15 Ways to Stay Productive

Productivity: Such a positive, yet negative word. When we’re at the top of our game, our productivity levels soar and we feel great, but when we’re having an off day (or off week), our productivity levels are barely off the ground. One day we’re feeling accomplished and the next, we’re completely unmotivated.

In today’s world, finding ways to be productive is extremely challenging. Many of us are working and learning from home, surrounded by family and maybe small children. We’re worried, we’re stressed, we’re constantly “connected.” So how can we ensure that we’re finishing out the day feeling great about our accomplishments, rather than struggling to be keep up? While we’ll all face days that we simply can’t get started, there are several key things we can all be doing to start the day off right. Here are 15 of our favorite ways to tackle that to-do list with enthusiasm.

Make your workspace your own. Whether you’re working from home or in a shared cubicle, make sure your space is both energizing and calming and set up to work with you, rather than against you.

If possible, distance yourself from noise and distractions. Many students are using tri-fold presentation boards to set up a separate space and this may be a great solution for those with limited space who are working from home.

Stick to a schedule. Try to get to bed at the same time each night and set the alarm for the same time each morning. This ensures you’re working with your own natural rhythm.

Make friends with calendars and to-do lists. A monthly calendar is great for seeing the complete picture of the upcoming month and breaking this down into a weekly or daily to-do list can help keep things into perspective. Consider taking some time before closing out for the day to create a list for the following day that includes a prioritized list of all that should be accomplished.

Stay healthy. Staying physically healthy is one of the best ways to feel energized and ready to start the day. Not much can be accomplished if one is feeling ill. Visit the doctor regularly, take vitamins if necessary, drink plenty of water, exercise daily, eat well and get an ample amount of sleep each night.

Take time to de-stress. The above holds true for mental health, as well, so it’s important to take some time out for some true rest and relaxation.

Turn off social media. It’s OK to take a break once in a while and catch up on your favorite feeds, but we all know how quickly that 5-minute phone time can turn into an hour, leaving us completely unmotivated to get back to work. Refrain from checking on social media while working through a to-do list.

Break it down. If big tasks overwhelm you, use that daily to-do list to break things down into smaller, more manageable tasks. Reaching those milestones can help ensure you not only achieve your goals, but you do the job right.

One task at a time. Experts have already found that multi-tasking is not good for our brains, so why do we keep doing it? Working on too many tasks at the same time doesn’t just mean we won’t be giving our full and proper attention, but it also means we burn out so much quicker. Work on prioritizing the items or breaking things down into manageable tasks.

Don’t be a pessimist. If you’re like many people, just looking at a full to-do list brings with it an instant feeling of anxiety. Practicing optimism – or believing something can be accomplished – can make all the difference. If it helps, post positive affirmations in your work space to serve as reminders that you are capable.

Keep that special space neat and tidy. It is nearly impossible to work in a cluttered, unorganized space. That co-worker that calls it organized chaos? There’s nothing productive about chaos. Make your space work for you.

Give yourself deadlines. If you have a hard deadline coming up, set a soft deadline for yourself. That way you already have time scheduled into your to-do list that allows for a bumper should something come up.

Check your email three times each day, at the beginning, middle and end. Checking all throughout the day could create a trap of constantly replying and getting nothing else accomplished.

Get up and move. Working long hours? Plan small breaks to get up and move to keep the blood circulating. Head outside if the weather is nice or just get up and stretch and take a peek out the window. Being crunched over a computer or desk all day can have incredibly negative effects on the body and brain.

Keep your eyes healthy. Eye strain can lead to headaches and fatigue, which ultimately leads to a lack of productivity. Schedule a yearly eye exam to ensure your prescription is correct and consider optical appliances that can help reduce strain from computers and reading, like blue light glasses and bifocals.