Get enough sleep. Whoever coined the phrase “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” didn’t have all the facts straight. Not getting enough Zzz’s could hinder productivity at work, so try to get those recommended seven to nine hoursof snooze time !
Create routines. Make a habit of, well, sticking to habits. Schedule actionslike writing emails at a certain time or hitting the gym after work, and try to do them daily. Soon that routine will happen on autopilot.
Wake up earlier.As long as you’re still able to squeeze in enough sleep, try extending the day by getting up an hour earlier—when it’s still quiet and there are fewer distractions.
Step away from the inbox. Incoming emails can be a nuisance. Make a habit to only check the inbox at certain times of the day to avoid getting sidetracked with requests and responses.
Make a daily to-do list. Stay away from huge to-do lists. Instead, create a daily list of realistic jobs to tackle, like folding laundry, scheduling a doctor’s appointment, or paying the cable bill. Break up big goals into micro-tasks, like going to a yoga class over getting six-pack abs, or writing a page over completing a thesis. Soon, the small things will add up to big accomplishments.
Take a midday workout break. Got writers’ block? Can’t fathom cleaning the bathroom? Try hitting the pavement. Working out during the day could actually boost productivity, so the time spent exercising could actually help us get more done later .
Don’t multitask.Our brains aren’t wired to juggle too much at once, and we can work nearly twice as fastif we do only one thing at a time . (And nope, we’re not talking LOST time-travel.) . So remember those childhood manners and finish tasks one at a time.
Silence the phone. When it comes to getting stuff done, sometimes silence is key. Turn off email alerts and the cell phone ringer—that’s what voicemail is for!
Make a to-don’t list.Bad habits are just as significant as good ones. So make a list of things notto do because they make you unproductive (we’re staring at you, Netflix), and stick to it.
Brainstorm. Take some time to sit and get those creative juices flowing. Without distractions, brainstorming may be the way to come up with killer ideas in record time. Bonus: Creativity can make you happier.
Do those MITs. Nope, this isn’t college talk. MIT stands formost important tasks, and it’s a way to highlight the items that matter most on that to-do list. At the start of each day, write down a few things that must get done. Commit to tackling those tasks, and let the rest of the chips fall where they may.
Hit inbox zero. Sort every email once that inbox is open. Respond, file, draft, or delete. Keeping the inbox cleanis key to staying organized and on point. (Just remember not to keep the inbox openwhen you aren’t organizing it.).
Stay healthy. Just like… don’t get sick. (It may be easier said than done.) But health and productivity go hand in hand, so be sure to maintain good health habits, like eating welland washing up after hitting the gym!
Keep a pen and pad on hand. Make like Richard Bransonand carry pen and paper (or your smartphone) to catch any useful thought that may come to mind. Up the creativity ante and make your own moleskin DIY style.
Shut off social media. Sayonara, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Social media can be a huge time suck. Studies have found that it can take up a significant chunk of timeat the office, and may even predict lower gradesin school. Make it a habit to unplug whenever you need to get something done.
“Eat the frogs.”We swear it’s a real term. Each day, once you’ve figured out your Most Important Tasks, do the task you’re least looking forward to first. That way, you’ll get it out of the way early and feel super productive, to boot. (No guarantees Prince Charming will emerge.)
Slow down. Read. This. Slowly. Getting stuff doneisn’t always a matter of making it to the finish line first. Take timeto reflect, brainstorm, and recharge. The added energy will make you that much more productive when you put your nose back to the grindstone.
Track time. Take a day to record how much time is spent writing emails, reading blogs, texting, etc. You may be surprised at how much time certain activities (ahem, browsing Pinterest)take up every day. Once you’ve figured out how your time is being used up, make it a point to prioritize what really matters to you (and cut out what doesn’t).
Don’t bounce around. Box off a specific amount of timefor every task on your to-do list each day. Assign a chunk of the day for one project, and stay focused on that project during its designated time. Once that time is up, move on to the next mission.
Tune out. Those headphones will help tune out any distractions. Plus, coworkers and friends may be less likely to interrupt if they see we’re tuned in.
Look back. Schedule some time toward the end of each week to reflect on what you accomplished and make any necessary schedule tweaks for the following week.
Set triggers. Leave reminders around your workspace and home to help you remember what needs to get done. Place bills that need to be paid or books to be read out in the open, and stick post-it reminders on the fridge!
Eat well. What we scarf down for lunch may do more than satisfy hunger. Certain foods, like salmon, almonds, and carrots, can give us a much-needed boost of energy. So forgo the take-out and be picky at the cafeteria!
De-clutter. Get rid of anything that may cause distractions. Put away the dishes, fold clothes, and get rid of excess papers on the desk so you’re less likely to get sidetracked. Up the ante by implementing some Feng Shui principlesin your workspace.
Sayno. Don’t stretch yourself too thin. Learning to say no—to going out for drinks when you’re tired, to extra projects when you’re swamped—keeps us focused, prevents overwhelm, and may even ward off sickness.
Take a break. Carve out some quality “you” time each day to keep a balance between the busy world and your own inner life.
I’m the marketing director at Greatist, and when I’m not hanging at HQ with my best buds (aka co-workers…) you can find me training for marathons, writing, or searching for the perfect bloody mary. I have an odd obsession with mountains, and am passionate about helping others become happier and healthier.