Don’t worry – this article won’t tell you to be more productive, get up earlier, or work harder.
I love getting things done and being as productive as possible with the amount of time I have every day. I’ve tested methods to become as productive as possible, from getting up at five in the morning to time blocking. And while none of these hacks were necessarily bad, I want just one article to tell me that productivity comes from rest, and it takes slowing down and acknowledging your victories for you to succeed.
The Value of Taking Breaks
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Productivity coach Melissa Gratias found that we can’t be productive until we show kindness to ourselves. Breathe that in for a minute. This article isn’t going to tell you to wake up earlier, leave your phone in another room, or even listen to the right frequencies to boost your productivity. It’s just going to tell you to be kind to yourself.
I know – easier said than done. If I’m being completely honest, I’m writing this article as a love letter to myself. It’s been a rough week and I want to turn off, but things keep coming up, and for some reason, I can’t just let myself breathe.
So let this be a little breath of fresh air in today’s constant burnout and hustle culture. Here are some of the best ways to incorporate positive productivity into your lifestyle.
Yes, sometimes we want to say yes to everything. That’s wonderful, but it’s also not going to happen all the time. Gratias says, “Productivity is knowing what not to do.” We don’t have to become someone who works more than 40 hours a week (let’s be honest, who just works 40 hours?), makes their bed, cleans their house, burns 2,000+ calories, feeds their kids, and has a perfect life. Don’t add things to your list and lifestyle that will just make you feel more stressed out in the long run.
Look for things you can take out of your daily to-do lists. Try to minimize your schedule and cut back on the things that don’t serve you. We’re all busy, there’s no need to make more work for ourselves.
Make a Happy File
The monotony of work wears us out so quickly. It’s a constant cycle that restarts every week and there’s truly no end in sight. One method to not get worn out with work is to remember the times when you felt rewarded and recognized for the work you’ve already done. This could be receiving a text from your coworker, a comment from a friend, or an email from your boss. Print these out, save them, and put them in a little folder on the desk.
Gratias says, “Remind yourself how much you’ve already accomplished first, because it’s a fantastic motivator.” Sometimes, we like to convince ourselves we’re robots. We keep working and going when we need to slow down and look at all we’ve already done. We can’t grow if we don’t acknowledge our victories first.
Phone a Friend
I swear by this method because you need an outside perspective for multiple reasons. First and foremost, trusted friends can keep you in check. Saying things out loud gives you a verbal to-do list, but it also allows people to come in and remind you to get things done. The other way it helps is that it allows you to show yourself grace. A morning check-in with a friend can help you to see where you can cut things out.
Clean Your Environment
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We’re often so distracted by our own spaces. Take time to purge your workspace so it doesn’t distract you. Take a couple of minutes now and then to block distracting apps or websites. If your email keeps popping up, silence the notifications. RescueTime found that the average digital worker can’t go more than six minutes without checking their email or instant messages. The McKinsey Global Institute found that the average worker spends an estimated 28% of their workweek managing their email. This doesn’t necessarily have to be about email, either – if you’re scrolling through TikTok or Instagram during your work day, put your phone on do not disturb for those hours.
Also, look into giving your workspace a little facelift. Science Daily found that the color red increases attention to detail, while blue sparks creativity. Add these colors to your environment.
Get Enough Sleep
You hear it all the time, but let me reiterate — please go to bed. You’re no good to anyone if you’re an exhausted zombie. Harvard University surveyed 7,400 individuals and found that sleep deprivation costs companies $2,280 per employee, or 11.3 days of productivity each year.
Take Good Breaks
You can’t work for hours on end. You’ll become a zombie and get burnt out so quickly. Find ways to take breaks in your day that make you excited and reinvigorated for the rest of your work day.
One way to create breaks in your day is to make them active. I’m not suggesting you run a marathon on your lunch break, but try to do some yoga or stretching. This will keep your mind clear while also giving you a cognitive break and a physical break from sitting down.
You can also actually take your lunch break, rather than smashing a sandwich down your throat while you’re typing. If it’s a pretty day, go outside and get some fresh air. We’re not meant to work continuously – give yourself some grace.
Create A Rhythm
You know how and when you work the best. While you might have to work during certain hours, explore the times when you feel the most productive and work during those hours as best you can. Create a good rhythm by discovering when your tasks best match your energy throughout the day.
Do One Thing at a Time
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No one can multitask — it’s a myth. Create your to-do list and a flow you’re comfortable with, then take it one task at a time. Research suggests that only 2% of people can multitask effectively. What’s more, multitasking can decrease your productivity by up to 40% because you can never give all your attention to one thing. Slow down and eat your elephant one bite at a time.
Have you tried any of these productivity hacks? Which were your favorite? Comment below!
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