Lately I’ve been trying to boost productivity by tweaking my daily schedule. I’m always in a state of trying to be more efficient with my work time so that I have to do what matters in my life.

But that doesn’t mean that I’m starting each day with work. Instead, I’ve been looking for ways to change things up a bit so that I work better — no matter when I get the work done. Here are 5 tweaks I’m making to my day to boost productivity overall:

1. Don’t Start with Screen Time

In recent years, experts have been saying that you shouldn’t check your email first thing in the morning. I ignored that advice for quite some time, rationalizing by saying that I’d squeeze it in during the time my son is getting ready for school and while breakfast is in the offing.

These days, I’m taking the “no screen time first thing” admonition to heart. Instead, I start the day by journaling, doing a little yoga and fixing breakfast for my son and me. Only after I have these important (and rejuvenating) things out of the way do I sit down to look at the email — and I only answer the truly pressing items immediately.

2. Exercise Before Work

I used to exercise after getting my work done. Guess how often I exercised? By the time I got to that point, my day had changed, and I didn’t have time to exercise. Now I exercise before I get down to business (I don’t count the morning yoga). Interestingly, this healthy living tweak has made me more productive.

I do my cardio before working. With the blood flowing and the endorphins in my brain, I’m much more likely to get things done quickly. It’s also easier for me to focus. I don’t even change out of my workout clothes after the workout. I sit down and get my work done, and then I clean up and change.

3. Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of water for good health, and to help you stay focused on your work. Sometimes, when we’re distracted by feeling “hungry,” it’s because we’re thirsty. Keep drinking water, and you’ll reap the benefits. Add lemon juice to the water, and you might get even more benefits. Lemon can be energizing, and there are vitamins and minerals that have other benefits. Drink lemon water to start your day, and your work will be more productive.

4. Set Goals for the Day

A friend of mine sent me the “Five Minute Journal” as a gift. One of the things you do as part of this journal is set goals for the day. Create a few achievable goals for the day so that you can set your intention. As a freelancer, one of my goals is usually to tackle the most pressing assignment first so I can cross that off my list. But I might have other goals for the day, such as exercising an extra five minutes or making time to fence an extra 10 minutes with my son. Having an intention for the day can help you stay motivated and on track to get your work done as quickly as possible.

5. Stop Multitasking

One of the best productivity tweaks I’ve made to the day is the decision to stop multitasking. Multitasking doesn’t help. It slows you down and negatively impacts the quality of your work. Once I started single-tasking, and making use of short breaks between each period of focused work, my productivity shot up.

There are plenty of other tweaks you can make to your day to boost productivity. Experiment a little to see what works for you, and then make small changes. Over time, you’ll be amazed at how much they add up — and how much you get done.

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I'm Miranda and I'm a freelance financial journalist and money expert. My specialties are investing, small business/entrepreneurship and personal finance. The journey to business success and financial freedom is best undertaken with fellow travelers.

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