The internet is filled with tons of information on productivity tips. It’s easily accessible everywhere, and sometimes trying to source this information gets you overwhelmed instead of motivated. Know that you are not at fault here because, in the end, how we operate to be productive is very personal. If your work is food, then your productivity system is the ingredients.
Let’s take waking up early as an example; being an early bird like this is one of the most common productivity tips out there. However, if it’s not for you, that does NOT mean you can’t be productive. Just like food, many people may like savoury food, but you know liking spicy dish or sweet treats is not wrong.
Upon doing a personal trial and error, here are my top 7 Productivity Tips that has nothing to do with whether or not you start your day early in the morning. Let’s get in on!
1. Keep a Procrastination Note
A Procrastination Note is a note where you put whatever thoughts came across your mind. This note aims at catching all the “butterflies” inside your head and freeze them, so you can revisit your wandering mind whenever you want.
Your Procrastination Note doesn’t have to come in a form of paper note, but it can also be in digital form. The most important thing is to always have you note close to you and easily accessible, so if you want your note in a form of paper, a pocket-sized note is highly recommended. Additionally, it has to be able to handle long lists because that’s what you will put in there.
After making sure you have the perfect note to write on, you can start putting it to work. To do this, you want to be able to jot down in the following manners:
- Be quick, write whatever comes to your mind first
- Get rid of all mental resistance when writing
- Keep the list to yourself
- Do NOT edit
Once you practice keeping a Procrastination Note, you would be surprised at how many thoughts come to your mind—maybe even find some golden ideas that can fill up your motivation fuel to be productive!
2. Transform Your Night Enemies into a Morning Party
Do you find difficult to fall asleep at night sometimes? What usually are your reasons? Is it something that you saw or watched or played like this awesome game?
Most of the time, the things that usually have such power to keep you awake usually have a perfect combination of “relaxation and adrenaline” elements to them, hence keeping you interested for such a looong time. The fact that at night:
- there are no distractions from other people;
- nobody is around or aware enough to judge; and
- you have “free time” after your full day of work;
gives your mind more excuse to wander instead of leading you to the unconscious state that is sleeping.
Don’t let these disappear through the night! Take notes of all these ideas that always keep you up. Then, TRANSFORM all those to happen in the morning. This needs practice. With the right mindset and good planning before bed (which we’ll tackle in the next point), you’ll be amazed at how this can fill your morning with more energy.
3. Define Your Small Definite Happiness (SDH)
Small definite happiness or SDH refer to small things that will certainly make you happy. It does not focus on the intensity of happiness you experience, but rather the small but certainty of it.
Each and every one of us has our own SDHs that are unique to us. The common thing between all SDHs are the “smallness” of it; you don’t need to put too much effort into making them happen. Knowing the small things that can definitely boost your mood and actually doing them can boost your productivity. Some people find it in small activities and some in small objects, but all people are definitely becoming happier by them. So, what are your SDHS?
4. Start Your Day the Night Before
Before you go to bed, prepare everything as if you will not have time to prepare anymore when you wake up. I call in brain dumping, the act of dumping everything in my brain into my procrastination note.
If you have to choose ONE thing to do tomorrow, what is it? Circle it.
This is the time for you to define the best thing that can happen tomorrow. Define the worst-case scenario for tomorrow. Sleep. Wake up more relaxed. Morning anxiety can lead to a whole day that goes wrong. Even a 15-minute dedication to doing this before bed can go a long way for your productivity.
5. Utilize Your Senses
We have a sense of sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. One way to achieve deep work is to engage all of our senses. What I mean by “engaging” is not to overwhelm our senses with all the stimulation in the world. The real trick is to avoid one or more senses feeling bored when we’re doing what we do.
Doing dishes? Prop up your phone to watch Netflix. No motivation to do your daily work? Make tea (or in the real world, coffee). Feeling lazy? Listen to your go-to music and dance. You get the idea.
6. The Two-Minute Rule of Productivity
We don’t have to deny the fact that some of the work that we have to do are hard or frightening. Some work even makes us clueless sometimes. When such work arrives in your life, the first and most important thing here is to admit the fact that it is hard, or frightening, or it made you clueless.
After that, all we have to is try… only for two minutes.
When you are being asked to run around the block, just put two minutes. Use these two minutes to put your running shoes and sit in front of your doors. For the time being, just set this two-minute worth of goal. No need to aspire for more.
Trust me, most of the times, those scary things can be done in less than two minutes OR you will end up being in the zone and doing it for 20 minutes.
7. Find Your Personal Sweet Spot Between Inspiring, Clutter-Free, and Easy to Reach
As my last productivity tips, I would like to share what works for me in terms of workspace specifically. You must know that there are many objects that can boost your energy. The objects that remind you to have fun, spark creativity, and the like. Please know that it’s great to put those objects in your workspace. My personal favourite: physical books!
You may now have some things in mind about what to put in your workspace. However, before taking them out of your storage and putting it on your desk, note that your workspace also needs to be clutter-free. Be careful not to put your “inspiring” object to a point where it will eventually distract you. The clutter-free state of your workspace will manifest itself in a clutter-free mind. It will allow our brain to conserve energy and focus longer.
On a more practical note, also make sure that the objects you keep around you are the most essentials. Make sure they are within reach and that you don’t have to get out of your workspace to get them during the day. This will likely take you off of your flow of deep work. Also remember that, sometimes, your essentials don’t look like they are work-related, which is totally fine. For me, some of my most essential items to keep around are headsets, water bottle, and grip strengtheners.
Finding the sweet spot between inspiring, clutter-free, and easy-to-reach is ultimately what you want to do when it comes to deciding what to keep in your workspace. In addition making it possible for you to function well at work, these objects or items will also fuel you to keep your productivity up.
The Important Thing
So, we talked about ways to boost our productivity. There are things you can do or not do, objects to keep around, and overall mindset to instil in our brain. However, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how awesome your resources are, it’s how you use them that matters the most.
- Always have a Procrastination Note with you
- Transform your night enemies into morning party
- Define your small definite happiness
- Start your day the night before
- Utilize your senses
- Do the 2-minute rule
- Find your personal sweet spot between Inspiring, Clutter-Free, and Easy-to-Reach
Do you have a specific habit that helps you become more productive that is not on this list? Which of the productivity boosters above fits your current “challenges” the most? Drop me an email!
I would love to hear from you.