Why aim to be more productive in your work, study or life? Because many of us are secret procrastinators, or we’ve just never been taught how to work smarter, not harder. Ultimately though, it’s so we can have more time to do the things we really enjoy — read a book, walk the dog, spend time with people we love.
We recently asked the Milligram community for their productivity tips. They came flooding in and there were so many great ideas we wanted to share them with you, so that you can find some new ones that could work for you.
24 productivity tips
(1) Use Evernote Moleskine notebooks to jot down things. You can then take snaps and sync them with Evernote on all your devices so you’re never without your important notes!
(2) Write to do lists. Writing it down clears your mind and it’s satisfying to cross it off once you’re done.
(3) Set your alarm for 5am every day and start drawing immediately. Productivity boooooooost!
(4) Write a “what to do this week”, which contains appointments too, every day, so you’re more on track with our future appointments.
(5) Using monthly spreadsheets to track bills and monthly routines or special event like friend’s wedding, or family’s holiday, etc. Then using a weekly diary spreadview to make me organized especially to track daily routines like laundry, empty trash, shops reminder, family’s menu, etc. If you have babies or kids, try a baby’s journal too, to keep baby daily routines on track.
(6) Colour-code different areas of responsibility the same across all methods of productivity — calendar on phone, bullet journal, etc. Then can see at a glance what needs to be done for each category. (Read an article on bullet journalling on this blog.)
(7) Buy a Moleskine Weekly diary format and use the lined pages to write your weekly to-do lists on and make sure to tick things off every day (who doesn’t enjoy that feeling of ticking things off!). Highlight your top three priorities…and reward yourself when you’ve achieved them. (Check out a review of the 18 month Moleskine diary.)
(8) Break down large daunting tasks into smaller tasks, which helps you better tackle them. Then pick the top five priorities and number them. Do them. Then pick five more. Rinse. Repeat.
(9) Track your tasks in a spreadsheet and colour-code the phases of each task including until completion. Then re-prioritise daily or even throughout the day if necessary. (It’s been an awesome system for me!)
(10) Tidying up the desk and writing tomorrow’s ‘to do’s’ as the last job of the day; means there’s no excuses (or messes) to slow you down the next day!
(11) When you’re busted and your mind tantrum has you convinced you can’t possibly go on, tell yourself ‘I’ll just do a tiny tiny one thing’… Next thing you know you’ll be back on productive track and everyone is happy!
(12) When you wake up, open your windows and think positive thoughts. Give yourself an hour of “me time” to tidy up and just do what you like and then buckle up for some heavy work.
(13) Use the Pomodoro technique and break up your to do list item into x number of pomodoros you think it will take. And attempt to complete it in that time. Keep track of the number you think you’ll need and the number you use. And use a social media blocker during your Pomodoro time so you don’t get distracted. (The Pomodoro technique is basically working in 25 min blocks of time with a 5 min break in between. It helps to reduce distractions as you have an “end” in sight, even if it is a short term one.)
(14) Bullet journaling is great for productivity. Every time you can check a task off you get a pretty good feeling of satisfaction so then sometimes, when you don’t have much to do, write down very simple things that you can check off easily to keep you motivated.
(15) Coffee!!! (And being tidy helps too.)
(16) Try using a mind map for jobs, ideas, or todos, like a tree with branches. Then once you have finished, tick them off.
(17) Make the bed every morning. You start the day off having accomplished that one task so it’s easier to move onto the next.
(18) Do what you can, when you can. (Working as an RN with 30+ patients under my care I have to make sure I am “free” for emergencies and unexpected requirements from me. I work the routine of the unit and focus on what is top priority or time limited to ensure everything is done. This also means I have time to spend with residents and not think about everything I need to get done.)
(19) Try to only touch a piece of paper once. The number of times you go back to something because you haven’t been decisive can eat away at your available time.
(20) The best life-advice my Mum ever gave me: “Don’t worry about things you can’t change.” If you can change or influence a task then get stuck in and do it. If you can’t, put it aside until such time as you can, and move on to something more productive.
(21) Write little memories in the corners of the pages from your day – they can even be complete random thoughts or singular words. (I remember writing the single word smile in the corner of a page one day. I was not winning the day and needed a reminder to smile for future reference. I often flick the pages and am delighted by what I read. Today I am smiling, laughing and thinking about the day I ate the most delicious apple).
(22) List. If something is stuck in your head write it down and let it go. Once it is written down you are free to focus on the task at hand. Once a week the lists are reviewed (allocated to daily to dos, crossed off, put on hold, etc) it is kind of like bullet journaling before there was bullet journaling!
(23) For when you’re feeling overwhelmed by too much to do: Set a timer and give yourself fifteen minutes to spend on each task that feels out of hand. You can do a lot in fifteen intense minutes, and it can help you feel like you’re making progress even if you’re not yet able to finish what you’re working on. Then set the timer for another fifteen minutes of quiet reading for calm, so you feel like you still have a life.
(24) Finishing tasks creates momentum. So with that, add a little check box next to each and every calendar event, appointment, to-do, list, IG doodling/lettering challenge, etc. once complete, CHECK IT OFF! Those tiny checks start adding up