I have always been an unproductive potato, but the last weeks have been a game-changer for me. I slowly incorporated more productivity habits into my routine and I finally proved to myself that despite being dopamine- and serotonin-deficient, I can actually finish my daily to-do lists and be a productive person.
This study shows that people waste an average of 21.8 hours of their time each week. With so many unproductive hours, it’s no wonder we all struggle to achieve the results we want. Productivity is crucial for accomplishing our goals.
Without further ado, here are 10 tips that have helped me be more productive.
1. Make a very specific plan for the day
Write a very specific to-do list every night before going to bed. Break every task down in smaller tasks. In this article, neuroscience explains why writing down your goals makes you more likely to achieve them.
Doing this helped me eliminate decision fatigue. Decision fatigue is the deterioration of our ability to make good decisions after a long session of decision making. In other words, if you have too many decisions to make each day, your productivity will decline.
”The truth is, it’s not about willpower, it’s about reducing decicsions. Decision fatigue crushes willpower.”Robyn Conely Downs
Now that I write down all my tasks the night before, I think less and do more and therefore get more done in one day.
2. Wake up early
The most successful people wake up early for a variety of reasons:
- Their bodies have time to wake up before starting their day. Studies prove that sleep inertia – that slow-moving period between sleep-induced brain fog and being fully awake , can last anywhere from between two to four hours.
- It improves their overall quality of sleep. Research has repeatedly found that those who get up early set themselves up for better quality sleep. Better sleep will anhance your ability to focus and thus improve your productivity.
- They are able to focus on goals and task lists without being interrupted by family members or coworkers.
”Wake up early every day so that when others are still dreaming, you can make your dreams come true.”Hal Elrod
3. Eliminate distractions
Distractions are everywhere. Your phone, people around you and your internal dialogue are killing your productivity. To minimize distractions during the day, do the following:
- Turn off notifications
- Use app-/website-blockers
- Put on headphones to let people around you know that you don’t want to be disturbed
- Meditate every morning to minimize and gain control over your internal dialogue
- Have a good breakfast so that your brain has the energy to remain focussed
4. Tackle the hardest or least favorite task first
Doing the hardest and/or the least enjoyable task first creates momentum for you to finish the rest of your to-do list. Getting the ugly thing off of your to-do list feels great. It gives you a sense of accomplishment as you cross that dreadful thing off of your to-do list. It’s a small win and will release endorphins in your body to keep you going.
These small wins can actually trigger a positive addiction to getting things done, success and contribution.
5. Use the 5-second rule
The 5 Second Rule is simple. If you have the instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will find every excuse possible to prevent you from doing the tasks necessary to reach that goal.
There is a 5-second window that exists between the moment you have an instinct to change and your mind finding excuses.
What do you do? Just start counting backward to yourself: 5-4-3-2-1. Don’t give yourself time to think!
The counting will focus you on the goal or commitment and distract you from the worries, thoughts, and excuses in your mind. This will improve your productivity significantly.
As soon as you reach “1” – push yourself to move.
This is how you push yourself to do the hard stuff – the work that you don’t feel like doing, or you’re scared of doing, or you’re avoiding.
Source: Mel Robbins (motivational speaker/writer)
6. Use a timer
Whenever I’m making homework I set a timer for each little task. Within this time I am NOT allowed to get distracted. To help me control my internal dialogue, I put the timer right in front of me so I can clearly see how much time I have left for this task.
The Pomodoro method seems to be effective for most of my classmates. Set a timer for 25 minutes and focus down on a specific task. Once the times goes off, take a 5-minute break.
I like to use the productivity app Forest to stay focussed. With this app you plant a little tree every time you set a timer. If you leave the app to do anything else, the tree will die. Every time the timer goes off, your forest grows one tree bigger.
7. Take breaks to maintain focus
Studies show that breaks in your work and/or study routine can positively affect your concentration. Taking breaks from studying every ninety minutes or so can improve both focus and attention. In addition to taking regular breaks, what you do with each break can matter, too. It’s important to choose the right type of activity for your study break so that you can return focused, ready to get back to work.
Some effective things you could do during a break are to go for a walk, meditate, tidy up, or to do some exercise. Snacking on junk food, drinking too much caffeine, gaming, and doing anything social media related are definitely a thing you want to avoid doing on your break as they are unhealthy and cause excessive stress.
8. Create a workspace
Creating a designated space for work will help you draw a line between home and work-life which will improve your productivity. Having a place that is designated to your work (even if it’s just a desk in the corner of your guestroom) gives you the chance to step away from the rest of your life and focus down on the task at hand.
How many times have you stopped working on a task to grab something you need? Dot you think it is annoying to have to clean up everything from the common area after you finish your work. Having everything in one place at all times will save you a lot of time and energy.
9. Review your day every evening
How productive have you been today day? Did you cross everything off on your TO-DO list or were you slacking? If you were slacking, why? If your productivity was at its peak, how? Asking yourself these questions can help you become more self-aware. You will be more conscious of your time-wasting habits which will improve your productivity over time.
Do you have any more productivity tips?
leave them in the comment section down below.
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