Increase Daily Productivity

You don’t have to purchase an expensive planner or learn some complicated software program in order to increase your productivity. Take the next 15 minutes to go down this list and make a plan to implement these 6 small things. You’ll amaze yourself with everything you’ve suddenly found time to accomplish.

Do the Worst First

There’s always that one task that just looms over your head like a stormcloud. It makes you feel slightly nauseated to even think about it, so you keep avoiding it in favor of more pleasant tasks. Next time you’ve got one of those nasty blighters hanging about, tackle it head-on, before you do anything else. It probably won’t take nearly as long or be half as painful as you thought it would be, and everything else will seem delightfully easy in comparison. Plus, you’ll feel fifty pounds lighter with the weight off your mind. Just do it.

Create To-Do Lists

Deciding what to do can take longer than accomplishing an actual task. Each week, I sit down and write a list of what I want to accomplish each day of the week. This hybrid between a to-do list and a planner eliminates any decision anxiety I might otherwise feel about what to accomplish next. I simply look at the day and start checking off tasks.

Take a Short Break

There are so many studies to suggest that you’ll be far more effective when you’re not staring at a screen for hours. It’s usually a good idea to take a 15-20 minutes break for every 50-90 minutes of work for maximum productivity. Plan these into your day and then stick to them.

Uninstall Social Media Apps

I love Facebook too. So many baby photos! So many clickbait “news” articles to peruse! So many angry trolling comments to read! All of that distraction can absolutely kill your productivity. If you can’t keep your hands off your phone, delete the apps that keep drawing you in. You can always re-download them later; you can’t get back the lost time wasted on reading your mom’s cousin’s neighbor’s political rant.

Get Enough Sleep

Who needs sleep? YOU. You need sleep. And so does everyone else, at least if they want to be a healthy, effective human being and not a zombie. When you’ve rested enough, your brain functions properly and you can sit up straight instead of hunching over your third cup of coffee. Be a grownup and make yourself go to bed at a decent hour. Do it for your business!

Keep Your Goals Where You Can See Them

Want to remember why you got into this in the first place – why you started that business, why you finally had the courage to embark on a freelance career, why you finally quit your job to create a startup with your best friend? Put it on paper. Write those big, crazy, beautiful goals down on a notecard (or make them the background on your phone or laptop). Look at them often. Visualize them. You’ll be far more motivated to get in there and work hard every day when you remember what it’s all for.

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William Lipovsky owns the personal finance website First Quarter Finance. His most embarrassing moment was telling a Microsoft executive, "I'll just Google it."

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