One of the questions that I get asked most as a habits coach and as a productivity coach is, ‘How can I be more productive?’ So today I’m sharing with you my 3 top tips for what you can do to be more productive. 

1. Start with a written plan 

This means a written plan, not just in my head. It helps if you have a journal or a planner of some kind where you’re writing down what it is that you need to do. 

Now, before we actually start writing, something else that I really need to say around what goes in your journal is the fact that not all tasks and not all activities are created equally

I used to start my day with a written plan, but I’d literally just be listing anything and everything in no particular order. What I’ve learned is that being efficient is not the same as being effective.

I hear a lot of people say, “How can I get more done in a day?” That is actually the wrong question. The right question is, “How can I get the most important things done?” It all starts with prioritizing, looking at the things that you need to get done and figuring out which ones are the ones that will move you forward towards your goals. 

Once you’ve figured that out, what you need is a plan of some sort somewhere where every day you’re going to start your day with writing down what it is that you’re going to be working on for the day. What are the top three things that will effectively define success for me on this day? And then what are some of the other activities that I can get done today that are important for me to get done?

It helps to have a planner, but which planner should you use? The best planner is the one you’ll actually use. There’s so many planners out there, but it’s about you finding the planner that works best for you. What do you like in terms of layout and format? Do you want a coil bound? If there’s one thing to remember, it is write it down. Start every single day with a written plan. 

2. Work in Time Blocks. Use a timer.

I love to use something that’s called the Pomodoro Technique. There’s lots of information out there about this technique, but at its simplest, the Pomodoro Technique says that you should be taking regular breaks throughout your workday because your brain can only focus for so long.

The way it works is that you effectively do 25-minute time blocks of work. So you set a timer for 25 minutes to work. When the timer goes off, you take a five minute break, and you do four cycles of those. At the end of the fourth one, you take a longer break. 

Why does this work for me? Before, I just used to work until I was exhausted and it led to me dreading work because there was no end in sight. I also wasn’t good about taking breaks. When I learned about the Pomodoro Technique and started using it, I realized that it helped me be more focused because I knew that all I had to do was to focus for 25 minutes, and at the end of that I was guaranteed a break, or I can do whatever I want. 

So use a timer to time-block your work, and make sure that you are taking breaks. But also make sure that you’re setting aside focused time to focus on whatever the task is at hand.

3. Drink Water. Stay Hydrated.

Yes, good old fashioned water. How can water make me more productive? Jim Quick is one of the foremost people in the industry when it comes to how to make your brain work and giving you hacks, tips, and tricks for you to be able to remember more work faster. In his book Limitless, he said that your brain is 75 to 80% water. And so one of the best things that you can do for your brain is to keep it hydrated. He says that dehydration leads to brain fog, fatigue, slower reaction, and slower thinking. 

And so as you’re working throughout the day, making sure that you’re staying hydrated will actually help you be more productive. 

Sandra has a podcast episode on this topic in the WORTHY Podcast:

You can also watch it on YouTube:

1 Comment

  • Mmatsetshweu Ruby Motaung says:

    This is really talking to me. My weaknesses is when I start seating in that desk at 09h00, I will stand up at 17h00 when everyone is saying their good byes. Very much unhealthy indeed.
    The 3 steps are a must and are very doable.
    Thank you Sandra.

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