This post covers everything you need to do for a productive life.
Productivity. Its the new craze and if you’re anything like me, you’ve noticed how many productivity tips and tricks get thrown around.
I love hearing about them, don’t get me wrong. But sometimes it’s hard to pin down the basics of what you really need to do to have a productive life.
Waking up at 4 am in the morning is great, you’ll certainly get more done. But that isn’t as practical as we (productivity junkies) might think for the everyday person. Productivity shouldn’t create a feeling of dread. We need to see it as a long-term skill we can grow into.
Productivity is also personal. Even though the concept may seem cut and dry – wake up at 4, plan literally everything, and my personal favourite, having a five year life plan. This isn’t the case, so here are some basic productivity tips you can use for a more stress-free life.
Here are 13 Simple Habits For A More Productive Life
But first, define productivity for the everyday person
What is Productivity In A Person?
A more practical definition, and less of a technical one; productivity according to James Clear is- “A measure of efficiency of a person completing a task. We often assume that productivity means getting more things done each day. Wrong. Productivity is getting important things done consistently. And no matter what you are working on, there are only a few things that are truly important”
There is no better definition in my opinion. Productivity is what you make it, and more often than not, there are only a few important things you need to do each day to have a more simple and productive life.
Create and stick to a powerful morning routine
Watching and trying out the morning routine of your favourite entrepreneur seems like a good idea. And why not, it’s like a fun challenge. But at the end of the day, figuring out what works for you is more important.
People like Mark Zuckerberg have super strict schedules, most of the time they have no room in their schedule for flexibility, so never assume that once you create a morning routine it’s set in stone.
A morning routine should prepare you mentally and physically for the day. So if you need a cold shower and a cup of black coffee to get your day started then do that. Some need a little bit more TLC, and their routine may include an extensive skincare routine (guilty)
For those who need a place to start, a standard morning routine include:
- Getting up a little earlier than you usually would
- Shower – try taking a cold one
- Having a healthy breakfast or cup of coffee if breakfast isn’t your thing
Get enough sleep
The bare minimum at this point- let’s be real. Sleeping is mandatory for healthy living, not just productivity. I’ve woken up one too many mornings after hitting the sack late. The entire weight of the world is on my eyelids the next morning.
Sleeping reduces stress, according to health.gov. Most people need at least 7 hours of sleep (unless you’re one of those superheroes who need less) however, some people never consider that hey may need more than seven hours. Genetics are weird, and 8 hours may not be enough for you.
Find what works for you and stick to it. Forget about productivity, because a bad sleep schedule will throw everything off- focus/mental clarity, irritability and decision-making. Three core things you need to stay alert and live life productively.
Rise early or sleep late
Being an early bird– Most people are early birds, understandable because studies show, neurologically, we’re a little more active during the morning. It’s standard to hear advice along the lines of needing to get up at 5:am for maximum productivity (guilty) but that’s because it works for most people.
Being an early bird works because most of the world works like that too. Deadlines are due mid-day, and most people don’t want to be emailed at 10 am.
Where I’m going with this is, wake up early if you need to. “Early to bed, early to rise…” There’s some truth to that statement. If you feel energized enough waking up around 6, then take it a step further by waking up at 5.
Don’t sacrifice your health in the name of productivity, but if getting up an hour earlier than usual feels fine then keep doing it.
You’d be surprised how much you get done in just an hour when most of the world is still asleep. Also, there’s a kind of peace to being up so early.
Being a night owl– I can’t say much on this except some people just work like that. Hell would freeze over before some people wake up early and that’s fine.
Maybe your job demands it or you’re an entrepreneur and you like it that way. Whatever the reason, monitor how your body reacts to changes in your sleep schedule.
Having a productive life is a long game, it’s trial and error. Don’t torture yourself with popular rules.
Planning is key
I feel like planning has gotten a bad rep because it’s often associated with time blocking every single minute of your day. If you’re Type-A like that then great (seriously, that’s amazing). But depending on where you are in your productivity journey, the idea of planning may seem a bit daunting.
That’s fine. I always recommend starting slow like having a simple to-do list. When I started planning my days, I found having a to-do list made a huge difference in how I spent my time. Even though the idea sounds simple.
Starting slow and working your way up to using things like google calendar, or a physical planner is the way to go. It leaves room to grow and find what works for you.
The best combination is all three- Google cal for time blocking and having a great system for tasks and reminders, physical planners for overall planning and a to-do list for short-term goals and urgent tasks.
Set realistic goals every day
Speaking of short-term goals and to-do lists, setting short-term goals every day is crucial for having a productive life. Your daily goals do not have to be hard. Your daily goals should be simple, and largely different from the bigger goals you may have for that day or week.
Like trying something new. For example, you’ve decided waking up early isn’t that bad. Great. Make that your daily goal for a while. Let’s take it a step further by incorporating movement into your routine.
These may not seem like ‘goals’ for more active and mindful people. But when trying out something new, think of it as a daily goal. Especially if you aren’t certain if you can stick with it.
Completing tasks while thinking of them as goals make it a lot more fun. I definitely feel a lot more accomplished.
It doesn’t stay that way. Once you’ve successfully incorporated something healthy into your routine. Find something new to work towards so you have something to look forward to each day.
Drink loads of water
It’s simple and you’re probably tired of hearing it but yes, drinking water is important. The body needs it, and nothing comes above taking care of yourself. Just like sleep, dehydration makes productivity impossible. You have to take care of the body allowing you to do the work.
Exercise a little
When it comes to exercise, people do it for different reasons. Weight Loss is a big one. But in this case, I want you to look at exercise just like sleep and water. It’s another form of self-care (even though it’s a bit painful at first) it’s a way to take care of our bodies and make sure we feel our best.
I can’t lie, exercising in the morning energizes me like nothing else. But those aren’t the only benefits. Just like sleeping, exercise increases brain health and makes doing everyday activities a lot easier according to cdc.gov.
It depends on your needs and what you can handle. But 5 minutes of stretching each day is the perfect start to increasing physical activity.
Make it a goal at first. Then make it a daily habit.
Okay no. Meditation isn’t just sitting cross-legged and humming atop a mountain for five hours. That’s great too. And doing that may or may not be on my bucket list. Either way, meditation for the everyday person is healthy and easy enough.
Most people sit up in bed or chair. Take five minutes to breathe in deeply, staying mindful of your breathing as you stay still. Listening to ambient music while meditating is an option too, especially for loud minds.
And of course, there’s the arguably not actual meditation method- using guided meditations. Which is my favourite, of course.
Meditation is the easiest, and cheapest form of self-care in the world. Mayoclinic.org talks about the benefits of meditation as stress relieving ( and who doesn’t need that).
It’s also a great
excuse to take a short break. Turn your mind off and live in the moment. Its a stark contrast to the overstimulation we face every day from our phones and worse enemy- every streaming service in existence.
Self-care can’t be ignored when it comes to living a productive life, and meditation is the easiest way to start.
READ MORE: 15 Unusual Self-Care Ideas You Need To Try
Write It Down
Journaling – something I know everyone can benefit from, not just women. Journaling saved me when nothing else did. If you’re like me and talking about your feelings with another person is the most frightening idea in the world, then journaling is a solid option.
Not just for emotional dumping, but journaling with positive prompts is a great way to stay positive and self-assured. Journaling itself isn’t necessarily the face of productivity. But writing sparks creativity, and creativity is the backbone of every great idea.
Taking notes – journaling should get you into the habit of writing. But what I mean by taking notes is keeping a small notebook close to jot down anything that comes to mind. And I mean anything. It could be a birthday you suddenly remembered or a random business idea you’ll probably never think about again.
Sometimes I regret not having a notebook around. Because I often forget the important stuff. I can’t remember what it was exactly but I remember knowing it was important (does that make sense?)
Keep a small notebook around. It’s a small but weirdly useful and productive thing everyone can do.
Avoid Burnout Like It’s The Plague
Getting burnt out is like accidentally falling into a 15 feet deep hole. You dug the hole yourself and there’s nothing but dry roots to help you climb out because you didn’t think to bring a ladder either. I know that’s a bit descriptive but it’s the truth.
So what is burnout?
According to helpguide.org– “Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands”
Sounds awful, doesn’t it? Because it is. Everyone treats burnout differently. But you’d be surprised how many people have no idea what it even is. Understand burnout so you have a better idea of how to prevent it.
There’s being exhausted at the end of the day and then there is burnout where you feel tired 24/7 and the exhaustion feels never-ending.
So yes. Unsurprisingly, you need to avoid this extreme version of exhaustion to lead a successful and productive life. The next point talks about the easiest way to avoid it.
Set Time Aside for Recreation
Do you need time to do absolutely nothing for a productive life? Yes. Does it make sense in this context? No. But it still does. We talked about how awful burnout is, so taking a break every now and then is the easiest way to prevent it.
Setting time aside to do things you love, something you don’t consider a part of your productivity routine is extremely important.
Watch Netflix, read that book you’ve been putting off, take a relaxing walk down the street, play a video game, try out a new hobby, or sleep in for once. Do whatever you like. Do what you know will bring you the most joy.
Having a to-do list is fun, and so is planning and using google calendar. But with all these productivity tools available, you might feel like you can take the world on. Well, you can’t because you’re only one person.
There’s always going to be something more important than the next. And it’s your job to figure out what’s most important. I’m not going to tell you meeting that deadline is more important than that other thing (that’s arguably less important on a productivity level) Because maybe it isn’t- maybe it’s more important to you.
Prioritize the things you need to do and remember the weight of the world does not rest on your shoulders. You have friends and you have workmates. Ask for help if you need to and do the most important things first. Everything else can be done at a later date or not at all.
Avoid Heavy Multitasking
Just like needing to prioritize, you can’t do everything. Multitasking falls in the same boat. Sure, multitasking is possible. But what kind are we talking about here? Talking on the phone while preparing a meal- light multitasking. Texting your best friend while in the bathroom- everyone does it, no one admits it. Yes, light multitasking.
James Clear talks about the myth of multitasking. Sure we can give attention to two different tasks. But full concentration can not be given to both. You also sacrifice the quality of your work because full focus is needed for the best performance.
This post was all about tips and habits for a productive life
READ MORE: 14 Easy habits To Be Happier At Home