High productivity is an aspiration of many, and whilst work-life balance can be hard to achieve; it is not impossible.

Productivity is defined as the effectiveness of the effort. Ask yourself – are you getting out what you put in? This is not just defined by the hours spent at a desk, but what the outcomes are. Are the hours you are working simply passing by whilst you have minimal outcomes? If so, then you must aim to improve your productivity and therefore your results.

Managing your time and trying to juggle all those different tasks sounds like something you should be able to organize, but it’s not always easy to know where to start. Follow these ways to help unlock productivity in both your personal and work life.

START YOUR MORNING RIGHT

Having a proper morning routine can work wonders. When you dedicate your morning to starting your day off right, you better prepare yourself to tackle all of those important tasks on your to-do list. There is no need to wake up 3 hours early, but you need to take a few minutes every morning to prepare yourself for the day.  If you feel like you have no time in the morning, just start small. Take 5 minutes to try meditating, wait 10 minutes before grabbing your phone, or spend some time writing in your journal.

PLAN YOUR DAY THE NIGHT BEFORE

This is similar to my previous point, and it’s just as important. Take a few minutes every night to plan what tasks you want to tackle the next day. There is no need to have an in-depth plan for every second of the next day. You just need to have a general idea of what you want to accomplish. This allows you to jump right into your day without waffling while you attempt to figure out what needs to get done.

ORGANIZE YOUR WORKSPACE

If my work area is in disarray, I am distracted. I needed things to be clean and organized to stay focused on the task at hand in. Wherever your workspace is keeping it clean will go a long way towards improving your productivity.

DON’T DEPEND ON YOUR ABILITY TO MULTITASK

You might think that being able to multitask puts you at an advantage when in reality it could be hindering your productivity. It’s simply not possible to work through your inbox, juggle meetings and answer phone calls all while you’re preparing your lunch. Focusing on one task at a time actually allows you to do the task well and you’ll get through each task much quicker!

DO THOSE BIGGER TASKS FIRST

The bigger the task, the more energy you’re going to need. So, make sure you tackle those larger tasks as soon as possible and get them done and dusted. As your energy levels deplete so should the importance of your tasks, so when you finally get around to cleaning your desk and emptying your office bin, it won’t matter if you’re a little slow.



CUT DOWN YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA USAGE AND OTHER DISTRACTIONS

Stoney Brookes is a computer studies professor who admits that “personal social media usage leads to negative effects, both on efficiency and wellbeing.” Aside from this, anecdotal reports on the side effects of social media usage include brain fog and the inability to concentrate. If you are someone distracted by social media (and realistically who isn’t?) then rule it out of your life and instead put your positive energy into apps that help you focus and be more efficient.

Smartphone apps such as Moment can help to reduce your screen time and categorize what you spend your time looking at – so no more sneaky Instagram sessions or games whilst at your work desk. Using Moment is a great step to see what is distracting and what is productive. Turn off your notifications and you will feel less compelled to constantly check multiple apps. Other apps such as Headspace and Calm can also help to revitalize concentration levels at work.

TAKE BREAKS

You have an inbox bursting at the seams, you’ve got documents to get through and you have too many calendar notifications to count. You’ve already been working for hours yet your tasks seem to be mounting. The solution? Take a break.

It sounds counterproductive but taking as little as ten minutes away from your desk to stretch, get something to eat and drink and to move your body will be enough to reset your mind. You’ll be ready to head back to your desk refreshed and ready for whatever the day throws at you.

PLAN OUT YOUR TIME

You may think it’s fine to fly by the seat of your pants, but it leads to less productivity. You want to plan out your tasks for each day so you can stay on track and make progress. Having those tasks set out before you help you gear up for the day ahead. There are numerous ways this can be done in your bullet journal.

One option is to schedule out what you will work on during certain hours at regularly spaced intervals. For example, I have hourly timed slots in my journal from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. This helps me plan the bulk of my day. If you want to be more precise, you can plan it down to the quarter hour.

KNOW THE SIMPLE EFFECTS FOOD AND WATER HAS ON YOU

There’s definitely going to be some days when you’re not feeling it. At those points, it’s more important than ever to make strategic choices—especially if you have a big meeting or major presentation in which you need to be productive. Below are some tips from Davis on food and water:

  • Drink water—“After a couple of hours, we get dehydrated,” he says.
  • Maintain stable blood sugar—“If you’re having a day like that where it’s really tough to get through, divide your lunch in half. Eat half of it now, then half later, and this will allow your blood to stabilize.”
  • Have your optimal dose of coffee—“When it comes to coffee, people should have a dose that they respond to well. When you just have your dose rather than have a ton of coffee all at once, that’s key.”

Are you ready to shift your approach to productivity at your work and life? Here are a few strategies to get started:

· Take care of yourself. You’ll be better able to resist distractions and choose where to direct your attention when you get enough rest and you’re eating healthy foods.

· Control your technology. Turn off notifications and alerts from your email, apps and social media.

· Set some boundaries. Headphones are just one way to cope with an open office. You could also try a “do not disturb” sign on your desk, working from a quieter area of the office, or even working from home sometimes.

· Retrain your mind. If you’re used to multitasking, focusing on just one thing can make you feel antsy. Set a timer and do 10 minutes of focused work. Then work your way up to longer periods.

· Protect your free time. Remember, sometimes a break is the most productive thing you can do. Email counts as work, so resist the urge to check office communications after work hours and on vacation.

I hope these productivity tips are easy for you to implement into your day without completely disrupting your life or doing something overly complicated. Remember that you don’t need to implement all of these, but I hope that some of these productivity tips will help you grow.