11 ways to be more productive
You just want to get things done, whether at work or in your personal life. But doesn’t it seem like something always gets in the way? Distractions can range from important things like helping kids with homework questions to simple procrastination and getting sucked down a social media rabbit hole. So here are some tips to help you avoid those distractions and become more productive.
- Set simple goals: To be clear, it’s important to have big goals in life, but even the bigger goals can be broken down into several smaller goals. This way, the bigger goal will seem less intimidating, and you’ll feel more productive as you achieve each smaller goal.
- Schedule your goals: Set a date and time when you want to get started on each goal.
- Do the hard thing first: When you have a list of goals or tasks for the day, it’s a good psychological trick to get the toughest task out of the way first. That way, everything else will seem easier.1
- Be easy on yourself: While discipline is definitely important when it comes to productivity, it can be counter-productive to beat yourself up if you don’t complete a goal on time here and there. Just commit yourself to meeting the next goal on time.2
- Schedule breaks: As important as it is to schedule goals, it’s just as important to schedule breaks in between them. Be unproductive for a few minutes, so you can be more productive later. Give your mind time to rest or recharge. And maybe this is the time you can go down that social media rabbit hole – but with a time limit so you don’t veer into the procrastination zone.
- Find your focus: Before you get started, try to find time to relax and clear your mind, which will help you focus and feel less overwhelmed. For some, that could be meditation or prayer, for others a walk around the block, and for some it could be as simple as enjoying your morning coffee or tea.
- Stay hydrated: We know that, in general, it’s important to drink water throughout the day, and even more so when you’re doing something physically active. But research has shown that dehydration can affect your concentration, so keep drinking!1
- Catch your z’s: As you can see, productivity has so much to do with focus and concentration. And you simply can’t be fully focused if you’re tired all day due to lack of sleep.
- Be honest with people: If a friend calls or sends you a hilarious meme you want to chat about, it’s tempting to divert your focus and deal with your friend. But if you’re working on a goal, be honest with them. Tell them you want to give them all your attention and set up a time to chat later.1
- Have a Plan B: If important distractions come up that you absolutely have to deal with, have a contingency plan in place.2
- Use productivity apps: There are plenty of great apps out there that can help you set up to-do lists, manage your time, and save time by doing things for you so you don’t have to think about them.3
Sometimes we wish there were 36 hours in a day so we can keep up with everything we want to do. But these productivity tips should help you squeeze more quality, productive time into your personal and work life.
1 realsimple.com, “Our Best-Ever Tips for Being More Productive (and Ditching Procrastination for Good),” January 19, 2021.
2 lifehack.org, “How to Set Goals and Achieve Them Successfully,” May 13, 2021.
3 pcmag.com, “The Best Productivity Apps for 2021,” January 14, 2020.