8 Sure-fire Ways to Increase Productivity
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I think I can speak for everyone when I say there’s just not enough time in the day. No matter who you are or what you do, the days just go by too quickly. It gets very overwhelming and makes it difficult to get anything done, leaving you feeling unproductive.
I’ve been there, you’ve been there, we’ve ALL been there, and it sucks.
Figuring out how to increase productivity can be difficult if you don’t know where to start. The good news is you’re not alone. Life can get pretty hectic, as we’ve all probably witnessed. Between work, school, house work, making dinner, and taking care of pets and kids, it can be challenging to get everything done in a day.
To help you manage your time a little better and relieve some stress along the way, I wanted to share my top tips for leading a more productive life. You’re not going to go from zero productivity to getting all the things you want done right away, but these tips are a great place to start.
8 Easy Steps to Increase Productivity
In order to increase productivity, our good ol’ friend procrastination needs to go away.
There are so many people who think they can keep pushing things off until the last second (I’m guilty of this sometimes). This may seem like a good idea at the time, but trust me, it’s not! I have procrastinated time after time again and regretted it each and every single time.
If you spend a few more minutes each day focusing on what needs to be done instead of watching that 10th episode on Netflix, your stress levels will decline and your productivity levels will skyrocket.
Now let’s get to those 8 steps I’ve been talking about.
1. Wake Up Earlier
The biggest piece of advice I can give to anyone wanting to be more productive is to wake up earlier! Even if it’s only 30 minutes earlier than usual, you’ll still be able to tackle quite a few things.
Up until this past year I have always loathed waking up in the morning, especially early. I need all the beauty sleep I can get. However, this needed to change in order for me to accomplish my goals.
I finally learned that sleeping in isn’t going to get me anywhere in life. And it certainly isn’t going to get the billions of things on my to-do lists done. By waking up early, there is a greater chance of getting things done.
Waking up early can be very, very difficult to do. Trust me, I’ve been through the dreadful process myself. But once you start doing it, you’ll see just how much you can get done, even if you only get up one hour earlier.
I really, truly believe that this is one of the most beneficial ways you can increase productivity.
2. Write it Down with a Pen and Paper
This one might be a little more beneficial if you’re taking notes for a lecture, but it still applies.
When you write something down by hand, not with an electronic device, you are more likely to remember it. When you’re typing notes as opposed to hand writing them, your brain isn’t really sifting through what’s important and what isn’t. You just type down everything and move on.
However, taking notes by hand is a slower process, so you can determine what needs to be written down and what can be left out. When you’re trying to write down important information by hand, you have to filter through the filler words to get to the important stuff. More information can be found here.
So how does this pertain to productivity? Glad ya asked.
Have you ever noticed you’re typing a text and send it, and completely forget what you even said? Hopefully I’m not the only one who does this or else I need some help.
Anyway, when you type out your to-do’s in your phone, it’s sort of the same thing. You type it out super quickly because your fingers are drawn to the letters like magnets. Save it. Exit out.
When I do this, I forget the dates I added things to and there is no physical place I can look for them at. Yeah, I can scroll through the calendar and try to read the tiny text, but it’s a hassle and takes a lot of time.
So instead of using a calendar on my phone, I use my hand note-taking planner. When physically writing down what I need to do, I remember where I wrote it and am more likely to remember what I wrote. I’m not crazy, I swear. Read this article for more information.
Try writing things down instead of typing them out and see if it helps any. Not only are you more likely to remember what needs to be done, but you also have a physical reminder of your tasks. I know this is the only way I can ensure I’m not forgetting anything.
3. Use a Calendar / Planner
Continuing on with the act of writing things down is where you actually need to be writing things down.
My go-to for adding new tasks to is my planner. It’s how I keep track of everything I need to do and when it needs to be done by.
I use mine for school and for literally anything else that I need to do (i.e. clean the litter box or make a doctor’s appointment). I continually look at it to make sure I’m not forgetting anything. Once I finish a task, I simply cross it off my list and move on to the next!
A very common planner is this bullet journal. It allows you to either jot things down in list form or create your own setup for whatever you may need it for.
Another well-reviewed planner is the Panda Planner, which is laid out differently. This has pages for monthly overviews, separate pages for each day, with slots for the day’s top priorities and time blocks for each hour.
Both of these planners are great in their own way. I’m a person that needs to have minimal options or else I’ll spend FOREVER trying to figure out what I like best, which is why a bullet journal wouldn’t work for me. It has way too many options for creating my own layouts which would hinder my productivity. If you’re like me, you know having everything structured already makes completing tasks a heck of a lot easier, which is why the Panda Planner would work better in our favor. I just thought I’d throw both of these great options out there, as people like both of these planners a lot.
If you don’t want to buy a planner, a notepad will work just fine. I just find it easier to have the dates written down already and designated areas for each day of the week. But again, it’s your preference.
4. Create Lists
One of the most rewarding feelings is being able to cross something off my to-do list! And I know I’m not alone. Lists are the best way to show you exactly what needs to be completed. From here, you can prioritize what needs to be started first and what can be done later.
Having your tasks written down as opposed to floating around in your head sets a physical reminder of what your priorities are. Therefore, you’re less likely to forget anything. Once a task has been completed, it can be crossed off, taking you one step closer to your goals. This is probably the best feeling, amiright?
At work, I always write down what projects and tasks I need to complete, in order from most to least important. Whatever I write them on (a sticky note or notepad) is always sitting right next to my computer where I can see it. After I complete each item, I simply cross it off and relief starts flowing through my body.
Another great thing lists are great for (besides everything) is for housework that needs to be done, especially by a specific date. By writing down what needs to be done in order, it’s more likely everything will be completed in an orderly fashion.
If you feel like you just have too much to do and don’t know where to start, make a list. Everyone has to start somewhere, and this is a great way to do it.
5. Focus on One Thing at a Time
Even if you have everything written down, you’re still going to be thinking about all of the other things on the list.
By constantly stressing about all the things you want to get done, you’re not putting all of your focus on the task at hand. This in turn leads to a slower productivity rate and sometimes lower quality of work.
So clear your mind and focus on the task at hand. It will be easier to complete and you’ll actually feel like you’ve accomplished something once it’s finished.
6. Take Breaks
A surefire way to get burnt out and overwhelmed quickly is by not taking breaks. This can be used in any instance whether you’re at work, studying, or just doing housework.
Every so often, it’s good to take breaks to relax your mind and let it recharge. Even with cleaning or doing yard work, you can still get overwhelmed and exhausted. Taking breaks, even just to sit in a comfy chair and browse social media for 10-15 minutes will help relax you and provide a much needed break.
Just make sure your break doesn’t turn into 30 minutes or an hour+, otherwise you’re losing valuable time to get things done!
At work, I make sure to get up and walk around every 45 minutes to an hour. Sometimes it’s to refill my water, sometimes it’s just to go to the bathroom. A lot of people in my office go for walks around the building or down the street and back.
By getting up and taking a break from what you’ve been focusing on, you can clear your mind and come back to your work with a clear and refreshed mind. And if you’re stuck on something, taking a break is ideal so your fresh eyes and clear mind can help you see something you might have missed before.
7. Turn off the TV and Put Down Your Phone
It wasn’t until recently that I stopped watching new shows on Netflix. Call me crazy.
The majority of my life has been spent in front of a TV, my computer screen, and my phone. I’m definitely not proud of it. Since I haven’t started new shows, I no longer fixate on TV. Instead, I focus my time and energy on completing the things I need to.
Don’t get me wrong, I still watch TV. I just no longer make it my priority and go-to when I get home. Instead of starting new shows, I typically rewatch The Office episodes. It provides good background noise so it’s not too quiet (and because I’m obsessed with The Office).
Another culprit of reducing productivity is social media.
I absolutely love watching funny videos of people and animals doing ridiculous things. And I really love memes. Over the past few years, I’ve spent soooo much time watching these videos and looking at memes instead of working on important things, like homework.
Then the work piles up and before I know it, I’m faced with a massive hill to climb before I can feel relaxed again.
Does this all sound too familiar? Because I bet it does.
It’s hard to stop using social media since it’s something a lot of people use religiously, myself included. However, my desire to perform better in school and get stuff done at work outweighs the desire to be on social media. I finally realized that and stopped using my phone so much! It’s definitely increased my productivity and has made me feel more relieved.
So if you really want to do well, complete your tasks, and feel less overwhelmed, turn the TV off and put down your phone. You’re not going to miss anything; it’ll be waiting for you later.
8. Eat Healthier
Lastly, choosing the right foods can make a huge difference in your productivity. Your body needs energy to keep going, so it’s important to eat healthy.
If you’re eating junk food all the time, you’re not going to feel as good physically, and therefore mentally. This can hinder your progress towards your goals, causing more stress.
Instead of reaching for chips or fruit snacks, try substituting them with trail mix or fruits and veggies. They’re better for your body, as well as your mind. And you’ll feel proud of yourself for eating healthy!
You can find more information on how food affects productivity here.
If you follow these 8 steps, or even just a few of them, your productivity levels will increase. If you choose only a few things to follow, investing in a planner should be one of them. I can’t stress enough just how helpful they are!
So try these out, and let me know how they’ve helped you! Don’t forget to share this post if you’ve enjoyed it. 🙂