14 tips to be more productive at work and in your private life

14 tips to be more productive at work and in your private life

14 tips to be more productive at work and in your private life

In this article, you will discover 14 tips to be more productive at work and in your private life.

The following principles are the result of scientific research and our experience in time management and productivity.

By following these principles, you will not only be able to become more efficient but also feel better and more satisfied day after day.

Discover immediately our 14 tips to be more productive at work and in your private life.

1 – Take into account your circadian rhythms and your chronotype

2 – Create an effective morning ritual

3 – Do not procrastinate and take the 3 most important actions of the day

4 – Pursue motivating and increasingly demanding goals

5 – Develop a motivating vision of the life you want to create and experience

6 – Plan your moments of relaxation

7 – Keep a written record of your successes and learnings

8 – Eliminate what takes away physical or mental energy and reinforce what gives you some

9 – Communicate precisely your needs to yourself and others

10 – Plan longer time blocks to handle a long task and finish it

11 – Limit distractions

12 – Listen to music

13 – Develop more productive habits

14 – Visualize yourself productive

 

1 – Take into account your circadian rhythms and your chronotype

How to become productive without taking into account your energy level?

It is for this reason that my first advice is to take into account the quality of your sleep.

Research shows that the quality of your sleep plays a vital role in your productivity. Specifically, circadian rhythms have an impact on how you feel and what you are able to accomplish.

Variations in performance may be the result of circadian rhythms in cognitive processes that are crucial for the performance of all tasks.

Sleep, drowsiness and performance also change during the day due to the interaction between homeostatic and circadian rhythms and drowsiness is generally considered to have adverse effects on performance at school or at work.

In summary, improving our lifestyle by incorporating the impact of circadian and homeostatic rhythms can improve both your well-being and your productivity.

Your productivity also depends on our attention capacity, in this sense Valdez (2019) shows that the components of attention are weak in the morning (7am to 10am), mainly because the circadian rhythms reach their lowest point at this time of day. Sleep inertia also contributes to this low level of performance. The attention improves towards noon (10am to 2pm), but there is a decrease after lunch (2pm to 4pm) (the execution is of better quality), the execution is better and better in the afternoon and early evening (4pm to 10pm). Finally, the attention diminishes again at night (from 10pm to 04am) and reaches its lowest level at dawn and early morning (from 4am to 7am). These performance changes apply approximately to a person who usually sleeps from 11 pm to 7 am and with an intermediate chronotype. The duration of cognitive performance is important for programming daily activities, such as the school calendar, the time allotted to study, to sport or work, as well as for the programming of academic, medical, psychological or neuropsychological tests.

Summarizing, our performance depends on the consideration of circadian rhythms and more specifically on the specificities of our chronotype.

But what is the chronotype?

The chronotype represents the type of preference of a person: some people prefer and feel better when they carry out their activities in the morning (morning type), others prefer to carry out their activities in the evening (evening type) and others show no preference, they can carry out their activities at any time of the day (intermediate type). The chronotype of an individual is a very stable trait. Morning type people show a lead phase and evening people, a late phase of circadian rhythms.

Summarizing, by identifying your chronotype, the interval in the day your resources are at peak and you feel the best, that you can be more productive by accomplishing more.

If you are one of those people who are constantly tired, this may be a sign that you are not getting enough sleep or that your sleep is not of good quality.

As the research shows, sleep deprivation affects the amplitude of the rhythms of cognitive performance. The greater the sleep deprivation, the more the performance is deteriorated throughout the day, with a larger decrease in the morning, the decline after lunch and the first hours of the night.

Operational advice: identify your chronotype and get enough sleep

The first step is to accurately identify your chronotype.

Here are some questions to start to identify it:

How do you feel when you wake up?

At what time of the day do you feel the most fit?

At what time of the day do you have the most difficulty concentrating?

To go further in identifying your chronotype, we have found an online resource that allows you to know your chronotype.

The second step is to identify if your sleep is quantitatively and qualitatively adapted.

To do this, first calculate how much time you sleep on average each night.

If this time is less than 7 hours of sleep and you feel tired, start to increase the duration of your sleep by 30 minutes until you reach this minimum threshold.

If you sleep 7 hours or more, you need to improve the quality of your sleep. For example, create a ritual that allows you to relax enough before going to bed.

In summary, discipline yourself to go to bed and get up as much as possible at the same time to take into account your circadian rhythms.

Then, as much as possible, adapt the planning and execution of your tasks to your circadian rhythms. If you are a morning person, perform your most important tasks at this time of the day.

Now that you understand the importance of circadian rhythms and chronotype on your productivity, you are ready to go to the second tip on how to be more productive, namely, by following an effective morning ritual.

2 – Create an effective morning ritual

Many productivity experts show the importance of creating and following a morning ritual.

But before presenting the advantages of the morning ritual, it seems important to me to define what is meant by ritual.

The ritual is followed in a fixed sequence and defined as a “type of expressive, symbolic activity constructed of multiple behaviors that occur in a fixed, episodic sequence, and that tend to be repeated over time” (Rook, 1985).

The ritual is therefore a succession of repeated activities in a specific order that become a habit for the person who follows them. For behavior to become a habit, it is essential that it is repeated sufficiently. But repetition is not the only factor to take into account in establishing a morning ritual.

More specifically, Neal & Wood (2015) show that the establishment of new habits depends as much on individuals’ goals as on contextual factors when these habits are not strong enough yet but, when they are, contextual factors have more impact because the behavior becomes a kind of automatism.

This means that when you decide to follow a morning routine, at the beginning it is important to rely as much on your objectives and therefore on the motivations that drive you to pursue them as on contextual factors that facilitate their achievement.

But why have good habits is so important?

Neal, Wood, and Drolet (2013) show that processes related to the implementation of a habit can improve adherence to objectives when self-control is weak.

The setting up of a habit thus makes it possible to mitigate a weak motivation. This is probably because the more the habit gets stronger and the less the individual has to rely on the will.

In summary, the implementation of new habits consistent with your objectives facilitates their achievement even in case of low levels of motivation and self-control.

Another important benefit of following a morning routine is the mental state it allows you to experiment with.

A good morning routine should allow you to:

  • experience a mental state of well-being
  • improve your physical energies
  • acquire new skills

In summary, a good morning routine should allow you to start your day in the best possible conditions. In this way, you will go on a good foundation to accomplish more by feeling at the top.

Before going to the operational advice, I would like to emphasize that the habit of getting up very early in the morning is particularly adapted to people who are very efficient in the morning or possibly for people having an intermediate chronotype. If you feel better in the afternoon and evening, this habit is not appropriate and you may have a negative impact on your well-being.

Operational advice: choose your morning routine and turn it into a new productive habit

To give you a very simple example, if your morning routine begins with meditation, prepare in advance the type of meditation that you will follow on your phone and a headset and a favorite chair to facilitate your start of routine. Then do this for the other parts of your routine and you will see that you will have a better chance of accomplishing it.

At the same time, you can draw a table with three columns. In the first you will list your routines, in the second the benefits of each routine and in the last contribution of this routine to your goal and your well-being.

By combining contextual factors with motivational factors, you will have a better chance of creating a truly effective morning ritual and making it a habit that will allow you to become more successful.

Now that you understand the importance of developing a morning routine, you are ready to discover our third piece of advice, namely, to overcome procrastination, especially to accomplish the 3 most important actions of your day.

3 – Do not procrastinate and take the 3 most important actions of the day

This tip must be followed by adapting it to your chronotype. It is based on the latter, that you will program the most important actions of your day when you are the most productive.

If you are a morning person, take your most important actions of the day in the morning.

If you have an intermediate profile, you can schedule actions in the morning as well as in the afternoon.

If, on the other hand, you are more energetic in the afternoons and evenings, program your important activities at these times as much as possible.

Prioritize your most important actions, schedule them according to your chronotype and run them before other tasks.

If you find yourself procrastinating, it may depend on the fact that you do not take into account your chronotype.

If your procrastination is independent of the latter, I advise you to read the two following articles in which I develop in depth this subject, namely, 10 outstanding tips to stop procrastinating and how to overcome procrastination at work and at home.

If you procrastinate again, it is important to understand why this phenomenon is occurring. Your goals and actions may not be aligned with your most important values. In this case, I advise you to discover the article how to make a to-do list, in which this theme is treated in depth.

If you want to become more productive, your primary goal is to maximize your effectiveness in times when your own genetic fingerprint gives you access to most of your physical and mental energy.

For this, in the evening, before going to bed, schedule your 3 most important actions of the next day by planning enough time to accomplish them.

One of the most common difficulties after procrastination is the difficulty in evaluating the time needed to complete a task.

To solve this problem, I advise you to allocate to your tasks an additional time to that planned initially. For example, if you had scheduled 90 minutes for each of your important tasks, give yourself at least two hours per task. This way, you will have a better chance of accomplishing them and you will schedule fewer less important tasks.

Operational advice: identify upstream what could make you procrastinate or prevent you from carrying out your priority tasks

It is one thing to plan but it is another thing to plan by maximizing your chances of success. Draw a table of four columns, and write in the:

  • first, your 3 most important tasks of the day
  • second, which could make you procrastinate this task
  • third, the actions you can take upstream to avoid this procrastination
  • Fourth, the material or human resources you need to dispose of to eliminate any barrier to accomplishing your top 3

Repeat the previous exercise with everything that might prevent you from doing these 3 actions.

Doing so will allow you to go on an excellent foundation to maximize your chances of success.

Now that you have understood the importance of focusing your energies on the 3 most important actions of the day, you are ready to discover our fourth piece of advice, namely, to pursue motivating and increasingly demanding goals.

4 – Pursue motivating and increasingly demanding goals

Sometimes, you feel like you are moving forward in your professional life because you set goals and you take daily actions to reach them.

But how can we really be sure to express our potential at the highest level?

The best way to find out is to constantly challenge yourself to go beyond the limits of what you consider possible or acceptable to you.

Doing this will allow you to progress faster and overcome the unconscious dams that prevent you from creating an even richer life.

On the other hand, do not make the mistake of not appreciating your progress and your small successes because to take advantage of these moments is important to develop self-esteem and to be really happy in your life.

Develop the habit of setting yourself new challenges to break the idea that you have built of what is possible.

Then, set yourself and pursue goals that are more demanding and motivating.

Doing this will allow you day after day to positively evolve your identity. In this way, you will believe even more in your potential and you will take the actions essential to your professional and personal success.

But why is it so important to pursue more and more important goals?

Psychological research shows that the level of importance attributed to an objective has a positive effect on the possibility of attaining it, Nurmi & al. (2002).

In addition, Beattie & al. (2015) show that the level of importance of an objective has a positive impact on self-efficacy and thus on achieving a goal. And as self-efficacy has an effect on productivity, we can conclude that by pursuing an important goal we also increase our productivity.

Operational advice: pursue every day important objectives for you

This tip applies in particular to your 3 most important objectives of the year.

Prepare a table of three columns and write in the:

  • first, your 3 most important goals of the year
  • second, why each goal is so important to you
  • third, further increase the importance of each goal by associating it with your deepest motivations

By organizing your to-do list around 3 goals, you will be able to become more productive and fulfilled at work and in your private life.

Now that you have understood the value of pursuing important and increasingly demanding goals, you can turn to our fifth tip on how to become more productive, namely, by developing a motivating vision of the life you want to create and experience.

5 – Develop a motivating vision of the life you want to create and experience

Developing your identity will help you create an increasingly clear vision of the life you would like to experience for yourself and the people you love.

Without this vision, it is difficult to have the motivation to act on a daily basis.

In addition, the science of goal setting has repeatedly shown that it is more likely to achieve a result when you develop an extremely precise vision of what you want.

If you want to create a life worthy of your dreams and what you deserve, you cannot just set goals and take the right actions.

In parallel, you must create and constantly update a clear vision of what will make you happy and what will allow you to live a life to match your ambitions and the contribution you want to make to others.

Then, reinforce this vision of what success means to you by mentally experimenting that success every day before it manifests itself in your life.

To achieve this, you can use visualization and meditation techniques.

Another way to create this motivating vision of your ideal of life is to develop your enthusiasm. In this sense, Milton (1965) and Liu, Chen & Yao (2012) show that enthusiasm has a positive impact on creativity and as creativity has a positive effect on the ability to manage time effectively, being enthusiastic about your future can have a positive impact on productivity.

Summing up, the enthusiastic attitude towards life allows us to have access to the totality of our mental potential, to be more creative, to innovate and to be much more efficient. In the end, all these factors maximize our chances of success.

Operational advice: increase your enthusiasm

Answer the following questions:

What makes you enthusiastic about the ideal vision of your life?

Is this vision motivating enough or do you need to change it?

What would make you more enthusiastic?

Have you identified your deepest motivations to get closer to this ideal or do you need to question yourself more to become even more enthusiastic?

Answering these questions will help you understand if your level of enthusiasm is sufficient or not. If you feel enthusiastic, you will be able to mobilize more energy and develop your creativity because you will have access to your most powerful motivations. Doing so will allow you to find new solutions that you will plan and implement quickly to achieve your most important goals of the year.

Identify what keeps you from being enthusiastic today. It may be a personal belief or the negative influence of someone around you.

Understand what is reducing your enthusiasm and do your best to change the events to your advantage.

Now that you understand the importance of being enthusiastic about the vision of your ideal of life, you can go on to the sixth tip on how to become more productive, namely, plan your moments of relaxation to manage stress and to maintain good productivity.

6 – Plan your moments of relaxation to manage the stress and to maintain good productivity

Relaxing moments and breaks are essential for your well-being and your productivity.

Some productivity experts tend to see these moments as irrelevant because they are little important.

But they are wrong because these moments are a breath of fresh air that allows you to be productive without losing your health. In addition, these activities often respond to important unconscious needs related to your identity and are very important for reducing stress and maintaining good health. Halkos & Bousinakis (2010) show that stress reduces productivity and that job satisfaction improves it.

A relevant way of effectively managing stress is the practice of meditation or mindfulness. In this sense, Fajardo (2019) shows that the practice of mindfulness at work can improve productivity because participants are able to better manage stress, concentrate more and refocus more quickly on their work.

Dababneh & al. (2010) show that giving employees extra breaks has no negative impact on productivity.

Largo-Wigt & al. (2017) show that taking outdoor breaks reduces stress significantly more than breaks in the workplace.

Breaks are a salvage method and are important because they help replenish resources and increase workers’ productivity (Tucker, 2003).

Hunter & Wu (2015) show that choosing the time of the break and doing a pleasant activity during the break allows for more energy recovery.

Specifically, activities related to learning something new, creating meaning, and building positive relationships at work are associated with higher experienced energy and less fatigue.

Finally, Li, Xu, & Fu (2019) show that setting several reasonable fixed breaks makes work efficiency increased and improves employee satisfaction and reduces the makespan.

Now that you have realized the importance of these moments of relaxation, you have the responsibility to schedule your breaks at the right time.

My advice is to program these spaces of relaxation immediately after finishing one of the three most important activities of your day.

In this way, you will have recharged your batteries and you will be able to take action successively in the best conditions.

On the other hand, do not make the mistake of scheduling these breaks before your 3 most important activities or at the end of the day.

If you do that, you will lose productivity or you may never have those moments of relaxation by exhausting yourself and risking professional or personal burnout.

Operational advice: schedule pleasant moments of relaxation

In your to-do list, plan moments of relaxation by doing the following, define a list of breaks:

  • at times that suit you
  • nice for you
  • more outside
  • allowing you to see your difficulties from multiple perspectives
  • during which you learn something that interests you

Following these tips will help you improve your productivity, reduce your stress, and make you more fulfilled at work.

Now that you have realized the importance of planning appropriate moments of relaxation in your to-do list, you can move on to our seventh tip, namely, keep a written record of your successes and learnings.

7 – Keep a written record of your successes and learnings

Keep track of your successes and lessons you learned during the day is essential to becoming aware of your professional and personal development.

It is for this reason that the journaling of your day is an important step to be more productive day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year.

But what is journaling?

Journaling in its various forms is a means for recording personal thoughts, daily experiences and evolving insights.

But creating a history of your daily experiences also has another benefit. This helps to better deal with the inevitable difficulties that you will be exposed. In this sense, Ullrich & Lutgendorf (2002) show that writing in relation to stressful events by focusing as much on the rational as on the emotional aspect of the event helps to develop a better awareness of the positive effects of this event.

But writing becomes a real instrument of personal development only if it allows to reinterpret events in a more constructive way. As Pennebaker (1997) points out, it is not only writing about a shocking event and letting go of the tension that has a positive effect, but rather the meaning that the individual gives to these events.

Recording and making sense of what you are going through at work, as in your private life, is an effective way to deal with everyday difficulties as well as to see events from a much broader perspective.

At the same time, recording your accomplishments and learnings can have a positive impact on your mental state as shown by Seligman, Steen, Park & Peterson, (2005). According to these authors, writing about positive events makes people feel happier and reduces depressive symptoms.

A very significant example of this is the fact of experiencing pleasant emotions. Rash, Prkachin & Matsuba (2011) show that participants in the gratitude condition reported higher self-esteem and satisfaction with life.

But expressive writing does not only contribute to well-being. Kirk, Shutte & Hine (2011) show that expressive writing can improve self-efficacy at work, and as self-efficacy has an impact on productivity, writing is a means to improve productivity.

Operational Advice: Record daily what you have accomplished and learned

I advise you to write at the end of the day at least one thing you have achieved and which you are proud of and something you have learned that will allow you to better live your life.

Doing this will allow you over time to become aware of your personal and professional evolution.

In addition, this will be helpful when you experience decreased confidence and motivation.

This will be your antidote to quickly regain confidence in your abilities and move quickly to action.

Now that you understand the importance of keeping a written record of your successes and learnings to be more productive, you can move on to the eighth tip, which is to eliminate what takes you out of energy and reinforce what brings you some.

8 – Eliminate what takes away physical or mental energy and reinforce what gives you some

We have previously mentioned sleep as an important factor to have the energy needed to accomplish all your most vital projects.

Food is another essential aspect to be productive throughout your day, at work and in your private life.

Maes & al. (2012) show that nutrition related health problems may lead to high rates of absenteeism and productivity loss.

Another important factor to take into account to be more productive is physical activity. In this sense, Puig-Ribera & al. (2015) show that the physical activity levels of employees exert different influences on the associations between sitting time, mental well-being and work productivity.

In addition, Whitney (2008) shows that the use and promotion of physical activity in the workplace can increase an individual’s ability to develop intrinsic motivation to mitigate the effects of stress and ensure durability to increase productivity and reduce presenteeism.

But individual factors are not the only ones that impact your well-being and productivity. Social factors also play an important role in your ability to be productive. These factors include our professional interactions. As Clampitt & Downs (1993) show, communication within the company has an impact on productivity.

Our professional, personal and virtual social interactions can also impact our productivity as shown by Bom Lee, Chul Lee & Ho Suh (2016) social insecurity, invasion of life and work-home conflict had a positive relation with perceived strain, which in turn had a negative effect on the life satisfaction. On the other hand, perceived strain positively affected productivity.

Our daily habits can also impact our productivity, for example, sitting all the time in front of the computer can also increase the recovery time of breaks. In this sense, Dainoff (2002) shows that people who work more in front of their computers spend less time resting than those sitting all the time because they need less time to recover from fatigue.

Operational advice: identify daily what takes you away from energy and what gives you some

Identify what impacts your energy level in terms of:

  • Private life
  • Professional life
  • Lifestyle

Create a table of four columns, and write in the:

  • first, what you need to change
  • second, the impact on your life
  • third, the future consequences if you do not solve this problem
  • Fourth, the actions you will take to change things

Then, create a second table of four columns, and write in the:

  • first, the activities that give you energy or the ones that gave you it but that for different reasons you do not practice anymore
  • second, the benefits of practicing them more or starting to implement them again in your life
  • third, the consequences if you decide to ignore them
  • fourth, the changes you want to implement to improve the quality of your life

Then, program these actions in your to-do list for the current week and the following weeks until you solve most of your problems and reinforce your beneficial habits. By doing so you will be able to gain energy, well-being, satisfaction and productivity.

Now that you have learned the importance of eliminating what reduces your energy and amplifying the effect of what gives you it, you can go to the ninth tip on how to be more productive, namely, by accurately communicating your needs to yourself and those around you.

9 – Communicate precisely your needs to yourself and others

As we saw earlier, communication has an impact on productivity.

One way to clarify your own needs is to identify your values. Then by setting goals that are consistent with your values ​​and planning actions that are consistent with your goals, you will become more and more productive.

But your productivity also depends on your ability to effectively express your needs to others.

It becomes important to become aware of your needs in order to prioritize them and communicate them to the people with whom you interact throughout your day.

Communicating effectively is about developing your assertiveness. Being assertive means communicating with confidence your point of view and your needs while avoiding getting into conflictual communication.

If you do that, you will develop a clear vision of the needs that you want to satisfy to feel fulfilled and successful.

At the same time, others will know your priorities and will be more inclined to help you.

Being assertive helps to become more productive because assertiveness is a component of emotional intelligence and research shows a positive impact of emotional intelligence on productivity.

As Rakos (1990) shows, the ability to be assertive enables people to achieve their maximum potential and achieve the desired goals.

Becoming more assertive makes it possible to communicate more effectively what you want by creating more clarity about your objectives and maximizing their possible realization.

El-Bialy, El-Gawad Mousa & Ossman (2013) show the effect of assertiveness on professional self-efficacy, and as long as self-efficacy has an impact on performance, by developing your assertiveness you will also become more productive.

Tomaka & al. (1999) show that people with a higher level of assertiveness experience a lower level of stress.

Kim (2016) shows that assertiveness training reduces the effect of work stress.

Summarizing, developing assertiveness can reduce stress and as long as stress has a negative effect on productivity (Halkos & Bousinakins, 2010), increasing your assertiveness will allow you to improve your productivity.

Operational advice: improve your assertiveness

Prepare a table of 6 columns, in the:

  • first, write the situation in which you would like to become more assertive
  • second, note what prevents you from being assertive
  • third, note the impact that this situation has on your life
  • fourth, clarify the price you will pay if you cannot change this situation
  • fifth, note the benefits you will receive if you take action
  • sixth, plan the first action you will take to become more assertive in your private or professional life

Program these actions in your to-do list and run them. By doing so, you will be able to improve your assertiveness and productivity.

Now that you have learned the importance of being assertive, you can go to the tenth tip to be more productive, namely, plan larger time blocks to better manage and finish important tasks faster.

10 – Plan longer time blocks to handle an important task and finish it faster

Some important tasks require much more time than others and cannot be completed in one day.

They mobilize more attention and therefore a lot of physical and mental energies.

In addition, these activities are often complex because they require the implementation of multiple skills. Furthermore, they sometimes require an increased ability to solve unexpected problems that make them more complex.

For all these reasons, it is desirable to plan important time blocks to progress more effectively in accomplishing these tasks.

Ideally, you can allocate to your most important task of the day up to 50% of your daily work time by intersecting the task with breaks of varying duration taking into account your energy level.

It is also important to avoid any kind of distraction as you focus on these major tasks. Doing this will help you avoid wasting time to find the maximum concentration to run after each interruption.

Plan these wider time blocks taking into account your chronotype and avoid multitasking as it reduces performance especially for difficult tasks:

Allocating more time to your most important task of the day, will allow you to work in serenity, to keep a good productivity and to finish your projects according to your deadlines. To act differently will put you under the pressure of time which, as Sanjram & Meenakshi (2013) show, has a negative effect on performance.

Reinhard & Dickhäuser (2009) show that when performance expectations are high, performance is better for difficult tasks, if cognitive motivation (or need for cognition) and cognitive ability are high.

In keeping with the results of this study, to better manage your important and challenging tasks, you should focus on those:

  • that mobilize more your intellectual abilities
  • that really motivate you
  • for which you expect exceptional results

Operational advice: plan between 3 and 5 hours a day for the most important task of your day

Plan the day before in your to-do list the most important task of the day and allocate to this task at least 3 hours without distractions, without change of task, without multitasking.

Plan breaks according to the duration of your time block.

If your time block for your most important task is 2 hours, you can work one hour, schedule a 20 minutes break, and then finish your second hour.

If, however, your time block is 4 or 5 hours, you will need more than one break. For example, 1 hour of work, 20 minutes break, 1 hour of work, 25 minutes break, 1 hour of work, 30 minutes break and so on.

Doing these breaks is as you know essential to keep a good productivity.

By providing more time blocks for your priority activities, you will be able to be more productive at work.

Now that you have understood the importance of programming larger time blocks to accomplish your most important tasks, you can go to the eleventh tip on how to become more productive, i.e., by limiting your distractions.

11 – Limit distractions

We are all exposed to multiple sources of distraction that impact our productivity.

As you have seen before, one of the most effective ways to manage the distractions caused by your professional or personal environment is to develop your assertiveness.

But distractions are not just the people you interact with.

Most of these distractions are under our control but not all. For example, Lee, Gino & Staats (2012) study the impact of weather conditions on productivity at work by showing that productivity is better when weather is bad. These authors explain this result by stating that when the weather is not good people do not waste their time thinking about what they might do outside and therefore they remain more focused on their job tasks.

Kathy & Parminder (2007) show that sound and visual factors can have a negative impact on work performance because they represent distractors.

This means that to improve your productivity, you need to eliminate or reduce what can influence your attention.

One way to reduce the impact of distractions is to increase control over the workspace. In this sense, Lee & Brand (2010) show that the feeling of control over the physical aspects of the work environment influences the relationship between perceived distractions and perceived performance.

At the same time, completely eliminating distractions may be negative for some people. In this sense, Mark & al. (2017) show that setting up site blockers not only increases the productivity of people with less self-control in terms of distraction exposure, but also the perceived stress of these individuals.

This means that each person needs to find the right balance in terms of distraction control. One way to control our distractions is to develop our self-control to get out of our unproductive habits. In this sense, Tice & al. (2007) show that positive emotions can increase the self-regulation of our behaviors.

Operational Advice: Manage unproductive behaviors based on your positive emotions

First, identify the nature of your distractions.

Is it about others, about yourself, and about factors over which you have control?

Then prepare a table of five columns. In the:

  • first, write the source of distraction
  • second, write down the emotion you are experiencing
  • third, note the impact on your life
  • fourth, identify the emotion that could help you perceive the situation differently
  • fifth, plan what you will do to cope with this distraction

By using the emotion best suited to your situation and not only of your own will, you will begin to regain control of various factors that disrupt your productivity and well-being.

Now that you understand the importance of limiting distractions by using the most appropriate emotions to your advantage, it is time to go on to the twelfth tip on how to become more productive at work, i.e., by listening to good music.

12 – Listen to music

Research in psychology and other disciplines has for several years been studying the potentially beneficial effect of music on well-being and on performance in different areas. In this sense, Lesiuk (2010) shows the positive effect of music that we prefer on performing tasks with high cognitive demand.

But some music is more suitable than others and as Yi-Nuo, Rong-Hwa & Hsin-Yu (2012) show, sung background music reduces productivity and attention and it is better to prefer music without lyrics.

In the same vein, Haake (2011) shows that the ability to choose one’s own music is an important element in improving both well-being and performance at work, and statistical analysis indicates that headset use can further improve some of the functions of music at work.

Summarizing, even though we are not yet able to explain the effects of music on our behavior, above mentioned research seems to show a positive effect of music on our functioning.

Operational advice: choose and listen to music that promotes your concentration

Prepare in advance music adapted to the tasks you want to achieve in your day.

Ideally, opt for lyrics-free music that improves your focus and well-being.

By taking advantage of this state of well-being you will maximize your chances of being more productive and better manage your professional stress.

Now that you know the importance of creating a more pleasant work environment by enjoying music, you can discover our thirteenth tip, namely, develop more productive habits.

13 – Develop more productive habits

Developing more productive habits is important not only for the results you get but especially for your well-being.

Doing this will allow you to rely less on your own will and to advance more automatically by mere habit.

The best way to develop new habits is to repeat them long enough so that you do not have to think about them any more.

An extremely productive habit is to take regular breaks between your different tasks. As shown by Epstein, Avrahami & Biehl (2016) taking breaks to recover energy can improve productivity at work.

Another productive habit is to personalize your workspace. In this sense, Greenaway, Thai, Haslam & Murphy (2016) show that designing a workspace emphasizing the identity of employees, improves individual and collective productivity.

The emotions we experience also have an impact on our productivity. Difficulties are always at our disposal but we have the choice to see the glass half full and progress without losing our confidence. In this sense, Lam (2010) shows that people who experience pleasant emotions experience better productivity.

More specifically, Oswald, Proto & Sgroi (2015) show that being happy has a positive impact on productivity.

Another important factor for your well-being and productivity is the quality of the air. In this sense, Fisk & Rosenfeld (1997) show that the quality of the indoor environment has a positive impact on health and productivity.

The brightness also has an effect on productivity as shown by Juslén (2007).

Operational Advice: identify your unproductive habits and replace them with those that will make your life easier

Write a list of productive habits you already have and next to each write what this habit allows you to get.

Then, think of other habits that you should include in this list and note next to each the benefits they could bring you.

Successively, write a list of your unproductive habits and note next to each:

  • the impact it has on you
  • the price to pay if you do not eliminate it
  • the benefits you will get by managing it as soon as possible

Then, plan in your to-do list the actions you want to implement to get rid of these bad habits.

Whenever you realize that you can meet a new productive habit, give yourself a reward right away. And when that habit becomes an integral part of your behavior, give yourself an even greater reward.

Now that you have learned the importance of developing more productive habits, you can discover our last tip to become even more productive, i.e., by visualizing yourself productive.

14 – Visualize yourself productive

In the field of sports and the arts, the use of visualization is a widespread practice.

Research in these areas has confirmed the effectiveness of this strategy in stress management and in improving performance.

In this sense, Driskell, Coppel & Moran (1994) carry out a meta-analysis of the literature on visualization by showing that the practice of the mental visualization of a given task has a positive effect on performance, especially for tasks that mobilize the mental abilities of the individual.

Whether it is an intellectual or physical task, the regular mental repetition of a given action makes it possible to become more efficient during the execution phase.

Summarizing, visualization can virtually explore a situation by setting the stage for experiencing greater success in real life.

Operational Advice: Use visualization to your advantage

In the evening before going to bed or in the early morning, visualize yourself successfully completing your most important tasks of the day.

Watch yourself perform in the way that best suits your professional or personal situation.

Repeat this visualization for 5-10 minutes until you feel the positive emotions of your success.

Then, at the peak of your emotions, make a gesture of your choice to anchor in your subconscious this emotion.

You can then use this mental anchor to put yourself in the desired psychic state before and during your task.

Final conclusion on how to be more productive

In this article, I have introduced 14 tips to help you be more productive at work and in your private life.

As these tips are the result of scientific research, I also offered 14 operational tips to start improving your productivity immediately.

If you enjoyed this article, share it with people who like you want to improve their productivity and well-being.

If you want to benefit from a time management coaching to improve your productivity and well-being, write to us via our contact form to enjoy a first free exchange.

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