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Productive or Just “Busy”? 17 Ways To Be More Productive Every Day

Noun: ‘productivity’

The state or quality of producing something; the effectiveness of productive effort.

How many excuses do you hear yourself saying every day? ‘I couldn’t get this done today because… OR I didn’t have time to do that because…’  

Sometimes all it takes to be more ‘productive’ is to simply stop sabotaging yourself and get out of your own way. But not confronting procrastination and all the “I’m too busy” excuses are shining examples of ‘standing in your own way’.  

“Tomorrow becomes never. No matter how small the task, take the first step now!”
~ Tim Ferriss 

So, you’ve got to prioritize achieving results ahead of staying in your comfort zone – and stop making excuses! You’ve probably also heard the phrase, “work smarter, not harder”? 

Well, in this post we’re going to give you a ton of ideas for how to do just that… without making excuses.

Here are 17 “no excuses” ways to be more productive (and not just busy) every single day:

  1. Clean out the clutter in the space intended for productivity – whether that’s your office, the kitchen or anywhere in your environment that requires you to GSD!

  2. Use positive instead of negative self-talk – you would be surprised how impactful negative self-talk (which fuels our limiting beliefs) can be for flatlining productivity!

  3. Make your goals manageable – not unrealistic and unreachable.

  4. Set out the next day’s goals the night before. Revisit them for 5 minutes in the morning.

  5. BUT, systems and routines (over “goals”) are always the answer. Make priority lists not ‘To Do’ lists – and make it “tickable”. Checking off that box can be so rewarding!

  6. Create a plan that’s designed for action and automate repetitive tasks – again, systems!

  7. Don’t multitask – I know, this probably goes against what you’re actually trying to do but consider that doing multiple things at once (too many balls in the air) causes you to do each task much more slowly and less efficiently than if you were to just focus on just ONE task – and do it really well!

  8. Spend mornings GSD’ing, i.e. do your most important tasks before lunch.


Follow the Pareto Principle as it applies to productivity: “80% of the output or results will come from 20% of the input or action.”

Think of it as 80% of your work is done in 20% of your time. For most people, that time is right after waking up, so try to take advantage of the first few hours of your day.

  1. Robin Sharma says, “Get up at 5 am. Win the battle of the bed. Put mind over mattress. This habit alone will strengthen your willpower so it serves you more dutifully in the key areas of your life.”

  2. Identify your time thieves and energy vampires. It’s exactly how it sounds 😉

    Do this: identify the activities and tasks that distract you, interrupt your workflow or send you down the “rabbit hole”. Curtail all those bad habits that keep you from performing at your best and you’ll dramatically improve your results!

  3. Avoid distractions, e.g. turn off your phone notifications (aka, time thief!)

  4. Check email in the afternoon and set aside a specific time period to do social media (more time thieves are afoot!) – trying not to peek & peck at both of these all day long, i.e. don’t spend your day simply putting out fires!

  5. And if possible, focus on what you do best and delegate the rest, so you can really optimize your productivity.

    By delegating the things that you’re not so stellar at, and that someone else can do better in a fraction of time or cost – isn’t that just the definition of ‘productivity’
    = the effectiveness of productive effort.

  6. Recognize your accomplishments and build in rewards for effort – but not necessarily for the achievement itself.

  7. Drink more water.

    Did you know that being just mildly dehydrated can lower your work performance by 25-50%?!

  8. Get an accountability partner – someone to literally keep you on task and moving forward.

  9. And finally… don’t say ‘yes’ to everything. ‘No’ is perfectly acceptable once in a while 🙂

RECIPE 

When you need a brain boost and just a touch of bliss in your day, grab one (or three!) of these dark & delicious beauties and you’ll be feeling energized and inspired in no time 😉  

Dark chocolate benefits: 

  • Can lower blood pressure
  • May improve blood flow
  • Helps lower the risk of heart disease
  • Can enhance cognitive processing, learning, memory, and recall

Bliss + Brain-boosting Choco Bites

Ingredients

½ cup coconut oil, unrefined

½ cup cacao powder, unprocessed (not Dutch)

¼ cup pure maple syrup

1 tsp real vanilla extract

1 ¾ cup finely shredded coconut, unsweetened 

*If you’re allergic or just don’t like coconut, you can substitute it with a combination of flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and/or coarsely chopped almonds – but do a combo and not the full amount of any one of those substitutes.  

Note: flax & chia will both draw moisture and will make the bites more dry. 

Preparation 

Heat coconut oil and cacao powder in a small saucepan over low heat.  

Stir until smooth and coconut oil has melted, then remove from heat. 

Whisk in maple syrup and vanilla extract until well blended.  

Add shredded coconut (or other nut/seed combo), and stir vigorously until well combined. It will look soupy! 

Cover mixture and place in fridge until firm enough to easily form small bites (~ 20 mins).  

Line a flat storage container with parchment, and shape the chilled chocolate “dough” into 1-inch balls – or larger if you dare!  

Place on prepared surface, and loosely cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer until firm
(~ 30 mins).
 

Enjoy straight from the freezer or store bites in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 10 days. They can also be frozen in a freezer-safe airtight container for 2-3 months.  

(But they’ll never last that long!)

REFERENCES

Healthline – 17 Healthy and Practical Ways to Break Out of Laziness

https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-stop-being-lazy 

Robin Sharma – 21 Tips to Become the Most Productive Person You Know

https://www.robinsharma.com/article/21-tips-to-become-the-most-productive-person-you-know 

Forbes – 7 Ways to Be More Productive

https://www.forbes.com/sites/francesbridges/2018/07/26/7-ways-to-be-more-productive/#8648417d9f78  

Lifehack – How to Be More Productive: 4 Tiny Tweaks That Will 10x Your Productivity

https://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/more-productive-4-ways-that-really-work.html 

Medium (The Startup) – How to Be Productive: 10 Ways to Actually Work Smarter

https://medium.com/swlh/how-to-be-productive-10-ways-to-actually-work-smarter-16fea8087ead 

Actioned – How to Be More Productive: The Ultimate Guide

https://www.actioned.com/how-to-be-more-productive/ 

AquaCooler Direct – 10 Facts: Dehydration and Its Effect on Productivity at Work

https://aquacoolerdirect.com.au/blogs/news/10-facts-about-dehydration-and-its-effect-on-employee-productivity 

University Health News Daily – Chocolate Benefits for Your Brain: Memory and Mood Improvement

https://universityhealthnews.com/daily/memory/2-chocolate-benefits-for-your-brain-improves-memory-and-mood/