8 Practical Time Management Tips to Increase Your Productivity

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We're all trying to reach big goals and live healthier, happier lives.

But, there are many factors that are out of our control.

To name a few, whether:

  • someone thinks you’re right for the job
  • you were born into a wealthy family (or were able to afford things like an expensive education)
  • you have some form of anxiety (which you can use to your advantage by the way!)
  • your genetic makeup coincides with what’s currently “on trend” for attractiveness
  • someone values your unique strengths
  • you were born with a mental or physical illness
  • That’s why preparation is huge.

    Like your mindset, it’s something you can actually control

    Being prepared can mean the difference between wild success and disappointing failure.

    It’s a lot easier to get more done in less time when you know:

  • which goals you want to reach,
  • why you want to accomplish them, and 
  • how you plan to do it
  • So, before you tackle that to-do list, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you’re prepared to crush it!

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    1. Get in the Right Mindset to Increase Your Productivity

    Turn Your Fear into Fuel

    What are you afraid of?

    Oftentimes, fear causes procrastination.

    So, ask yourself if the reason you are procrastinating is because you are scared.

    Maybe you’re scared to leave your comfort zone. Maybe you’re scared of failure. Or success. Or judgment.

    Whatever your fears are, it’s important to be able to recognize them so you can turn them into fuel for success.

    "Feeling the fear and doing it anyway" will improve your confidence and exponentially increase your productivity. 

    Change Your Limiting Beliefs 

    Do you have any limiting beliefs?

    Like “I can’t”, “Everything has to be perfect”, or “It’s too late”?

    Your beliefs can either help you or hinder you on your journey.

    So, get rid of limiting beliefs that are not serving you and replace them with empowering ones that will help you accomplish your goals and live a life you love.

    Develop Your Confidence

    Do you believe in yourself?

    Some psychological experts believe that self-efficacy is the key to success.

    Self-efficacy is basically the measure of how much you believe in your ability to accomplish your goals.

    Knowing who you are, what you want to accomplish and believing that you will succeed gives you that extra boost of optimism you need when you inevitably encounter adversity along the way.

    So before you do anything, make sure you are mentally prepared for success. 

    2. Make Sure You're in Fighting Form

    self-care increases productivity

    Self-care is an important component of time management that increases productivity.

    If you’re not in fighting form, how can you expect to accomplish great work?

    It all comes down to three crucial components (which you probably already know):

    Get Enough Sleep

    Getting adequate sleep is essential to productivity, increasing creativity in the brain and general wellbeing.

    When we sleep, our bodies engage in a number of rejuvenating processes.

    During sleep:

  • the glymphatic system clears out neurotoxic waste
  • trillions of nerve cells rewire themselves, helping us to process and retain information
  • the blood is detoxified
  • muscle damage is repaired
  • the immune system regulates & bolsters itself
  • So, make sure you’re getting your 8 hours a night!

    Eat a Healthy Diet 

    Nutrition plays a huge role in performance.

    According to a Brigham Young University study, employees who rarely eat fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods were 93% more likely to suffer a loss in productivity at work.

    When you don't properly fuel your body, you experience fatigue, stress, anxiety, and mind fog. 

    Also, your brain relies on certain nutrients for creativity and stress-reduction

    Diet is especially important if you’re a writer, content creator, entrepreneur, artist, or any other occupation that involves being creative.

    Do Some Exercise

    Exercise increases productivity.

    It gives you the sustained energy you need to tackle your tasks.

    If you engage in some form of regular exercise, you will get better sleep which will increase your focus and concentration.

    Exercise also helps to regulate mood. Which is really important because if you’re not in a good mood, you’re less likely to be productive.

    3. Declutter Your Space to Be More Productive

    declutter organize your work space

    Mess causes stress.

    If you’re stressed, you can’t focus.

    And if you can’t focus, then you can’t get stuff done.

    Simplifying your life will help to prevent overwhelm caused by physical and mental clutter.

    So, declutter to increase your productivity by tackling these two areas:

    Clear Your Work Space

    Princeton neuroscientists discovered that clutter competes for attention.

    Basically, the more things you have around you, the more your attention is divided.

    The more external stimuli there are, the more you struggle to focus on one thing.

    Although clutter can help to skyrocket your creativity, it can also lead to frustration, overwhelm and ultimately, lost productivity.

    Make Your Bed, Increase Your Productivity

    According to a Hunch.com survey, 59% of people don’t make their beds.

    But, making your bed is probably the easiest thing you can do to increase your productivity!

    Out of 68,000 people surveyed, 71% of the bed makers said they were happy while 62% of the non-bed-makers admitted to being unhappy.

    Also, bed makers are more likely to:

  • Be satisfied with their jobs
  • Exercise regularly, and
  • Feel more well-rested
  • New York Times reporter and author of The Power of Habit, (paid link) Charles Duhigg, says that making your bed is a keystone habit – one that spills over into other areas of your life.

    A keystone habit basically catalyzes other good habits through a chain reaction.

    For example, if you make your bed, your brain registers it as a small win.

    That small win makes you feel motivated to accomplish other tasks, like working out or cooking your own food.

    4. Organize Your Thoughts to Increase Your Productivity

    organize your thoughts to be more productive

    Your physical work space is not the only thing that needs to be organized.

    Mental clutter can also accumulate pretty quickly. This sort of disorganization hinders productivity.

    Sometimes, I feel like there are a million thoughts running through my mind, constantly adding on to the never-ending to-do list that is life.

    Can you relate?

    If so, you’d probably benefit from a brain dump.

    Declutter Your Mind with a Brain Dump to Be More Productive

    A brain dump is basically a way for you to get all your thoughts on paper so they can be assessed.

    When you’re finished, you should be left with an organized, manageable list of prioritized goals.

    Organize into Categories

    Once you’ve done your brain dump free write, you can organize everything into categories.

    Basically, group like tasks together under headings like: Errands, Goals, Health, Appointments, Personal Development Goals, etc.

    Prioritize Your List 

    Next, decide which things are most important and which things can be crossed off the list entirely.

    See if there are any 2-minute tasks that can be done right away and do those first.

    Then, ask yourself what must be accomplished today. Choose the two most important tasks to tackle and work on those.

    Consider anything else you get done a bonus!

    * Download your free Brain Dump Worksheets from the Freebie Library to get started! *

    5. Clarify Your Goals to Maximize Productivity

    clarify your goals for maximum productivity

    A goal without a plan is just a wish.

    You have to know where you’re going and how to get there.

    So, get clear on exactly what you are trying to accomplish in order to increase your productivity.

    One way to do this is to assess whether your goals are S.M.A.R.T.

    Set SMART Goals

    S.M.A.R.T. stands for:

    S: Specific
    M: Measurable
    A: Attainable
    R: Relevant
    T: Time-bound

    When your goal is specific, measurable, attainable given your available resources, relevant to your purpose and constrained by a deadline, you are more likely to accomplish it.

    Chunk Down Your Big Goals 

    BHAG stands for Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal.

    It’s a term coined by two Stanford professors when they discovered the secret behind many successful, long-lasting companies – they all set BHAGs.

    BHAGs are long-term, ambitious goals that cannot be accomplished overnight.

    You must break it down into the smaller tasks required to achieve it – a process called chunking.

    Chunking down your big goals into smaller and smaller tasks keeps you from getting overwhelmed.

    It also allows you to increase your productivity by doing something every day that gets you closer to your big goal.

    The idea is that by the time you finish all the small tasks, you’ve reached your BHAG!

    6. Get Motivated, Be More Productive

    get motivated to be productive

    You are more likely to achieve intrinsic goals that align with your purpose.

    This is because when you’re doing something you actually want to do, you are more motivated. So …

    What’s Your Why?

    Just knowing why you are pursuing a goal makes you more likely to achieve it.

    If your goal means something to you personally and has intrinsic value, you will keep working towards it even when times get tough.

    But, if your goal is based on extrinsic validation, you will run out of steam pretty quickly.

    So, make sure you are setting a goal that aligns with your definition of success, not society’s or someone else’s. 

    Reward Yourself to Increase Your Productivity

    Celebrating small wins is crucial to keeping yourself motivated, increasing your productivity and reaching your goals without getting stressed out.

    When you accomplish even small tasks, your brain releases a shot of dopamine and other “feel-good” chemicals.

    Your brain becomes hooked on that reward!

    That one little reward motivates you to get the next, and the next … so on and so forth, pushing you closer and closer to reaching your goal.

    Don’t underestimate the power of progress.

    Small wins drive big success.

    7. Minimize Distractions to Boost Your Productivity

    minimize distractions like social media to increase productivity

    If you want to increase your productivity, you’ve got to cut out the things that are distracting you from your goal.

    So, identify all the internal and/or external distractions that waste your time.

    In Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, (paid link) Cal Newport says that peak productivity is reached when you concentrate on a single task for an extended period of time with no distractions.

    Focus on One Thing at a Time

    Multitasking does not make you more productive.

    In fact, it’s bad for your brain.

    Our brains are only meant to focus on one thing at a time.

    So, forcing it to divide attention between multiple tasks reduces its performance - and your productivity.

    Plus, if you are distracted, it can take longer than you might think to get back to the task at hand.

    According to a University of California Irvine study, up to 23 minutes and 15 seconds!

    Limit Social Media to Increase Your Productivity

    A huge source of distraction for many people is social media.

    It’s easy to spend way more time than you originally intended once you log onto Facebook or Instagram, etc.

    If you notice that your time is getting sucked away by social media, try limiting your usage to increase your productivity.

    Track yourself to see exactly how much time you are spending on social media … maybe it’s time for a social media break.

    8. Implement a Time-Management Strategy That Works Best for You

    time management strategies to increase your productivity

    There are all sorts of time-management strategies out there.

    Try some and see if any of them make you more productive. See what works best for you!

    Here are two popular ones:

    Pomodoro Technique

    This technique consists of working on one task for 25 minutes without interruption.

    Set a timer and when it goes off, stop the task and take a short break (3-5 minutes).

    Put a check mark on a piece of paper. When you have 4 check marks, take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes.

    This technique doesn’t work for me because once I’m focused on something, I just can’t be interrupted that often!

    But, it might work for you if you aren’t writing or doing something that requires super long spans of concentration.

    Task Batching

    This method consists of batching similar tasks and then doing those tasks at the same time.

    This prevents your brain from having to switch gears every time you switch to another type of task.

    Instead, you can focus on one type of task for a specific block of time before moving on to another type of task.

    If you did the brain dump exercise, then you should already have your tasks organized into categories.

    I like this technique because it comes naturally for me to focus on one task until it’s done.  

    You may find that you already naturally task batch in a lot of ways.

    For example, when you do laundry you probably fold all the clothes and then put them away (as opposed to folding one article, putting it away and then folding the next).

    There are a ton of time management strategies and apps out there to help you increase your productivity … just keep trying until you find something that works for you.

    Over to you … do you have any time management strategies I didn’t mention? Let me know in the comments!

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    About the Author

    Kalliope Archondis, JD, LLM. 👋Hi! I'm Kalli, personal development blogger and Etsy shop owner. Check out our Self Care by 3D Success relaxation spa gift sets here.