Do you struggle with productivity? Find out how you can achieve higher levels of productivity today!
Do you want to achieve higher levels of productivity?
Do you want to learn how you can be more productive and achieve more in less time?
By achieving higher levels of productivity, you’ll be able to do more in less time, which means you’ll be able to spend MORE time doing the things you love.
I have struggled with productivity throughout most of my student life. I am a huge procrastinator when it comes to things that need to be done.
Sometimes, days can go by where I get absolutely nothing done at all, but then there are also periods of time where I can sit for hours just studying or working on my blog.
However, these bursts of productivity are usually much shorter than my periods of procrastination. So, I am constantly working on myself and trying to find ways to achieve higher levels of productivity.
Aside from the tips below, I have also found ways to be more productive while procrastinating so that I can get the best of both worlds. Find out how I did it in How to Work With Procrastination + Tips for Breaking Down an Assignment.
- Healthy Habits Before Bed to Wake Up a Better You
- How to Achieve a Balance Between School and Your Personal Life
- How to Be a Frugal Student – Start Saving Now
Here are 18 tips that can help you reach higher levels of productivity
1. Determine how much time you have
The first step to achieving higher levels of productivity is to determine how much time you actually have available.
There’s no point trying to squeeze too much into your available time. If you set yourself too many tasks to complete for the amount of time that you have available, all you’ll end up doing is stressing yourself out.
You want to aim to be realistic with how much you can achieve. So, to do this, you need to have a clear idea of the hours in a day that you have free.
There’s no point in overexerting yourself trying to complete all the tasks you’ve set for yourself. You’ll most likely end up producing poorer quality work, which is something that you don’t want to happen.
2. Determine the time of day that you are most productive
Some people are morning birds, some are night owls, and others work best during the day. Figuring out what time you are most productive can ensure maximum efficiency and use of your time.
It’s much better to work at maximum productivity for 20 minutes rather than minimum productivity for 1 hour. Making half-hearted attempts to work will only result in you producing work of poor quality and at a substandard level.
If you know that you’re a morning owl who performs better before noon, why not set your alarm earlier so that you can get work done in the quieter hours of the morning when no one else is awake? If you are a night owl and prefer the peace that comes with nightfall, then adjust your sleep schedule accordingly.
Personally, I much prefer to wake up earlier than to sleep later. So, I like to set my alarm to 6am in the morning and tick off most of my to-do list before anyone else is awake. This way, I get my much-needed peace and quiet to perform at maximum productivity. By getting things done early in the day, it also lessens the stress to complete everything on time during the rest of the day.
3. Clear your workspace
Working at a desk that’s clean and clear of clutter can go a long way in helping you clear your mind so that you can focus on the task at hand.
I find that a messy workspace can lead to a cluttered mind, which prevents me from being able to think clearly and focus on what I need to do.
Keeping your desk organised also means that you don’t have to spend as much time looking for any supplies that you need, allowing you to remain focused.
It is said that your environment reflects your state of mind. So, having a cluttered and overflowing desk might mean that you have a lot going on in your mind. Cleaning your space may be able to influence your state of mind and encourage new ideas and inspirations to flow more freely.
4. Surround yourself with motivation and inspiration
To retain maximum levels of productivity, it’s a good idea to surround yourself with inspiration so that you can stay inspired and motivated to continue.
We all need a boost sometimes to continue, and what better way to do this than to surround ourselves with things that will continue to inspire us?
5. Use a Planner
Use a planner to assist you in sorting your priorities. You can write out your goals, your to-do lists and everything you need to remember.
Personally, I like to use a ring-bound planner. The great thing about ring-bound planners is that I can customise it however I want and it can contain all sorts of different information. Aside from my calendar and weekly pages, I can have pages for my to-do lists, notes, finances, school and work notes, anything that I want to write down. In a way, it’s a collection of ideas and thoughts.
This way, I have lists of everything that I want to complete or work towards in one place, So, if I ever find myself mindlessly scrolling through Instagram or watching YouTube videos back-to-back, I can find something to do by looking in my planner.
6. Set to-do lists
Make lists of all the tasks you have to get through so that everything is displayed clearly in front of you. This will eliminate the need to recall anything from memory and save you a lot of time in between tasks.
Break down any larger tasks to make it easier for you to keep track of how much you’ve done and how much you have left to do. Breaking down a task into smaller steps can also motivate you to continue being productive by giving you that sense of satisfaction as you tick off one task after another.
Find my short guide to breaking down an assignment at How to Work With Procrastination + Tips for Breaking Down an Assignment.
7. Work in time intervals
You can probably imagine how tiring and difficult it would be to work continuously for an hour or more.
Honestly, I would fall asleep, but probably only after having sat there for an hour doing nothing. I’ve definitely tried to complete task after task without taking a single break and it’s so exhausting, both mentally and physically.
From personal experience, I’ve found that I need to get up at least once every half an hour and move around to be able to stay on task. This is probably because I’m quite restless as a person and can’t sit still for long periods of time.
If you’re looking for a great time management method, I recommend the Pomodoro technique. This is the method I used to get through my final high school exams and it was very effective in helping me manage my time. All you have to do is use a timer, work for 25 minutes, take a break for 5 minutes and repeat, taking a longer break every few cycles.
The original Pomodoro technique is as follows:
- Choose the task to be done
- Set the Pomodoro timer to 25 minutes
- Work until the time is up
- Place a checkmark on a piece of paper when the Pomodoro rings
- Take a short break (approx. 3-5 mins)
- After 4 Pomodoros (or 4 checkmarks), take a longer break (approx. 15-20 mins) and repeat the cycle
I generally stick to the 25-5 minute time management plan until I want to take a longer break. So, I try to complete a satisfactory amount before I allow myself to take a longer break.
8. Stick to a schedule
Sticking to a schedule is super important in ensuring that you set aside enough time for work, but also so that you give yourself necessary breaks. Adhering to a routine or schedule can help you foster good habits. You’ll be able to be more focused during your productivity periods and be able to relax more during your rest periods.
Sticking to a schedule can also help rid you of any bad habits that are limiting your productivity. If your schedule says that you have a break or a fun activity coming up, it may help to prevent you from getting distracted while you’re trying to be productive.
Just as it’s not good to take breaks for too long, it’s also not ideal to be working or studying for long periods of time either.
It may seem unlikely, but it’s entirely possible to get so immersed in your work that you forget to take breaks. While this may seem like you’re being super productive, it’s actually a lot better for your health and productivity to take the necessary breaks.
9. Don’t be afraid to take frequent breaks
Taking frequent study or work breaks can help you maintain top performance by increasing your focus, lowering your stress and assisting you in retaining more information.
By giving yourself a breather now and then, you’ll be able to see the bigger picture more clearly so that you know exactly what you’re working towards. This might be better grades, better results or just knowing that you’re one step closer to achieving your goal.
Sometimes we forget what we’re working towards. We forget why we put so much of ourselves into doing something. Taking these frequent breaks allows us to see with more clarity and refocus on the goals we are ultimately trying to achieve.
10. Step into nature
Use your breaks to go outside for a brisk walk around the neighbourhood. If you enjoy moving your body, take a hike through bushland on the weekends.
Spending some time in nature can help to reduce stress and anxiety, heighten your feelings of happiness and lead to higher levels of productivity. Even as little as 5 minutes outside can reduce your stress levels.
Having more green in your living space can also lead to lower levels of cortisol – the stress hormone.
11. Be active during breaks
When taking your breaks, try to do something that involves moving your body. You might feel tempted to watch some tv, eat a snack (which is perfectly okay), but being active can increase blood flow to the brain, which is hugely advantageous to the retaining of information. It also helps to keep you alert so that you don’t feel the urge to take a nap in the middle of your study sessions.
Exercise can lead to higher levels of productivity by:
- reducing anxiety and depression
- improving self-esteem and cognitive function
- helping you feel more energetic throughout the day
- sharpening your memory
- helping you feel more relaxed and positive
- helping you sleep better
12. Get up off your chair frequently
Sitting for long periods of time can have long-term detrimental effects on your health so I would encourage you to get up and move about often.
For me personally, sitting for long periods of time can make me feel really sluggish. This is something that I want to prevent because it has a negative effect on my quality of work. To combat this, sometimes I like to stand up and work for a while. I’ll find a higher counter or tabletop and rest my laptop there so I’m still studying, but doing it standing up instead.
If this sounds like a hassle or you don’t have any tabletops high enough, you could consider a height-adjustable table. Usually, all you have to do is wind a handle and the tabletop will move up or down accordingly. Ikea sells an affordable version named SKARSTA.
13. Have a change of location
Sometimes if I’ve been working in the same area for too long, I simply lose all motivation to continue being productive there. This is why I like to change up where I study. If I find that I haven’t been getting much done at my desk, then I’ll switch to the couch or the dining table.
Usually, a simple change of location will allow inspiration to come back to me and I can continue working productively. This is because a change in environment can boost simulation and creativity by allowing me to interact with different surroundings.
14. Remember to drink water
It can be so easy to forget to hydrate yourself when all you’re doing is sitting at your desk. And of course, it can be annoying to get water especially if your desk is not that close to the kitchen.
However, studies show that drinking water can increase productivity by up to 14%!
I don’t think I need to tell you all the benefits of staying hydrated. Personally, I’ve found that drinking water encourages me to stay awake. There’s a far less chance of me getting sleepy when I’m continuously sipping water.
Increasing your frequency of going to the bathroom can also be an advantage as it encourages you to leave your desk more often to move your body.
15. Choose healthy snacks
Snacking between bouts of study or work can have the same effect as water in reducing fatigue. It will also prevent you from getting hungry to the point that you can’t think of anything apart from your stomach.
Opt for healthy snacks over their junk food counterparts to boost your productivity even further. This is because healthier options usually contain blood glucose-stabilising fibre, which is necessary for the rapid firing of signals by neurons in your brain.
16. Music or no music?
This is a very personal preference. Some people can’t stand silence and work much better with music, while others need silence in order to think. There is no right or wrong way, and no one way to guarantee higher levels of productivity.
Analyse your own levels of productivity under both conditions and work with whichever suits your personal lifestyle.
17. Turn your phone to silent
Remember to keep your workspace clear of distractions by turning your phone to silent. Mobile phones are probably the king of distractions, so do yourself a favour and turn it off. You’ll be surprised at how much you can get done without a phone that chimes every few minutes.
Doing so also encourages discipline and can prevent you from picking up your phone and spending too much time mindlessly scrolling through Facebook or Instagram. Find out how you can pass your time more productively in How to Work With Procrastination.
18. Use tools to improve efficiency
Increase your productivity even further by using tools that can help you save time and effort. If you spend any time at all writing on a computer, then you’ll benefit from Grammarly’s grammar checker. I can’t even tell you how many mistakes it’s caught in my writing. But it’s definitely shortened my proofreading time by a significant amount.
Whether you’re a student, blogger or professional, Grammarly can save you so much time so that you can move on to doing the things you love.
The free plan includes:
- Spelling, punctuation and grammar checks
- Access from both mobile and desktop devices
- Microsoft Office add-in
And the premium plan includes those PLUS the fixing of more complex writing issues such as:
- Ineffective vocabulary
- Overuse of words
- Hedging language
- Passive voice overuse
- Non-inclusive language
- Inappropriate formality level
- Inconsistent writing style
By fixing these issues in your writing, you’ll come off more professional. more intelligent and you’ll be able to attain a better result!
So this is how you can achieve higher levels of productivity!
Do you have your own tips for being more productive? Share them down below!