9 Unique Ways to Increase Your Productivity

For goal-getters who want to produce their best quality of work in the least amount of time

By Nicole McCray

March 2 2021

No matter what you do, there are never enough hours in the day. You’ve tried getting up earlier, making to-do-lists, and planning out your day. And all of that does help, but you still feel like you’re not meeting your full potential.

The truth is, no matter how much you can get done in a day, there’s always room for improvement. If you’re a results-oriented individual or a side hustler on the rise, experimenting with new ways to increase your output is just part of life. 

If your ultimate goal is to produce the best quality in the least amount of time, check out these unique ways to increase your productivity.

Prioritize Self-Care

Self-care is non-negotiable. If you want to reach your full potential, you need to take care of your mind and body. At a minimum, that means exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough quality sleep.

You might feel like you don’t have time to eat healthily, but there are some things you can do to make it easier. Start by planning your meals in advance and doing all your shopping at the same time. When you get home, prep everything as you put it away. Consider cooking meals in bulk so you don’t have to cook every day.

If you work long hours or work from home, it can be easy to put sleep on the back burner. But getting enough quality sleep is crucial for mental focus, energy, and stamina. That means it’s vital for productivity. Try to get at least 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep each night.

Regular exercise makes you more productive in several ways. It helps you manage stress, promotes brain cell growth, increases your energy, boosts your mood, and improves your memory. In fact, getting a walk, run, or some stretches in the middle of the day is a great way to boost your productivity.

That said, there can be too much of a good thing. If you’re into high-intensity exercise, learn the signs of CNS fatigue and be sure to allow enough recovery time between your workouts. Overdoing it at the gym can affect other aspects of your life and have a negative impact on your productivity.

If you're a freelancer or juggling multiple jobs at the same time, check out our article on self care for side hustlers and how you can implement a routine for yourself too. 

Tackle the Hard Stuff First

Of course, you’re going to tack the most urgent tasks right away. But what should you do next? We recommend tackling the hardest tasks, or the tasks you’re dreading the most, first. Once they’re out of the way, everything else will seem so much easier. 

On a similar note, if you need to do something that requires a lot of brainwork, tackle it early in the day and focus on just that one task. If you try to multitask, such as taking phone calls or answer emails, you’ll lose focus, and the task will take even longer.

Sometimes It’s Ok to Multitask

You’ve probably been told that multitasking decreases productivity, but that’s not always the case. Once you’ve knocked out the big stuff, multitasking can help you get more of the little things done in the same amount of time.

For example, while you’re filing papers in the afternoon, you can return phone calls. Or, while you’re answering emails, listen to that podcast you’ve been meaning to get to.

Make a Do-It-Later List

You probably already write a to-do list every day, but have you ever tried keeping a do-it-later list? 

Throughout your day, many things will likely come up that you need to take care of. Often, these are small tasks that aren’t super urgent. Don’t let these little tasks distract you! Instead, add them to your do-it-later list and tackle them after all the big stuff is done.

Delegate and Outsource When It’s Warranted

There are three reasons to delegate or outsource a task:

  • The task can be done better by someone else.
  • The task isn’t part of your scope of work.
  • Doing it yourself isn’t the best use of your time. In other words, your time could be put to better use on something else.

Maximizing your productivity includes taking away the things that aren’t an effective use of your time. Whether it’s bookkeeping, blog post writing, graphic design, or something else, consider hiring contractors or even freelancers who do quality work for a reasonable price.

Identify Your Best Productivity Periods

Maybe you haven’t thought about it before, but we all have certain times of the day when we’re more productive. For most of us, that’s the first thing in the morning. But for others, it could be midafternoon or even late at night. 

Identify your best productivity periods and do your brain work and big tasks then. That way, you can fit in the little things when you’re feeling kind of sluggish.

Bundle Related Tasks

Bundling related tasks can boost your productivity immensely. For example, if you have a meeting across town, think ahead and tackle any other errands you have in that area at the same time. Or, if you need something from the grocery store, think about other items you need as well and try to pick everything up in one stop.

Be Willing to Let Things Go

Sometimes, you’ll take up a project that just seems to be heading nowhere. Be willing to let things go and cut your losses. It might be hard to let it go without completing them but plugging away at something that’s going nowhere is counterproductive.

Create a Schedule for Yourself

Whether you work for yourself or someone else, following a schedule will help you be more productive. Create a fixed time slot for each task and only work on it during that time. 

Many people set aside time for certain tasks and continue working on the project until it’s finished, even if it takes longer than expected. This is a mistake because it trains your brain to think the time slot doesn’t matter, and you can do it later.

That kind of mentality decreases your productivity. When you create a non-negotiable stop time for each task, you’ll be more productive and try to complete the task in the designated time frame.

One Final Tip

Chronic stress can take a toll on your mental and physical health and have a dramatic impact on your ability to be productive. Making time for stress-relieving activities should be a priority, not just something you do when it’s convenient.

A stress-relieving activity can be anything you enjoy that helps you relax and step away from work for a while. It could be meditation, yoga, reading a book, taking a bubble bath, or simply hanging out with your family or friends. 

You have to find what works for you. At the end of the day, increasing your productivity starts with taking care of yourself so that you can be more focused and have more energy for the task at hand.