🌻 Simple Productivity Habits

12 Lifestyle Shifts to Create More Time for What Really Matters

Do you race through your days and frequently not get to what you want or need to do?

Productivity is essentially about creating more time for what really matters to you – it’s about making the most of the moments in each day, to engage in what’s important. While for each of us, the content of what matters varies depending on our needs, desires, and priorities, many of the tools that can help us strengthen our productivity are simple and straightforward.

Surely, you already have some strategies to get things done, but may welcome additional tools to supplement your day-to-day routine.

12 Lifestyle Habits to Improve Your Productivity

The process of changing our behaviors begins with awareness and small changes (Clear, 2018; Duhig, 2012). You might find it helpful to experiment with these strategies to determine which ones help you accomplish more of what matters each day.

1 – Create positive habits ☀️.

Begin the day with a routine that energizes you, such as a few moments for practices, such as: mindfulness, a motivational reading, a gratitude practice, gentle stretches, a 10-minute walk/run, a healthy breakfast.

2 – Remember to breathe with intention 😮‍💨.

Paying attention to how you’re breathing can have many benefits, inviting greater calm, focus, perspective, and positive performance (UHS Berkeley, 2024). For example, you might offer yourself simple breathing breaks during the day. University of California, Berkeley recommends refreshing yourself by standing and inhaling deeply as you raise your arms over your head, and then exhaling as you lower your arms (repeating three times).

3 – Each morning, decide your top three priorities for the day ☕.

A long to-do list doesn’t work for most people.

4 – Write things down 📝.

Writing down your goals and your to-do list can help declutter your mind, and offers the opportunity to check off items as you complete them.

5 – Break big goals into smaller, manageable chunks ✅.

Then do one task at a time over a day, a week, or whatever time frame makes sense for the goal and your schedule.

Simple Productivity Habits

6 – Pay attention to times of day that your energy levels are better for certain things ☀️.

For example, you may have more energy to exercise first thing in the morning, or have a greater capacity for deep work on projects in the evening.

7 – Reduce unnecessary time-wasters ⏲️.

For example, rather than running errands intermittently, consider chunking errands on the same run, perhaps on just one or two days per week.

8 – Do one thing at a time 💡.

According to experts, the brain can only do one thing at a time. What people call multi-tasking has been termed switch-tasking, with changing back and forth for each task resulting in losses of attention and productivity (Crenshaw, 2008).

9 – Manage your energy levels throughout the day ⌛.

Take care of yourself with healthy habits, such as, drinking enough water, eating nutritious meals/snacks, and taking short breaks. Then get back to your goals, pausing to notice what you have accomplished thus far and re-checking your priorities for the day.

10 – Spend less time on electronic devices, such as scrolling emails and social media 📱.

Prescribe when and how long you’ll do these activities, and then stop. You might want to set a timer as a reminder.

11 – Delegate 👨‍👩‍👧.

What can you ask others to do at home and at work? Even if they don’t do it like you would, could it be good enough?

12 – Pause at the end of the day for a few moments of gratitude and self-compassion 😊.

You might reflect on and appreciate some of the positives in your day, offering yourself compassion and applause for facing that day’s challenges. Perhaps with self-compassion, you might consider one thing you learned today or would want to approach differently tomorrow.

Creating more time for what really matters to you can begin with one small change in your personal productivity habits.

Does one of these practices sound like something you’d like to experiment with?

Where will you begin?

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. No content is a substitute for consulting with a qualified mental health or healthcare professional.

© 2024 Ilene Berns-Zare, LLC, All Rights Reserved

An earlier version of this material was published at Psychology Today.

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