Work Smarter, Not Harder: 20 Tips on How to Be More Productive
Do you ever feel like you’re struggling to get ahead at work? Like you’re constantly putting out fires and not making any progress?
You’re not alone. Yet fortunately, we know a few helpful tips on how to be more productive.
From setting simple goals to taking regular breaks, there are many ways to boost your productivity and get things done much faster and more efficiently. We’ve rounded up the best of them here. So, be sure to check out our list of the 20 hacks and habits of successful people and see if any of them could help you achieve more in shorter time.
Odds are, they will!
Here’s How Successful People Get 2x More Productive Every Day
🎯 Set simple, achievable goals
One of the best ways to be more productive is to set simple, achievable goals. When you have a specific goal in mind, it’s easier to stay focused and motivated. And when you accomplish that goal, it’s a great feeling that will keep you wanting to do more.
So, here’s how to set your goals the right way:
- Make sure your goal is specific — The more specific your goal is, the easier it will be to achieve. A specific goal might be something like, “I want to finish writing my novel by the end of the year.”
- Make sure your goal is achievable — If your goal is too lofty, it can be discouraging. You want to set a goal that you know you can reach. An achievable goal might be something like, “I want to write 500 words every day.”
- Make sure your goal is realistic — Your goal should challenge you, but it shouldn’t be impossible. A realistic goal might be something like, “I want to get published in a literary magazine.”
- Make sure your goal is timely — Give yourself a deadline so you have a sense of urgency. A timely goal might be something like, “I want to submit my novel to publishers by the end of the year.”
- Write down your goals — When you write down your goals, it makes them more concrete and real. Plus, it’s a great way to keep track of your progress.
📃 Make a plan
Once you’ve set your goals, it’s vital to make a plan of how you’re going to achieve them. This will help you stay on track and ensure you’re using your time effectively.
To get a step-by-step plan, you first need to figure out which tasks you should complete and in what order. This can be challenging, but it’s important to take the time to do it all right. An excellent way to start is by listing everything that needs to be done. And after that, you can start to put together an actual plan of attack.
One essential thing to keep in mind is that your plan should be flexible. As you begin to work on your goals, you may find that some things take longer than you anticipated or that other tasks are more important than you first thought.
Thus, don’t be afraid to change your plan as needed; the main thing is to keep moving forward.
👌 Stay organized
Better organization allows you to be more focused and productive. When everything is in its place, it’s easier to find everything you need and get started to work on your tasks. Plus, a better organization can help reduce stress levels. So, here are some simple tricks that can help you with that:
- Keep a daily to-do list
- Stick to a schedule
- Set a time limit for each task
- Put everything in its place
- Make sure your working space is ergonomic
- Get rid of distractions (read more on how to do this a bit later in this post)
🏁 Establish deadlines
If you’re finding it difficult to avoid procrastination and stay motivated, setting deadlines can be a great way to keep yourself on track. Deadlines help us to sharpen our focus, and they can give you that much-needed push to start working.
It can be helpful to set smaller deadlines for each part of a task, so you can see your progress and feel a sense of accomplishment as you complete each section. Plus, remember to be realistic when setting deadlines. You only set yourself up for disappointment and frustration if you’re unrealistic. Thus, make sure to give yourself enough time to complete each task and take into account any other commitments you have.
And if you do find yourself hitting a deadline and feeling stressed, take a step back and assess the situation. It might be necessary to adjust the deadline or ask for help. The important thing is to not beat yourself up about it — we all need a little grace sometimes!
🌃 Prepare for each new workday the night before
One of the best ways to stay efficient at work is to prepare for each new day the night before. This way, you can hit the ground running in the morning, and you won’t have to waste time getting organized.
Think of the tasks you’ll need to tackle tomorrow and gather your materials and papers. Write out your goals, and create a to-do list if you have many upcoming tasks. You can even set out your clothes for the next day in advance.
This way, you won’t have to scramble around looking for all the necessary things in the morning, and you’ll know exactly what must be done when you sit down at your desk. This simple hack can make a big difference in your productivity levels and help you get ahead at work.
🧱 Break down big tasks
Large projects and ambitious goals can seem daunting, but they’re often easier to accomplish when you break them up into smaller chunks of work. Focus on one thing at a time and take it one step at a time. And before you know it, you’ll have made significant progress.
🤖 Take advantage of technology
There are lots of great productivity tools out there that streamline work processes and let you get things done more quickly and efficiently. From task managers to time tracking apps, make use of the technology at your disposal to step up your game.
actiTIME is an excellent example of such a valuable productivity tool. It’s helps users to stay on top of their projects, track billable hours, and monitor employee performance or personal productivity. Check out this page to learn more about actiTIME’s handy functionality and sign up for a free 30-day trial.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all that you have to do, delegate some of the tasks to someone else. That way, you can focus on the most critical tasks and get them done more quickly.
Here are the key task delegation rules to follow:
- Only delegate tasks that you actually have the authority to delegate. If you’re not the boss, can’t delegate tasks to other people.
- Delegate work to people who are actually capable of completing it well. There’s no point in delegating a task to who doesn’t have the skills or knowledge to do it.
- Make sure that the person you’re delegating the task to knows what is expected of them. Be clear about deadlines, desired outcomes, and any other essential details.
- Follow up with the person you delegated the task to, to ensure that it was completed to your satisfaction.
Accurate estimation is key to productivity. It allows you to better manage your time, and understand how long tasks will actually take to complete. This way, you can avoid situations where you bite off more than you can chew and end up feeling overwhelmed.
Sure, estimation isn’t an exact science. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. In fact, even if you’re only right 50% of the time, that’s still better than flying blind.
So next time you’re feeling stuck, remember: estimating is your friend. It might not always give you the perfect answer, but it will help you get closer to your goal. And that’s what ultimately matters.
🔎 Scrutinize your behaviors
As the old saying goes, “The first step to solving a problem is recognizing that you have one.” Hence, in case you want to be more productive, you need to find out what’s holding you back.
There are lots of different ways to go about analyzing your behaviors. You can keep a journal, track your time, or even just take a close look at how you spend your days. But however you do it, the goal is to identify any patterns or habits that might be keeping you from being as productive as you could be.
Distractions, multitasking, perfectionism, and lack of sleep destroy all your efforts to work efficiently. Once you’ve identified your problem areas, you can start to work on making changes. Maybe you need to set better boundaries with your time or learn to say no to distractions. Whatever the solution is, it will be specific to you and your unique situation.
🌞 Get more value from your mornings
If you’re wondering about how to be more productive, sticking to a consistent regime is something you should definitely try. That means going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning. This helps our bodies get used to a set schedule and makes it easier to wake up in the morning.
Besides, try to avoid hitting the snooze button all the time because, by hitting it, you actually make it harder for your body to wake up. Instead, try to get out of bed as soon as your alarm goes off.
And once you’re up, do some activities to energize you for the day. This can be anything from going for a run to meditating or listening to your favorite music. Find something that works for you and stick to it.
🔕 Minimize distractions
Distractions can quickly derail your productivity. So, it’s important to eliminate anything that might take your focus away from what you’re trying to accomplish. Turn off your phone, close social media tabs, and find a quiet place to work if possible. By eliminating distractions, you can stay focused and get more done.
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🍊 Eat healthy foods
We all know that eating healthy is important for our overall health and well-being. But did you know that what you eat can also impact your productivity? That’s right, the food you put into your body can either help or hinder your ability to get things done.
So, if you’re looking to boost your productivity, make sure to fill up on these healthy eats:
- Whole grains — Complex carbs like whole wheat bread and oatmeal help to keep your energy levels steady throughout the day. That means no afternoon slump!
- Lean protein — Protein provides the amino acids your body needs to build and repair muscle tissue. It also helps to keep you feeling fuller longer, so you’re less likely to snack on unhealthy junk food.
- Fruits and vegetables — These foods are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help improve your overall health and cognitive function.
- Water — Staying hydrated is crucial for your body to function at its best. When you’re properly hydrated, you’ll have more energy and focus, as well as reduced stress levels.
Research has shown that people who exercise regularly are more productive than those who don’t. In fact, one study found that employees who exercised three or more times per week were 15% more productive than those who didn’t exercise at all.
So, if you’re looking for a way to boost your productivity, make sure you get moving and get active on a regular basis!
💤 Get enough sleep
Lack of sleep can lead to a number of productivity-sapping problems, including:
- Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
- Increased forgetfulness and errors
- Slower reaction times
- Impaired judgment
- Moodiness and irritability
- Decreased motivation and energy levels
- Worsening of chronic health conditions
All of these potential productivity killers underscore the importance of getting enough sleep. When you’re well-rested, you’re able to think more clearly, make better decisions, and have the energy to get things done.
🕓 Take regular breaks
It might seem counterintuitive, but taking regular breaks can actually help you be more productive. When you take a pause, it gives you a chance to recharge and come back to your work with fresh energy. Plus, it can help you avoid burnout.
Thus, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or stuck, step away from your work for a few minutes and take some time to relax. You’ll be surprised at how much better you’ll feel and how much more productive you’ll be when you return.
😊 Stay positive
It goes without saying that mood can affect one’s productivity level. And according to a study by Oxford University, employees who maintain a positive outlook are 13% more productive than those who don’t.
So, how can you stay positive and improve your productivity at work? Here are a few tips:
- Find your motivation — What is it that gets you excited about coming to work each day? Is it the challenge of tackling a new project? The satisfaction of completing a task? The positive relationships you have with your co-workers? Whatever it is, make sure you keep that in mind when things get tough.
- Find a balance — Your work is important, but it’s not the only thing in your life. Make sure to take time for yourself outside of work, so you don’t burn out. Pursue hobbies, spend time with loved ones, and do things that make you happy. A healthy balance will help you stay positive and productive at work.
- Take care of yourself — Your physical and mental health is essential to maintaining a positive outlook. Make sure to eat healthy foods, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, take a break or talk to someone who can help.
🦸♀️ Find a role model
Role models can provide motivation when you’re feeling discouraged, advice when you’re struggling with a problem, and an example to follow when you’re unsure of what to do next.
When choosing a role model, look for someone who has already achieved what you hope to accomplish. This will show you that it is possible to reach your goal, and give you some insight into how to go about it. It’s also useful to choose someone who you admire and respect so that you’ll be motivated to emulate their success.
Once you’ve found a suitable role model, take some time to study their habits and methods. See what makes them successful and try to incorporate some of their practices into your own routine. With a little hard work and some help from a good role model, you’ll be on your way to becoming more productive than you ever thought possible.
🦉 Be a wise team leader
If you manage a team, being productive yourself is not enough. You also need to know how to encourage employees to show excellent performance. Thus, you need to be not just a manager but a competent and wise leader.
A leader is someone who others look to for guidance, inspiration, and direction. And to be an effective leader for your team, you need to know how to set clear goals and expectations, provide adequate resources and support, and maintain a positive attitude at all times.
It is also essential to be smart in your management decisions. In other words, you need to take into consideration the needs and interests of your employees, as well as the overall goals of the organization.
With strong and positive leadership, you can ensure that everyone is working towards a common goal and that productivity is high.
🎁 Don’t forget to reward yourself
Think about it — when was the last time you truly treated yourself to something special after completing a big project? Did you take a long weekend trip? Or maybe you just allowed yourself to sleep in for an extra hour or two. Either way, taking the time to celebrate your accomplishments is essential for maintaining high levels of productivity.
The reason is simple — when we feel good about ourselves, we’re more likely to continue putting forth the effort required to be successful. So go ahead and book that trip, splurge on a new outfit, or do whatever else makes you feel good. Your productivity will thank you for it!
That’s a Wrap!
Although it would be impossible to list every habit that contributes to someone’s success, we believe these 20 ones are a great starting point.
If you want to learn more, don’t hesitate to check out our other blog posts on how to be more productive. And remember, practice makes perfect! Start developing the mentioned productivity-boosting habits today and watch yourself attain your ambitious goals with greater ease.