Fed up with failing in your New Year’s resolutions each year? Work towards something you can stick to instead. And that something is becoming more productive.
Improving your productivity is something that can benefit you in all aspects of your life, helping you run your business better, manage your personal life, and keep on top of your home too.
Being a more productive person takes some work, but once you get things under control, it will become second nature, helping you make the most of your time for more of the things you enjoy.
Want to become a more productive you in 2021? Here are 15 useful tips to help you get there.
1. Set yourself daily goals
Taking the time to set yourself daily goals can have multiple benefits for your productivity. If there are certain things you want to achieve each day (go for a walk, drink more water, etc.) then make sure you add them to your daily to-do list. Your daily goals can also help you manage the unique things you have to do that day, helping you manage your schedule and appointments.
The more you practice goal setting, the more it will become a habit. You’ll get used to working your way through lists soon enough and can get quicker at working through them too. Consider setting goals for the different aspects of your life to help you manage things more effectively.
When you’ve achieved something on your list, cross it off. It can feel rewarding to see tasks being completed, giving you the motivation to continue.
Get some help with some goal setting apps to ensure you stay on track.
2. Keep notes
Taking notes is a key part in staying productive. When you’ve got a lot of things to juggle, keeping notes is one way to help you remember crucial details. It also gives you something to look back on and share with others as needed. Writing notes with a classic pen and paper is one way to stay on top of things, or you can keep notes using your computer, using the cloud to make sure you can see them wherever you go!
3. Start with the hardest tasks first
Putting off dreaded tasks will only ensure they take longer to achieve. So why not start with them instead? The tasks that take up most of your energy are the ones worth doing when you’re at your most energized – you might find that you work through them a lot faster this way.
Your easier tasks can be saved for when your energy is running out. They’ll require less brain power and are ideal for finishing up your day.
4. Learn how to say no
It’s human nature not to disappoint people, but when you bite off more than you can chew, you can end up overworked, overtired, and unable to do anything effectively. Learning to say no is a fantastic quality to have – it shows you can manage your time, but that you’re also confident in yourself and your capabilities.
From saying no to one too many meetings, to a client you don’t have the time for, the more you practice saying no – the better you’ll become at it.
5. Take regular breaks
Sometimes, ‘powering through’ can feel like the most effective way of getting staying productive. However, the more you power through without taking a break, the less productive you’ll become.
Taking a regular break is important to clear your head, gives your eyes a break and help you recharge. You’ll feel much more refreshed and able to do your best work once you’ve given yourself some time away from it.
So how often should you take a break? Experts say every 75 to 90 minutes. So whether you go to make a coffee, or you go for a short walk somewhere, get away from your desk to help you stay at your most productive.
6. Change your approach to emails
Do you spend all day dipping in and out of your emails? Perhaps it’s time to put a stop to that. Emails can be a distraction, taking away from the rest of the work you have to do that day.
Setting aside time to check emails in the morning and the afternoon will help put an end to the distraction, allowing you to devote larger chunks of time to your to-do list.
7. Reduce meeting times
Most people can say that they spend too much time in meetings. Some meetings are necessary, but do they all have to be as long as they are? Why not reduce your meeting times from an hour to 45 minutes, or 30 minutes to 20? It’ll force you to get to the issues quicker so that you can free up some time in your day.
8. Schedule your exercise
If you’re serious about being healthy, there are things you need to do every day for a healthier lifestyle. Exercise is one of them. It’s easy to find excuses not to exercise, but it’s important that you make the time for it.
Scheduling in your exercise is a good way to keep up your fitness routine. You could book a class, go to the gym with a friend or even hire a personal training session as one way to help you stick to it. By putting time for exercise in your diary, you’ll be more likely to stick to your exercise ‘appointment’. Try aiming for an early morning workout so that you can get it out of the way early.
9. Put the smartphone away
Smartphones are a big distraction. We’re all guilty of checking on our social media too much or getting stuck in a scrolling spiral that distracts from the task at hand.
Challenge yourself to put the phone away – put it out of sight for an hour! You could find it makes a big difference. You will notice how productive you are by how much you get done in that hour.
10. Get up earlier in the mornings
If you’re not a morning person, you’ll be surprised to learn that you can turn things around. You can help yourself become a morning person by changing your habits, including changing your bedtime. By getting up earlier in the morning, you can get things like exercise and housework out of the way, and make time for a good breakfast. It’ll make a big difference to your day, helping you get more done than you ever thought possible.
11. Be strict with your bedtime
To be able to become a morning person, you need to be strict with your bedtime. No more late nights or witching hours spent on your phone – learn how to sleep better at night to improve your energy and focus.
12. Plan and prep your food on a Sunday
If you want to eat healthier, you need to put the effort in. And that effort can be made on a Sunday. Learning how to meal prep will help you plan your meals for the week so that you can eat a balanced diet, as well as save time and money. Meal prepping for the week will save you time in the evenings, allowing you to enjoy dinner with your family instead of slaving away to make it!
13. Say goodbye to tech that lets you down
Technology can let your productivity down. From a poor internet connection to slow, dated computers and phone technology, it’s worth making the investment to help you work faster. Work out what you need to improve your speed, it could be as simple as a WilsonPro cell phone booster cable to help improve the reception in your home. A few tech upgrades could make a big difference and put an end to those feelings of frustration you get when things aren’t working as they should.
14. Learn when to shut off
It’s easy to continue working through to the evening, but doing this will leave you tired and frustrated, and it will impact on your leisure and family time. By learning to shut off at a certain time, you can find a work/life balance and make sure you’re not overdoing things.
15. Spend 5 minutes planning the next day
A not-so-secret tip of productive people is to spend time at the end of the day planning for the next. At the end of your workday, you should spend five minutes thinking about what you need to do the following day. Write your to-do list to help you get a head start. When you sit down to work the next day, you’ll know exactly what needs to be done and can get stuck in.
Becoming a more productive person is something that takes time. New habits take weeks to form, but if you persevere, you’ll soon find yourself adapting the way you manage your time to help you get things done. Start with the small steps and as you see results, it will give you the motivation you need to make some permanent changes.