5 Productivity Tips to Get the Most of Your Year


My mom always told me that I work best under pressure. She wasn't lying. I do my best work at last minute.

I'm also a planner. I like to write lists and get things in place days before it actually has to get done.

So my process ends up looking like this: Plan. Procrastinate. (Read: watch Netflix.) Freak out. Do. Repeat.

But, this year I committed to hustling to take my business full-time, sharpening my focus, honing in on my particular product offering and dominating 2017. I am committed to ramping up productivity and cracking down on procrastination.

In the spirit of all of us achieving world domination in 2017, here are 5 productivity tips to get the most out of your year.

Disclosure: most of these are self-care focused.

The 52-minute rule.

This tip is all about simple time management. The idea is simple: work for XX minutes. Break for X minutes. Repeat. According to The Atlantic, the optimal ratio of work/break time for maximum productivity is work for 52 minutes and break for 17 minutes. And when you take the break, do non-computer related activities. Go for a walk. Make some tea. Talk to a friend or coworker. Get up and move your body.

Action step: Set a timer for 52 minutes. When the timer goes off, stop working, get up and do something non-computer related for 17 minutes.

(If you haven't clicked the link to the Atlantic article yet, I recommend you do that now. It's got tons of science to back this stuff up.)

Stop and breathe.

Break yourself a piece of that Kit Kat. Maybe that's a literal Kit Kat. Maybe it's a walk around the neighbourhood. Maybe it's reading a chapter of the latest book you're reading. The point is to make sure you take breaks throughout the day. Because powering through your to-do list without taking a breather is a one-way ticket to Burnoutville.

Action step: Build 15 minute breaks into your day. Finish a task, then take a break. (You can follow the rule above if that works for you.)

Get it moving.

I love the headline of this Harvard Business Review article: "Regular Excercise Is Part of Your Job". It's a no-brainer that regular exercise is good for your health. But what about your productivity? Regular exercise boosts creativity, which can help you solve problems more effectively and efficiently. It also sharpens your focus, improves concentration and lowers stress, all of which can lead to more productive workdays.

Action step: Whether it's running, dance, weights, yoga, spin or even just walking, find an activity you enjoy and aim to do that at least 3x per week.

Sleep tight, baby.

Think eschewing a couple hours of sleep to finish a proposal is a good idea? It's not. When we deprive ourselves of a proper night's sleep, our alertness, concentration, focus and memory decrease. As a result, our performance and productivity decrease.

Action step: Aim to get at least 6-8 hours of sleep at night. Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time.

First things first.

Prioritize, baby! I get it: everything is important. But, not everything is essential. When I approach my to-do list, there are maybe two or even three tasks that are essential to moving the business forward. I schedule time for social media engagement, email and meetings, but I dedicate most of my time client acquisition and content creation, which are the two things that move my business forward.

Action step: Give each task on your to-do list a level of importance (I like the 1-5 scale). Write down the two or three tasks that have a high number (4 or 5) and do those first.

4 bonus tips.

I couldn't keep the list to 5 tips, so here are an additional 4, served up lightning style.

  1. Assign time blocks to your tasks. For example, check email at 10:00-10:30 am ONLY!
  2. Declutter your desk. A fresh space means a fresh mind. (P.S. I wrote a blog post on decluttering workspace if you need some tips.)
  3. Eat healthy. Food is fuel, so fuel your brain with good, nourishing food.
  4. Stay positive! A positive mind is a productive mind.

What are your top productivity tips?