in Productivity

10 ways to make your working day more productive

A lot of what makes people ‘productive’ is common-sense. But sometimes this needs spelling out, hence this post. I’m always looking for ways to be more productive. Please let me and fellow readers/subscribers know your tips and strategies in the comments.

Here’s some of my tips!

1. Don’t read emails

If you make the first thing you do in a day reading emails, you’re starting off the day on other people’s terms. Instead, achieve something from your own agenda first, then catch up on what people want to tell you! :-p

2. Read something inspirational

It might be the Bible, it might be some Marcus Aurelius, but make sure you read something (however short) – for a quick fix, try tivate.com!

3. Listen to podcasts

However you travel to work, podcasts are a great way to stop it being ‘dead time’. Audiobooks are also great (try Audible). Here’s the podcasts to which I subscribe:

4. Use an online to-do list

There’s lots of ways people will take money off you to ‘make you more productive’. I love Remember the Milk: it’s simple and free!

5. Share everything you do

If you share with other people, they’re a lot more likely to share with you. This, in turn, reduces your workload and increases your overall productivity. You can share things online through things like a wiki or a forum, or face-to-face.

6. Take pictures

I know very few people who haven’t got a camera built-in to their mobile phone. Instead of writing things out or trying to remember complex things, just snap it with your cameraphone! You could take this one step further if you’ve got an iPhone and use the wonderful Evernote for web-based synchronization. :-)

7. Make everything you can, digital

The problem with paper is that unless you photocopy it a copy exists in only one location – and can’t search and organize it. If you’re a teacher, make your markbook and attendance registers digital. Plan things using Google Calendar. These things might take some time to set up, but will pay dividends in the long-term.

8. Take breaks

Know your limits. You’re far better of having a 10-15 minute break and coming back to something with fresh(er) eyes and increased motivation than slogging away at an activity non-stop.

9. Drink coffee

Coffee is a stimulant: it contains caffeine. Drinking too much coffee isn’t good for you and can generate withdrawal symptoms. However, drinking a couple of cups per day of good filter coffee increases alertness and attention. I tend to have one in the morning with breakfast and one when I come home from work. You could, in fact, combine coffee with taking a nap and have what Lifehacker calls a ‘coffee nap’ – more here.

10. Prepare well

A productive day actually begins the day before. Be prepared! Pack your bag, get lunch ready (if applicable), iron your clothes, go to bed at a reasonable hour. Done regularly, such a routine makes for large productivity gains. :-D

What are YOUR tips for improving productivity?

(image credit: happy birthday, baby mantis (hello, cruel world) @ Flickr)

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  • http://daviderogers.blogspot.com David Roges

    Invest in mobile broadband. I went for vodaphone’s high speed system and am now able to work on the train including planning lessons, checking emails (on the way home from school ;-) ) and blogs.

    • http://dougbelshaw.com Doug Belshaw

      Yep, have done that – although I’ll be selling my 3 mobile pay-as-you go
      dongle soon as my iPhone pretty much makes it unecessary! :-)

      • http://daviderogers.blogspot.com David Roges

        Back to the iPhone! I take delivery of mine tomorrow.

        The other advantage of mobile broadband is being able to ignore blocks on school networks when using the projector! :-)

        • http://dougbelshaw.com Doug Belshaw

          Absolutely! I’m going to *have* to use my mobile broadband when I show staff
          how to download YouTube videos using Zamzar.com… :-)

  • http://dougbelshaw.com Doug Belshaw

    Yep, have done that – although I'll be selling my 3 mobile pay-as-you godongle soon as my iPhone pretty much makes it unecessary! :-)

  • http://daviderogers.blogspot.com David Roges

    Invest in mobile broadband. I went for vodaphone's high speed system and am now able to work on the train including planning lessons, checking emails (on the way home from school ;-) ) and blogs.

  • http://daviderogers.blogspot.com David Roges

    Back to the iPhone! I take delivery of mine tomorrow.The other advantage of mobile broadband is being able to ignore blocks on school networks when using the projector! :-)

  • http://dougbelshaw.com Doug Belshaw

    Absolutely! I'm going to *have* to use my mobile broadband when I show staffhow to download YouTube videos using Zamzar.com:-)

  • Virginia Yonkers

    Great list. However, for me, a nap is better than a cup of coffee. It drives my husband crazy that I can take a 15 minute nap and wake-up totally refreshed. My father worked 60-70 hours a week for most of my life, but always came home for lunch and a 30 minute “power” nap. He was much more productive on those days than when he had to go to a lunch meeting and forgo the nap.

    • http://dougbelshaw.com Doug Belshaw

      Absolutely, but unfortunately the nature of my job makes this impossible!
      Apparently (according to Lifehacker) your age determines whether napping or
      caffeine is a better bet to become more alert: http://bit.ly/1Eb2PJ

  • Virginia Yonkers

    Great list. However, for me, a nap is better than a cup of coffee. It drives my husband crazy that I can take a 15 minute nap and wake-up totally refreshed. My father worked 60-70 hours a week for most of my life, but always came home for lunch and a 30 minute "power" nap. He was much more productive on those days than when he had to go to a lunch meeting and forgo the nap.

  • http://dougbelshaw.com Doug Belshaw

    Absolutely, but unfortunately the nature of my job makes this impossible!Apparently (according to Lifehacker) your age determines whether napping orcaffeine is a better bet to become more alert: http://bit.ly/1Eb2PJ

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