How do I increase my productivity and maximize my time?
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We all want to get more done every day.
When we’re so busy that we wish we just had an extra hour or two eat day to get it all done. Or for some us, we’d use that extra time to slow down.
No matter who you are, a busy mom trying to manage your time, a busy student trying to work and study, or an overwhelmed entrepreneur – productivity and time management matter to you.
Productivity isn’t just about accomplishing a lot, it’s about getting more done in less time.
That’s exactly why I’ve created this guide to increased productivity. To help you maximize your daily time with the best productivity tips and tricks.
For the past three years, I’ve been a busy blogger and entrepreneur who is always pushing the boundaries of what I can get done in a day. I’m excited to multiple my success and achieve my goals as soon as possible.
Not just to “make it” but so I can have more time for the things I enjoy and the people I love. More time for downtime, for hobbies, for travel and for food and family. I’m sure you can relate to the pursuit of work and life balance.
To help you do the same, here are the top ten productivity tips and tricks you need to know! And not just that, they’re strategies you can implement today and see results.
10 Ways to Increase Your Productivity Today
#1. Create a Must-Do List for Each Day
Do you feel like your to-do list is endless? Are you drowning in sticky notes and lists?
That’s okay! Your to-do list is going to feel unending, that’s why you need a must-do list instead.
Get started by first writing everything down that you need to do and want to do. Brain dump it all out onto a sheet of paper, blank document or even in Evernote.
You want to get it all out of your head. Not only does this declutter your mind, but when it’s rattling around in there it can be distracting. Not to mention that no matter how much you swear you have the best memory, you are bound to forget something important.
Paper and pen were invented for a reason – to write things down. And in this digital age, Google Docs and Evernote are perfect for writing a master to-do list.
Organize Your To-dos by Project
Take your long master list of everything you want to do and organize them by projects or themes, creating subcategories and subheadings where they make sense.
- For example, if you’ve written down all your to-dos for your business or blog, you can organize them by topics like marketing, product creation, blogging or social media.
- If on the other hand, if you’re a college student, you can organize your to-dos by your classes or even areas of your life like school, hobbies, and relationships.
- Lastly, say you’re a busy parent, instead of making one long list, you can organize your to-dos by categories like food, finances, and your kids.
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Prioritize Your To-dos by Importance and Urgency
One more thing to do at this step, as you’re organizing your list into smaller projects be sure to note any deadlines, due dates and important days. If something needs to get done by a certain date, you need to note it.
Next step is to rewrite your list according to importance, with the important tasks and projects towards the top, and less important more “would be nice” to-dos at the bottom. Use a goals planner, bullet journal, diary or even just a notebook to keep track of tasks.
If you’re not sure how to prioritize your tasks, ask yourself the following questions:
- What has a pressing deadline?
- Is someone waiting for me to complete something?
- Would there be consequences if I do not do this?
- Is this absolutely necessary and unavoidable?
- Would anyone notice if I didn’t do this?
- Can I do this later?
Ask each of these questions about any tasks you’re unsure about.
Make a Must-Do list from Your Master list
Now that you’ve written down everything and organized them by projects and priority, it’s time to assign tasks from your to-do list to your daily must-do list. This must-do is a prioritized list of three maximum daily tasks you have to complete.
Instead of looking at your very long and overwhelming master list every single day, you’ll focus on completing your three must-dos for that day.
With your favorite daily and weekly planner out in front of you, start by assigning the most urgent tasks to the next few days and weeks.
Remember, to limit no more than three to-dos to each day. If you can handle more, and finish your daily assignment early you can skip ahead to the next days.
As you get started, cross them off as you accomplish them, or use big checkmarks that make you feel accomplished. If something new comes up, simple update your master list or assign them to a day.
A normal to-do becomes a must-do when it’s necessary, timely and important to complete right now, like today.
By transforming your regular to-do list into a focused must-do list you’ve implemented one of the best productivity tips and tricks.
#2. Start Time Blocking and Task Batching
Do you find it hard to focus on getting something done? Are you always working on multiple things at once?
You seriously need to stop multi-tasking and switching tasks frequently. Instead of “jumping from fire to fire” have a strategy and a plan for how you’ll focus your time.
Think about it, instead of spending each day hopping from one type of task to the other, designate your time and each day of the week.
Take your daily or weekly planner and designate blocks of one hour or more to a single task (ex. Paying your bills) or type of task (ex. Banking and bookkeeping).
A pro-tip for this is to not just think about your time, but also your energy levels and ability to focus. When are you most energized? More creative? Most focused? All of this should impact your time blocking and task batching schedule.
Time Block Your Daily Schedule
It’s easy to time-block your schedule. If you’re using a paper planner, take a highlighter and divide the hours into chunks of time. Like, 9 am to 11 am, and then 1 pm to 3 pm and one hour at 5 pm.
These times can coincide with your energy levels, high energy in the morning, lower afternoon, and rebounding in the evening. They can also align with your routines and existing schedule (including when you work, go to school, eat and sleep or run errands).
Here are some relatable time-blocking examples:
- If you’re a blogger, you could designate the morning to create new content when you’re most thoughtful but your afternoons to posting on social media and checking emails when you’re feeling a bit sluggish.
- If you’re a college student, you could schedule all your classes in the morning when you’re most alert, and make sure you work on assignments in the early evening before you get too tired. Leaving things like reading textbooks and review to later when you don’t need as much creative energy.
Task Batch Your To-Dos
On the other hand, task batching means single-tasking. You’re basically working on one task (or type of task) for an extended period of time, anywhere from an hour to your focused hours over days.
This increases your productivity because the longer you focus on one single task, the faster you get and the less time it takes. So instead of jumping from task to task, you’re able to get more done at once. Then, move onto the next task.
Here are some examples of task-batching:
- If you’re an entrepreneur, you could assign all your marketing and outreach to Monday and Tuesdays of every week. Keep Wednesday’s for content creation, and then use Thursday and Friday’s for product work.
- If you’re a stay at home mom, you could spend Monday’s cleaning the bathrooms, Tuesday’s tidying the living room and kitchen, leave all the laundry for Wednesday, and run all your errands on Thursdays.
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Maximize Errands and Outtings
The same can be said for running errands and going out and about. Anytime you have to go to the grocery store, drive to work or do anything that requires you to go somewhere, maximize your time out.
With rush hours and insane gas prices, it’s in your best interest to maximize your time on the road. Make every trip count for more than one thing! Avoid busy times on the road that causes you to waste time sitting in traffic.
Plan your days in advance, by stacking appointments on the same day, doubling up errands that are in the same area. Why spend days zip-zagging around the city when you can get it all done in one day? Why come home just to have to go back out because you forgot something?
Here are a few super relatable examples:
- You have a doctors appointment on the other side of town, so you schedule it during off traffic hours so you can get home before rush hour and stop to get grocery’s on your way back uptown.
- You have bi-weekly massage appointments and you also need to stock up on supplies, so you leave early to do your shopping on the way to your appointment.
By maximizing outings, time-blocking, and task-batching you save incredible amounts of time each week. That’s why they’re one of the best productivity tips and tricks you need to start using.
#3. Set Goals and Sort Out Your Priorities
Have you set clear and concise goals? Do you know what your priorities are?
One of the main reasons we’re unproductive is that we don’t really know what we’re doing! Be honest now, do you have a strategy to achieve your goals or are you just throwing spaghetti at the wall hoping something sticks?
If we’re being really honest we waste a lot of time and energy we have on things that aren’t even important. Spending time working on things that don’t actually matter, wasting energy on unimportant tasks.
Here are some examples of working without clear goals;
- Say you’re an entrepreneur who wants to make more money, but instead of committing to a focused strategy for growing your customer base, you’re splitting your time between ten tactics. Sadly, by doing this you’re not getting anywhere.
- Perhaps you’re a blogger who wants to grow your social media presence, but instead of dominating one platform like Pinterest, you have a low presence across all. By doing this, you’re not getting noticed anywhere.
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Without clear goals, your actions aren’t productive. They’re not producing the results you need or desire.
You need to know what your goals are
Having clear goals, give your focus, dedication, and determination. It gives you a target to aim for and helps you veer away from tasks that don’t really matter. When you know what your goal is, you can evaluate what your time priorities are.
Remember when you were separating your must-dos from your to-dos and would be nice to dos in tip #1? Your goal provides you with yet another measure for determining what’s important.
So, figure out what exactly you’re trying to achieve. Ask yourself questions like:
- What’s your goal?
- Where exactly are you trying to reach?
- What do you want to accomplish?
- Where do you want to be in 6 months or a year from now?
Once you have your answer you can take steps to plan strategically. To work backward from your destination to where you are right now. To break this big goal down into more manageable “mini goals” (or projects if you will) and to make those into to-dos.
You need to set your priorities
Similarly, without having actual priorities you’ll bounce from one thing to another without any reason.
Instead of your priorities being clear and committed, everything you need to do feels like a priority. Which is no good, because as I’m sure you’ve realized, you cannot do everything (at least not at the same time.
What’s most important to you? What needs your focus?
Set your priorities and stick to them!
So many times we say our priorities are one thing, but our schedule and how we spend our time does not reflect that. Make sure you prioritize spending time on your actual priorities, not leaving them for the dregs of your day or energy level.
Does this sound like you? Or not sure if it does?
Here a few examples to make the point:
- You work hard every day on your job and side hustle to make money to support your family, but when you get home instead of spending time with your family you check out to “relax” watching Netflix.
- You want to have a successful blog, but leave writing blog posts until late Sunday night when you have work in the morning. You’ve given your weekends to other things.
Yes, extreme examples, but I believe they’re really relatable. We’re only human after all, with a finite amount of energy each day.
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You also need to prioritize your priorities
So, what your priority? Whatever it is, be committed to it, not just in your mind but in how you actually spend your time.
Is your side-hustle or business important to you? Perhaps if your family or kids? Maybe it’s your career or charity work? Or is it your health and fitness?
Great – now reflect upon how you actually spend your time, does it align with these priorities?
If you don’t want your goals to ruin your relationship then schedule (literally add it to your calendar) dates and time with your partner. If you want to balance your kids and your dreams, make sure you’ve dedicated time to spend with them every day.
And protect these priorities by learning how to say no to everything that isn’t a priority.
Say No to Everything That Isn’t a Priority
Opportunities will come and go, and you don’t need to say yes to all or any of them. And if it’s hard, just remember, you’re saying no so you can say yes to what really matters to you.
Think about how much time you’ll save every week by saying no to things that aren’t a priority?
Sometimes you also need to say no to yourself. To stop doing things that are not helping you progress towards your goals.
Are you wasting time right now? What do you need to stop spending energy on?
Listen, I know it’s hard to break a habit or stop doing something you’ve been accustomed to doing every day, but if it’s not working, you really have to.
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Here are a few examples to get you thinking about what you need to say to no:
- You’re trying to eat healthier and lose weight, but every day at work you’re tempted to go out for junk food with your coworkers. They ask you just at the time your tummy starts to rumble and you cave, every single time. Don’t just say no to them, be prepared by eating a more filling breakfast and packing a healthy lunch.
- You want to increase the income from your business, you keep releasing new products every month, but none are catching on. You could keep doing this, or you could focus on making more sales of your original product that people are interested in.
Saying no, so you can say yes to your goals and priorities is one of the best productivity tips and tricks. It helps you get more done, by not doing it in the first place.
What can you say no to today?
#4. Use Free Productivity Tools and Apps
What do you use to help manage your time? Are you using all the tools available to you?
There are so many productivity tools and applications available that there’s just no excuse for not using them. No legitimate excuse anyways. Especially, considering most of them are free and easy to use.
Get a Goals and Daily Planner
The most powerful tool is having a good goals planner or daily planner – if not both. A goals planner, like the Slay Your Goals Planner, helps you set goals, break them down and create an action plan for achieving them. A daily planner, on the other hand, helps you manage your time and schedule those must-dos over the days, weeks and months in the year.
Your planner can be a physical book, a printable or even digital. So no matter your preference for planning, book in hand, pen to paper or being able to save it to your phone, there’s a planner out there for you. The important part is that you’re using it! (Not just collecting them because they’re pretty and not actually using them.)
You can also use a goals planner and pair it with a calendar application for planning your days.
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Use Google Calendar or iCal
Google Calendar is probably one of the best time management and scheduling tools available. And it’s free with a Google or Gmail account.
You can easily use the calendar to schedule your daily must-dos, but also set alerts and reminders. With Google Calendar there’s no way you can forget, it sends alerts to your email, your computer and your phone.
Also, Google Cal helps you stay in sync by sharing calendars with your partners and family members.
If you’re a Mac user the same is largely true for iCal, you can schedule and set reminders on any Apple device.
Use Trello or Asana
It’s so easy to create “boards” and schedules for any personal or professional project. With the built-in calendar and email alerts, you won’t forget about anything. It’s great to keeping track of everything.
One feature I love by Asana is that it sends you email reminders of upcoming deadlines in the morning. Hello, free personal assistant.
Other Productivity Tools and Apps
There are countless productivity applications out there, both for your smartphones or computer. Here are some of the essential ones worth using that offer free plans:
- Todoist: Use this to create a digital to-do list to keep you focused and on track every single day.
- Dropbox: You’re more productive when your documents are organized and easily accessible from anywhere. Use cloud storage to save, organize and also backup your files. You can get 1 TB of storage on Dropbox is only $9.99 per month.
- Google Drive: Forget about using Microsoft anything, with Google Docs and Sheets it’s so easy and seamless on all of your devices. It also makes collaborating and sharing documents so easy, no need to email anything.
- Evernote: The perfect tool for collecting all your ideas, plans and thoughts. Evernote is your digital notebook for storing anything you need to write down.
Using productivity tools and apps is not only free but one of the best productivity tips and tricks you need in your life.
#5. Automate All That You Can
Do you manually complete tasks that you don’t have to? Are you using all the automations available to you?
Think about it why should you waste time something you don’t have to? We’re lucky enough to live in the age of automation, so why not take advantage of them?
An automation is simply anything you can set up now that will complete a task in the future, either once or repetitively. You set it up, so you don’t have to do it again. Automation saves you time and sometimes money too. That includes any automation from repeat orders and subscriptions to automatic payments.
Examples of simple automations in your life could be setting up automatic payments on monthly electrical or cable bills, and also automatic depositing money into a savings account or retirement fund, but also using your PVR to record your favorite shows.
- For every TV show you record and watch later you’re saving at least 15 minutes on no commercials.
- For every bill set up on autopay, you’re saving at least 5 minutes.
These are just two simple examples, there are countless more to be found in your everyday life.
If you have an online business or blog with a social media presence, you could manually post to social media or pin to Pinterest or you could use a tool like Tailwind to schedule months in advance.
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Set up Repetitive Automation
Automating is also all about repetition. Instead of you doing a task over and over on a schedule, the automation does it for you. It handles it not only so you don’t have to, but so you can use this time for more important tasks.
Here’s an example. Say your family, business or household uses the same products every day and you run out every month. Instead of having to run to the store, set up a monthly product subscription on Amazon. And plus, you end up saving time and money going to the store but also subscriptions orders get a discount. Why make things difficult?
Similarly, you could spend time having to do your shopping in person, or you can use a grocery service or simply shop online. Even Costco offers grocery delivery and you can even find a local organic produce delivery service.
Automation Makes Tasks Easier and Faster
Automation tools include anything that makes a task easier. Why do something yourself, taking the long way when someone has already created the software or program to make your life easier. Many times more automation is just a Google search away.
- For example, you could manually track all your expenses and weekly spending in a spreadsheet, or you can export it directly from your online bank into a tool like Freshbooks or Quickbooks. Hours and hours of work or a few clicks of a button. You decide.
- Another example, say you run an online business and you need to invoice clients. You could create an invoice in Microsoft Word, taking time to make a perfect template and manually enter all the details, or you can create and send a simple invoice using PayPal. The choice is yours.
Automation is one of the best productivity tips and tricks you can easily start using today.
#6. Outsource All That You Can Afford To
Are you still trying to do everything yourself? Do you refuse to ask for or dare I say, pay for help?
I get it, you can do it yourself and in a perfect world where you have all the time, you like you’d like to keep doing it yourself.
You’re apprehensive to outsource anything. Maybe you don’t trust that someone else can take care of it, or perhaps you think you can’t afford to get help.
But here’s the thing about outsourcing, it’s not nearly as expensive as you think it might be. And even if you have to pay for help, focus on how much time you’ll free up for things that matter more.
And this applies to your household and also your business if you have one. There’s no better example of this than food.
Start Outsourcing Food and Meal Prep
We all need to eat and some of us even need to feed our families. And we’re all living busy lives, but still, want to eat healthy meals. It’s got to be one of the biggest challenges everyone, single or married, employed or self-employed faces.
At all points of the process, grocery shopping, food prep, meal planning, and cooking take up so much time every week.
You can find ways to save hours every day and week by joining a freeze meal club, purchasing pre-cook meals, subscribing to meal service, or if you must cook everything yourself batch prep and cook multiple meals at once.
You Do Not Need to Do It All Yourself
The key thing to remember is that you don’t have to be perfect, homemade my you, 100% of your love and time all the time for everything.
You have to pick and choose and not feel guilty for choosing to not be a “superhero” with everything.
You could start a garden, grow tomatoes, use grandmas recipe to make the perfect sauce, and make pasta from scratch, or you could just go buy noodles and pasta sauce from Walmart. Or even better, order a pasta dish from your local home-cooked meal service. So you’ve saved that time for something that matters more, spending time with those you love.
Just remember, we know you can do it all, but you don’t have to.
Highly productive people are able to let go of what they don’t need to do, and focus on what only they can do.
- If you’re a mom, only you can have quality time with your kids, but someone else can cook your meals or clean your house.
- If you’re an entrepreneur, only you can be interviewed as the head of your company, but someone else can do your social media.
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Other Typical Tasks You Can Stop Doing
Another example is over the holidays, you could do all your shopping yourself, creating the perfect gift baskets for friends or your child’s teachers, or you could just order gift baskets online and even have them delivered. So easy, so simple!
You’d also be surprised at how affordable it is to hire a cleaning service or maid to clean your house every week. I have a friend who only pays $15 per week! Search in iTunes or Play Store for the best maid app in your area.
Or if you hate sweeping, get a Roomba and forget about ever having to do it again.
Tired of doing the dishes? Then buy a dishwasher. For about $500 you can not only save time never having to wash a dish again but likely water too.
Don’t want to shovel the snow? I’m sure there’s a kid in your neighborhood who would happily do it for $20 or less.
Outsource Mundane Business tasks too
The same thing applies to your blog or business, you don’t have to do every single thing yourself. Virtual Assistants exist for this exact reason, hire one to take over the mundane tasks you dread and see how excited you are about work.
If you’re apprehensive to commit to hiring someone, you can outsource odd jobs on Fivvr or Upwork for really affordable rates. Some VA’s even work for a number of hours, that you can spread over weeks or months to come.
It takes more effort and isn’t a sure thing, but you could also reach out to local colleges and university co-op programs for interns. Schools are always looking for real-job experience for students. But know you’ll like have to spend more time and energy training interns.
It’s an exchange, either pay for help or train to save on paying for help.
There’s a saying, you can always make more money, but you can never get more time.
Outsourcing not only frees up your time but saves you from doing tasks that drain your energy. That’s why it’s one of the best productivity tips and tricks.
What can you stop doing yourself and outsource today?
#7. Create a System for Staying Organized
Are you living in chaos? Do you have a system for keeping things in order?
You need a system for keeping yourself, your life and your home organized. Chaos and clutter kill productivity. If you can’t think clearly or breath in your environment how do you expect to get anything done?
Imagine trying to work on a big, messy pile of stuff? It’s hard to focus on what you have to get done when you can’t stop seeing what you haven’t done.
You Need to Clean Up and Declutter
If you’re in a chaotic place you first need to clean up and declutter.
No need to go full KonMari and purge everything, but you need to at the minimum carve out space where you can think. A room, office, den or sanctuary where you can breathe, focus and be productive.
Once you’ve created this space, your job is to keep this space clear and slowly work on the other areas of your domain.
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You need a cleaning system, a planning system, financial system, meal planning, and shopping system, a way of keeping things in order.
Here are some examples:
- Every Sunday you do all your grocery shopping followed by meal prep for the entire week. You’ll cook a few meals in large quantities and freeze the extra.
- The last weekend of every month you review your budget and track your spending for the month, you make sure you’re on track.
- Every other Saturday you do laundry and tidy up the house.
- When you receive a bill or important letter, you file it away in the designated folder in your file cabinet.
- You pay your bills at the beginning of every week and set up automatic payments where you can.
Having a System Saves You Time and Stress
Your system doesn’t need to be fancy either. Having a system simple saves you time, you’re not panicking, unable to find anything or forgetting to do things.
Once you have a system, you start to develop a schedule and a way of doing things that will become second nature.
You can use an app like Cozi to help manage all things home life, from grocery shopping, shared calendar, and reminders.
Once you get organized, staying organized with a system will be one of your best productivity tips and tricks.
#8. Turn Off Notifications and Limit Interruptions
Do you check your email when you get an alert? Do social media notifications break your concentration?
This one is so simple yet so impactful on your productivity. Don’t let social media, emails or even phone calls interrupt your flow.
Think about every time that someone or something has interrupted your flow or snapped you out of the zone? Doesn’t it take you time to get back into the groove? What if you could make sure this doesn’t happen?
Turn off all notifications on all apps, and leave your email application on your computer closed.
Leave Phone Notifications Off
With your designed time blocks to focus on your work, put your phone on do not disturb. If you have kids or important people whose calls you need to make sure you don’t miss, you can allow calls from these priority numbers.
This is easy to set up for iPhone users using the built-in Do Not Disturb feature. And with all these scam calls and endless telemarketers silencing your phone will keep you sane. This applies to your home phone if you have one too.
Limit Time on Social Media
This doesn’t mean that you can’t use social media, check your email or even use the phone, it just means that you are in control of when you do.
Allow yourself specific times each day (check Facebook at lunch for example) or time limitations on certain apps (no more than 15 minutes on YouTube for example). Use Screen Time on iPhone, AntiSocial App on Andriod, or the Moment App to keep your screen time in check. Use them to limit time or block certain apps entirely.
Don’t forget about your laptop or computer – there are major time sucks too.
If you find yourself sucked into the Facebook News Feed, install the free Kill News Feed Chrome extension and the news feed disappears. Or check out the free StayFocusd extension. Plus, paired with the Rescue Time to limit distractions on your computer. Plus, use Freedom to block distracting sites during certain days and times.
There are so many apps you can use to limit distractions, notifications, and interruptions on your devices.
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Self-Control Boosts Productivity
Yes, I will admit that if this self-control is a new thing for you it’s going to be difficult.
You’re going to want to pick up your phone every five minutes “to check” what’s happening. Trust me, knowing what everyone else is doing with their lives or business isn’t going to help you with yours.
So put it out of sight and watch as it also becomes out of mind as well.
You’ll soon see how much more productive you are when you intentional unplug and unsubscribe from all those notifications. Plus, you’ll feel proud when your weekly screen time alert tells you that you’ve spent less time than last week.
By turning off notifications and limiting digital distractions you’ll be using one of the best productivity tips and tricks.
#9. Develop a Preparative Evening Routine
How do you spend your evenings? Do you prepare for the next day?
So many people focus on starting the day right and even going so far as to create a sacred morning ritual with things to do every morning, but your evenings are just as important (if not more so).
And if we think about, how you end the previous evening and night has a great impact on how you start the following morning. A strong evening routine can even make a bad morning better.
The purpose of your evening time should be to set up the following day for success.
Simple Suggestions for your Evening Routine
Here are some examples of what to include in your evening routine:
- Work in the morning? Then evening actions could include laying out your clothes for the morning or packing your lunch.
- Stay at home mom? Your evening routine could include reviewing the kids’ schedules for the following day.
- Running a blog or business? Take time in the evening to review the day and to write out your must-dos for the next day.
- College student? The evening can be spent making sure you’ve completed your assignment and reading for tomorrow’s classes. Also, packing your school bag and preparing your lunch and snacks for the day ahead.
Also, the evenings are the best time to deal with things around your home that keep it organized and rolling smoothly, like tidying up and loading the dishwasher.
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Plan the Next Day the Night Before
One of the best tips for having a successful day is the plan it the day before!
Don’t wait until the morning of to figure out your must-dos for the day are. Be preparative, by thinking ahead before going to bed.
This simple change will not only save you time laying in bed worrying and wondering about tomorrow but save you time in the morning too. You’ll hit the ground running, knowing exactly what you need to get done. Or even worse, wondering if you forgot something.
The same can be said for planning your entire week or month ahead of time. Part of the systems you develop could be to spend Sunday nights laying out the entire coming week, from meals to make, clothing to wear and things to do.
The emotional energy you’ll save by doing this alone will increase your productivity.
This way when the next day starts you’re already ahead, your homes in order and your plan is laid out.
#10. Make Time for Rest and Daily Down Time
Are you too busy to take a break or slow down? Do you stay up late every night working?
I know it feels like you have to push yourself harder, that you have to put in more time to get ahead or catch up, but the opposite is true.
When you throw balance out the window and overdo it you’re racing towards burn out, not success.
Not only do you open yourself up to exhaustion and sickness, but you could also damage other areas of your life like your relationships.
Listen, I know it feels like you can’t take a break, that you can’t possibly take a day off, but you have to. Tired you, can’t accomplish anything. Burnout you will need so much more than to recover, than if you had just rested. Exhausted you can hardly focus or think clearly enough to be productive.
You have to take care of yourself
Think about it, when are you most productive? After you’ve had a good night’s rest, a solid meal and a day off? Or after you’ve stayed up late, gotten little sleep, and skipped lunch? The answer should be obvious, it’s when you’ve taken care of yourself.
It’s simple math. One hour of high-productive energy is equal to or greater than several hours of low-energy. After getting a good night’s sleep, when you’ve fueled your body on a good meal, you’re extremely productive. In those hours or even those minutes, you’re able to accomplish more than any other time.
Or if you’re a night owl, who sleeps in late, you’re most productive at your key time of day or night.
The simple truth is that you need to prioritize your health, your wellbeing, and even your sanity in order to be productive.
Self-care is a non-negotiable
Yes, self-care is one of those super cliche things that everyone keeps telling you that you need. But, that doesn’t mean that they’re not right. But, what exactly does self-care even mean?
Self-care in it’s purest form just means you’re giving yourself what you need when you need it.
That could mean a bubble bath, face mask and glass of champagne like the magazines tell you, or it can mean taking a quiet moment to enjoy a cup of coffee and that pastry you love. It’s being in tune with your mind, body, and spirit and listening to what you need. It doesn’t have to be expensive, there are plenty of cheap self-care ideas to pamper yourself.
It’s a commitment to putting yourself first for a moment, for an afternoon or even for a day.
No matter who you are, how busy you are, how big your goals are, you need to make self-care a priority!
Break up the day with daily downtime
You can’t work nonstop without taking breaks. Well, you can but you already know that’s a bad idea. To prevent yourself from falling apart and also keep your productivity levels high, schedule short breaks throughout the day.
Not only is it good for your productivity, but it’s good for you. Set your alarm, or use an app to send you an alert to remind you to take a break.
Here are a few examples of simple breaks you can take:
- Are you working at a desk all day? Every 30 minutes rest your eyes and look away from the monitor for a minute. Then every hour, get up and stretch, moving your body. You could also go for a quick walk to get water.
- Self-employed and working from home? It’s so easy to spend the entire day working at your desk, but since no one’s around you can get up for dance breaks on the hour to your favorite song. Make a playlist that plays your dance break song every hour.
- Stay at home mom? I know you feel like you can’t take a break, but walking into the bathroom or opening a window for literally a few minutes to gather yourself will do you some good.
Whatever you’re doing, just make sure you’re taking breaks. You can also schedule these breaks as transition times between your time-blocks or task-batching.
And that’s not all, when your workday is over, whether you’ve accomplished your three must-dos for the day, shut it down and walk away. Do not push beyond your limit, you’re better off getting rest and starting again in the morning.
👉🏽 RELATED POST: 7 Ways to Feel More Energized When You’re Tired
take time to rest and recharge
Sleep time is important, you need to get a solid 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Your body needs this to function. Not sleeping is basically like being intoxicated. Can you work drunk? Can you be productive when you’ve been drinking? Probably not!
This means setting a schedule for yourself where you’re finished “working” at a certain time, you’ve winded down with an evening routine and you’re in bed. When you’re in bed and falling asleep at the same time every night, you’ll wake up automatically at the same time every day.
It’s easy to be productive when your days are predictable.
But, it takes more than just sleep, there are times when you’ll need more time to rest and recharge. So embrace weekends, holidays and taking vacations! You can enjoy the good life now, not just when you’ve reached your goals.
Resting and recharging don’t just mean laying in bed doing nothing, it’s doing other things you enjoy and spending time with those you love.
Making time to downtime and rest is one of the neglected best productivity tips and tricks you can start.
How can you rest and recharge right now?
You can Increase Your Productivity
There you have it, the best productivity tips and tricks to maximize your time today.
You don’t need to implement each and every strategy at the same time, but get started with tip #1 and expand as you go. Mastering your to-do list is the perfect first step towards getting more done.
Printable Daily & Weekly Planners
Ready to maximize your time daily? Get your FREE Printable Daily and Weekly Planners and start time blocking, task batching and using the other productivity tips and tricks you’ve learned in this post.
Bookmark this productivity guide for later, and re-read it as many times as you need.
And remember, you can be more productive today!