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10 tips to increase your productivity and get things done

Duomly
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Originally published at blog.duomly.com Updated on ・6 min read

Some time ago, I had a challenging time. Every day I was super busy, but I couldn’t finish anything on time. I was still in the middle of something, doing something, but nothing was finished, and I couldn’t see any results. I still had many tasks on my to-do lists, although I was working more than 8 hours per day. The feeling of an unfinished plan was my nightmare.

As it became very annoying, I decided to find any solution because I knew lots of people who could sit down at the desk and after a few hours, clear their lists of tasks, one by one. I couldn’t, and I had to find out why and solve it somehow.

After some research, I realized I had a massive issue with productivity and focus. I read it’s an issue of many people these days, students, employees, entrepreneurs, freelancers, and others. Also, in one of the previous articles about the pros and cons of working remotely I wrote about productivity and how important it is to deal with distractions while working from home. I want to share with you 10 tips which helped me to solve this issue and become much more productive.

1. Make lists

The first thing I started to use daily were to-do lists, very detailed ones. I tried to note everything I have to do, each smallest task. I always have a note and pen on my desk, and I use Asana for more significant projects to order everything that needs to be done and really feel the progress. Small wins and success are crucial in the human mind. That’s why every time I see how many tasks I fulfilled every day, I feel very satisfied and motivated. It also helps me to stay focused, because I see the real progress, every time I mark the task as done or scratch it off.

Also, a great thing can be a whiteboard, where you can make a list and just clean it while doing. Believe me, it really makes you feel good.

2. Turn off notifications

Did you realize how many things distract you, mobile, emails, app notifications, calls? There are tones of different things that makes distracting sounds, and the only way to get rid of it is to turn it off.
Every day I spend a few minutes in the morning to check emails, and I turn it off. Then I come back in the evening to check it the second time, and that’s it. It doesn’t bother me anymore during different tasks. Previously, every time I heard the noise of incoming email and saw the red badge meaning the new email came, I just had to check it, now I just don’t see it anymore, and I can stay focused.

I did the same for other things on my mobile and computer, so I have only the necessary tools turned on, and I feel a huge difference in productivity when no notifications are taking my attention from what I actually do.

3. Turn on the music

Since a few months, I realized I’m much more focused while using headphones and listening to music during my work.

First of all, coworkers don’t bother me anymore without serious reason while I’m focused, and I can really cut off from the external environment and think only about what’s need to be done.

Personally, I always select any productivity playlists at Youtube or Spotify. But if different sound helps you to focus feel free to try it.


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4. Focus on one task

Being multitasking doesn’t improve your productivity; it rather gives you a lot of started but unfinished things, and that’s demotivating. If you start one task and focus on it until it’s done, you finish it probably in a few hours, but if you try to be multitasking and start three tasks at the same time, you probably won’t finish any of them in few hours.

If you see many things in progress, it may make you feel overwhelmed and demotivated, but if you successfully complete tasks one by one, it seems much easier for your mind.

5. Prepare for the next day

If you start your day without a clear plan, you lose the most productive part of your day for planning. To avoid it, take a few minutes every day before you finish work, or before going to bed to make a to-do list for the next day, order the tasks, rethink what’s necessary and what’s not so important and can be rescheduled.

There’s nothing better to start your day with a plan and getting tasks one by one when your body and mind are on the full power to work. It let you do the job fast and easy, without unnecessary destruction and chaos.

6. Keep it clean

As your daily plan can’t be chaotic, your environment and your mind shouldn’t be as well. If you have a mess on your desk or around your workplace, it destructs you for sure.

What about a clean space with everything put in the proper place?

Also, you have to take care of your mind, because if you think about lots of different things, like going to shop, or taking your car to a mechanic, it decreases your productivity. You need to focus your mind on the current task to get the best results.

For me, a great thing to get rid of mind destructions is meditation. 5 minutes per day helps me to clear my mind and be able to push other things away.

So, for better performance, keep your environment and your mind clean.

7. Keep your body in a good condition

Your mind cooperates very closely with your body, and if your body is rested, it’s ready for new challenges. That’s why it’s essential to take care of it. There are a few healthy habits which give your body some fuel for daily tasks.

First of all, remember to eat a good breakfast. Many studies are confirming the importance of breakfast and its influence on the body. It helps to keep your body healthy, and a healthy body can do much more for you.

Another critical thing to make your body a better tool for you is sport. As mentioned above, health is essential for productivity, and healthy people do sports. I highly encourage you to take a short run or walk in the morning, and it wakes you up and oxygenates your body. Besides, it helps to kick up your day, and your mind after such a morning work like never before.

8. Say no

You can allow others to give you more and more tasks, and you can’t agree to help people all the time. You need to say “no” if you don’t have the capacity to do more, or you just don’t feel like you can do more.

It happens you take something just because you don’t want to be rude, or you don’t want to break your relationship with your colleagues, but it’s not the best solution if you let others put their tasks to your queue. Remember, you have a right to say “no” without explaining why.

9. Take a break

According to the studies, people can focus on something about 10 to 20 minutes, so it sounds reasonable to take a break. I personally do about 5 minutes break every 1 hour, because it’s very easy to measure. Just get up, take a glass of water, walk around, and after 5 minutes, come back to your task. You fill fresh and much more focused on your task than before the break.

If you didn’t try taking a break, I really recommend you to try, at least one day and check how it affects your productivity.

10. Automate

Take your to-do list and check what you can automate. There are a lot of tasks, which can be done once, or you can set up an automatic solution for that.

It’s really worth an investigation because it takes your effort just once, and you won’t have to take care of it anymore, and the task will be done.

Conclusion

Each of us would like to fulfill tasks and feel happy about the progress you’ve done. That’s normal that our mind needs those small successes, and if our productivity is very low and we can’t focus on the things which you have to do, it doesn’t bring you any success. I guess it’s really worth to take in mind that we can improve many things in our lives and a few small changes can bring a huge effect.

Try those few tips and check if your productivity benefits.

I hope you will find these tips helpful and enjoy fulfilling your tasks!


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Discussion (15)

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carsturdy profile image
Carson Sturtevant

These are all great suggestions and I do most of the myself!

One thing I could add is be sure to drink enough water throughout the day. It can be easy to sit at your desk for an hour or 2 and not have any. Your brain/body functions better when fully hydrated!

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sjellen profile image
SJellen

Couple of things that I do that help me a lot are:

Warning this might be OCD

My day isn’t done until Everything is ready for tomorrow. That basically means that if I needed to leave for work less than a minute I could. As soon as I get home from work I set up the coffee maker for tomorrow (it runs before I wake up) and make my breakfast. Also I layout my clothes for the next day.

I also eat the same meals everyday. I eat the same breakfast, the same lunch and dinner. Sure I will make exceptions but 90% of the days I know exactly what I’m going to eat. Or to put it another way I don’t waste time thinking about what to eat.

Also most of my tv I watch on the treadmill.

It’s not easy trying to change careers while working a full time job, so time is very valuable right now.

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jschleigher profile image
James Schleigher • Edited

Great list!
I agree that notifications should be turned off because they really distract me when I'm working on my tasks. I only keep the notifications on for my task management software to remind me what I should be doing at the moment.
I'm currently using Quire to help me with setting my tasks. I follow the GTD method when it comes to making and organizing tasks. They let me hide tasks with a longer deadline so that I won't be bothered by them while I'm working on my current tasks (set priorities).
Do you use any productivity apps? I'm curious about how you set your tasks!

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kirzlobster profile image
Kir Zlobster

Being more productive at work or in life isn't rocket science, but it does require being more deliberate about how you manage your time. No one is born to be very good at time management, so that’s okay if you think you’re bad in it. But everyone can learn to boost their productivity and achieve more. No one is born to be very good at time management, so that’s okay if you think you’re bad in it. But everyone can learn to boost their productivity and achieve more!
If you want to maximize your productivity, don't resolve to put in long hours at work; and try these tried-and-tested tips instead:
1.Take regular break
2.Chart Your Progress

  1. Get a workout partner or goal buddy
  2. Reward yourself
  3. Give it time, be patient Moreover, I found an amazing site that helps me improve myself and gets me motivated by completing challenges. Really interesting site with a great challenges verity—makeBetter.me
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evanjameson profile image
Evan Jameson • Edited

Love this, I’d like to add to the thread:

I used to be a terrible procrastinator until I changed my day to day mindset. Anytime I have something that I need to do that I could put off, I think; “just do it” (thanks nike).

Once you force yourself for a few days you get into a good rhythm of keeping it up and it gets much easier. Even if its just doing dishes or something random, if you start doing this in one part of your life, the rest will follow!

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johannesjo profile image
Johannes Millan

Great list! Thanks for sharing!

I use my own app to help me follow the tips you shared. Apart from standard to do stuff and time tracking, it offers a break reminder, planning the next day and focused notifications only for the task you are working on (if you also use Jira or GitHub). You can check it out here:
super-productivity.com/

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jjuel profile image
Jordan Juel

I don't see reading articles on productivity on this list. Interesting... ;)

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steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao

I think one more is using time tracking software like rescuetime or Pomodoro technique.

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murrayvarey profile image
MurrayVarey

The Pomodoro technique is great ... when I remember to use it. Always regret it on those days that I forget.

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steelwolf180 profile image
Max Ong Zong Bao

Haha.. I had that problem as well when I'm using Pomodoro.

It is during those days that I am entirely overwhelmed with work that I forget to use it

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murrayvarey profile image
MurrayVarey

Haha, exactly -- on the days that you need it the most.

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duomly profile image
Duomly Author

Definitely! it's a good point :)

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katemay48947206 profile image
katemay

Someone has already mentioned in the comments about using a time tracker. I do it too, I prefer TMetric. The app helps me not only log my hours but also tracks activity which I can then analyze for better efficiency and productivity.

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emmanuelmallabo profile image
Emmanuel Mallabo

Get things done

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hoangleitvn profile image
Hoang Le

What is your favorite music playlists?