If you’re like me and have a million things to do, chances are that you’re always looking for the best productivity tips to optimize your schedule and improve your life. So I talked to a bunch experts, including ones that specialize in productivity, health and fitness, and a few doctors to help you and me out! Here are 17 powerful productivity tips from experts that will improve your life.
Start with a morning ritual
The best way to becoming more productive is to transform yourself into a morning person, and the best way to becoming a morning person is to make mornings something you look forward to instead of dread. When I used to wake up late and have to rush to make it out the door on time, there was nothing to like about mornings. Now, I have enough time to sit and enjoy a cup of tea and a proper breakfast before my workday begins. (Getting to see the sun come up is pretty magical too.) Taking a morning walk around your neighborhood or strolling to your local coffee shop is another great option.
Karena Dawn & Katrina Scott are the founders of Tone It Up, a fitness and lifestyle community that has paved the way for social fitness and connecting women all over the world. Offering fitness videos, daily workouts, cooking segments, recipes and girlfriend advice, Karena and Katrina continue to help millions of women live energetic and confident lives.
Give yourself a break
Take 10-15 minutes each day to be with yourself and chill. You’d be surprised how challenging this is when you have a spouse, children, and clients tugging at you 24/7. Give yourself short, undivided, positive attention each day for nourish and fortify you.
Dr. Fran Walfish is a Beverly Hills family and relationship psychotherapist, author, The Self-Aware Parent, and co-star on Sex Box, WE TV.
Add bits and pieces of humor to your life
Part of being productive is learning how to manage stress and negativity. Nothing does that better than humor. Make it a habit to find a joke a day or even pull a small harmless prank. For example, I’m notorious for switching my neighbors’ doormats. It’s hilarious and great for stress relief.
Sleeping 3-4 hours a night doesn’t improve our work performance. You think that you have more time during the day by sleeping less but it doesn’t work that way. Adequate sleep is necessary to our body and mind, and the benefits are multiple: improved ability to focus and learn, more creativity and productivity, less depression, stress and negativity. We’re human beings, not machines; our body needs to repair, recharge and regenerate itself in order to perform and this only happens while we sleep.
Sabrina Cadini is an event designer and planner, business coach, speaker, author, broadcaster and entrepreneur. Sabrina is the founder and creative director of La Dolce Idea Weddings & Soirees and the genius behind Sabrina Cadini Coaching.
Know exactly what you want to do right when you start your day. This is done by making a plan the night before. If you wait until morning your brain can’t organize all the details while you sleep. And until you’ve tried it, you won’t know how well this works!
Julie Pech is the author of four books as well as the owner of The Chocolate Therapist, a very busy chocolate company.
Batching is a technique designed to maximize concentration and decrease distraction. As a result, it increases our productivity, creativity, and mental sharpness, while decreasing fatigue, procrastination, and stress. Batch processing is the grouping of similar tasks that require similar resources in order to streamline their completion.
Puja Madan is a leadership coach, author and speaker specializing in supporting women entrepreneurs to build their business with intentional productivity and mindfulness.
Focus on finishing one task before moving on to the next. Not only will it ensure that you get the task finished, but splitting your time and attention across multiple tasks can reduce the quality of your work and be less efficient.
Rachel Rosenthal is founder of Rachel and Company, a full-service professional organizing firm specializing in home organization, closet design, and home moves in the Washington, DC area.
Identify what you value
Values will provide a road map as to what goals to establish. Goals should be objective, and measurable. While a value can never be achieved (e.g., I want to be successful in my job), a goal can be achieved (e.g., I want to make six figures this year). Sub-goals can then be established, identifying smaller tasks to complete so as not to feel overwhelmed.
Dr. Stephanie J. Wong, Ph.D. is a Clinical Psychologist who works in private practice in San Mateo, CA/Bay Area. She works with diverse individuals, including young professionals, Veterans, ethnic minorities, couples, and adolescents and specializes in the treatment of Addictions, and vocational/employment, cultural, mood, and relationship concerns.
Track your time
If you’re going to browse through social media, set a time for 15-20 minutes to go through Facebook, Snapchat, Reddit, whatever you use. After that, avoid it like the plague and get back to doing something productive. Having that constraint for things like email, social media, and even meetings will make you much more productive and in control.
Paul is the Founder and CEO of RentHoop, the innovative mobile app that connects people looking for roommates.
Look for time wasted
Evaluate how much time you spend on main activities for the day, week, and/or month. Brainstorm ideas of how to do more of what you want, and less of what you don’t. For example, I used to have a terrible commute — it was a minimum of 3 hours a day round trip. At the same time, I was finding it impossible to exercise. Solution? Take the train and bring my bike. The commute took the same amount of time, but I caught up on email on the train and got in an hour of exercise every day.
Matt Girvan advises companies on how to be productive, and has now taken what he’s learned over the years and turned it into Completo — an app that can make any individual more productive.
Block out distractions
Turn off notifications, put your phone on silent, no vibrating messages, stay off Facebook, Snapchat, IM, etc. We think that we can multi-task, but we can’t. By turning off everything you will accomplish way more in life.
Steve Benson is the Founder and CEO of Badger Maps. After receiving his MBA from Stanford, Steve worked in Sales at IBM, HP and Google where he worked in the enterprise sales group. In 2012 Steve founded Badger Maps, the #1 Sales App in the Apple App Store, which helps Field Sales People be more successful.
Take a break
We know the importance of giving our muscles a break between workouts, well the same principle applies at work. For improved creativity and stamina, treat yourself to a mini break every 90 minutes. Get up and stretch , run up and down a few flights of stairs, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.
Dr. Jo® Lichten inspires audiences to stay healthy, sane, and productive. Her latest book is Reboot – how to power up your energy, focus, and productivity.
Location is everything
If you work from home and you’re regularly setting up shop in your bed or on the couch, no wonder you’re not getting much done – you’ve turned areas of rest and relaxation to ones of work and focus. Not the best idea. Designate one area as your home office and keep all of your work-related activities and supplies in there.
Dan Moyer Jr. is the national director of the Closet Factory, who have been helping people get organized and become more productive for over 30 years.
Don’t listen to music
Most people would be happy to listen to their favorite bands whilst working at the same time. Little do they know that what you listen to can have an effect to your productivity level. That’s why, more and more people are listening to “white noise”, a type of background sound that allow you to focus more on the tasks at hand, rather than bopping your head to Taylor Swift.
I highly recommend that you use resources like Noisli, where you can create your own white noise and adjust the volume to how you like it. Creating a background noise via Noisli allows you to focus in your tasks, and boost your productivity. From the sounds of campfire and thunderstorm to television and even a cafe, you can tune it to how you like.
Ahmed Khalifa is a business owner, and a digital marketing & WordPress expert who works with small businesses to help elevate their online presence through his company IgniteRock.
Learn your natural rhythms
For one week study yourself. From a place of curiosity and non judgement, observe how you spend your time. Notice how you feel. For example, if you notice you are most focused in the early morning, schedule tasks like writing, research, and creativity for the beginning of your day. Find yourself in a lull at the end of the day and love people? Schedule some face-to-face coffee meetings in the afternoon to re-energize your day. When you honor your unique needs, you’ll have more energy to complete your tasks.
Marci Moberg is a conflict resolution, mindfulness and transformation expert who quit her tenured government job at USAID to start her own business coaching both private and corporate clients in the art of creating joy. She is also a yoga and meditation teacher and Master Reiki healer as well as a contributor at LifeHack.org.
Don’t just manage time, manage tasks
Tasks can come from more than ten different sources in a typical workday and trying to effectively manage them from their sources is impossible. Keep all tasks you’re responsible for in one digital Task List (not all in one day, but all in one system) so you can efficiently and effectively plan and prioritize them. To get more accomplished faster and easier, think more in terms of first or next action steps—small tasks—instead of managing projects. Focus less on when a task or project is “due” (keeping real deadlines in mind, of course) and focus more on when you’ll “do” a very small action step to get something started or keep it moving forward. Achieving small action steps will help you make more meaningful progress faster and easier.
Leslie Shreve is the CEO and Founder Productive Day® and the creator of Taskology® The Science of Getting Things Done, a unique system that teaches simple, logical and easy-to-use strategies for mastering workload management and workday strategy.
Get your inbox in order
I now allocate the start of the day, a chunk of time in the afternoon, and a shorter time at the end of the day to email responses. This approach allows me to carve out real work stretches for the important issues and tasks of the day. I obviously still scan for important messages but the key for me is to handle emails in batches and then it’s done for that segment of the day.
NJ is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Blonde and The Brunette and managing partner of Athletic Propulsion Labs. She has been named a “Style Icon” by Louis Vuitton and one of LA’s “Leading Ladies of Style” by Angeleno Magazine.
I hope you enjoyed these 17 powerful productivity tips, if you follow some of them – they will definitely improve your life. If you’re looking for more ways to optimize your life, check out How to Buy Organic Food and Not Spend Tons of Money or 5 Healthy Ways to Start Your Day from Celebrity Fitness Trainer, Tracy Anderson.