Amidst a global pandemic where office spaces have transitioned to working at home, classrooms have transitioned to online lecture, and people are isolated from normalcy, it becomes increasingly difficult to stay productive throughout the day. Employers, employees, parents, children, students, and everyone in between have dealt with the pandemic for nearly a year and it has had quite the impact on motivation.
Staying productive before the pandemic wasn’t easy but now we face even greater challenges to stay motivated and productive. Burnout at work, feeling disinterested, feeling lethargic, staying sedentary, and encountering constant distractions all inhibit your productivity.
This article will equip you with seven ingenious ways to stay productive throughout the day.
1: Put away the phone
One trap that many people fall into is trying to do too many things at a given time. Even though you may think you are multitasking, humans are not wired to multitask with higher level cognitive skills. While you may be able to rub your stomach and pat your head at the same time, you cannot text and drive simultaneously without compromising your effectiveness in either task.
To be productive you need to limit the number of things you are doing at a given time. By doing so you can maximize your effectiveness during a task and be more efficient with your time.
Staying productive is a task that is easier said than done. In today's world there are thousands of distractions every day that aim to pull our attention from the task at hand and reduce our efficiency and productivity. E-mails, text messages, social media scrolling, and online shopping are all new distractions that have plagued the digital era.
To truly make the most of your day and be productive, you need to create an environment that reduces these distractions.
The most common source of distraction we encounter is most likely in your hand or somewhere close by -- your phone. Smartphones have allowed us to have access to pretty much everything we need right at our fingertips. While this may seem like a good thing, the downside is the hit we take on its ability to distract us. In fact, a 2019 study looking into the prevalence of phone notifications showed that participants had an average of 63 notifications per day. Each notification is an opportunity to rob your day of productivity and efficiency.
The best solution is to put the phone in a place that is not easily accessible. By doing so you can better focus on the tasks at hand for your productive day.
Allocate yourself 15 minute phone breaks in between tasks but be intentional with the time you have on your phone. The key is to make your phone work for you and not for the phone to control you and your attention. This simple productivity hack can allow you to be better focused and productive throughout the day.
2: Create Goals
Staying productive all day long is a difficult task especially if you do not see the bigger picture of where the work you are doing is going in the long run.
A great way to stay motivated is to create a goal that is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
These components are a part of the SMART goal model and are a tried and tested method to creating effective goals. Below is a breakdown of how creating goals can help you to stay productive throughout the day.
A great way to start making goals is to start big and to think where you want your life to be in the future. This can be a couple months down the road or even years. Let's say that in a year you would like to be a person that prioritizes their health. With this large goal in mind it can make it easier to create smaller SMART goals that steer you to this larger overarching goal.
Creating a SMART goal can be intimidating, but the truth is they are fairly simple because they give you the rubric and scaffolding to make the goals. Looking at the example above to live a healthier life, you could create a wide variety of SMART goals.
Writing down the goals and placing it somewhere you frequent like the fridge door, or at your desk will give you a constant reminder of what you are trying to achieve. To add an even further commitment, you can share your goals with loved ones and they can help you to be accountable and continually strive to achieve your goals.
Having a constant reminder with these goals can have a positive impact on your daily motivation as you are reminded of the bigger picture.
With a greater sense of direction and motivation, you are sure to stay productive.
3: Create a To-Do List
Staying productive throughout the day means more than just having enough will power and focus to power through the day.
Taking the steps to plan out your day and have everything you need to accomplish written down can allow you to be productive while also being able to put your mind at ease that you have a game plan.
To-Do lists are a great tool for organizing your day and ensuring you are completing all the tasks you need to in a given day. To-Do lists come in a variety of kinds and styles. Your most basic is a simple list of items you need to accomplish in a day while the more complex involve adding deadlines, ranking importance, and grouping items based on the goal trying to be achieved. Any To-Do list can help you to stay on top of your tasks but you need to find the right style and format that fits you. Below are some tips when you first start out.
The first thing you will want to do is to schedule a time to create your To-Do list. For some this is every Sunday night, while for others it begins every morning. If your week is more predictable you can stick to creating a To-Do list for the week while for others with more varying schedules may need to create their list every day. You should block out a period of time and dedicate it to creating the initial list. You can think of this as a mental dump of everything you need to do.
Once the first list is created, you should organize the list however you see fit. Some may find it helpful to categorize the list based on the task at hand like “chores” or “school”. Categorizing like this can help you to see the bigger picture. Others may find it more helpful to categorize based on priority and designate a specific time to do that task. This aspect of the To-Do list is meant for you to organize the primary list in a way that makes it more manageable.
With a clear list in hand, you can rest assured that you have everything on your plate accounted for. With less worry, you can focus more on the tasks at hand and perform to your optimal potential.
4: Learn to Prioritize Your Time
Productivity is not just about the number of tasks you can complete in a day. Productivity involves how effective you are while you are working and the quality of results you get from this work.
When looking at how to stay productive all day, you need to understand how to prioritize your time. This includes knowing how to manage your tasks, knowing when to say no, and when you need a break.
Below is a breakdown of ways that you can begin prioritizing your time to stay productive.
The first step to prioritizing your time is to assign priority to the items you need to accomplish.
An example of this would be that you have a deadline for work that needs to be completed but also have to do chores around the house. In this instance the work deadline takes priority and the chores get pushed back to a later time. By prioritizing your tasks based on importance you can ensure that the important tasks get your undivided attention in the beginning of the day when you are fresh.
The next part of prioritizing your time is to learn your limitations and learn how to manage the tasks you have at a given time.
One large problem that people have is learning how to say no to accepting more. While it may seem like an altruistic trait to always help others, it can take away from your ability to be productive within your own life and responsibilities. Learning to prioritize your tasks and learning how to say no will allow you to never get over extended and therefore will allow you to have a manageable workload. Overworking and overextending yourself can lead you to be less productive and can ultimately lead to burnout.
The last way you can prioritize your time for the sake of productivity is to ensure you have time to yourself to pursue your outside interests.
It is not uncommon for people to become totally engrossed in their work and to forget to take a break. While this can be a beneficial situation, overtime it can reduce your effectiveness and ability to be productive. Prioritizing time for yourself is a great way to recharge your batteries. Having time away from your responsibilities can give you the space you need to reflect, relax, or enjoy your hobbies. Whether that is the weekend or taking a vacation, finding time for yourself allows you to sustainably stay productive all day. You can even implement meditation breaks where you can listen to a guided meditation and truly give your brain the space it needs to relax.
5: Regular Exercise
The human body has not evolved to sit still, but many people today do just that. With sedentary jobs becoming the normal and leisure activities like binge watching all the rage, it is easy to see how many people fall victim to a sedentary life.
While living a sedentary life is not good for your overall health, it can in particular pose a decrease in your ability to have mental stamina and optimal productivity. It may seem counterproductive to take precious time out of your day to do something for yourself that can increase your productivity, but exercise does just that.
Below are two ways that you can incorporate routine exercise to increase your productivity.
A great way to wake up and get your blood pumping is to incorporate a morning workout or stretch into your routine. Starting off your day in this manner allows you to get all the benefits of a workout with the added bonus that it can wake you up. In addition to waking you up, exercise releases endorphins which are the body's natural feel good molecules. If you are alert and feeling good early in the morning, it is more likely to carry on to the rest of your day and enable you to stay motivated and productive throughout the day.
Another great time to incorporate a workout is in the afternoon. Many people have felt the 3pm lull in the day where time just seems to go at a snail pace. Around this time many opt for a quick boost through caffeine. While caffeine is a stimulant, it only offers short term energy that can inhibit your sleep. Rather than going for a coffee break, consider implementing a mid work day workout. Yoga, light stretching, or even a workout class can give you an all natural pick me up.
6: Give Your Body the Nutrition it Deserves
Nutrition is an often overlooked aspect for those looking to increase their productivity.
The food you choose to eat can influence many aspects of your health, including your weight, energy level, and your ability to stay concentrated and productive.
While you may be convinced that those midnight pizza runs during finals week in college got you that A, the truth of the matter is that you need to fuel your body and mind with quality nutrition. Your body is like a luxury car and it deserves the top tier fuel to run optimally. Below is a look at a few ways your nutrition can help you stay productive throughout the day.
A great starting point to better your mental wellbeing through diet is to reduce your consumption of sweet foods or beverages in efforts toward more ideal blood sugar levels.
A 2017 study found that there was a correlation between high sugar intake and the incidents of common mental problems. Feeling anxious or depressed can get in the way of you being able to stay productive and by reducing your sugar intake you can ensure you are giving your body quality and nutritious food rather than empty calories and a short lived sugar rush. You can also support optimal blood sugar levels in your body by taking MitoQ Blood Sugar which contains chromium picolinate, zinc amino acid chelate, and cinnamon.
Another great way to better your mental wellbeing through diet is to look to nootropics.
Nootropics are compounds that enhance cognition or brain function. Some nootropic compounds include caffeine, zembrin kanna extract, ginkgo extract, huperzine A, and phosphatidylserine.
In addition, CoQ10 is able to support the mitochondria within your body, and one study suggests that CoQ10 supplementation can relieve feelings of mild mental fatigue after a task.
Supporting your brain through supplements can give your brain the tools it needs to stay focused and productive all day long.
Combining four of the above brain-healthy ingredients with s highly bioavailable form of CoQ10, MitoQ Brain is able to support normal cognitive function and support mental stamina.
The last way you can influence your productivity through your nutrition is to eat a well rounded and mainly whole food diet.
If you are wanting to maximize your productivity and ability to work throughout the day, you need to ensure you are taking care of your body through the food you eat. Your body requires many different micronutrients, and by eating a highly processed and non-diverse diet it will most likely mean that you are most likely running on a deficit of some micronutrients.
By focusing your energy to prioritize your diet and eat a wide variety of whole foods you can not only improve your mood, but you can change your body for the better. When you feel better about yourself, you are better able to stay focused and productive.
7: Good Sleep Habits
In the western world, many fall into the workaholic lifestyle and aim to squeeze every last ounce of productivity and efficiency out of themselves. While this can be seen as admirable to some, the “rest is for the weak” mindset is not one that is sustainable. In fact, sleep deprivation is known to impact your ability to stay focused, attentive, and vigilant.
To give your body and mind the best shot at staying attentive and productive throughout the day, you need to ensure you are getting a full night’s sleep.
Below are three ways that you can help facilitate the perfect night's sleep.
The first way to improve your sleeping habits is to go to bed at the same time every night.
In addition to going to bed at the same time, you should try your best to wake up at about the same time every day. Establishing a routine of sleep will allow your body to anticipate going to sleep and waking up which allows you to have a much better chance of sleeping through the night.
Another way to improve your sleep habits is to develop a going to sleep ritual.
You can dim the lights, avoid harsh lights from screens, and do a relaxing task like reading a book. By avoiding bright lights you are able to signal to your body that it is time to go to sleep. Once your bedtime routine becomes a habit, it can allow you to get relaxed fairly quickly and to sleep more soundly.
If you have made an honest effort to improve your sleep and you still feel groggy when you wake up, you may want to focus your energy on establishing a wakeup routine. One of the best ways to signal to your body it needs to wake up is to get exposure to the sun. Getting into a habit of opening up the curtains or going for a morning walk outside can allow you to wake up and become more alert.
Establishing good sleeping habits can allow you to stay more alert and vigilant to be productive all day long. Having good sleeping habits will also have positive impacts on your overall health and well being. The actions described above are a good starting point but everyone is different when it comes to sleep. Simply making sleep a priority will get you on the right track to a more well rested and productive day.
Staying productive all day long is easier said than done, but our suggestions above are all good starting points to get you back on track. By minimizing distractions, getting organized, and taking care of yourself, you can make it easier to stay motivated and thus improving your productivity in a given day.
There will be set backs and days when you won’t be productive, but it is important to not dwell on those days and to continue on with a positive attitude!