5 Simple Productivity Practices That Are Helping Me Achieve More

For the past 8 months, I’ve been a student of productivity and personal growth. While learning from my life-success mentors and implementing what they teach, I’ve been able to make this the most productive and fulfilling year in my life, and we’re only 7 months into the year!

As we all may realize, there’s so much we want to achieve and work towards in life, but we can’t achieve more unless we change our habits. We’d be insane if we kept trying to do the same thing over, and over, and over again and expected different results.

One thing that I think we all can benefit from, personally and professionally, is living the most productive lifestyle we possibly can. If we can establish better productivity habits, we could accomplish more in less time, make time for those that are important to us, and even make time for extracurriculars that we want to do on a regular basis. We should all realize that everyone has the same hours in a day, yet there are so many people we look up to who seem to do more and achieve more in their daily lives.

How can we change or improve our habits now so that we can get the most out of our time? How can we lead happier, more fulfilling and productive days now by accomplishing more in less time?

I’ll share with you 5 simple productivity practices that have helped me see desired results. As you read the following list, I realize that most of us will think “oh I already know that.” “I already know that” is one of the most toxic phrases in the English language. If we continue living with this mindset, we don’t give ourselves the opportunity to make room for improvement. The question we must ask ourselves is, “am I doing that?” If we keep this question in mind, we give ourselves the ability to continue learning and improving as individuals.

Here’s my list:

1. Doing the hardest tasks first (or, earlier in the day)
Our willpower is much like the battery lives on our phones: at the beginning of the day it’s fully charged, and at the end of the day it’s almost empty. Why would we want to do our hardest work (which usually results in the highest returns) when our willpower is at its lowest? For an introduction to willpower, go to your local Barnes & Noble and read Gary Keller’s book, “The ONE Thing”.

2. Planning my days and weeks
Picture this: if we want to go to Disneyland for the first time with our spouse but have no GPS, how are we going to get there? In order to accomplish more, we must gain clarity by knowing for ourselves exactly what we want and what we need to do. Every Sunday, I take about 20 minutes to establish my goals for the week, and every morning I spend 5 minutes reverse engineering each goal into a daily success list, so that I have a concrete plan on what I will be doing each day. If we take just a few minutes everyday to plan our days and weeks, we can accomplish more in less time.

3. Focusing on one task at a time
It takes time for our brains to get oriented with a task. If we’re ineffectively multi-tasking, this results in lost time at work. According to research, workers are interrupted every 11 minutes and spend almost a third of their day recovering from these distractions. It is usually never a good idea to multi-task, especially when each task requires our focus. We can surely give attention to more than one task at a time, but we cannot give 100% of our focus to each one.

4. Taking breaks
After working for 60–90 focused minutes at a time, we can do ourselves and our co-workers a huge favor (whether they realize it or not) by rewarding ourselves with frequent breaks. Depending on how long you work for at a time, I would suggest taking 5–15 minute laps around your neighborhood/workplace to mentally recharge, so that you can do your best work again afterwards. Our brains constantly need to refuel, and we wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) want to do our work when our brain isn’t at its best state.

5. Turning off notifications on my phone
This is probably the most simple piece of productivity advice anyone can give. Our work deserves our full attention. When we’re fully focused present, and in the zone, we can give our work the full attention it deserves, we can do our best work, and accomplish more in less time. Studies show that we’re most effective when we’re working in the zone. But if we choose to keep our notifications on, how can we even get into the zone if our phones are constantly vibrating to new e-mail or social media alerts? For me, the only notifications I have turned on are phone calls, texts, and calendar events. What notifications can you turn off?

While implementing these productivity tips, I’ve learned how to further maximize the time in my day to work towards personal goals. Though I’m not perfect, I’m always learning and mastering the art of how to multiply my time, and will continue sharing what I learn and what results I achieve.

Here are just a few things I have accomplished, while having an 8:30–4:45 start-up software engineering job and commuting 4 hours a day:

1. I’ve grown my Twitter following by the hundreds
2. I’ve connected with countless start-ups, CEOs, and their employees
3. I’ve connected with best-selling authors, success coaches, and a widely-known angel investor
4. I’ve established an every-day habit of personal growth and exercising/working out
5. I’ve found time to continue doing the hobbies I love, such as video games, anime, WWE, blogging, and coding

We must keep in mind that we can’t get more time. We can’t even manage time. Time is always ticking. A second constantly goes by as we’re reading this article, and there’s nothing we can do about it. So let’s make the most out of our time, so that we can accomplish more in less time, and make more time to be with who’s important to us, and do the things we love and want to do.

Is there anywhere in your life where you would benefit from a better productivity system? If so, what productivity tips will you be practicing? Do you have any productivity tips to share? Respond to me with your story!

P.S: If you want to gain clarity on what you most want in life, and take your productivity, personal growth and career to a higher level, I highly recommend that you check out the free productivity resources and downloads given by my mentor Peter Voogd (serial entrepreneur, podcaster, and best-selling author). After gaining access to the content, you can decide whether or not his Entrepreneur Breakthrough program is for you!