How to become productive with some really easy tips
Have you ever had moments in your life where certain tasks seemed insurmountable? Or have you felt that everything is upside down and it’s hard to navigate in the midst of responsibilities? Everyone has such moments in their lives, but fortunately, there are some really good ways to be more productive.
1. Remember what motivated you in the beginning
One of the best tips for being more productive is to remember your “why.” If you’ve decided to do something, you probably have a good reason for doing it. Say it out loud or write it down on paper. If this goal is still exciting to you, you may already feel more motivated.
If the reason you’re doing something is just that someone else asked you to do it, remind yourself of what bigger goals you can achieve by doing that thing—a salary increase, a promotion, or something else.
However, if you don’t find any good reason to complete what you started, it’s probably not that important to you. Maybe you’re pursuing an old goal that no longer interests you.
Or are you fulfilling someone else’s goals that you mistakenly thought were yours? In that case, take the time to re-evaluate the situation and don’t bother doing anything that doesn’t matter to you.
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2. Focus your attention on the right things
You need to know how and where to focus your attention. While time management means allocating your time over 24 hours, attention management refers to the ability to plan daily activities by thinking about how to focus on the task and get it done.
During the day, the average smartphone owner receives a lot of notifications on their phone from Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, the mailbox, and so on.
Such messages are basically a list of actions that other people dictate to you. Learning to stay away from these dictated activities is one of the best productivity hacks.
The ability to focus has two elements: prioritization and focusing. Prioritization means choosing which tasks to devote time to. Focusing means having the ability to make things happen in the current situation.
If you’re looking for ways to be more productive, you should know that you can actually develop the ability to focus through meditation.
Apps such as Headspace or Calm are perfect for meditation. Several studies have shown that meditation helps reduce how much you divide your attention between two tasks.
It’s also recommended to plan a phone-free time before sleep. You can use that time to read a book to get a better night’s sleep. Insomnia reduces your memory, ability to perform simple everyday tasks, and attention skills.
Exercise daily to release endorphins into your bloodstream and keep yourself happy and stress-free. Exercise reduces cortisol levels. Cortisol is basically a stress hormone. If you’re consistent with working out, it helps you focus better, process information faster, and develop a better memory.
And if you want to achieve something right at the beginning of the day, make your bed first thing in the morning. Not only does this small achievement create a good feeling, but it’s also an opportunity to come home to a tidy bed after a hard day.
3. Improve your ability to focus
Improve your ability to focus. So, you get a message on your phone and take a look at it for a moment, thinking it won’t affect your workflow. However, research shows that after being interrupted, it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for you to recover from the interruption.
Therefore, it’s very important to reduce the number of distractions during the day. Turn off these notifications.
One thing that tends to distract us is other tasks we keep thinking about. One way to deal with this is to write down these tasks quickly so that you can continue working on your current task. A plain sheet of paper will do for that, but you can also use Todoist.
Todoist.com is very convenient for writing down your tasks. At first, you can write everything you can think of on todoist.com and later categorize these tasks. As for your tasks, keep track of which ones are important, what you are able to do this day, and how much work you have to do.
4. Reduce distractions
Reduce distractions. I can guarantee you that it’s one of those bulletproof ways to be more productive. Remove all these notifications. Gradually, add back only the ones you really need. It’s a very liberating feeling when you’re no longer distracted by pointless notifications.
Silence is golden. Bose noise-canceling headphones are great for that. They’re the best investment if you have to work in a loud place because they help you do a lot of things in silence, even if you’re in a super crowded environment.
Decide if external distractions are friends or enemies, such as browser windows, Facebook messages, ringing phones, music, loud neighbors, to-do lists in your mind, and so on.
Decide for yourself what your distractions are and what doesn’t bother you at all. If constantly looking at your emails bothers you, then try not to give in to the urge to look at them. Shut down the Internet and put your phone in “do not disturb” mode.
However, there may be moments when you feel depressed while working on your tasks. You might need a short pause to distract your thoughts and then return with a fresh perspective.
Try to find the right activity for you: look out the window for five minutes, make yourself a cup of coffee, or go to Pinterest to get some daily inspiration. Do something that motivates you and allows you to return to your tasks with fresh energy.
5. Learn to set priorities
Just because you’re always in a hurry doesn’t mean you’re productive. Therefore, it’s important that you do the right tasks at the right time.
Todoist.com allows you to set priorities by using flags. The most important tasks can be marked in red, the second-most important tasks in orange, the third-place tasks in yellow, and the fourth-place tasks in white.
If you don’t need to do certain tasks, remove them. If someone else can do certain tasks better, delegate them.
If you’re working on a task but have more important tasks to work on and don’t have time to finish it, postpone it. If you have to do a certain task and it’s a priority, do it immediately.
Also, another one of the best ways to be productive is to learn to say no. Don’t accept all offers. The desire to please people makes you work harder, but eventually, the quality of your work will suffer. Remember, you can do anything, but not everything.
6. Write everything down, and keep a notebook and a pen at hand
Start writing everything down. This is one of the keys to learning how to become productive. Yes, you heard it right. The most important step towards a better and more productive future is to write down all your goals, wishes, tasks, dreams, and thoughts.
Find enough time to write down everything you have wanted to do in your life, as well as the things you need to do. Make it a habit.
From time to time, we all have thoughts that lead us away from the activities we are doing at a certain moment. Always keep paper and a pen, a tablet, a phone, etc. nearby.
Then you will be able to write down your thoughts so that you can continue doing what you were doing before those new ideas popped into your head.
Write down all the thoughts, even the “pointless ones,” because one thought leads to another, and in the end, they might lead to something very big.
7. Sort out your thoughts, plans, and tasks
You need to sort out and categorize all your thoughts, plans, and tasks. You need to do that so that you can move on to the planning phase. How you sort your notes depends on you.
Find a way to make a logical plan. The easiest way is to divide the notes into categories and then sort them by importance and date. If possible, add a deadline to the activities.
This way, you’re giving yourself a big picture of the things and activities you want to do and achieve. It’s very important to make it clear to yourself whether certain things are important or unimportant.
You can postpone unimportant things or actually delete them from the list. If it’s possible to delegate any tasks and activities, consider that option as well, because you can save a lot of time this way.
During sorting out your plans and tasks, it’s recommended to keep your mind open and try to find different solutions and options by thinking outside the box.
Try not to think about the finish, but focus on the start. When you have divided your goals and tasks into smaller steps, you don’t need to do more than one step at a time, which means you can focus on very specific activities and not be distracted by other things.
8. Planning is one of the best ways to be productive
Some of your goals may seem frighteningly large and impossible. In order to achieve the goal, you must first divide it into smaller parts.
Imagine that your goal or task is like a book with a title. Now you need to write a table of contents that divides it into smaller goals and activities, or “chapters.” Divide the tasks into smaller steps until they no longer seem too large or impossible.
Your path to your goals must be clear. Even if it takes a long time to map and plan tasks at first, you’ve still won, because it’s easier to start any journey if the direction and the route are clear.
It’s wiser to start planning with a big goal and move closer and closer to the current situation. Write down all the steps you need to take to achieve the end result.
Of course, there will be surprises and changes along the way, but your goal is to get to the first steps. The rest will be resolved along the way because planning is an ongoing activity and plans need to be constantly updated.
You can also try my monthly reset routine which helps me reset my month and start with a clean slate.
Plan your week in advance. Planning a week in advance is good because the week is short enough to see results and long enough for you to have time to implement your plans.
Do this on a Sunday night or Monday morning, for example. What are these 5–10 things you definitely need to do this week? What are the activities you need to do right away, and what can you postpone until the end of the week? How much time do these tasks require?
Mark them on your calendar. Every day, prioritize one or two of the most important things and focus on them first. It’s easy to put things off and bury yourself in responsibilities, but if you have only a few tasks, it’s much easier to have control over them.
Don’t worry if you have days that aren’t very productive. We all have days like this; no one is productive every day. If you can complete a few tasks on a bad day, that’s an achievement in itself.
9. Clear your thoughts
Don’t burden yourself with excessive thoughts and worries. Paper and pen are the easiest way to relieve your brain of overburden.
Once you’ve written down an idea, you can temporarily forget it because you can always read it again on paper later. Use your head to think, not to remember unimportant things. When your head is empty of other thoughts, you can fully commit to your goals.
A notebook, calendar, email, reminder, alarm clock, phone, etc. are your best friends to keep you from forgetting things. If writing it down isn’t enough, you can leave hints as a reminder: put a project or work-related thing somewhere you can see it often to keep you alert.
10. Even small actions have a positive effect
You certainly know this feeling when you finish something. This feeling is good, and it inspires you to do something new.
That’s why one of the best ways to be productive is to make sure that your goals are divided into smaller parts. This gives you a better idea of the speed of progress, and every small step you take motivates you to take the next step.
An example: When you’re running, don’t think that you’re running 5 kilometers. Think that you’re going for a short run. After running one kilometer, think about running another kilometer.
When you run kilometer by kilometer like this, you can end up running 10 kilometers, and in the end, it doesn’t seem so difficult at all.
Focus on small achievements because every small step forward is an opportunity to create your own “moment.” You can keep a diary or write down the tasks and goals that have been completed.
11. Come up with a daily schedule
Come up with a daily schedule. Those days that go according to plan are generally more active than unscheduled days.
Think, for example, of the days when someone else has planned your day for you. It can be training, a holiday trip, workshops, or any organized activity. These days have one thing in common: you have achieved much more than you ever imagined.
If you’re looking for ways to be more productive, try to create a positive routine in your life that will make your days more enjoyable. You can start by creating your own morning, lunch, and night rituals.
These are the anchors of your day and the sources of your energy. In any case, these rituals must be positive. The ritual can be drinking coffee, reading the newspaper, walking, exercising, cooking, or any activity you enjoy. It’s important that it becomes a good habit and instills positivity in you.
Divide your morning, afternoon, and evening into smaller parts and fill them with different activities. Every day of the week doesn’t have to be the same. What matters is that you’ll complete the necessary tasks.
You don’t have to work on one task for 10 hours in a row; you get the same result if you do it for 2 hours every day for 5 days straight. Everyone needs alternation.
Make a list of things not to do. This is just as important as the list of things you need to do. Take a look at yourself and try to find things that are leading you off track. Try to find a solution to avoid them in the future.
12. Start your day on a positive note
One of the ways to be more productive is to start your day on a good note. Get something done right at the beginning of the day. When you start the day by finishing something, it immediately creates a better mood.
Secondly, it’s important that you work on unpleasant things in the first third of the day. This will reduce your workload and improve your mood significantly.
When you’ve managed to overcome the inconveniences, it means that the day can only get better. If you leave unpleasant things until the very last minute, they will bother you all day and prevent you from enjoying your day.
In his book, The Miracle Morning, Hal Elrod says that starting the day strong is the key to success. We are often tempted in the morning to postpone our alarm clock and procrastinate.
However, it has a devastating effect on productivity—you’re already breaking your promises early in the morning. Self-esteem and confidence do start with small things, like fulfilling promises you make to yourself.
13. Link the activities
There are dozens of moments in our day when we’re waiting for something or someone, and there are also situations where there is simply a gap in the day where we can’t do anything.
If the free time you have is long enough, it’s good to have a list of things you need to do; you can fill the gaps immediately with suitable activities.
Linking activities is certainly among some very good tips for being more productive. When you’re waiting at a bus stop, in a queue, or during a TV commercial, you can use this time to read emails, read a book, read the news, and so on.
Use these short moments for some entertainment so that you won’t be tempted later when you actually need to work. Use the bus ride to reply to emails or read a book. If you’re used to grabbing your phone or scrolling on your computer while eating, you could replace it with reading.
Of course, it’s not a good idea to read during every meal because you have to enjoy the food. But reading educates you more than watching TV, and it also keeps your mind fresh.
14. Monitor and reward your progress
You need to evaluate and reward your progress because it creates a sense of well-being. The more time you take to monitor your achievements and plan future activities, the more productive you will be.
Frequent analysis of tasks and goals helps you find new solutions and set new goals. You get a good idea of how fast you’re going and can make changes if necessary.
It’s also important to reward smaller wins to keep you motivated. Some projects are so large that it may seem as if things aren’t moving forward. That is why it is important to break everything down into smaller steps.
At first, it may seem that you’re stuck, but after taking a closer look at things, it may turn out that you are moving toward the goal, just very slowly.
Find a way to reward yourself from time to time. It can be a walk, listening to music, reading, just taking a break, or a small nap—whatever works for you.
It’s important that you reward yourself as soon as you’ve achieved the goal because it creates a link between effort and reward.
If necessary, keep track of time. Write down the time you spend on different activities and analyze them. It may be necessary to make changes and reduce or increase the time you spend on some activities.
Monitoring plays an important role in self-analysis. Many people keep track of their expenses and income, but it’s just as important to keep track of your time usage.
15. Create a pleasant environment
Everything goes much better if it takes place in a pleasant environment. Find something that motivates you and makes you feel better. It can be music, a picture, a new tool, a workshop, and so on.
Think about what would make your environment more pleasant and try to do something about it. It’s important that you get rid of distractions because one distraction leads to another.
At all costs, avoid the stress associated with your activities, as this will lower your mood and affect your results. Clutter is stressful. Stress is a big distraction, which can also be caused by the mess that surrounds you.
Organize your workspace. So, look at the desk and desktop as well. For me, working in an organized space helps me think more clearly. What about you? What kind of environment sends a signal to your brain and tells it that “it’s time to work”?
Do you know this feeling when an activity is so pleasant and exciting that you lose track of time? One of the ways to be more productive is to create that feeling every time you want to do something well and with commitment.
Getting started is always the hardest part, but if the environment and preparation are right, it’s much easier to do that.
16. Stop being afraid
Big goals and dreams can scare us, and we postpone them because we are afraid of failing. By doing so, we think we’re protecting ourselves from the possibility that our dreams may be shattered.
It’s better to live with the knowledge that maybe someday in the future, these dreams will come true than to feel the painful truth that these things will not happen. So, for many, it’s better not to try at all and just keep dreaming.
But instead of dreaming and worrying, it’s better to just start taking action. I can guarantee you it’s among the best tips for being more productive.
Plan properly and move towards your goals step by step. With the right planning and commitment, there is a good chance that you will achieve your goals sooner than you would have expected. Here’s the only life and goal planner that you need in this life.
Allow yourself to fail. Take the time to experiment and let ideas fly freely. Keep in mind that all ideas don’t have to be good, but they can lead to the next good idea.
No one can escape setbacks. People are wrong, so what? If necessary, take your time, do something else for a change, and start over.
Failure doesn’t have to be final. Make the necessary corrections, and remember to learn from your mistakes. Think about what and how much you learned from this mistake.
This is your journey; this is not a race. If you find that you’re falling off the track, stop for a moment and think about what is wrong and what is taking you away from the goal. Maybe your goals are poorly worded or need to be restructured.
17. Move towards your big goal
If you’re wondering how to become more productive, you have to set measurable goals for yourself. If you can’t measure your goals, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll achieve them.
Think about it. How can you mark your goals as “done” if you can’t measure them? This in turn leads to the stress of not having the desired results.
Analyze your goals and responsibilities and evaluate them to see if they are important to achieving your big goals. If something just robs you of energy and doesn’t contribute to your well-being, try to get rid of it.
Try to connect as much of your daily activities as possible to your big dreams and goals. Ideally, 50% of your daily activities should bring you closer to your big goals. Don’t spend more than 20% of your day on things that won’t be important in a few months.
17 bulletproof ways to be more productive
That’s it for this post about the best productivity hacks. Tell me, do you have any tips for making your day more productive? Let me know in the comments below. I would love to hear your thoughts!
I’m a personal growth and self-care expert, as well as an avid motorcycle enthusiast and coffee and sweets lover. Through Lauraconteuse, I provide insightful and practical advice on topics such as self-care, self-love, personal growth, and productivity, drawing from my very own extensive experience and knowledge in the field. My blog has helped countless people achieve their goals and live more fulfilling lives, and my goal is to continue to inspire and empower others.