How to Increase Productivity — Study Yourself

It all starts with self-awareness, keeping a productivity journal, and identifying the less productive time blocks.

Felix Cabrera
Jan 16 · 5 min read
Photo by krisna iv on Unsplash

I am a self-proclaimed “Productivity Junkie”. Ever since I can remember, I love to study ways to do more during the day.

While I was in high school and college, I always researched ways to get my work done so I could get better grades.

Now, as a professional, I still have this habit.

However, after years of studying and using productivity techniques, I have learned and tried ways that effectively help me stay productive.

Which leads to one premise:

“Study Yourself”

That is, after using productivity techniques like “The Pomodoro Technique,” I always fall back to the same theme.

To study my behaviors, my reactions, and results to make adjustments along the way if needed.

Thus, I want to share these life lessons with you.

They may help you, as well.

It All Starts With Self Awareness

During my productivity journey, I have learned to appreciate the value of self-awareness.

In order to study myself, my productive and non-productive habits, I had to start becoming self-aware.

I had to stop ignoring the non-productive habits and make time to deliberately start reducing, or even replacing them with more productive habits.

I had to be honest with myself and recognize that if I kept performing the non-productive habits, I would not increase my productivity. Furthermore, if I didn’t make changes in my environment, then I would go down the same path.

If I wanted to improve, I had to become self aware.

Becoming self-aware was the start for me to improve my productivity. After I start being self-aware about my habits during the day, then everything becomes easier.

I started to get more done and having that feeling at the end of the day that I didn’t waste my time and got a lot done. I felt great.

So, be honest with yourself; it might be the start of improvements in your productivity.

Keep A Productivity Journal

One thing I started doing is to do is to journal my day and keep track of the things I have accomplished. I would use this journal as my productivity journal.

Moreover, I started to study the habits that help me become and stay productive during the day.

Also, I would keep track of the so-called “Productivity Drainers” that hinder my productivity.

Having this productivity journal has worked wonders for me because sometimes I get caught up in life that I overlook the things that drain my productivity without even realizing it.

Here are some things I did, that you can do too:

  • Write down the productivity drainers
  • Write down your productive habits
  • Craft a routine that revolves around your productive habits
  • Remove the productivity drainers from your routine
  • Set aside a rewarding time

Writing down the productivity drainers helped me a lot, I would often see tiny habits like looking at my phone every 10 minutes, or waking up and going on social media.

Things like staying in bed longer than I expected also were productivity drainers for me, as it set up the tone for the day.

By journaling this experience, I would see the impact of how these productivity drainers hindered my success in the long term.

Now, by identifying my productive habits, I could then replace the time I invested in my productivity drainers with the practices that increased my productivity during the day.

These included things like exercise, meditating, journaling, getting up early, and other habits that set up my day for success. So, I would remove or reduce my productive drainers much as possible and add things that helped me become more productive.

The productivity drainers may vary for you, as well as your productive habits during the process of journaling.

Once I identified the habits that helped me increase my productivity, I would incorporate these habits into my daily routine. Performing these habits helped me build positive momentum during the day.

Lastly, at the end of the day, I set aside some reward time. I would indulge in things I liked, including going on social media or watching funny videos.

I noticed that setting aside this rewarding time. I would recharge and get motivated for the next day.

Also, by balancing things out with leisure time, I would less likely feel burnt out.

Identify The Less Productive Time Blocks

I don’t know about you, but there are certain parts of the day that my productivity declines.

For me, it’s always around the 3:00 PM mark after lunchtime. I start to feel sluggish, lazy, tired, and unmotivated.

What I did to fix this problem is to identify in my journal the times during the day my productivity declined, which I classified as “Less Productive Time Blocks.”

I would often see a pattern in my behavior during this time, so what I did was to insert tasks that weren’t as energy-consuming, but they had to get done.

For example, replying to an email or other activities that didn’t consume as much of my mental energy.

Here are some things I do to get the most done in my “less” productive times of the day:

  • Schedule less energy and focus demanding tasks
  • Take a 15-minute walk to refocus and recharge
  • Drink a cup of coffee
  • Listen to motivating music or a podcast while performing a less energy-intensive task

Before I was aware of these less productive time blocks, I would just invest the time during these blocks in less productive tasks like watching funny videos or just going out and doing things that weren’t as important.

Also, if I would feel tired during these less productive time blocks, then I would drink a cup of coffee or go for a quick walk. By doing this, I would reenergize and get back to work.

Hence, my productivity increased.


To become more productive, it all starts with self-awareness. You need to become aware of the habits do you every day. Including the habits that help stay productive and the ones that hinder your productivity.

Keeping a productivity journal may help you asses the things that drain your productivity that you might even have overlooked in the past.

Now, identifying the time blocks, you are less productive can help you make improvements to take advantage of these times during the day. You can perform tasks that demand less energy, but they still need to get done.

Disclaimer: I am not a mental health, or counseling professional. These tips and advice are based on my experience and opinion as a student, tutor, teacher, and software developer. Everyone is different, so, the advice shared in this article may or may not work for you.

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Felix Cabrera

Written by

A.k.a. Felix The Dev. Software Developer. Writer, programming teacher, tutor, and coach.

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +563K people. Follow to join our community.

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