15 Quick Fixes to Improve Your Productivity

Staying productive all the time can be a challenge. Even if you’re very diligent with your work and super organized, you will still find moments when you’re not satisfied with what you’ve accomplished, or simply hit a slump.

There are many self-help books out there, but here are 20 quick and simple things you can do right now to get yourself back on track.

1. Write a to-do list
Go old-fashioned and get out a pen and paper and scribble down what you need to do for the day and week. Visualizing the tasks in front of you can help you understand how to tackle them.

write-to-do-list-productivityPhoto thanks to Sameer Vasta

2. Break small tasks into smaller tasks
By reducing what you need to do into smaller actionable points, it can help to reduce the feeling of being over-whelmed. For example, rather than “finish presentation” it can broken apart into:

  • Revisit research notes.
  • Finish section one by noon.
  • Complete section two by 18:00 today.
  • Spend two hours looking for visuals.

Break-up-your-tasks-into-smaller-tasksPhoto thanks to Dennis Hamilton

3. Be realistic with your time
We sometimes take on more than what we can handle. It’s always better to under-estimate your available time than to over-estimate. Even if you think you can finish something on time, give yourself a full day buffer for unexpected incidents.

4. Clean out your desk
You would be surprised how a clean desk can make such a big difference. Optimize your work desk so you can jump straight into tasks, rather than spending time hooking up laptops, finding stationeries or looking for a particular document.

clean-out-your-workspace-to-improve-productivityPhoto thanks to Brice Reul

5. Learn to delegate
Don’t be afraid to ask for help and learn to slowly trust someone with your work.

6. Turn off all distraction
Put your mobile on airplane mode and unplug the phone if you have to. Eliminate anything that could be a distraction so you can stay focused for long periods of time.

7. Be accountable
If you work in a team, let someone know what you need to complete so they can hold you accountable and put a bit of pressure on you to complete the work on time.

8. Take regular breaks
It’s been confirmed by scientists and doctors how taking regular short breaks between our work can help us to reset our brain and feel more productive afterwards. If you’re stuck on an idea, walk away and enjoy a cup of coffee, some fresh air or a chat with someone. You would come back to the idea with a fresh approach.

remain-accountable-to-be-productivePhoto thanks to Waleed Alzuhair

9. Log out of social media
It’s always tempting to go on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube to “have a quick check” and soon this short break becomes 30 minutes, an hour and then a few hours. If you don’t need the Internet to complete your task, then disconnect from it.

10. Avoid unnecessary meetings
If you have the choice, try to have as few meetings as possible. Always clarify what the meeting is about beforehand and decide if it’s something that can be resolved over e-mail or a quick phone call.

11. Learn to say no
The hardest thing for a lot of people is to say ‘no.’ In the end, you take on way too much projects and quickly burn out. You end up not giving 100% on the tasks — would you rather work on two things and have them 100% finished, or five things and none of them are completed on time?

learn-to-say-no-to-be-productivePhoto thanks to Maria Guimarães

12. Have a purpose
It’s good to have actions to do and items to tick off your to-do list. You must know though why you are doing each of them. Goals come before tasks. If you don’t have a destination in mind, you can walk as long as you want, you’ll never get there.

13. One thing at a time
Do things by batches, 20 to 45 minutes each. If you need more time, have several batches with some downtime in between. In each of the batch, focus on one single activity and resist the temptation of doing anything else. This method is know as the Pomodoro technique. Feel free to customize it to your needs. Your efficiency level will go the the roof!

improve-productivity-one-thing-at-a-timePhoto thanks to MayEve

14. Turn the music on
Music can make repetitive tasks easier. It also helps you create a productivity bubble for yourself in a noisy environment.

15. Reward yourself
When you set yourself a goal, also set yourself a reward. Celebrate the small triumphs with a nice meal, or maybe a night out at the movies. Thinking about what you would do once the tasks is done can be a motivator when you’ve hit a wall.

reward-yourself-and-celebrate-small-triumphsPhoto thanks to Makena Zayle

 

5 Essential Apps to Get Into Jogging

essential-apps-to-motivate-joggingIt can be hard to get yourself to jog when the thought of a comfortable couch and TV seems like a much easier option. As the days are getting shorter and the temperature quickly declining, so is our motivation to actually get out there and exercise.

Fortunately, there are mobile apps that can make jogging more enjoyable. Use these apps alongside goalmap and you will get into a fitness routine in no time!

Nike Training + Nike Running

Use these two apps together and you have your whole fitness routine planned out for you. In Nike Training, you can create your own four-week program complete with varying degree of exercises mixed with running sessions. Nike Training syncs with Nike Running and the two can be used independently.

By using the apps together, in just four weeks you should be completing high-intensity workouts and running three miles without having to catch your breath.

Nike-Training-app     Nike-running-app     Nike-Training-Jogging

Nike Training
Nike Running

Zombies, Run!

As the name suggests, this isn’t your ordinary running app. Zombies, Run! immerses the user in a game that happens to also involve a lot of running. You would be having too much fun trying to get away from the undead to even know that you’re actually getting fit in the process.

The app has different modes and adventures to choose from, including one where you can decide to walk instead. In addition to the fun-factor, Zombies, Run! provides useful stats and data a jogger would want to see.

Zombies-Run-running-app

Zombies, Run!

RockMyRun

Sometimes all you need is a good playlist to really get the heart pumping. The good thing about RockMyRun is that you won’t be stalling your jog to create the perfect running playlist. Instead, you’re ready to go as the app will automatically create the perfect tracks depending on your pace.

RockMyRun tracks your movements and dynamically changes the tempo to suit your pace. The app claims that it can actually improve your workouts and can be used with  apps like RunKeeper and Nike Running.

RockMyRun-music-jogging-app

RockMyRun

Moves

Moves is an app that helps to track your every move, whether you’re jogging, walking, running or cycling. It’s a great way to visualize your daily movements and helps you to understand that every step counts. The app can even calculate the number of calories burned and map out your daily route.

Moves-jogging-app Moves-activity-app Moves-running-app

Moves

Waterlogged

Sometimes you feel unmotivated and lazy simply due to the fact that you haven’t drunk enough water. Waterlogged is a simple app to ensure that you’re getting enough intake of water each day. It might sound silly at the start, but you would be surprised to know that most of us aren’t drinking enough (the standard is eight glasses per day).

Waterlogged can be synced with Fitbit and can chart out graphs and send out reminders.

Waterlogged-app-for-running Waterlogged-drink-more-water Waterlogged-app-for-jogging

Waterlogged

Featured photo credit: jacsonquerubin