How to become your most productive self

Imagine finishing every day knowing you completed every task that you had hoped to at the beginning of the day – it would be blissful, right?

Unfortunately, the working world throws a number of curve balls which means that most days, this isn’t the case. But there are certain tweaks that you can make to your daily routine to ensure that you’re working as efficiently as possible. 


Practice single-tasking

How many times are you in the middle of completing a task, then something else pops up and you completely abandon your first job? This is because this human brain wasn’t made to multitask, and research actually shows that it can reduce productivity by as much as 40%. This is because multitasking limits our focus, negatively impacts our working memory and increases our chances of mental fatigue. To overcome this, try to recognise when your mind begins to skip between tasks, and keep your focus on the one in hand. If something urgent comes up, make a note of it, and see to it once you’ve finished. 

Make a ‘to do’ list – and stick to it

If you’re an avid list maker, you may have the bad habit of writing list, after list, after list – especially when you’re stressed. Although lists are invaluable productivity aids, you need to stick to one to ensure it provides you with focus. At the end of each day, try thinking ahead to the next to sort everything you hope to achieve, but of course, make it realistic. Seeing a long list of actionable items may fill you with motivation the night before, but if the next day only half are ticked off, you may feel underwhelmed and unsatisfied. 

Look after your health

Taking regular breaks, getting a good night’s sleep, eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly will do wonders for your productivity. When you’re in the thick of work, indulging in ‘you’ time can seem counterproductive, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Taking a walk outside on your break will increase oxygen to the brain and the production of neurotransmitters. And according to the American Sleep Association, 30% of people aged 20 to 39 and 40% of people aged between 40 to 59 do not get enough sleep each night. In addition, research from Harvard University shows that sleep deprivation makes individuals more prone to make errors and reduces efficiency.  

Understand your energy levels

If you start your day wide-eyed and ready to go, organise your tasks so you do most of the ‘heavy lifting’ in the morning. Likewise, if your cogs don’t start fully turning until you’ve finished your 10am coffee or you’re prone to a midday energy slump, prioritise your least demanding tasks during these periods. By paying attention to your energy levels, you’ll be able to utilise the energy you have in your peak periods, while taking a productive break while you recharge. 

Keep you focus

It happens to us all, some days we’ll be completely focused and nothing could tear our eyes away from our screen, whereas others, it can be hard to steady our gaze on our laptops at all. Although this is just basic human nature, there are certain steps that can be taken to help. For example, if you’re a social media addict, put your phone in another room, and set time limits for your most-used apps. If chatting with your colleagues is your guilty pleasure, listen to instrumental music through headphones, book out a private room and allocate yourself designated breaks.

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