Six Ways You Can Boost Productivity To Get More Done

By Ellie Walburg on August 23, 2018

You've got a lot to do.

Between work, family, school—add on top of that involvement in church, friends, hobbies—you may wonder if you'll ever have time to get everything done that you need to.

Especially when you make that important commitment to return to or start school, what you spend your time on is strategic.

In fact, one of the most common fears for starting or returning to a degree program is the concern of time management. Students may wonder, "how will I be able to make time for this?"

But did you know there are some easy ways that you can boost your productivity today? Whether you're at work, managing your kids or trying to get your schoolwork finished, there are little things you can do each day to increase your productivity so you can get more things done.

1) Do The Tough Work When You're At Your Best

Woman writing in a notebook while looking at a laptop computer

Are you a morning person or a night person? Knowing your personality and when you tend to work best is immensely valuable in planning out your day. If you feel most creative and awake in the morning hours of your work schedule, take that time to do your most demanding work—whether that be writing a paper for class or finishing up an expense report for work.

Knowing your temperament at different times of day can help you prevent wasting time. Have you ever tried to write a paper when you were excessively tired or bored or worn out from a long day of work? You probably got distracted, couldn't come up with the words to write and wanted to drink more coffee than what you should.

If you're a morning person, consider waking up earlier to work on your assignments or follow-up on work projects. If you're a night person, let your creativity and perseverance flow after work and when the kids are in bed.

Be aware of your peak work times and use those times especially to get done what you need to do. While you may not always be able to follow this schedule of adhering to your most productive times, knowing your personality can help you plan and be successful.

2) Listen to Music

Particularly if you're in a busy, chaotic place trying to get work done, listening to music may be an easy way to help refocus on your task at hand.

You will probably want to be strategic about the type of music you choose to listen to. For example, an article from Oxford Royale Academy notes that listening to classical, orchestral music may help you focus better than something like grunge or hard rock (although, whatever your preference suits you).

If you opt to listen to music, just be sure it encourages focus, not promotes a distraction. Leave your party dance music to celebrating when you're done with your work.

3) Prioritize Your To-Do List

Person writing a to-do list on graph paper in a notebook

Whether with an online system, mobile app or a regular paper and pen, a to-do list or calendar can help you stay organized and on top of everything you need to accomplish.

And if you've kept up with a to-do list or calendar for any length of time, you know that not everything on that list has the same level of importance.

When you don't have a ranking system for all your many tasks, you may fall into wanting to complete the easy tasks first that don't take a long time to do, rather than focusing on the projects and assignments that you really need to do first but may take you a little longer or may be more challenging.

Using resources such as Google Calendar, Wunderlist, Todoist, Asana or many other task management systems can help you prioritize what you need to get done when. Choose from a variety of calendar and list format options to fit what works best with your work style.

4) Eliminate Distractions

Especially when you have a lot going on, it can become quite easy to get distracted. Some of these distractions are great things—like catching up on emails, ordering birthday presents or staying up to date on your various social media accounts.

But in order to maximize your productivity, those distractions need to be controlled.

While distractions will always pop up in your head—tempting you to think about other things rather than the task at hand—securing a quiet, peaceful location can help you get done what you need to. Find a location that is conducive to learning, researching, writing and will help you focus and stay committed to getting your work done.

5) Remember Your Goals

In order to stay productive, it helps to remember why you are desiring to be productive in the first place. What is it that you're working toward?

If you're working on a research paper for your class, what is your motivation for pursuing a degree—what are those personal and professional goals to which you aspire?

If you're finishing up a presentation for work, remember why you're working so hard to do a good job and represent your organization well.

Burnout, or the feeling of overwhelming stress that contributes to exhaustion, is a potential threat as you strive toward your goals. Yet with simple practices, such as maintaining the proper perspective, you can avoid burnout and thrive.

Keeping your goals in mind as you strive to focus and work hard can bring you that extra motivation you need to persevere when things get difficult and see yourself succeed.

6) Take A Break

Table surface with papers, smartphones, files and coffee cups

That's right—in the mission of being more productive in your work, you're allowed to take a break once in a while.

This kind of break isn't just a quick side glance at your social media account to see what you've missed—although that certainly can be something included.

An article from Matt Mayberry from Entreprenuer.com notes that leaving work during your lunch break, for example, can greatly benefit your work. He writes that leaving your environment for even a few moments can reduce stress, refresh your creativity and make it easier to get back to work upon your return.

Commit To Your Work

In your quest for success—whether that be at home, at work, at school or another environment—you'll need some dedication. Often, you'll need to be more intentional about engaging in habits and practices that boost your productivity so that you can get more done.

While it won't always be easy, the payoff of staying committed to your goals and being productive can help you see life-changing results.

In the chaos of life, we may often need to remember the words of Henry David Thoreau when he said, "It's not enough to be busy ... The question is, what are we busy about?" Boost your productivity to spend more time on what matters most.

And with degree programs that are tailored to meet the needs of busy working adults, you can soar in productivity as you pursue your education to achieve your personal and professional goals. Connect with a counselor today to discover how our convenient programs allow you to learn on your own time.

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Category: Academic Resources