So, um…raise your hand if you’re not the most productive person on the planet?
Yeah, that’s definitely me. So if you’re feeling like you’re a little lacking on the productivity scale, don’t worry…you’re not alone.
Naturally, because I’m not the most organized, productive person, I had to look up a few different articles on suggestions for becoming more productive.
Sooo…this’ll be an accountability list for me as well as for you.
Let’s git it.
15 Tips for Becoming A More Productive Person
1. The Night Before, Make 2 Lists: To-Do and Must-Do
Got this one from Sarah Knight, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck… great read, by the way.
Anyway, take a watch of the video if you’d rather hear Sarah explain her Must-Do Method herself:
Basically, most people get stuck because their list of things to do is WAAAAYYYY too long. So Knight suggests that you separate your tasks into 2 lists: Must-Do and To-Do.
The list of to-dos are things that can wait until later or the next day. Must-Dos are the more urgent tasks that need to be done right away.
Knight calls it “responsible procrastination”. Cute.
She then goes on to answer several individualized questions about applying this method to prioritize and manage your time better.
So even if you skipped over the video and read on, I highly recommend going back to check out the video once you’re done reading. You may be able to identify with one of the questions asked and therefore benefit from Knight’s answers…
Also, PLEASE check out her wonderfully smart-a** books.
2. Assign a Block Of Time to Each Task
Once you have finished making your must- and to-do lists, give a block of time to complete each thing.
For instance, if it’s gonna take you an hour to draft an article, give yourself an hour to draft that article.
But don’t just say “spend one hour” doing blah blah task. Write down the time you’re going to start and the time you’re going to finish. Then stick with it.
Better than just writing it on your list, get yourself a planner and write your tasks in it at the specified times. That way, you can get a visual of how your day is laid out and what can go where.
3. Get Plenty Of Sleep
I’m not good about this one myself…I’m up writing this post at two in the morning…haha.
But I still try to make sure that I get no less than 6 hours of sleep on any given night, because I know I can’t function on much less.
As for you, you should probably be trying to get about 7- 7 ½ hours each night. That’s pretty much the sweet spot for the average adult. 8 is ok, but more than that is pushing it.
Did you know that you can also make yourself tired if you get too much sleep at night? Funny how the body works.
4. Wake and Meditate
When you wake up, before you start stressing about all the things you need to get done and what could go wrong and all that, take a few minutes to get your mind right.
Meditation can change the way that your brain works. Can you imagine how effective it could be on a totally fresh, clean-slate brain?
Do yourself a favor and put yourself in a good place before you start rushing around.
5. Positive Mantras
Goes along with meditation. I don’t usually say anything myself; I prefer to focus on my breathing. However, there are some really great mantras out there that can help you get into a good mindset and set a specific intention.
Here are a few that I love:
They’re repetitive and easy to say, and the descriptions of each video tell you exactly what the purpose is. So try them out.
And you don’t have to do it for very long. Even 1 minute of meditation done well is effective. Once you get comfortable with that, you can move on to 5 minutes, 10 minutes, maybe even 20 minutes.
Before you know it, you’ll be meditating for 1 hour straight without stopping. Fingers crossed, right? Just make sure you set aside the time without bleeding into your day.
If you ain’t feelin’ that, there’s always Headspace (my FAVORITE).
6. Do At Least 10 Minutes Of Exercise
I fully believe that the mind and the body are connected. Why? Because the brain is part of the body and we often neglect its needs.
Your brain needs a healthy blood flow, too. Otherwise, it can’t work properly. That’s why when you get super stressed behind the desk at work you have to get up and walk around or stretch.
So try this: get straight up out of bed (after your meditation) and do a minimum of 10 minutes of exercise. It can be a quick yoga sequence, a few reps of some resistance exercises, or just a couple jumping jacks and squats. But do it.
7. Eat A Quick, Healthy Breakfast
Something filling but light so it doesn’t weigh you down in the first few hours of your day.
Personally, I go for a green smoothie or a nice jar of overnight oats. In fact, I recently tried a green smoothie recipe that was AH-MAZING.
It originally links back to a site called thegreenforks.com. The domain doesn’t seem to work at the moment :(, but go follow the creator,
When I did it, I had to make a few adjustments to the recipe (it called for bananas and I didn’t have any at the time). But it was STILL amazing. Read it in the Insta description
8. Wait Until AFTER All Of That to Check Emails, Social Media, Etc.
Also not very good at this one, but it’s gonna be on my stop-doing list (we’ll get into that later).
These days, the average person keeps their smartphone right next to their bed. It contains everything short of their ability to breathe…I mean to say, they are completely dependent on it. You’d think it was an I.V. drip or something.
And I get it, there’s all kinds of nifty things on there: alarm clocks, scheduling tools, news apps, emails…
All of these things can come in handy…but please, for the LOVE OF GOD, do NOT check your phone first thing when you wake up!
Like I said, I’m guilty of this, too. I got a fiance that lives 3,000 miles away at the moment and I’m constantly checking my phone to make sure he woke up for work and didn’t die in his sleep or something (sorry, that’s morbid). But it really takes you out of that fresh place of focus that you want to carry through your day.
Try your best to start your meditation and exercise routine before you pick up your phone. Then try to expand this time beyond eating your breakfast. Then pick up your phone and bombard yourself with the latest news and trends.
9. Drink Plenty of Water Throughout The Day
Water is love, water is life. We don’t function without it. And dehydration headaches are wicked.
Believe it or not, water can work better than coffee. Especially if you’re dehydrated. Coffee and tea (my love) are diuretics, and they leech water from your system. So if you’re already in need of water, these only make it worse.
Plus, the human body is made of 70% water. It’s literally part of us. It fuels us almost like food.
So next time you need a break because you’re feeling drained, grab a fresh glass of H2O.
10. Do NOT Multitask
I don’t care what you’ve been told, our brains are not meant to do this. Not well, anyway.
There’s a big difference between chewing gum while walking and trying to do calculus while reading Shakespeare.
You’re gonna hurt yourself. Stop.
11. Write a ‘Stop Doing’ List
And on it should be “MULTITASKING”…
But no, in all seriousness, there are a bunch of things that we do throughout the day that could be stopping us from functioning at full productivity.
For instance, I have a YouTube addiction…guilty as charged. And I tend to play videos in the background while I write blog posts. It’s usually fine if it’s a music playlist or livestream, but if it’s an actual video it can be really distracting.
A 1 hour task becomes a 2 or 3 hour task. Not good. So I gotta stop doing it.
Proud to say that as I’m typing this, it’s totally quiet in my room and I am flying right on through.
12. Save Your Energy and Say ‘No’ Sometimes
How many of the things on this list do YOU suck at? I can honestly say this is about 5.
I am TERRIBLE at telling people ‘no’. Nancy Reagan lied…just saying ‘no’ can be really hard.
But, as my mother said to me yesterday, “ ‘No.’ is a complete sentence”.
People aren’t always entitled to a reason why. It could just be because you don’t want to, or because you need to save your energy.
Either way, you can’t pour from an empty cup. You can’t give what you don’t have, and sometimes you need to save what you have for you.
13. Time Your Breaks, But Definitely Take Them
We seriously underestimate the value of a full-on break these days.
It’s ok to take a 5-minute break after each task to refocus yourself. In fact, Forbes suggests that you “set a timer to go off at 30-minute intervals…and take a short 1-minute break to refocus”.
So don’t lose track of what you’re doing, but definitely, take breaks.
14. Exercise Throughout The Day
Every few hours, take some time away from the desk or out of the office. Take a brisk 15-minute walk here and there, maybe walk to lunch.
Again, after a few hours of being sedentary, your body needs you to move to help your circulation and energy. Do it to perform at your best at all times.
15. Screw It, Just Do It
Thank you, Richard Branson. (Check out his book in last Monday’s blog post).
Sometimes, you just gotta go for it. Don’t wait until the stars or the planets align in exactly the right way. If you do that, you’ll never get anything done.
And know when to fold ‘em. If something in your life is no longer serving you, it’s taking valuable energy away from something that could. Take your energy back, stop pouring it into things that aren’t long-term goals.
How can you be productive today?
Once you finish reading this, take some time to brainstorm. How can you best use your time today?
Jot your ideas down. Don’t worry about organizing them; get them out of your head first. I’d say do this for about 15-30 minutes. Write as many things as you can in that time.
Once you’ve done that, let them sit for a while as you go through your normal day. Then, when you have a free minute, start organizing those ideas in a way that makes sense to you.
How do you think you’ll do?
Ready. Set. GO!
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Sources I Used: