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25 Easy Tips that are Guaranteed to Quickly Increase Your Productivity

Updated on February 1, 2016
Learn to stop impairing your own productivity and reach beyond your current success rate with these easily implemented techniques.
Learn to stop impairing your own productivity and reach beyond your current success rate with these easily implemented techniques.

What is Productivity?

Productivity is defined as the effectiveness of one’s effort. Being productive is a learned behavior, or series of habits. So, if you want to increase your productivity, simply build appropriate habits by learning to use your time and space effectively, eliminating distractions and taxing people, and giving your mind and body what they need to work efficiently.

Take Charge

Star by setting yourself up to act, instead of react. Go to bed early so you can get up early. Start your day off calmly with meditation or a few deep breaths. Begin the day by reviewing long term goals, setting goals and a to-do list for the day, and getting started on the most important tasks and the unpleasant tasks you need to accomplish during the day. Your goals, to do list and plan for accomplishing your to do list should be written and placed where you can see it frequently. By beginning with the most unpleasant and the most important tasks you’ll prevent procrastination and minimize the effects of not accomplishing everything you set out to accomplish in the event you’re unable to finish your to-do list.

Avoid checking email, text messages or social media during the first 90 minutes of the day. Checking email sets you up to react to other’s needs, which prevents you from acting according to your priorities. Schedule times to check email throughout the day, preferably in the afternoon so you don’t give your best hours to other people’s requests. Check email at those times and ignore it during the rest of the day.

Learn to go off the grid as necessary. If you have things you need to accomplish, turn your phone off and ignore your email and focus. Tell one person how to contact you in case of emergency and let everything filter through that person.

Summary:

  • Act Don’t React
  • Get Up Early
  • Control Your Morning Routine
  • Set Goals and Use a To-Do List
  • Do unpleasant and important things first
  • Avoid Email in the Morning

Act or React

You can either be a person who acts or a person who reacts.  Action leads to productivity.
You can either be a person who acts or a person who reacts. Action leads to productivity.

Be Mindful of Your Environment

Control the effect your environment has on you
Control the effect your environment has on you | Source

Use Your Time and Space

Eliminate distractions. Multitasking is a great way to use more time, accomplish less and accomplish things more poorly than you otherwise would. Set up your workspace so you can focus on what you’re doing. If you’re not using it, put it away. Mess causes stress. Keep your workspace neat and organized and do what you need to to be able to focus.

Keep a notebook nearby to jot down ideas that come and other important information for easy reference later. As ideas come, write them down, forget about them, and go back to what you were doing. Your idea will be waiting for you in your notebook when you finish the task you’re working on.

Schedule your day so you work in 90 minute sessions and then have a 10 minute break. Use this time for a social interruption or a walk around the office or block. Set a timer and follow it. Your brain is going to take breaks anyway. By scheduling them, you control when breaks happen. This will make your 90 minutes more productive than the 100 minutes would be if you tried to work through your break.

Summary:

  • Eliminate distractions
  • Avoid Multitasking
  • Eliminate Mess
  • Keep a Notebook Nearby
  • Plan Breaks

Exercise Increases Productivity

Exercise makes your brain function better.
Exercise makes your brain function better. | Source

Care For Your Most Important Tools

Your health affects your mental capability. Your body need to be taken care of in order for both your mind and your body to function properly. Science shows that people who exercise are able to focus better and get more time done than people who skip exercise for extra time studying or working. Spend an hour a day working out. Your workout should include stretching, cardio and strength training and should be consistently changing to keep your body guessing and on top of its game.

Plan what you eat for the week and go grocery shopping once. You’ll eat better, spend less time and save money. Failure to plan what you eat results in skipped meals, vending machine runs, junk food, fast food and wasted time. Prevent it by scheduling time to plan your weekly meals each week. If you need to, cook your meals in bulk and freeze them so you it takes less time during the month.

Getting enough sleep will also help your productivity levels. If your brain is distracted with thirst, hunger and fatigue, it’s not focusing on what you’re doing 100%. Go to bed early enough that you can get up early and start your day calmly and refreshed. Failure to go to bed one night is setting the next day up for failure.

Keep a water bottle where you work. Try to finish it during every 90 minute work session and refill it on your breaks. Drinking enough water will help prevent sore muscles and fatigue and will help keep your mind sharp.

Summary:

  • Exercise
  • Plan What You Eat
  • Sleep
  • Use a Water Bottle

Productive People Avoid Damaging and Negative Relationships

You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.  Choose wisely.
You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Choose wisely. | Source

Choose Your Associations

Productive people have learned they can’t do everything. They learn to say no and they learn to delegate. Do what you love, do what is necessary, don’t do anything else. Time spent on things that are unnecessary and unpleasant is time that could have been better spent.

Finish your morning planning sessions by asking yourself if there is any filler you can eliminate. If so, eliminate it and allocate the time to something that’s more important. Eliminate meetings where possible. If a meeting is necessary, have an agenda and stick to it. Many hours are wasted in pointless meetings.

Let go of negative people. Relationships are two way streets. If a relationship is constantly one sided or rarely positive, evaluate the time and mental energy spent on that relationship. If possible, eliminate the relationship. Otherwise, assess the time and energy being wasted and find ways to reduce it.

Summary:

  • Learn to say no
  • Learn to delegate
  • Eliminate unnecessary time wasters
  • Have an agenda for every meeting and stick to it
  • Eliminate negative and taxing relationships

Use Your Mental Energy Wisely

You only have so much mental energy in a day.  Use it well.
You only have so much mental energy in a day. Use it well.

The Productive Mentality

Productive people don’t waste time beating themselves up. They learn from their mistakes and find ways to improve and then move on. They know that time spent beating yourself up is time that can’t be spent doing something productive. Productive people also learn to dream and trust their abilities. They trust that if they work hard they can accomplish big things. Failing to believe in yourself and plan as if you can be successful prevents productivity before the workday even begins.

Productive people also don’t wait for motivation to strike. They just do it. They have a plan and they follow it through, trusting that motivation will come. If it doesn’t come, they take a short, timed break and try again. Productive people aren’t people who don’t have distractions and emotions, they’re people who have learned to work around them.

They also set themselves up for success. They finish the day by reviewing their goals, to do list and plan for the day. They find areas in which they can improve and finish the day by preparing for tomorrow. They end each day so they can start the next day calmly and feeling prepared.

Most importantly, productive people do what they love. Positivity, joy and excitement for a project will increase the quality of someone’s work and decrease the time it takes to do it. If you don’t love what you do, start doing what you love.

Summary

  • Don’t waste time beating yourself
  • Don’t waste time with negative self-talk
  • Don’t wait for motivation to strike
  • Set Yourself Up for Success
  • Do What You Love

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    • RandaHandler profile image

      Randa Awn Handler 22 months ago from USA

      Great tips! I used to spend time listening to people and then realized that my time was valuable too and like you write, one needs to be selective especially when it comes to time management. Learning to say no is a difficult one for me but I will try to remember your lists!

    • profile image

      withyoulifecoach 2 years ago

      Avoiding email in the morning and using a to do list are my lifelines at work! Great hub. I love the summaries at the end of each tip.

    • Colleen Diemer profile image

      Colleen Diemer 2 years ago from Florida

      Great article! Very well written. Excellent advice! Very nice job. Colleen

    • Padmajah Badri profile image

      Padmajah Badri 2 years ago from India

      Hi.This hub is must read for managers.Very Informative.Thank you.Happy Writing !

    • Anamika S profile image

      Anamika S 2 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India

      Awesome Hub! There are a lot of things I need to implement. I multi task most of the times and can never say no to friends. Also I don't think anyone else can do my task better than me so when it comes to delegating work I am a failure. Even when I outsource or delegate work to an associate I end up interfering or doing it myself. When I work I forget everything including food and rest. Though I am pretty organized and follow a to do list, I try to squeeze in more tasks than I can complete. So I really need to follow some of your tips.

    • serenityjmiller profile image

      Serenity Miller 2 years ago from Brookings, SD

      Good tips - thanks for sharing! One thing I struggle with, in a communications-centric role, is balancing the imperative to respond quickly to inquiries and information requests, along with the need to do "actual work" at the same time. When a large part of my job requires me to be available and responsive to others' needs, ignoring email or phone messages is simply not an option. I do see a great deal of value in allotting specific time blocks to those communucations and to my other tasks, though - even if my time blocks are in 15-minute increments! Even 15 minutes of focus on one or the other is more productive than 15 minutes of trying to do both at once.

    • kbdressman profile image
      Author

      kbdressman 2 years ago from Harlem, New York

      Glad to hear you enjoyed it, thumbi7! Is there somewhere else you can work when you have a list of things to do, so people aren't bugging you in your office? Or could you schedule "office hours" where other people can come ask questions and visit as necessary and then leave you alone outside office hours?

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 2 years ago from India

      'Eliminate unnecessary time wasters'. This is what I have to do now. Today in office, I had continuous flow of visitors from 2pm to 4 pm each one with an agenda for themselves.

      Thank you for sharing this

      Voted up and shared