Welcome to 2018! With New Year’s Eve (and all that champagne) just behind us, entrepreneurs and creatives around the globe are focused on the year ahead. They’re thinking about how they can start off the new year strong, hit their goals in business (and in life), and basically just have the Best. Year. Ever. And one of the ways to kick you-know-what in 2018? Boost your productivity.
“You know what? I really wish I was less productive,” said no one ever. Everyone on the planet—including entrepreneurs and creatives—wishes they could get more done in a day.
And guess what? You can. All you’ve got to do is get a little inventive.
It might be a little late for New Year’s Resolutions, but if you want to be more productive in the upcoming 12 months, we’ve got the answers. Here are nine ways to boost your productivity in 2018.
How to boost your productivity at work
Obviously, one of your main focuses for the New Year is how to rock it at work. Luckily, there are tons of productivity tips, tricks, and tools to help you get the ball rolling while you’re at the office in 2018:
1. Stop multitasking
This one might sound counterproductive, but if you want to get more done, stop trying to do #allthethings at once.
If you’re the kind of person who reviews your team’s latest report while you’re on a conference call with clients as you’re trying to squeeze a workout in, STOP.
Humans aren’t designed for multi-tasking. It makes it harder to focus, it increases stress, and—you guessed it—it completely tanks productivity.
If you want to boost your productivity this year, do yourself a favor and stop trying to do ten things at once. Instead, give your full attention to the task at hand. You’ll be surprised at how much more you get done.
2. Track your time
One of the biggest productivity killers is being totally oblivious to where your time is going. You sit down to get some work done, you look up, and BOOM! Two hours are gone… and you have no idea where they went—and, more importantly, nothing to show for them.
Tracking your time is a great way to take back control of how you’re spending the minutes of your day.
Use tools like Toggl or TimeDoctor to track each task and the amount of time it takes you to complete it. Then, you can view reports that show you exactly how you’re spending your day and where your time is going. You’ll be able to identify time sucks (like social media and too much email) and get rid of them, which means a serious boost to your productivity.
3. Tackle the small tasks
We’re all guilty of procrastinating every once in awhile. But chronic procrastination is no good if you want to ramp up your productivity.
Want to start fighting the irresistible urge to procrastinate? Start small with the two minute rule.
It’s pretty simple. If you run into a task during the day that takes two minutes or less, just stop and do it.
Send the email, organize the file, respond to the Facebook message from your customer.
By tackling all these “two minute tasks” as they pop up, you’ll get more done throughout the day. And you won’t get stuck with a miles long to do list of menial tasks at the end of the day.
4. Cut out distractions
There’s no escaping it. We live in a culture of distraction.
It’s hard to get anything done when you’re cell phone is vibrating with a new text, you get a message every 30 seconds alerting you to a new email, or people are knocking on your office door to ask questions a million times a day.
Interruptions and distractions take a serious toll on productivity. A study from UC Irvine found that the average worker gets interrupted every 11 minutes – and it takes them a whopping 25 minutes to get back on track with their original task. That’s a lot of time lost to answer a text message.
If you want to boost your productivity, you need to eliminate as many of those distractions as possible. Put your phone on airplane mode. Use Freedom to block yourself from any distracting websites or apps (we’re looking at you, Facebook). When you’re working on a project, throw a “do not disturb” sign on your door or on your desk. The fewer distractions and interruptions you have throughout the day, the more you’ll get done.
How to boost your productivity at home
For many entrepreneurs and creatives, their home life is just as busy as their work life. But if you’re tired of feeling like you’re always playing catch up and don’t have any time to actually enjoy your space, 2018 is the year to change that.
Whether you’re running a household, raising a family or just trying to get the most out of the time you spend at your humble abode, here are a few productivity tips to maximize your home life.
5. Make healthy meals ahead of time
There’s nothing that zaps productivity quite like not-so-healthy food choices; it’s hard to clean the house or spend quality time with your family when your system is overwhelmed with a sausage calzone, potato chips, and a two-liter of Coke.
A lot of people eat unhealthily because it’s more convenient. They’d rather grab a Hot Pocket and throw it in the microwave than spend the time cooking a meal with fresh veggies.
But you can have the best of both worlds—health and convenience—with a little bit of planning.
Meal prepping and having healthy, grab-and-go meals throughout the week is a great way to get the foods your body needs to be productive, without having to spend hours cooking every day.
Carve out time on a Sunday to prep healthy meals and you’ll thank yourself all week. Here are some meal planning tips to set yourself up for seven days of delicious and nutritious meals:
- Roast up a few chicken breasts to have on hand as the main dish of a dinner or to throw on top of a salad for something a little lighter.
- Roast a big batch of mixed veggies (like sweet potatoes, broccoli, and cauliflower) and keep them handy as a healthy and filling side dish.
- Prep salad ingredients and layer them in a mason jar for a grab-and-go lunch (just make sure to put the dressing on the bottom so your salad doesn’t get soggy).
- Make use of the rest of your mason jars for overnight oats. Put ½ cup rolled oats, 1 cup milk, and 1-2 teaspoons of sweetener in a jar. Add your favorite toppings (raspberries, chia seeds, almonds, blueberries), and enjoy in the morning hot or cold.
For more in-depth ways to meal plan, check out Meal Prepping 101 For Beginners.
6. Leave work at the office
Work life and home life are two separate things. But when your work life starts bleeding into your home life, not only will you be less productive at home, you’ll be less happy, too.
People who never turn off the “work” switch and carry work-related stress home with them at the end of the day deal with a whole slew of issues like anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure and lowered immune function. Not exactly a recipe for productivity and happiness.
So if you want to be more productive and cheerful at home, leave work at the office. Make a commitment to yourself that when you’re at work, you’re at work—but when you’re at home, you’re at home. Set boundaries with clients and let them know you’re not available after hours. Turn your email notifications off and set up an “away” message after 6pm. Put your office phone in a place you can’t see it (like in the closet) until the morning. The point is, when you’re home, no work stuff allowed. You’ll get more done—and you’ll feel better doing it, too.
7. Create a “no phone” zone
Oh, the smartphone. Such a double-edged sword!
While there’s no denying the benefits of smartphone technology (we’re literally carrying around supercomputers in our pockets), there’s also no denying the downfalls. And one of the biggest downfalls? Phones are potentially the biggest productivity killer to emerge in the past 1,000 years.
If you’re constantly on your phone, you can’t be present for your home life. You might be in the same room with your kids, but if you’re playing “Candy Crush” on your phone instead of playing “Candy Land” with them on the floor, you’re not exactly there.
If you’re so attached to your phone that you haven’t gotten around to doing the laundry, or dishes, or really anything… Yeah, that’s kind of a productivity problem.
An easy way to let go of the phone and up your productivity at home is to create a “no phone zone.” Maybe it’s your living room, maybe it’s your entire first floor, maybe it’s everywhere but your office. But having a no phone zone allows you to detach from technology and immerse yourself in your home life, which will help you get more things done and feel more present.
8. Use technology to make home life a breeze
If you’re trying to do everything at home yourself, guess what? You don’t have to.
Thanks to technology, you can boost your productivity, get a few tedious tasks off your plate, and get more time to enjoy your time at home.
Want to make managing your home faster and more efficient? Here are some ways technology can make keeping your home in tip top shape a snap:
- Want to get twice the cleaning done in half the time? Get a Roomba, the robot vacuum cleaner that will clean your floors while you clean the kitchen.
- Don’t have time to drop off your dry cleaning? Try the Cleanly app. They’ll pick up your laundry, take it to the dry cleaners and return it within 24 hours.
- Spend a ton of time searching for your lost keys or the wallet your partner seems to lose twice a week? Get a MYNT Tracker that uses Bluetooth to find your lost items.
- Never know where your seemingly countless remotes for the TV or stereo are hiding? Try the Harmony Home Hub, which transforms your smartphone into an all-in-one remote and allows you to control your TV, speakers and other remote-controlled devices with just a tap.
- Do you always have to double-back to the grocery story because you forgot an item (or six)? Get an Amazon Echo. You can give verbal commands (“Pick up 12 apples!”) to its virtual assistant, Alexa, who will add it to a grocery list on your phone.
There’s a lot to do at home, but with the right technology, you can get some things off your plate and free up your time to focus on the things that really matter.
9. Commit to a morning routine
Nothing kills productivity like waking up on the wrong side of the bed.
The way you start your morning sets the tone for the rest of the day, and it can determine whether you’ll have a productive day tackling household projects or spend the day wrapped up in a fuzzy blanket watching Netflix. So why not start it off in a way that sets you up for success?
Instead of hitting the snooze button and sleeping until the last possible second, wake up an hour earlier and give yourself time to ease into the day. Create a morning routine that makes you feel fulfilled and excited to start the day.
Some things you might want to add to your morning routine include:
- Exercise. It’ll give you a rush of endorphins that will not only make you feel great, but can also help you better prioritize tasks – a key to being more productive.
- Meditate. Taking just a few minutes to meditate in the morning can lower stress levels, making it easier to get more accomplished throughout the workday.
- Write in a journal. Journaling can help you process your thoughts and create a plan to most efficiently get through the day.
Do whatever it is that makes you feel engaged, but do it every day. Starting off the day with purpose will help you go through the rest of the day with purpose. By kicking the day off with a burst of productivity, you’ll get into a rhythm of being productive—and as a result you’ll get a ton more done as the day goes on.
What’s your productivity pick-me-up?
The New Year is a great excuse to overhaul your habits and become a better and more productive version of yourself. And with these tips, you’re well on your way to seriously boost your productivity at work and at home and reaping the benefits as a result.
What are your best productivity hacks? Tell us in the comments below!