Are you a chronic binge-watcher like me? Do you want to get more done in less time? Well then, this article is for you. I’m always looking for ways to increase productivity and get more done. I give you tips to increase productivity that you can easily implement in your life, apps you can use to get more done and be less distracted. All while keeping your sanity and saving plenty of time to spend doing the things you love with the people that are important to you.
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Tips to increase productivity and get more done in less time
1. Turn off the TV
Working from home is great, but it’s easy to get lost in the TV. I wake up in the morning and the first thing I do is get a cup of coffee and watch a series, 45 minutes later I realize that my to-do list is packed and the temptation is big to watch the next episode.
Solution – Don’t turn on the TV, but go straight to work in the morning. You can watch TV at night as a reward for finishing all your tasks. If you are a binge-watcher like me try to set yourself a limit like ‘ I won’t watch more than two episodes a day.’ Stick to it, and see how much your productivity increases.
2. Reward yourself
We all love rewards – Think of the feeling you get when you eat something you enjoy. So what better way to get more done than by rewarding yourself. You can add it to the bottom of your task list and reward yourself when finished, or reward yourself after every big task you complete. Examples of rewards can be;
- Food ( Think healthy, or small portions)
- A powernap.
- Watching TV/playing a game for a set time.
- Feeding the ducks in the park.
- Or anything else you enjoy that feels rewarding.
I like to set a monthly reward for myself – If I stick to my schedule to my satisfaction, I buy something from my wishlist. I never buy anything for myself, so the feeling that I worked for it and therefore deserve it feels like a big reward for me. It’s also something that keeps me motivated and something to look forward to!
3. Put devices away
Devices are a big problem for everyone’s productivity. It’s easy to get distracted when people keep texting you or if you keep getting notifications from your favorite game. So if you want to get more done lock those devices away! Some tips;
- De-install apps that distract you, you can easily re-download them in the app store.
- Put your phone, iPad and other distracting devices on a pile and think of a sanction if you touch them before you finished your tasks – ‘No TV,’ or ‘No pizza tonight’ could be examples.
- Download StayFocusd – This chrome-extension increases your productivity by limiting the amount of time that you can spend on time-wasting websites. You can ban all sites, but you can add a list of sites you are allowed to visit, for work of course 😉
4. Plan tasks ahead
Make it yourself easier by planning tasks ahead. You can use a bullet journal, planner or an online app to stay organized and plan your day, week or month in advance. Set goals and rewards to remain motivated.
How a planner or bullet journal helps you to get more done;
- Your tasks, goals, and rewards become visible.
- Keeping a planner helps you develop healthy habits.
- Schedule breaks and self-care that keep you balanced.
- You can write your thoughts down for later and stay focused on one task.
- Set long-term goals and reflect on them.
Some of my favorite planners;
5. Make a long-term goal list
‘Where do you want to be in 5 years?’ Ask yourself that question. You will work much harder for something if you have a clear goal in mind. Every time you are dreading your tasks to remind yourself of your long-term goal.
In 5 years – I hope to be a psychologist. Reminding myself of that helps me to start my homework and study for exams.
Tips for a long-term goal list;
- Don’t be vague, write down exactly what you want to achieve.
- Don’t just remind yourself of your goals, look at them!
- Make the list pretty with drawings or color; it’s supposed to be special right!
6. Take notes
If you want to increase productivity, it’s a good idea to take a notebook or app with you so you can take notes of ideas, thoughts, worries or anything else that might distract you or could be important for a later time.
A tip for all the worriers among us – if you notice that your productivity is decreasing cause you keep worrying about everything, try writing down all your worries for 5 minutes and tell yourself you can worry about them tonight for 30 minutes. You will see that as soon as you give yourself ‘permission’ to worry, the worrying thoughts will quickly disappear and you won’t even need those 30 minutes. This also helps you realize you have more control over your mind than you think.
7. Just start
My favorite tactic to increase productivity is by telling myself ‘Kim, just write 100 words’ or ‘5 minutes only’. My mind likes to procrastinate, so the hardest part for me is to start working, but as soon as I’ve finished those 100 words, I can easily write another 1000.
Another reminder that we have more control over our minds than we think. We can listen to the ‘I don’t want to do this, I’m tired’ but if we say ‘let’s do this, just 100 words’ you will jump up and get started, and before you know it, you finished half your task list.
8. Love what you do
Loving what you do might be the most important of all. If you enjoy what you do it’s easier to stay motivated and work hard for it. You can’t always love everything you do, but if you’re reading this and thinking ‘I hate my life’ then it’s time for a change. Maybe you aren’t able to change everything right now, but try to work towards a life you love.
9. Listen to your internal clock
I’m not a morning person. I work best at night, and that’s why I do most of my studying and working in the late afternoon and evening. As a society we have been conditioned to work during the day, but who says you have to do that?
Not every situation will allow you to finish tasks or work during the best times for your internal clock, but if you can, try to figure out at what times you have the most energy, and use that time to get more done.
10. Take breaks
Breaks are essential cause they help increase productivity. If you work for too long without a break, you will start feeling tired, and you will get less productive. Taking a break will refresh your mind and energy level.
I use Be Focused – this app helps you to achieve more in less time by setting a timer in which you work, followed by a break. I work for 50 minutes, and then I take a 10-minute break. After a few rounds or when I’m tired I take a power nap. I set a timer for 20 minutes, so I don’t fall asleep when the alarm sounds I feel refreshed and ready to get back to work.
Standing in a ‘Power Pose‘ can also help you feel refreshed and ready to get to work.
11. Start with the least fun task.
Another tip to increase productivity is to start with the task you dread the most. If you do the hardest or least fun task first the rest of your task list becomes a piece of cake.
If starting is hard for you – try to make it more appealing by giving yourself a reward when you finish the task.
12. Create an organized work-place.
If you want to get more done in less time – start with an organized work-place in which you have oversight and where you can find everything fast. Some tips to keep your office organized;
- Scan your mail and files and save them on your computer.
- Buy a label printer so you can tag boxes and categorize your things.
- Throw away pens and other things you never use – remember, less is more.
- Put away everything that might distract you – including devices.
Things I use to organize my work-place;
13. Use sound to increase productivity.
Some people like to work in a place where it’s completely quiet, other people’s productivity increases when they work with background sounds. I study and work best with some background sounds. A few resources that always help me to achieve more in less time.
- This video with alpha waves
- Calm app
- Relaxia app
- Film music – My favorite is the theme song from Jurassic Park.
You can’t be very productive if you’re tired, so make sure you sleep well. Sleep helps you to remember things better, focus better and be more creative. If you have troubles sleeping you should try a power nap during the day.
Related: How to sleep better
15. Go out in nature.
It’s no secret that nature helps us to concentrate and relax. Go for a walk before work or take a break outside. You will feel refreshed, and you will get more done. A few tips;
- Take a lunch break outside
- Jog, walk or ride your bike to work
- Open a window when you work for fresh air
- If you’re feeling tired during work – go outside for 5 minutes and take a few deep breaths.
16. Meal planning.
Achieve more in less time by planning and prepping your meals in advance! If you have a bullet journal or other planner you can easily make a list in which you write down what you will eat for the week ahead, that way you don’t have to plan a meal last minute. If you want to step things up a notch, you can even prepare it all at once. A few tips;
- Shop online (see 17)
- Buy glass containers, they are better for the environment, and you can use them forever.
- Marinate chicken and prepare it in the oven. The chicken will stay juicy, and it costs almost no work.
- You can decide to cook meals that are ready to be heated and put them in a box together or cut everything up and put them in separate boxes, that way you can decide to switch things up last moment.
- Cut fruit and freeze them for easy and cold smoothies.
- Use the same ingredients in different meals so you can buy in bulk and save money!
17. Shop online.
The ultimate way to save time is by shopping online. I’ve been doing this for years now, and it’s not only more comfortable but it also helps me to stay healthy. You see, when I enter a grocery store for bread, I come out with 20 other things that I don’t need and most of them aren’t even healthy. So shop online, and the time you would typically spend on shopping can now be spent on work, study and your family.
18. Learn to say no and set boundaries.
Do you have colleagues, friends or family that are always asking for favors? Learn to say no. They will still like you if you say no sometimes. Put yourself first and set healthy boundaries. There is nothing wrong with doing something for someone, but if you don’t have the time, energy or it doesn’t feel right you should say no.
19. Focus on one task.
Multi-tasking might look like a smart idea to get more done in less time, but if you finish your tasks like that, you might have to do extra work later cause you are not satisfied with the result, or you find out you did something the wrong way. It’s better to focus on one task and finish it right before you start with the next task.
20. Be smart with your bills.
Plan a moment every 2 – 4 weeks in which you will pay all your bills. Try to set up automation for your payment if that’s a possibility. Keep your bills in a file/organizer in your desk and when it’s time to pay them you do it all at once. Having a set date to pay your bills helps you to save time, and you won’t forget a payment which will save money! After you’re done, you can scan the bills you need to keep on your computer so you can keep your workplace neat.
21. Save time with a mail plan.
Increase productivity by making a mail plan. Figure out what times are convenient to deal with emails. I like to open them in the morning when I wake up and at the end of my workday. By setting a time to open them, I don’t let myself be distracted by incoming emails. I delete all the emails I don’t need anymore, and I keep important emails in a special folder.
22. Listen to podcasts for motivation.
Nothing motivates me more than listening to someone telling me I can do anything I want in life. I know I can, but the reminder is very welcome. My productivity increases a lot on days I listen to podcasts.
I like to listen to Tony Robbin’s podcasts.
23. Increase productivity through speed reading.
Speedreading is a skill everyone should invest in. You get more done and save a lot of time if you can read faster. A great course is ‘Become a SuperLearner‘ It will not only teach you to read faster, but it will also help you boost your memory. If you want to achieve more in less time than this course is something you should invest in.
24. Start your morning earlier.
This looks obvious for anyone that wants to get more done, but waking up early isn’t so easy for everyone. I’m a real night person so waking up at five isn’t going to happen for me, but after reading ‘The miracle morning‘ I decided to wake up an hour earlier. I don’t follow all the advice from the book, but this book helped me implement strategies to make my morning an excellent foundation for the day.
25. Use keyboard shortcuts.
Why would you do things the hard way if there is an easy way? If you want to get more done in less time, you need to start by using keyboard shortcuts. You can get used to it quickly, and it will save you a lot of time in the end.
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Do you feel like you are productive or can you use these tips to increase productivity?