Would you believe that in an eight-hour workday, most people are only productive for two hours and 53 minutes? While we know that isn’t true for high-performers like you, we could all use a little productivity boost from time to time.
After researching what highly effective people do every day, we identified a list of 10 things you need to prioritize to be more productive at work.
1. Your “chronotype”
Your most productive hours of the day depends on your internal clock. Most of us don’t think twice about when we schedule creative projects, meetings, or busywork. But if there were ideal times for each of those tasks based on your energy levels, you’d want to know, right?
The chronotype quiz was developed by a psychologist and sleep specialist to tell you just that. Take the quiz to see whether you’re a dolphin, lion, bear, or a wolf and what that means for your productivity.
While everyone is different, all successful people have a routine. Thinking about being more productive at work doesn’t start when you sit down at your desk — it starts the night before. Before bed, give yourself time away from technology to unwind and make a game plan so you can hit the ground running.
In the morning, consider practicing visualization, meditation, affirmations, and gratitude to start your day off right. Pro tip: Here are 10 ways to incorporate CBD into your daily routine.
3. A to-do list from the Matrix
List the three most important tasks you need to complete for the day and finish those first. Use the Eisenhower Matrix to prioritize based on whether a task is important and/or urgent. While you’re working, brain dump any distracting thoughts onto a separate list so you can stay focused.
If your to-do list is full of 20 big tasks, you’re likely to get overwhelmed or procrastinate by focusing on the easy ones. To boost your productivity, break down each task into smaller pieces. For example, if you’re writing a 1,000-word blog post, break it down into research, writing 200-word sections, and editing.
Where did the day go? If you’ve ever asked yourself that question, you know how easy it is to let the day escape you if you aren’t intentional with your time. Block time on your calendar for deep work to make sure it gets done.
Then schedule breaks. Use the Pomodoro Technique to create a sense of urgency, setting a timer to take five-minute breaks for every 25 minutes of work (or whatever interval works for you). The top 10% of performers average 52 minutes of work before they take a break for 17 minutes, which helps you re-energize and re-focus.
5. Airplane mode
On average, it takes 15 minutes to return to serious mental tasks after you respond to a message. Put your phone on airplane mode so notifications don’t distract you. If your job allows, schedule specific times when you respond to email — and stick to them.
6. This arsenal of apps
When you do use your phone, make sure it’s to your advantage. We love Todoist for (you guessed it) your to-do list and Calendly to schedule meetings without all the back-and-forth.
If you find yourself typing the same email over and over, Mixmax templates will be your new best friend. Set reminders using FollowUpThen so you never forget to follow up with someone again. Check out this list of productivity apps for more ideas.
7. A productive playlist
Sometimes you just need a good playlist to get you going. When you need to get pumped up, turn on a feel-good playlist with your favorite 90s hits. If you’re easily distracted, try instrumental music or nature sounds. Here are some of the best Spotify playlists to listen to at work.
Productivity hacks only go so far if you’re tired or worn down, so you also have to prioritize exercise, eating and sleeping well, and drinking plenty of water. Now that you’re using the Pomodoro Technique, take a quick walk around the block during your breaks.
A 20-minute nap helps with clarity and focus, which is why famous high-performers like Einstein and Aristotle swore by them. Tired employees cost $63 billion in lost productivity, so make sure you’re getting a good night’s sleep (which CBD can help with). Here are seven other ways CBD is good for your wellbeing.
9. A backup plan
No matter what you do, sometimes you just don’t feel like working. Make a list of things that give you energy and keep them nearby. For example, stash CBD or these healthy snacks at your desk for those times when you need a productivity boost.
Business founder Jonathan Goodman uses a deck of cards to create a reward system that keeps him motivated, flipping over a card every time he completes a task. Marketer Josh Harris literally writes a check to someone he doesn’t like and gets a friend to cash it if he doesn’t meet a deadline. Check out these and other tips to beat procrastination.
10. Your zone of genius
The most surefire way to be productive at work is to do what you do best. Take tests like the Visionary-Integrator Assessment or the beautifully animated Adobe Creative Types to learn more about your zone of genius.
If your work is harder than it should be, consider how you can shift your responsibilities to get more in flow. Then do what makes you happy because, at the end of the day, happy employees are more productive.