It’s a new year and with that comes a plethora of productivity hacks to make 2020 the best year ever! I just skimmed dozens of these productivity lists that offered anywhere from 3 to 50 (fifty!) tips. A few of the suggestions were new to me (keep a green plant on your desk?) while most were the tried and true we’ve heard before. I’ve curated 100s of productivity recommendations down to SEVEN I think really pack a punch. Try any of these and you’ll see instant results. Implement several and watch your success soar!

  1. ID Some Big Goals Lose ten pounds, payoff the mortgage, lower your golf handicap – whatever they are, set your goals. To be productive is to make effective effort toward a goal. Ineffective effort is just busyness. Focus your work on those efforts that support your goals; say no to activities that get in the way.
  2. Host a Sunday Meeting Prepare for a successful week with a quick family meeting – crucial if multiple schedules demand your time. Coordinate carpool, travel, sports, meals, chores and doctor appointments. Practice productivity skills like asking for help, delegating tasks, and being accountable. Host a similar meeting at work.
  3. Use a Planner…Please! It’s true our phones have calendars and task apps, but to really move from goal to success, we need a place to convert projects, next steps, timelines and even habits into a daily schedule. Some people can do this electronically, but many do best with pen and paper. Anything from a spiral notebook, bullet journal or custom planner will work. Use that calendar for more than meetings and appointments – block out time for creative work. Schedule similar tasks together, like phone calls or emails.
  4. Develop a Morning Routine: Bill Gates, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Warren Buffett – they all tout the morning routine as key to their success. Choose a few of the following actions to customize your own: wake at same time daily, make your bed, drink a glass of water, meditate, pray, exercise, stretch, eat some protein, ID three crucial tasks for the day. Avoid: the snooze button, social media and email.
  5. Practice an Evening Routine: Prepare for a restful night of sleep with a simple evening routine. Popular suggestions include: write down the to-dos and “don’t forgets” that are swirling in your head, pack your tote for tomorrow, journal a gratitude or success from the day, spend some quality time with your family, go to bed at the same time, avoid screen time for the hour before bed, read something.
  6. Take Control of Tech: Now that we wear smart phones on our wrists, tech bombards us 24/7. Consider minimizing the use of tech to improve your productivity. Turn off notifications, use airplane mode to avoid internet rabbit holes, delete unused apps, block as much junk mail as possible, set a timer before viewing social media or playing a game, check email only twice daily.
  7. Manage Your Energy Your mental acuity, motivation and mood will ebb and flow throughout the day. Maximize your potential by scheduling your most cognitive tasks when you are fresh and save the mundane or routine for your sluggish hours. Use movement, ergonomic furniture, and frequent water breaks to ward off body fatigue. Many experts recommend a 20 minute nap to re-energize those afternoon hours.

Contrary to popular belief, productivity is not about getting more done in less time. It’s not about busyness. It’s about strategic, focused, intentional use of time and energy to reach your goals.

Are you a productivity ninja? What’s your number 1 productivity tip?

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