4 Way to Make Yourself Productive Throughout the Day

4 Ways to Make Yourself Productive Throughout the Day

Americans are working machines. According to a recent Inc. 500 survey, 85 percent of CEOs representing today's fastest-growing companies work 10 or more hours a day. Meantime, the output of goods and services per hours worked grew by about 74 percent between 1973 and 2013.
Yet, despite all that, it's apparently still hard for people to get things done. Recently, a productivity-tracking company noted that just half of all people's to-do lists are completed within a day, while 41 percent are never completed at all. Indeed, there is no "limitless" pill for productivity; there's no magic cure or special trick, either. However, there are some common sense, science-backed approaches you can take to get stuff done.

1. Master Your Morning (or Night)

In What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, author Laura Vanderkam polled 20 executives, with 90 percent of them admitting they get up every day before 6 a.m. These successful business people also cited habits like exercise, meditation and spending time on a passion project as a means to "get away" before more easily accomplishing their goals.
These approaches also fall in line with research conducted by biologist Christopher Randler, who has published a study indicating a correlation with waking up early and being productive. Think about it: If you have the opportunity to wake up before the kids, head into work early, and get some important stuff done, you've likely crossed off a number of to-dos that otherwise would not have been accomplished — at least in terms of time and efficiency.
But merely thinking that waking up early will solve your problems is a non-starter. This likely isn't an option for millions of Americans, and plenty of successful people are night owls, anyway. Now consider a second study that found volunteers exhibit greater creativity during the time of day they find most optimal. In the end, whether you're a morning person or night owl, determine the hours when you can be the most productive and creative.

2. Take Time to Nap (or Sleep)

Just as people carve out time to be productive, many others make it a point to set aside time every day to nap. For instance, Dr. Sara Mednick developed a nap wheel based on someone's typical wake-up time and proclaimed the "ultimate nap" time occurs when someone's REM and slow-wave sleep cycles are equally proportioned.
Now, if you can't find time throughout the day to take a quick nap, the next most important thing is to ensure you get enough sleep. A study conducted by Rand Corp., indicated the U.S. workforce is losing 1.2 million working days per year at a cost of approximately $411 billion due to employees getting a lack of sleep.
If you need another reason to get the proper amount of sleep, consider another finding from the study: Someone who sleeps less than six hours per night has a 13 percent higher mortality rate compared to someone who gets between seven and nine hours of sleep.

3. Practice the Pomodoro Technique

Of course, you can strive to be more productive without changing your sleeping habits. For instance, consider the Pomodoro Technique, a time management method developed in the late 1980s by Italian university student Francesco Cirillo. The premise is simple: People set a timer to break down work into more desirable time intervals — usually around 25 minutes — which are then separated by short breaks. The idea is to eliminate burnout and work more efficiently. It works like this:
1.     Identify a task you consider a top priority.
2.     Set a timer for any desirable time period.
3.     Work on the task.
4.     Eliminate all distractions, like answering emails and phone calls.
5.     Work until the timer dings.
6.     Take a 20- to 30-minute break every 100 minutes (this equates to four Pomodoro sessions).
The technique is said to help you understand how much time and effort it takes to complete a task. In the end, all it takes is using the timer on your trusty smartphone and developing a list of tasks you hope to check off. If you're going to use your smartphone, make sure to set it up to filter our unwanted calls; for example, the LG G6 can identify numbers not stored in your contact list and alert you when an incoming call may be spam.

4. Factor in Temperature and Lighting

There's yet another factor that has a huge impact on productivity: your working environment. Lighting, temperature, comfort and more all play into workplace efficiency. Just ask anyone who has to bring an extra sweater to the office in order to survive the frigid AC, or someone in a hot cubicle who elects to have their fan on full blast. These temperatures matter, though.
A Cornell study indicated employees make 44 percent more mistakes when their office thermostat is set at 68 degrees versus a more optimal setting. As a freelancer or solopreneur, this type of thing is easy to regulate and it's also becoming more manageable for regular employees, too. In fact, Comfy allows its employees to regulate the office thermostat.

Additionally, natural light is said to not only make you more productive, but also more happy, healthy and calm. One study exposed a group of participants to daylight and another group to artificial light during the daytime hours. The results? Those who were exposed to daylight were more alert in the evening. Ultimately, when it comes to brightening your office, find some useful ways to incorporate more natural light into your work environment.


  1. I just received this book The Pomodoro Technique illustrated by Staffan Noteberg and I've been working my way through it. I don't know how I'd never come across this before :) It's brilliant and already I've noticed a jump in tasks accomplished in a surprising amount of time. Setting the timer helps me firm up how much time I'm spending reading and watching videos online for example and I find changing it up every 25 minutes very helpful because I'm "fresh" at each task meaning the quality of my productivity has greatly improved as well.

  2. I use a mix of techniques that either are 'natural' to me or I adapted them from my job. If I have a lot on sewing and making wise, I use a day book - its a yellow spiral notebook I used use in my work as it could be easily found on my desk due to colour! - list all small and big jobs with a square box I can tick. I put a couple of quick easys at the beginning so I start a bigger task with a feeling that I have a lot done already. I also find that I dislike sewing too late in the evening so if I can I will aim to get certain things when there is a lot of daylight.....I work part time, and sew part time - I also like to start 'working' on sew time by 10 in the morning - as it gives me time to read blogs etc comfortably before - when I cook, I cook for 8 and freeze some (there are 2 of us) and will microwave these dinners which is my other big time saver (I enjoy cooking but every day.....no way!)

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