Small changes can make a big impact on your productivity. So, don’t worry if you’re losing your New Year’s resolution drive. We often get overwhelmed by making huge goals and then get frustrated with ourselves when we fail to achieve them. The great news is making even tiny changes to your day can pay off big in the long run.
Here are some very simple productivity tips from successful people to help you stay motivated, accountable, and encouraged!
Set boundaries and practice saying, “No”
Billionaire, Warren Buffett, once said, “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”
Research conducted at the University of California in San Francisco shows that the more difficulty you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression. You might find boundaries hard to enforce because you’re worried you may come off as rude or selfish. But the truth is, boundaries are vital for a healthy work and personal life. Plus – learning how to say no will free up your time, and it can actually gain you respect.
It takes courage to say no, but you’ll much better off in the long run.
Do the worst task first
You know that thing you’ve been putting off? The one that you really, really don’t want to do? Do that one first. Research shows that “procrastinators” often perform poorly and do not achieve their desired goals, missing out on many opportunities. Plus – putting off an unpleasant task can cause needless suffering. Do the worse task first, get it out of your way and enjoy the peace that comes after.
Decluttering your workspace declutters your mind
Your physical work environment has a direct impact on your productivity. When you spend extra time searching for materials or supplies, your workflow–and train of thought–is interrupted. Make sure your workspace is free of clutter, and keep everything in its rightful place, including pens, files, and office supplies. Make this part of your weekly routine and you’ll never have to search for anything important again.
Set a daily to-do list
Long term goals are easier to achieve when we break them down into bite-sized chunks. For now, just focus on daily goals. Planning your days ahead will make you feel more in control, plus you’ll have the clarity of knowing exactly what needs to be done. Jim Koch, founder of the five-billion-dollar Boston Beer Company, said: “Each morning I keep myself on track by writing down three to five of my must-do items for the day on a Post-It note. “
Have some quiet time every morning (even five minutes will do) and make a reasonable to-do list for that day only. Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately.
Never stop learning
Successful people have one thing in common: they never stop learning. Staying up-to-date with the latest market and technology trends is essential.
Hope Dworaczyk Smoith, founder of the multi-million dollar skincare line, Mutha, said, “If I have time between meetings and the kids are in school, you can find me reading nonfiction books about leadership, business, and self-improvement.”
Scott Lee, founder and CEO of Gooroo, said, “All learning essentially boils down to self-improvement. Whether you’re improving an academic skill, picking up a new hobby or trying to expand your business, your efforts lead to meaningful personal growth.”
Prioritise exercise and breaks
Angelys Balek, founder of her eponymous swimsuit business, and clients such as Naomi Campbell and Halle Berry, stresses the importance of movement each day. She insists on starting her day by walking or swimming. “It makes my mind and body feel refreshed and rejuvenated.”
It sounds counter-productive but taking breaks actually increases productivity and vastly improves focus. Getting up for a few minutes and getting our blood flowing and some more oxygen to the brain is a necessary piece of the workday.
Plus – these days you don’t even need to leave your desk to get some exercise. Consider buying a mini stepper or cycle machine. They easily fit under a desk, and they’re a relatively cheap way of getting exercise and those endorphins flowing.
Stay humble and grateful
Practicing gratitude improves your health, relationships, emotions, personality, and career. Ultimately, people don’t really want to be around someone who is constantly negative and looking at the glass half empty.
Gratitude is at the core of happiness, and successful individuals practice it daily. “Opportunities, relationships, even money flowed my way when I learned to be grateful no matter what happened in my life.” — Oprah Winfrey
We can always come up with new things to want. But it’s important to first be grateful for what we already have. After all, treasures fade, and money comes and goes. Be grateful for the love you receive, and for all the little things in life that bring you joy.