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Productivity: Tips, Tricks and Tools to Work Smarter

Author: Ruby Blixzen Prado, Wellness Works Canada Intern

Productivity is a word that can invoke excitement or dread. On the one hand, being productive means getting things done and feeling accomplished. On the other hand, it might mean having an overwhelming feeling of wondering how to tackle that long to-do list when there are very few hours in each day. On a good note, productivity does NOT mean working longer hours. It is all about working smarter and being more effective and efficient in the time we do have. In this article, we'll explore some productivity hacks that can help you tackle your tasks and still have time to enjoy life.


1. Prioritize Your To-Do List

The first step to being productive is to know what needs to be done. Write down all your tasks for the day, week or month and prioritize them based on their level of importance. This will help you focus on what needs to be done first and avoid getting sidetracked by less important tasks (Boyes 2018).


2. Use Time-Blocking

Time-blocking is an effective way to manage your time and ensure that you're dedicating enough time to each task. Block out specific times in your calendar for each task, and make sure to stick to your schedule as much as possible. This will help you stay on track and avoid distractions (Scott 2022).


3. Eliminate Distractions

Distractions are one of the biggest productivity killers. Try to eliminate as many distractions as possible, such as notifications from your phone or social media, so you can focus on your work. If you find it difficult to stay away from your phone, try using apps that block social media during work hours (Popova 2014).


4. Take Breaks

Taking regular breaks is crucial for maintaining high levels of productivity and mental clarity. Research has shown that prolonged periods of work without breaks can lead to fatigue, decreased cognitive function, and reduced creativity. Therefore, it's important to take short breaks throughout the day to recharge and refocus. During breaks, it's recommended to engage in activities that help you relax and take your mind off work, such as taking a short walk, grabbing a snack, or simply stretching your legs. These activities can help to reduce stress and mental fatigue, which can help you return to work feeling more focused and productive (Amabile & Kramer, 2011).


5. Get Enough Sleep

Getting enough sleep is crucial to maintaining productivity levels. Sleep deprivation can lead to decreased concentration and energy, making it difficult to stay focused and complete tasks efficiently. Aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night to ensure that you're well-rested and ready to tackle your tasks (Vozza, 2016).


6. Stay Organized

Staying organized is key to staying productive. Keep your workspace clean and clutter-free, and make sure to file documents and papers in an organized manner. This will help you find what you need quickly and avoid wasting time searching for misplaced items (Allen, 2002).


7. Use Technology to Your Advantage

There are numerous productivity tools available that can help you streamline your tasks and stay organized. From time-tracking apps to project management software, there are many options to choose from. Experiment with different tools to find what works best for you (Grothaus 2014).


8. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness can be a powerful tool for boosting productivity. It involves being present in the moment and fully engaged in what you're doing. This can help you stay focused on your tasks and avoid getting distracted by external stimuli (Purdy, 2019).


9. Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is essential to maintaining productivity levels. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and decreased cognitive function, making it difficult to concentrate and complete tasks efficiently. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated (Kenefick and Sawka 2007).


10. Celebrate Your Achievements

Finally, it's important to celebrate your achievements, no matter how small they may be. Take time to recognize your accomplishments and reward yourself for a job well done. This can help boost your motivation and keep you on track toward your goals (Amabile & Kramer, 2011).


Key Takeaways to Boost Productivity

Productivity can be a love-hate relationship. While it can be challenging to stay focused and motivated, implementing these productivity hacks can help you stay on track and achieve your goals. Remember to prioritize your tasks, eliminate distractions, take breaks, get enough sleep, stay organized, use technology to your advantage, practice mindfulness, stay hydrated, and celebrate your achievements. By incorporating these habits into your daily routine, you'll be well on your way to being a productivity powerhouse. So, don't be afraid to embrace productivity, it can be your greatest ally in achieving success!


References

Alice Boyes, " How to Focus on What’s Important, Not Just What’s Urgent,” Harvard Business Review, July 03, 2018, https://hbr.org/2018/07/how-to-focus-on-whats-important-not-just-whats-urgent.


Andrea Purdy, "Need to Find Your Focus? Take Some Time to Lose It," Big Think, August 5, 2019, https://bigthink.com/neuropsych/need-to-find-your-focus-take-some-time-to-lose-it/.



Maria Popova, "The Psychology of Getting Unstuck: How to Overcome the ‘OK Plateau’ of Performance & Personal Growth," Brain Pickings, January 29, 2014, https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/01/29/the-psychology-of-getting-unstuck-ok-plateau/.


Michael Grothaus, "10 Productivity Tools You Can’t Live Without," Fast Company, August 29, 2014, https://www.fastcompany.com/3038782/10-productivity-tools-you-cant-live-without.


Robert Kenefick and Michael Sawka, "Hydration at the Work Site," Journal of the American College of Nutrition 26 (2007): 597S-603S, doi: 10.1080/07315724.2007.10719665, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/5924534_Hydration_at_the_Work_Site.


Stephanie Vozza, "Sleep and Productivity: Why They Are Inextricably Linked," Fast Company, October 4, 2016, https://www.fastcompany.com/3068889/sleep-and-productivity-why-they-are-inextricably-linked


Teresa Amabile and Steven J. Kramer, "The Power of Celebrating Small Wins," Harvard Business Review, May 2011, https://hbr.org/2011/05/the-power-of-small-wins.


About the Author

Ruby Blixzen Prado is a graduate student in the Workplace Wellness and Health Promotion program at Centennial College doing her practicum placement at Wellness Works Canada as a Resource Coordinator. With a background in Nursing, Ruby is passionate about promoting healthy living and helping others improve their well-being. She is dedicated to staying up-to-date with the latest health research and practices, and is committed to applying her knowledge to help others achieve their health goals.

In her free time, Ruby enjoys watching documentaries, particularly those that feature innovative strategies related to health and wellness, as well as those that explore the animal world and outer space. Her curiosity and love of learning inspire her to continue exploring new topics and ideas in health and wellness. With her education and passion for health, Ruby is poised to make a positive impact in the field of wellness promotion.


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