25 Small Changes For Creating A More Productive Workday
When it comes to living a balanced life, we’d all like to work smarter rather than harder. By working smarter, we’re able to have more energy and time to dedicate to all aspects of our life. There’s nothing more satisfying than ending a day feeling like you’ve lived it fully.
So, when it comes to being intentional about your working style, try out some techniques that help you find your workflow.
Every day is certainly not going to have a perfect balance, but there are ways to strategically get stuff done like a total boss – without being in hustle mode 24/7. That’s exhausting and we don’t have time for that, boo.
Work isn’t all we have going on, so we gotta start thinking about working like the intentional badasses we are.
So here are 25 small changes you can make to have the most productive workday this week. Choose one and try it out this week.
1. Find one organization system that works
I use the ClickUp app* to organize my life because it allows me to have an all-in-one organization system finally. It integrates easily with Google Calendar and it was an easy switch from Trello. I can now create trackable goals, have customized views for my tasks, look at my tasks due today and a week ahead, it has a Chrome extension that allows me to add screenshots and track my time. It also allows me to add notes and to-dos directly within Gmail.
Whether it’s ClickUp or any of the fantastic organization tools out there, choose one to go all-in on. Maybe spend a couple of weeks testing out a few different platforms – and then just decide. If you’re like me, you’ve spent too much time dabbling in multiple organization platforms. Choose one and commit!
2. Use the time blocking method
When you want to figure out how to be more strategic with your time, time blocking is a great method. Essentially you assign each hour of the day a job. Whether you use a tool like Google Cal or simply use a paper planner, start giving yourself chucks of time to get tasks done. That way, you always know what you should be working on.
3. Create a work uniform
We make so many decisions throughout a day, so it’s nice to eliminate them wherever we can. You can create a work “uniform” that is basically your go-to look (that you love) that simplifies your getting-ready routine.
4. Listen to binaural beats
When I really need to get in the zone, binaural beats do the trick. Here’s a playlist to listen to when you need some extra focus.
5. Get blue light blocking glasses
If you’re on your computer or phone all day long, it might be time for some blue light blocking glasses. I love the Lovelace ones from Felix Gray, or you can find some nice ones on Amazon.
6. Use an app to block off social media
Can’t stop navigating to social media the second that a page is taking too long to load or your inspiration isn’t flowing? Moment, Freedom, and Focus (for macOS) are all options for blocking your social media time.
Instead of procrastinating, try the Pomodoro method, aka the tomato timer technique. This productivity method allows you to set a timer to work in short, typically 25-minute, increments. Once that timer goes off, you spend the next five minutes getting up and do something else before diving back in again.
9. Plan your day the night before
Like with creating a work uniform, we experience decision fatigue with the number of things we have to decide, so if you can get ahead of those decisions the night before – why not? It makes it easier to get up in the morning and check off all your to-dos.
10. Keep lists that’ll be useful in the future
If there’s anything that makes your life easier to be able to refer back to, create a list for it. There’s always those things that come up, where we’re scrambling to figure out where we put it. Create easily searchable lists in ClickUp, Google Docs, your Notes app, or whatever your preferred organization system is.
11. Use the two-minute rule
If it takes less than two minutes, do the task right away. If it takes longer than that, create a system where you know to come back to it by the end of the day or week.
12. Set working hours
You don’t need to be available to work 24/7 if that’s not the kind of balance you want for yourself. If you are your own boss or have the ability, create working hours. Tell yourself that you don’t answer emails or messages after 6 pm or whatever boundary you feel comfortable with.You can even include your working hours on your email signature.
13. Put your computer and phone on “do not disturb” mode
Adding the do not disturb mode on my computer during working hours has been a gamechanger because I no longer have notifications popping up on my computer every time a message comes in or a phone call. It would be so distracting. I turn notifications on altogether, and I find that has been amazing.
14. Batch your work
Create themed days, or sections of time, to devote to getting ahead of schedule in one area of your life or business. If you have a side hustle, batching is going to be so helpful for you. Basically, if you want to create a bulk of content at one time, dedicate a few hours or days to one project. You could batch work for recording podcasts, blogging, emailing and even chores! (Read this: 28 Time Batching Ideas for Getting More Done)
15. Try to minimize your phone time
Try to beat your score from the last week in phone time. I use an iPhone, and I get alerts each week for how long I was on my phone – with a notification on how much it is up or down from last week. Make it a game, and see if you can get a lower amount this week.
16. Create a bedtime alarm
One of the reasons why waking up early can be challenging is because we’re not going to sleep early enough. If this is the case for you, it might be helpful to set a bedtime alarm.
17. Organize your emails
I try to keep my inbox at inbox zero by sorting emails into certain categories like “ASAP reply” and “follow up” so that I can keep up with my inbox without the clutter. Anything that comes in that I don’t need will get deleted, or it’ll get sorted.
18. Decide on a “work shut down” routine
Do you have a bad habit of taking work at home with you? It might be time for a shutdown ritual to close out your workday. You deserve the time to unwind, so create some strategies for leaving work at work. (Read this: How To Create A Shut Down Routine After Work)
19. Figure out your tendency
According to author Gretchen Rubin, we all have a core tendency when it comes to how we get things done. There are obligers, rebels, upholders, and questioners. Take the Four Tendencies quiz to find out which one you are. According to her community group called “Better“, a majority of people fall into the Obliger category – which is the type that finds it difficult to get things done unless someone is holding them accountable. (Read this: How To Say No If You’re An Obliger)
20. Visualize your day
How do you want the day to flow? It helps if the night before a big day you visualize how productive you’ll be, and everything that you are going to get done. That way, when the following morning comes you already know what to do to have an insanely productive day.
21. Create a planning day
Sometimes we get caught up in overplanning and under-doing. If you find this is you – dedicate a couple of hours to planning a week and make sure the rest of your days are for taking action. That way, you still get your fix for planning without letting it consume your work hours.
22. Start habit stacking
According to James Clear, author of “Atomic Habits“, one of the best ways to create long-term habits is through a process called habit stacking. The idea is that you associate a new habit with an old habit that is already a part of your routine. So if you always drink coffee first thing in the morning, you can pair that action with drinking a glass of water before your morning coffee. That association is basically a call-to-action to start this new habit.
23. Have separate spaces for different tasks
When it comes to working from home, you might find it super tempting to get your work done in the coziness of your bed. But because your bed is where sleeping happens, and so you associate it that way, it’s going to be difficult to be your most productive self. The same goes for meditating in bed. Where you can, try to designate a spot where you do work, and where it is only for play.
24. Create a not-to-do list
You have a to-do list – check! But what about a not-to-do list? What will you not do while you’re working? Will you answer incoming personal messages? How often will you check your email? Create a list of things you don’t do during your workday – and this can include tasks that you choose to delegate because it’s not where your time is best served.
25. Create time restrictions
According to Parkinson’s Law, “work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” So when it comes to getting things done, if you believe that you have an entire day to do something, you might use up that entire time to do it. But in reality, the tasks might only take a couple of hours. So, where you can, try to fill up time so that you have time restrictions. If you want to finish a blog post in the morning, tell yourself that you only have that time available to complete it and create a lunch meeting that requires you to leave your home, office or coffee shop. And use the time blocking strategy to make sure you have other tasks scheduled for the rest of the day. Even if that meeting is with yourself, create barriers so that you have urgency around completing tasks.
While there are endless distractions in our world that make staying focused challenging, we can totally create systems that make getting work done feel a little easier.
Will you let us know if you decide to try out one of these tools this week?
*We use affiliate links in this post for ClickUp, which means we get a small percentage if you decide to get a paid plan. We only recommend what we love.