of rewarding yourself with social media or television shows to find yourself knee-deep in newsfeeds and the “Are You Still There” pop-up on Netflix.
To break up my time, I’ll allocate 45 minutes of productive work where I completely focus on the task at hand, while I devote 15 minutes to meditation or getting up to walk around and unwind before returning to the task at hand.
Tip #4: Wake Up An Hour Earlier Than You Normally Would
No one likes waking up early, myself included, but getting up an hour earlier than you normally would works wonders for productivity.
It lets you organize your thoughts, set to work on your tasks and start that positive snowball before heading into work. Like I mentioned earlier, I wake up at 5 a.m. every day to go for that morning run, do some light-reading, check up on my website analytics and social media notifications, and even do some yoga and meal prep before heading into the work.
If you’re waking up late and are in a frenzy to get ready and out the door to head to work, that’ll follow you into the rest of your day and you’ll feel frazzled, fried and disoriented trying to figure out what you need to do.
Tip #5: Write Out Monthly and Yearly Goals For Accountability
While writing out daily goals is a great start, creating monthly and yearly goals to strive for is the best way to be productive and continue improving yourself.
Daily goals are short-term and should be those steps you’re making to accomplish those monthly and yearly goals.
With my daily goals I’ll task myself with working out, engaging on social media, writing posts for my website, recording podcasts and vlogs, reading, doing yoga, etc… but it’s easy to get lost in the weeds or become de-motivated when you don’t have that higher bar you’re trying to reach.
Inversely, it’s also demotivating to set those monthly and yearly goals, only to reach that month end and realize you weren’t even close to what you wanted to accomplish because you weren’t making those daily steps to reach that goal.
I talk about this in other blog posts and podcasts, but take that time to sit down, evaluate what you want to accomplish and the steps you’re taking to get there. Thirty-day challenges are great for this, especially as it takes weeks to build habits and routines, or having accountability buddies to spur each other on and encouraging one another to stick with it.
Tip #6: Make Sure You’re Sleeping Enough
I don’t practice what I preach for tip #6, but as a society we often downplay the importance of getting a good night’s sleep to greet the day productively. Not getting enough sleep won’t have any serious detriments in the short term, but as our bodies become sleep-deprived our energy levels plummet, cognitive function decreases for complex decision-making and it becomes harder to wake up on time in the morning.
Eventually we burn ourselves out and either sleep through alarms or spend the weekend as a couch potato recovering from a restless week. Get at least 6-8 hours of sleep and go to bed/wake up at the same time every day.
Tip #7: Take Time To Unwind and Have Fun
As I’ve stated several times through this post, we can’t be productive every waking moment of the day. While we can maximize our productivity, it’s crucial to take time out of our day to engage in behaviors to destress/unwind. Whether it’s reading a book, watching that television show, playing a video game or meeting up with friends, we need to allocate some time to unwind.
There’s a difference between mindlessly wasting time and using it meaningfully to destress. If you don’t take that time out of your week to relax, you’re going to start building a negative association with your tasks and start pushing them off for the following day/week.
I a hard-stop for myself at 11 p.m. to stop anything I didn’t accomplish on my to-do list and begin to unwind for bed. I’ll either sit down to read, play a video game, watch a few episodes of my favorite show or bury myself in Reddit threads to my heart’s content until midnight turning in for the evening.
7 Quick Tips On How To Increase Productivity Recap
While these are simple tips for increasing productivity, they’re effective in maximizing the 16 waking hours you have in the day to getting things done. I hope you found this post to be helpful and I would love to hear what you do to stay productive in the comments section below!