How to Boost Productivity to the Max (Tips That Really Work)

Last Updated on January 29, 2023

How to increase your productivity to the max

I’m one of those people who has a natural tendency to procrastinate, so I’m constantly reading articles about how to boost productivity. I love staying up late, watching my favorite Netflix shows (hi, fellow Brooklyn Nine-Nine fans!), sleeping in, and taking my time to drink my morning coffee. Sometimes I close my eyes for a second and the day has flown by while I haven’t achieved a single thing.

I kept wondering why I wasn’t achieving any of the goals I’d set. That used to happen to me quite often, and one day I realized this needs to change if I want to get to a place where I have achieved my goals and I’m happy with my life. I decided I was going to take control of my life and stop procrastinating.

However, having a productive day doesn’t mean doing as many things as possible. What matters is how efficient you are at using your time. We need to prioritize quality over quantity.

You might say that you like being spontaneous, and I totally get that. I do too. I want my days to be exciting, but I’ve realized you can have fun while being productive as well.

Are you tired of getting nothing done? Are you tired of not having enough time to do everything on your to-do list? Do you wish you could have more time for your hobbies and interests? Read my suggestions to increase your productivity by using well-known methods like the Eisenhower matrix or time blocking.

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This post may contain affiliate links. That means that if you click on a link and purchase something I recommend, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Create goals and rewards for your goals to increase your productivity

Goals are a great way to keep you focused and on track. The main thing is that you need to know what you want to achieve. It’ll be difficult to determine whether you were productive or not if you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve.

If you set at least one goal for every day, your week will be much more productive. When setting goals, make sure they’re simple, measurable, relevant, and realistic. Make sure to write down your goals, because writing them down strengthens your intentions dramatically.

Set aside time to plan your day. I recommend you create a schedule for the following day the night before. I’m not a morning person, so the more work I have done the night before, the happier I am in the morning.

Be more specific. Instead of writing “clean your living room”, write “mop the floors and declutter your workspace”.

However, don’t overload your calendar. If you overwhelm yourself, it will have a reverse effect, and instead of being more productive, you’ll end up being exhausted and burned out.

Fun fact: Dopamine is a known happiness hormone that acts as a pleasure and reward chemical. Dopamine is important for keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to achieve them, as well as rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood.

It means that when we keep working toward our goals, we feel good because every time we achieve something, dopamine creates a sensation of pleasure. Keep reading if you want to know how to increase your dopamine levels naturally.

The Eisenhower matrix helps you boost productivity by helping you decide

If you have too many tasks at hand and you don’t know where to start, try using this Eisenhower matrix.

First, take some notepaper. Write a task you want to complete on each piece of paper. Before creating your task list, put all your tasks into one pile. Then start dividing them into four categories:

  • Urgent & Important
  • Urgent & Not Important
  • Not Urgent & Important
  • Not Urgent & Not Important

Now that you have four piles, you can start working on them.

Tasks that belong in the Urgent & Important section are the ones you need to do right now or at least as soon as possible.

Tasks that belong in the Urgent & Not Important section are the ones that you can delegate. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and delegate your tasks.

Tasks that belong in the Not Urgent & Important section are the ones you can do a little bit later, whether it’s this week or the following week.

Tasks that belong in the Not Urgent & Not Important section are the ones that you can drop. For example, watching TV is neither important nor urgent, so you can work on your other tasks instead.

Another option is to create a vision board. You can use Canva, PicMonkey, or another program to create a vision board of your goals and motivators. Make sure to print it out and hang it somewhere you can see it all the time.

I really believe in visualizing and manifesting. If you have a visual of the things you want to achieve, chances are higher that those visuals will come true.

The more time you spend visualizing something and thinking you already have (achieved) it, the more energy you will put into this thing. Therefore, the universe understands what you want and will grant you your wishes.

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Break the task into smaller sections and batch similar tasks together

Do you know this feeling when you have multiple things on your to-do list and you start doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that? Then you see an interesting article about alpacas that you certainly need to read, and eventually you’ll get nothing done by the end of the day because you didn’t have a strict plan. Yeah, I’ve experienced this way too often.

When I was looking for new ways that would show me how to boost productivity and achieve more goals, I found that a lot of people use the time-blocking method.

Time-blocking means setting aside (aka blocking) time on your calendar to complete a certain task. When you use the time-blocking method, you basically divide your day into time blocks. Each block is dedicated to a certain task.

Time-blocking is important for many reasons:

  1. If you write something down, the chances are much higher that you’ll actually work on this task.
  2. You won’t have to make constant decisions about what to focus on if your days are time-blocked in advance. All you have to do is stick to your schedule.
  3. Your productivity will improve because you’re focusing on one task and not multitasking.
  4. You don’t want to let yourself down, so you have to commit to your schedule.

Distractions will happen, and you can’t always estimate the correct time you need for a task, but don’t let it bother you.

Take an empty calendar, prioritize your tasks by importance (you can use the Eisenhower matrix I mentioned before), and fill in your calendar with your tasks. You need to decide how much time you want to dedicate to each task.

The first week of time blocking is probably the hardest because you might not have any idea how much time each task requires. That’s why you should have a look at your time-blocking schedule after the first week to see how much time you thought certain tasks would take and how much time they actually took. This way, you can adjust your schedule for the next week accordingly.

I’m going to do another post on time-blocking soon, but if you’re really interested in this technique, Todoist has written a great article about time-blocking.

RELATED: Productive things to do at home that prevent procrastination

Avoid multitasking, but know when to multitask

There’s this saying that multitasking is a great way to get a lot done at once. I believe the opposite. According to research, multitasking can reduce productivity by as much as 40%.

One of the best ways to avoid multitasking is by using the time-blocking method that I mentioned above.

Now, not all multitasking is bad. A good example of multitasking is listening to podcasts or audiobooks while taking public transportation to go to work or go home after work. This will improve the quality of your day enormously since instead of using that time to scroll on Facebook, you’ll broaden your knowledge and gain some inspiration.

I know some people also listen to podcasts while driving, but since it’s advised not to let other things distract your attention from driving, I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether it’s a suitable option for you.

Another guaranteed way to increase your productivity is by doing the hardest task first

They call it “eating the frog.” Think about it. If you do the hardest task first, you will get a huge load off your shoulders. However, if you leave the hardest task hanging till the end of the day, you’ll constantly think about it, which will ruin your overall progress.

I always tend to leave my hardest work tasks hanging until the end of the day. I tell myself, “Oh, I’ll do it at 6 PM,” and sometimes I’m even too tired to do it when the time comes. This means I’ll either 1. still do this task, but with reduced quality, since I’m tired, or 2. I’ll postpone it until the next day.

This is not productive behavior at all. That’s why I suggest you eat the frog and do the hardest task first thing in the morning. Trust me, you’ll thank me and yourself as well.

Instead of a to-do list, create a ta-da list

This is a great way to motivate yourself. Instead of worrying about the many things you have left on your task list, write down all the things you have achieved so far.

Give yourself credit for every small thing you have achieved this day. It won’t take long, but it’s really encouraging to see what you’re capable of, and it’s guaranteed to motivate you to continue completing your daily task list.

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Take short breaks in between the tasks

Some people think taking breaks means you’re automatically being counterproductive. I strongly disagree with that. If you work really hard and continuously without breaks, you’ll eventually get tired and start working slower. You might even make mistakes you wouldn’t make if you weren’t so tired. That won’t help you boost productivity at all.

Instead of working non-stop, take short breaks and use the Pomodoro technique to help you ease your workflow. The Pomodoro technique means you choose a certain task, set a timer for 25 minutes, and work on this chosen task for these 25 minutes.

Then take a short 5-minute break. After 4 rounds, you can take a longer pause that lasts 20–30 minutes, and then you can repeat this whole process again.

Use your phone as a reward at the end of the day, not as a break. Better yet, turn off your phone during work or, if it’s too extreme, turn off all notifications. Instead of using your breaks to scroll on Instagram, go outside and take a small walk. Or if you have a balcony, you can use these 15–30 minutes to enjoy some free D-vitamin.

Another thing I’ve found helpful with time management is organizing your social media feeds. Unfollow people who add no value to your life, and keep the people who motivate and inspire you.

If you now use your time to scroll on Instagram and Facebook, at least you’re not wasting your time trying to find the accounts that would motivate you, because they’re all already there and the unmotivating people are gone. Trust me, it will save you some time, but it’s also good for improving your mental health.

RELATED: Participate in my fun 30-day productivity challenge to turn your life around

Change your mindset

You need to believe and imagine that everything you need to do can and will be done. If you start feeling uninspired or unproductive, switch up your techniques or workplace.

For example, if you usually work behind your desk, go to the kitchen for a change. Or if you have a balcony, even better! Working in fresh air is guaranteed to get your creative juices flowing.

Use the right music to boost your creativity and productivity. Some people like working in silence, and some people like having light background music. Find what works for you.

I’m among the ones who prefer to work in silence, but I like listening to music while brainstorming ideas for my blog. However, I do believe that music helps to set the mood and bring out the creative side in us.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We’re so used to being told that we should be independent and not ask for help. I think that’s not the case.

If you try to do everything on your own, you’ll start to feel burned out. Think of your tasks and decide which ones you have to do yourself and which ones you can delegate. I’m sure people around you wouldn’t mind helping you out if they only knew what you needed help with.

Work hard, but remember to take care of yourself as well. Don’t forget the importance of getting proper sleep, eating nutritious food, and drinking enough water. You won’t function properly if you’re dehydrated, malnourished, or haven’t slept long enough.

I’m not kidding; ever since I started drinking 8 cups of water per day, I’ve noticed a huge increase in my workflow and productivity, because I felt I had more energy and was able to focus on my work more thoroughly. According to research, drinking water significantly affects your energy levels and brain function.

I highly recommend you this motivational water bottle, as it motivates you to drink more water. This way, you don’t have to worry about whether you’ve drunk enough water or not.

Create a morning and night routine

Decide or find out when you are the most efficient and use your brainpower during that time. For example, I know that I’m most efficient from 8 a.m. until 12 a.m.

That’s when I usually work the hardest. I suggest you find your most efficient time and use it, well, efficiently. Don’t postpone things, as you won’t be able to work on them at full capacity when you’re not so full of energy anymore.

Create a morning routine that helps you get up with less effort. For example, you can start your morning by drinking a glass of water and planning your day ahead. I prefer to schedule my day the night before because knowing what I have to do this day motivates me to wake up faster and earlier.

Create a nighttime routine that includes (and this is a really important part) at least one hour of no screen time before bed. Checking your phone before bed keeps your mind engaged. Your phone emits blue light, which is not only bad for your vision but also for your brain because exposure to blue light suppresses your melatonin levels.

Therefore, it’s harder for you to fall asleep right after using your phone. If you have trouble falling asleep, you’ll probably have trouble waking up at the right time as well. These blue-light glasses are pretty affordable, and they also come in different colors and patterns, which is a good bonus.

RELATED: Here’s how I start my mornings on a productive note

Preparing is the key

Preparation is the key to everything, because yes, we plan something, but sometimes distractions and accidents happen. So, if we haven’t prepared properly, we’ll be stuck because we have too many things to focus on.

I’m going to give you a good example of what I mean. Imagine you are scheduling your day the night before. You plan to wake up at 5 AM, drink some coffee, and get ready for your job interview that starts at 8 AM. So, you set your alarm for 5 AM, but for some reason, you keep hitting the snooze button.

When you open your eyes, it’s almost 7 a.m., and you start to panic. “What am I going to do? My brain won’t function when I’m hungry, but I don’t have time to prepare a meal! I don’t even have time to pick out proper clothes!”

That’s when preparation comes in handy. To avoid such situations, you could have done the following the night before: 1. Prepared the coffee machine if possible; 2. Planned and prepared your meal; and 3. Decided on your outfit for the day. See where I’m going with this?

Scheduling the following day and preparing as much as possible helps to avoid crisis situations. It’s a good thing if these situations don’t happen, but life has shown me that they tend to happen just when you’re not ready for them.

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Get up earlier to increase your productivity

Ever heard of the 5 AM club? It’s been proven that getting up earlier is a guaranteed way to improve your productivity. Not all of us are morning people, but our routines can be changed.

Changing your sleep patterns won’t happen overnight, so you need to start by going to bed a little bit earlier day by day until you have found an optimal time for yourself so that if you go to sleep and wake up at 5 AM, you feel fresh and good. My optimal time to go to bed is around 10 p.m., but that works differently for everyone.

Think about it: If you get up an hour earlier every day, you’ll have 365 extra hours that you can spend on improving yourself and achieving your goals. If you do that for ten years, you’ll have 3650 hours that you can spend on yourself.

And if you get up two hours earlier, that number is doubled. Would you say “no” if someone offered you 730 extra hours every year?

There’s a saying that we all have the same number of hours in a day, and it’s true. It’s up to us how we use those hours.

RELATED: Here’s the secret that helps me wake up early

Learning how to boost productivity is relatively easy

At the end of the day, don’t be too harsh on yourself. Think about how far you’ve come. You’re doing all of this for yourself, so you just have to keep going.

Sometimes I find it really hard to motivate myself, and I’d rather lay on my bed and watch Netflix, but I keep forcing myself to do things even if I don’t feel like doing anything. All you need is very strong willpower, and you can achieve whatever you set your mind to.

As you could read from this post, there are multiple ways that show you how to boost productivity. The main thing is to come up with a nice routine and stick to it. You know best what works for you and what doesn’t. I personally think planning is the key to everything because it helps you keep track of your tasks and how much work you need to do to accomplish those tasks.

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What are your favorite ways to increase your productivity to the max? Do you use any of my methods? How do you boost productivity? Do you use something I didn’t cover in my blog post? Let me know in the comments below!

11 thoughts on “How to Boost Productivity to the Max (Tips That Really Work)”

  1. I can relate to this so much! Thanks for the suggestions. I know I need to be much more specific with my goals and I love the idea of rewarding myself for them!

    Reply
  2. This is such a thorough post packed with lots of good advice! It’s great that you mentioned the importance of quality over quantity because so many people forget how impactful that is.

    Reply
  3. You blew my mind. I had never heard of the Eisenhower matrix, but now I wish I had had this method when I completed my PhD years ago. It will still come in handy with some of my current goals. Thank you!

    Reply
  4. This is a great post, thank you so much. I’m always trying to improve productivity. I fully agree with dedicating blocks of time to tasks, or batching tasks for efficiency. Your breakdown of the eisenhower matrix is interesting, I like how you chose to delegate out the non important tasks.

    I fully agree about the idea of less sleep and having way more time a year to do tasks. Instead of waking up early I’ve been sleeping later, but same outcome.

    Also I’ve never heard of a ta-da list. Great idea, thank you! It’s nice to focus on accomplishments!

    Reply
  5. This is the best list I’ve seen for productivity. Doing the hardest thing first is something I find I can do outside in my yard, but I need to start that inside on projects. Leaving the hardest to last means it won’t get done in my house. Thanks for the great ideas!

    Reply
  6. I found this post incredibly helpful because I am definitely a multitasker, and find that I have always have way too many things to focus on. I love that you go into how to delegate or set aside if it can wait or anything that’s urgent and also about distractions because it’s so true! Especially while I’m at work I get constant distractions and it’s so hard to focus once your concentration has been broken!

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