Five Tips To Be More Productive

We all want to be productive. The question then is

We admire productive people. The type of person who seems to churn out incredible amounts of work in relatively short periods of time. What may take you or me a week to finish, they do in a day.

Wouldn’t it be great if you too could be such a productive person? The truth is, there is no secret to productivity. By implementing five strategies into your life, you can become a productive force to be reckoned with.

What Does it Mean to be Productive

Being productive is an important piece to the puzzle of success in any field. While it may seem like a gift only received by a few, we can all become more productive in our lives. But what does it actually mean to be productive?

Productivity is often associated with being busy. The more time we spend doing something, or the more time is given to a task, the more we must be producing.

But does being busy automatically mean you’re productive?

Seems like a strange question doesn’t it? Of course the busier we are, the greater chance we have of being productive. Plus, don’t we admire those individuals who seem to work eighty-hour weeks, making us seem like slackers in comparison?

A busy person may or may not be productive, but I do not believe one is the effect of the other.

I like to think of this as the busy work trap. Once you begin to believe being busy makes you productive, if you aren’t busy, you start to assume you must not be producing much.

This can lead to feelings of anxiety and shame if your schedule is not jam-packed. In reality, you could work non-stop and still not be as productive as you’d like.

Productivity comes as a result of deliberate effort mixed with efficiency. You should not strive to be as busy as possible, but rather to be as effective as you can in the time allotted to work. Your output needs to be the main focus, not time spent.

Isn’t that what productivity is all about anyway? Using your time in an efficient manner to generate the desired product of your actions.

Once this mindset is adopted, instead of judging a day on how much time you worked, it can be examined from the perspective of how much production was obtained. All of our definitions of what this is will differ depending on our fields and what our goals are.

But one thing remains constant, becoming a productive individual requires you to stop focusing on the amount of time you spend working and start paying attention to the fruits of your labor.

The Habit of Being Productive

The definition of productivity described above seeks to shift your mindset. Instead of being so consumed with how many hours we work, more attention needs to be paid towards the output of our efforts.

So how can we become more productive? Before diving into the five tips you can use to build productivity, there is a topic that needs to be discussed. Productive people have become such due to behaviors they have adopted.

These are repeated behaviors, better known as habits. Our lives run off the habits built within us. Some of these are good, and others not so much. If your aim is to be a better producer, then you need to start building the habit of productivity.

When there is someone you admire due to their level of production, chances are their work efficiency translates into other areas of their lives. That’s because certain habits play into them being thought of as productive.

Building the habit of productivity means focusing on skills, traits, and characteristics that encompass what it means to be a productive individual. You want to pay attention to how you act on a daily basis.

From the largest down to the most minute detail, the way we behave every day is what leads to a productive life. The aim should not be to gain more productivity in your work but to become a more productive person.

That way, no matter what situation you find yourself in, you have the skills to be efficient and effective. This turns you into an asset. Focus on developing the habit of productivity and you’ll be able to translate it into any area of life you choose.

Tips to Build the Habit of Productivity

With the knowledge that productivity is a habit rather than a one-off chance, the next question is, how do we build the habit of being productive?

In the first section, I discussed how being productive involves taking a step away from the idea that the busier you are, the better. So, these tips will be centered around getting your mind into the right state to be as efficient and productive as you can be on a daily basis.

Find Your Optimal Time to Wake Up

How you start your day is incredibly important to the productivity that ensues. To be sure you get started on the right foot, you need to decide on the best time for you to wake up.

A lot of people will say you need to wake up early, myself typically being one of them. I wake up at five every morning, so it seems reasonable for me to push an early alarm as the way to go.

However, we are talking about making you more productive. Who’s to say waking up that early won’t have the counter effect on you? Just because a time is right for me, does not mean it’s necessarily right for you.

With that being said, don’t take this as an excuse to oversleep. You just have to find the perfect time that makes you feel the most energetic and ready to take on the day. A lot of this will have to do with your preferred work time.

I love the mornings. For me, it’s when I’m the most focused and ready to work. It wouldn’t make sense for me to sleep later and try to work longer into the night.

Come five or six in the evening and I’m ready to start winding down. But I know people who love to work in the evenings. They can crank out work until midnight. For these types of individuals, waking up at eight or nine may be more appropriate.

Think about your personality and when you prefer to work. This will help you decide on the perfect wake-up time to lay the foundation for a productive day. Once that’s decided, I encourage you to make it a habit of waking up at the same time each day.

Develop a Morning Routine

One of my favorite times of the day happens directly after I get up. I’ve come up with a morning routine that does a fantastic job getting my mind and body primed for the day. This puts me in the perfect state to go out and be productive.

Morning routines should be unique. There are some general guidelines I like to follow whenever making a routine. But the truth is, your routine is yours. It should be tailored to you and what you seek to accomplish.

A morning routine should be developed and used in a targeted way. For example, I have come up with a plan that is focused on building my confidence, relaxing my mind, and moving my body.

I chose these three areas for a specific reason. My two main concerns when it comes to mental health have always been centered around low confidence and racing thoughts which stimulate anxiety. Also, exercising drastically elevates my mood which is why getting my body moving early is a must.

The more calm my mind is and confident I feel, the greater likelihood my day will be productive. And by exercising, I generate energy that is then carried throughout my day.

For you, think about what you can do to get your mind and body in the most optimal state first thing in the morning. When brainstorming a morning routine, I like to think about how I can incorporate these areas:

  • Physical: By getting yourself moving in the morning, you increase focus and energy.
  • Mental: This involves thinking for yourself. If you get up and immediately look at social media or something else, your mind is flooded with ideas and thoughts that aren’t yours. If you want to be productive, you need to take control of your thoughts first thing in the morning.
  • Emotional: After you wake up, the emotional state you find yourself in will likely follow you the rest of the day. That is why it’s important to get yourself into a state that will increase your productivity.
  • Mindful: Mindfulness means being in the moment. The more you can stay present, the greater your production will be. Distractions come from racing thoughts and focus on external stimuli. Being mindful allows you to evade these negative influences.
  • Visual: You can use this visual aspect in two ways. First, you could visualize yourself accomplishing your goals. Or two, you could visualize yourself leading a productive life.

By following a morning routine, you will generate focus and get yourself into the right mindset to accomplish goals and increase productivity.

Find Your Motivation

When you begin to desire greater productivity, a good question to consider is why. Why do you want to be more productive in the first place? Understanding this will make the attainment of this goal much more doable.

Motivation is known to increase productivity due to the drive you will have to work harder and give more focused effort to your tasks. If you wish to see your results improve, a great place to start is the origin of the desire.

As you start to contemplate the motivation behind your drive to be more productive, take into account the two motivation types. You can either be intrinsically or extrinsically motivated.

While there are many different motivators you can point to, at the most basic level, they all fall into one of these categories. If you are intrinsically motivated, the action in question brings you joy and satisfaction.

Even without any rewards, you would still perform the task due to the fulfillment you gain in return. Extrinsic motivation means your drive comes from the possibility of rewards, accolades, or recognition as a consequence of the action.

In other words, you do something because you think there is something to gain as a result. When trying to decide on your motivation for being more productive, I would say the source is likely to be extrinsic.

But, no matter what form of motivation you identify with, the importance of this step remains constant. Once you uncover the driving force for your desire to be more productive, it can be used to your advantage.

Set Daily Goals

One of the most fantastic ways to ensure you lead a productive day is by setting daily goals. With no clear plan or direction in place, it’s easy to see how productivity can slip through your fingers.

If you want to make the most of every day, making sure you are working in the most efficient way possible, then setting goals is a must.

When you begin the day with a clear vision of what you seek to accomplish, right off the bat you are putting yourself in a productive frame of mind. Instead of wondering what you need to do, you wake up with full knowledge of how your day will go and what it will mean to be successful come that evening.

When setting daily goals, the process is quite simple. At night, you want to write down all the goals you wish to accomplish the following day. These can either be written on a piece of paper or in a planner, which is what I prefer to use.

Using a planner helps you remain organized, and just adds another element of structure to your day. Then, the following night go back over your goals, feeling pride in each one accomplished. Rinse and repeat every day and watch as your productivity begins to rise.

Rest & Recover

You may be surprised by this last tip since it doesn’t involve work. But, it is one of the most important pieces to increasing your productivity.

Making sure you take time to rest and recover helps to increase focus and motivation when you are working. I’ve not always been the best example of implementing rest into my routine, but it has become more known to me the benefits it provides.

Working non-stop may seem like the best way to increase production in theory, but the truth is, our minds need time to recover. We should aim to make the time given to work as productive as possible, this means rest needs to be taken seriously.

Think of it as recharging your batteries. This way, when you get back to work or training, you’ll be fully charged up and ready to go.

All of our minds and bodies need time to unwind and recover. You don’t have to sit around and do nothing, either. This can be a perfect time to pick up a new hobby or do an activity you really enjoy. For me, rest and recovery typically involve reading or going for a walk.

You just need to be sure that during the week you give yourself time to turn off from work mode. Whether it’s on a daily basis in the evenings, or on the weekends. But doing so will actually improve your productivity, and avoid the inevitable burnout that follows non-stop effort.

Final Thoughts

Productivity is a habit. If you wish to increase your production in one area of your life, then you need to build the habit in all areas of your life. A simple shift in your mindset and some effort put into developing daily habits will surely increase your level of production.

Begin incorporating these five tips into your life and see how your productivity steadily increases on a daily basis.

Are you as productive as you’d like? What do you think of these five tips, do you think they will work to increase productivity?

If you have any questions about being productive or any other performance psychology topic, please feel free to reach out to me.

I hope that this article was helpful and you received some helpful tips to become more productive in your own life.

Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of success in all you do.

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Eli Straw

Eli is a sport psychology consultant and mental game coach who works 1-1 with athletes to help them improve their mental skills and overcome any mental barriers keeping them from performing their best. He has an M.S. in psychology and his mission is to help athletes and performers reach their goals through the use of sport psychology & mental training.

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