LIFE

10 Sure-Fire Ways To Be More Productive In Your Everyday Life

by Grace Eire
Grace plays in a band and is the mother to a black cat named Fitzhugh.

Let’s all face it: It’s not always easy to be the best person that you know you can be. You are, after all, only human, and to be human means to make mistakes and face occasional failure.

Plus, there are certain daily stressors that make it even more difficult to finish all of the tasks on your mile-long to-do list. You may find yourself rushing to get to work on time or running to catch a train with damp hair.

This probably also means that you didn’t have time to get breakfast, or to get your morning calisthenics in. Then, once you get to work, your desktop is covered in stickies reminding you of all the things you have to do that day.

After a long day at work, being constantly interrupted by phone calls or urgent emails, all you want to do is to plop on the couch and watch your favorite TV show.

It seems like a nice way to relax…but this habit could be the cause of your unproductive, scatterbrained days.

What else is holding you back from being the most productive person you can be? Probably more than you think. This is what you can do to nix those bad habits…

1. Make a to-do list for the next day before you go to sleep.

1. Make a to-do list for the next day before you go to sleep.
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This way, instead of fumbling around, trying to figure out what to do next, your time will be spent swiftly moving on to your next task. Having a plan of action will make a huge difference in your productivity. You should also make a to-do list first thing when you get into the office.

2. Get more sleep.

2. Get more sleep.
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Ok, so this seems like a no-brainer, but you will be so surprised at how much of a difference it makes when you get the proper amount of sleep. When you don’t get enough sleep, your emotional intelligence, self-regard, understanding of others, assertiveness, and altogether quality of relationships diminishes. What does all of this add up to? Unproductive days. Give sleep a higher priority, and you’ll notice a difference immediately.

3. Leave all of your electronics in the living room.

3. Leave all of your electronics in the living room.
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That’s right, your bedroom should be an electronic-free zone. You’ll be able to fall asleep faster if you aren’t tempted by your email and Netflix accounts. Plus, the bright screens confuse your brain’s internal clock, so you’ll have a much easier time catching the right amount of zzz’s if you banish all electronics from your bedroom. Try picking up a good book instead!

4. Start your day with a moment of peace.

4. Start your day with a moment of peace.
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If you take a few minutes each morning to reflect quietly on the things you are thankful for, you’ll be more motivated to make every moment of every day count. Before rushing out the door, head outside to your front porch or a tidy kitchen to take a few deep breaths and really reflect on what’s good in your life. These few moments to yourself will give you perspective on what your time means to you, and will make accomplishing your goals much less daunting.

5. Exercise in the morning.

5. Exercise in the morning.
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Physical activity releases endorphins that make your mind and body much happier. When you break a sweat in the morning for just 20 minutes, those endorphins provide an extra boost to give you the right attitude and physical ability to tackle the day’s challenges.

6. Don't let unproductive people bring you down with them.

6. Don't let unproductive people bring you down with them.
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Just like you need to cut off the toxic people from your personal life, you also need to cut off the unproductive people in your professional life. You know the type: the people that only want to gossip and slip past with minimal effort. If you want to move ahead, you have to either surround yourself with people who have similar goals, or take your own solo path until you find yourself in a place where the unproductive people have been weeded out. Your daily productivity will be so much better without these people, and you’ll be much happier, too.

7. Drink more water.

7. Drink more water.
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For your mind to work properly, you need to make sure your body is happy. Doctors say that up to 75% of Americans suffer from chronic dehydration…75%! The recommended minimum is eight eight-ounce glasses of water per day. Without this much water, your mind and body cannot function properly, and your body can’t leech all of the vitamins from the food you eat. You simply won’t be able to think straight. Drink more water throughout the day after eating a healthy breakfast and you’ll immediately feel a difference in your body, as well as a difference in your productivity.

8. Learn how to say "No."

8. Learn how to say "No."
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Face it, you cannot be in a million places at once. You need to set boundaries on how thin you spread yourself, which means that you’ll have to say no sometimes. You won’t be able to do your best work or get anything accomplished if you are constantly leaving one meeting or call early to get to another. Budget your time accordingly, even if it means that someone will have to wait an extra few days or a week to meet about a lower-priority topic.

9. Take breaks.

9. Take breaks.
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This is especially true if your job requires you to do a lot of complex tasks, like writing or strategizing. Activities like this are extremely mentally draining, and despite what you might think, getting up to take a quick walk or socialize for a few minutes will actually make you more productive by the end of the day. These little mental breaks give your mind a chance to rest and recharge.

10. Stop multitasking!

10. Stop multitasking!
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When you’re constantly switching from one thing to another, no one thing will ever get your full attention. You’re much more likely to make mistakes on things when hopping back and forth between tasks. Instead of trying to do every little thing at once, focus all of your attention on one thing at a time. This way, you’ll be able to keep better track of what you have accomplished, and your days will be so much more productive.

These may seem like overly-simple steps to take, but trust me… Once you try them, you won’t believe the huge difference they all make. So why not set some New Year’s goals and make your days more productive?

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