Today, we’re going to be talking about 10 ways to help boost your productivity and motivation. It’s been wild these last few years and it’s understandable if you’re feeling your productivity depleting. With that said, let’s kickstart your motivation and with that your productivity. How can you be on the top of your game?
These 10 tips for increasing your productivity are a mix of professional and personal development, psychological and motivational tips to keep you productive and motivated in your professional life. It’s good to note that sometimes a prolonged lack of motivation and productivity is a matter of attending to your mental health and reaching out to family, friends and colleagues who can support you during this time. Remember, you’ve got to place the oxygen mask on yourself before attending to others.
1. WRITE DOWN YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Sometimes we can be too hard on ourselves to deliver instant results and we forget to celebrate our small wins along the way. The best way to curb these feelings is to write down a list of your accomplishments over the past 12-months, both professionally and personally. Your professional accomplishments will remind you and your colleagues of how you were able to navigate these last few years, especially during the times when you were working from home or lost for work in lockdown.
Our success in the present and the future is underpinned by the results we’ve achieved in the past, so don’t underestimate the importance of noting your accomplishments.
2. CREATE YOUR ROUTINE
Research shows one of the best ways to kick your brain into a state of motivation and productivity is to lay a solid foundation of organisation. Before you can build a skyscraper, you need to have an in-depth set of plans, and the same applies to your professional development and ability to produce high-level results over a prolonged period of time. Excellent performance in the workplace starts with a routine that encourages creativity and productivity while rewarding the brain and offering it frequent short breaks. It’s also important to focus on one task at a time to remain focused. Remember, not everyone works in the exact same way, though, so tailor your routine to your body’s ultradian rhythm and you’re likely to see more productive results in the future.
Check out our blog post “Your Ultradian Rhythm Could Transform Your Productivity” for more information on capitalising on your ultradian rhythm.
3. KEEP A CALENDAR
As we mentioned earlier, a routine and optimising your organisational skills help to ease your brain than if you dive head-first into an unorganised quagmire of deadlines and important tasks. One of the most common symptoms of burnout in the workplace is the feeling of being overwhelmed, and obviously, one of the most effective ways of combating this is with a calendar for time management. Your calendar should map out the big ‘rocks’ in your career, the all-important deadlines that can’t be met, as well as the less-pressing tasks that can always be pushed back during work hours.
The human brain is a wonderful thing, but you can’t expect it to keep on top of everything without some form of organisation… Do yourself – and your brain – a favour by using a calendar more; if you’re not already. Setting reminders or alerts are also a great way to aid you in what to focus your attention on next.
4. STOP COMPARING YOURSELF
This is a personal one that I wanted to add to the list of more well-known and scientifically proven methods of boosting your motivation and improving productivity. We all need to stop directly comparing ourselves to others. While yes, it can no doubt be useful to gain some motivation at times, I’d argue that studying social media posts from people that have a seemingly better x, y, or z than you does no good to the human psyche. Social media posts are representative of the best ‘version’ of a person and are not likely to represent reality, so keep that in mind when you’re comparing yourself to someone else. Reduce the level of content you consume and the amount of time you spend online.
5. STOP CHECKING YOUR EMAILS
Well, don’t stop checking them entirely… but stop checking them all the time. People spend far too much time in their inboxes doing largely unproductive things. Set up an email inbox that filters the important messages from people in your organisation – or personal life – and separates these from newsletters, e-commerce offers and all the other things that end up in our inboxes. Don’t start your day by opening up emails. Try to respond to the non-pressing issues in your inbox later on in the day. Stop thinking that you’re ‘working’ when you’re just deleting spam emails and eating away at your finite productivity and motivation for the day.
6. ELIMINATE DISTRACTIONS IN YOUR WORKSPACE and at home
Don’t waste your time. This is namely a point about the smartphone that is no doubt hovering just a few inches from your computer right now. While they’re brilliant devices, they’re also extremely good at catching your attention and making it hard to remain productive at work. When I enter the workplace, I switch my phone to ‘do not disturb’, throughout the day, and I try to avoid the applications on my phone that are proven to be a black hole when it comes to eating up a person’s attention. If your job involves taking phone calls, ensure that you mute your group chats- your friends can wait. Usually, however, you will have a separate work phone to attend to professional phone calls.
7. PRACTICE SELF-CARE, MINDFULNESS, AND ESCAPE IN YOUR HOBBY
Start taking more seriously the concepts of self-care, mindfulness and escaping into your hobby to give your brain a moment of rest and recovery. This is arguably the most important takeaway from this piece. If you’re going to stay truly motivated and productive throughout the year, your brain is much better equipped for the job if you’re giving it the right chemical mix and ensuring it’s not enveloped by constant stress. Regular breaks and scheduling time outside your work hours to do nothing is actually a very good thing. Your brain needs time to wander. That’s why we often have our best ideas late at night when we’re trying to fall asleep.
Aside from the obvious health benefits to your appearance and overall health, exercising provides your brain with an opportunity to escape from the burdens of work and recharge on some of the hormones it needs to produce results day after day. Don’t think of this as a process of immediately running a marathon every day; you just need to keep your heart rate elevated for a period of 30-45 minutes. Pick a sport and an activity that you enjoy or find yourself an accountability partner and get moving!
9. LESS SCREEN TIME
This is a takeaway for everyone, and it’s self-explanatory. We’re becoming more and more transfixed by screens, regardless of where we are and what we’re doing. My argument, however, is more specific to screen time in the hours before we sleep, and after we wake up in the morning. Blue light emitted from our phone screens can wreak havoc on our circadian rhythm, which dictates our sleeping patterns. Without the right amount and quality of sleep, it’s unlikely that you’ll sustain high levels of motivation and productivity for a long period of time.
10. Read more
With less time looking at your phone, you can now spend more time looking at a book! There are countless psychological benefits of reading – regardless of the fact you’re reading a professional development book or you’re escaping into a fantasy world. The simple act of reading can radically improve the mental health and productivity of people, so this year, try your hardest to finish that book you’ve been looking at for months now.