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10 ways to be more productive

    1. Take frequent breaks

    Take 5 minutes and do nothing. We're in a go go go kind of society and there's value in not doing anything (if you really have to do something, exercise your idea muscle on notepd.com)

    2. Use 'inbetween' time

    My biology professor in university told us that we had a lot of time, if only we used it efficiently. For example, you might spend a few minutes waiting for the bus to arrive or a few minutes waiting for your food at a restaurant. Use those spare minutes for something: answer an email, read a book, update your to do list. All of those spare minutes add up.

    3. Create a to do list

    To use that spare time, you have to know what to do. And to know what to do, you have to at least have a good idea of what your running tasks are. Project managers have project plans. People who get things done have a task list of things to do (or at the very least, know what big 'rocks' they need to get accomplished that day).

    4. Monotask

    Before, I thought multi-tasking was the way to go. If I could read, listen to an audiobook, and watch a documentary with subtitles on Netflix all at the same time, I would. But at the end of it, I wouldn't remember a single thing.

    Monotasking is the way to being super productive. Focus on one task at a time.

    Multi-tasking does work but only for tasks that don't use the same 'processing' centres. If you're cleaning the toilet or doing the dishes, you can also listen to audiobooks or podcasts. But if you're writing, it's going to be close to impossible to write while also listening in on someone else speaking.

    5. Make it a game

    We all should introduce some play into our work - it's not just an activity for when you have time off but I believe it's a critical activity for being creative. You don't need to be creative all the time but making something a game (like seeing if you can complete your report by a certain time, or seeing if you can write 1000 words before lunch) can help you to take the drudgery out of a task.

    6. Get 8 hours of sleep

    I've had days where I have had a full night's rest and days where I didn't sleep well. The difference in my productivity is night and day. If I didn't sleep well, all of my energy is in staying awake - and not only do I spend a lot of it trying to stay awake, but I'll use stimulants - caffeine, sugar, etc. to help which aren't all that healthy for my body.

    Here's a tip: if you find that you don't have anything to do at night so you want to pick up your phone and browse the internet, it's time for bed!

    7. Tackle the hardest thing when you have the most energy

    For me, mornings are when I feel like I'm the most productive. So any hard tasks that I'm doing, I save it for the morning. By the afternoon, I don't want to work on anything so I save up tasks for that kind of energy level too (meetings, brainstorming, busywork like filing or replying to emails).

    When do you have the most energy? How can you pair up your to do list with your energy level?

    8. Meditate

    But... but... I've got too many things to do! That's when you need meditation the most.

    If you really feel like you don't have the time to meditate, lower your bar. Meditate for 10 minutes. 5 minutes. Even 1 minute. Do you really not have 5 minutes to spare in your day?

    9. Review your accomplishments at the end of the day

    The three keys of forming a habit, according to Charles Duhigg, is a trigger, the action, and then the reward.

    Most people probably don't reward themselves at the end of a work day. They go home and that's that. But it's important to note down your accomplishments at the end of the work day, even if it was "I went to work" (though hopefully it's not just that). Did you answer a whole bunch of emails? Finish that report you had on your desk? Had a good meeting with coworkers? These are all accomplishments worthy of self-praise.

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