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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Sibanda

8 Habits to Optimal Productivity

Although multitasking, long hours and checking tasks off your to-do list may feel like you're working at optimal performance levels - being productive is so much more than that - or should I say less. Even . the most productive people aren’t focused on doing more things in a day; this is actually the opposite of productivity. The key is in the simplicity and attention in doing fewer things to the best of your ability.

It doesn't matter where you work or what you do for a living, making a few adjustments may allow you to increase productivity levels - the ultimate level up - by putting these simple habits into play:

1. Make use of your morning

Winning the morning can set the temperature for you whole day. Believe it not but a huge productivity killer first thing in the morning can simply be checking your phone. Whether you're scrolling through texts, checking your email or calendar or even checking what memes LadBible posted overnight, starting your day like this allows others to dictate what you accomplish. You merely get lost in your phone and the happenings and notifications of everything happening around swarming your brain with content.

Start your day out right by ignoring your phone and getting in a good breakfast, reading a book, meditating, and or getting exercise. One or a combination of these will ensure you’ve got the necessary fuel for a productive day.

A simple framework to adopt would the the 5-0 up principle. Simply complete five things in the morning that add value to you and your day that place you in the right frame of mind. You might wake up at 5:30am, write down 3 goals for the day, go for a run, have breakfast and listen to a podcast. Completing those five things allows you to win the day before it even begins - shifting your focus, getting your blood pumping and creating positive endorphins to win the day.

2. Follow the 80/20 Rule

Only 20 percent of what you do each day produces 80 percent of your results. Eliminate the things that don’t matter during your day and focus on those that have a optimal rather than minimal effect on your overall productivity. For example, curt your do to list in half. Getting things done during your day shouldn’t mean fitting in doing as much as you possibly can. Ask yourself whether you really need ten actions surrounding your next DIY in todays to-do list. Take a less-is-more approach to your to-do list by only focusing on accomplishing things that matter. Maybe break down your next project into steps and systematically remove tasks until you end up with the 20 percent that gets the 80 percent of results.

3. Tackle your Challenges in your Optimal Time

Knock out your most challenging work when your brain is fresh. Your clarity will allow you to focus and put the time into overcoming the challenge. This could also be for the tasks that take priority or demand your undivided attention or simply when skill building.

By tackling these tasks when you have a fresh mind, you're at your most productive. Everyone has their optimal focus time - for some it may be first thing in the morning at 5 am, maybe at the death of the time under time pressure or after a splash of cold water on your neck mid day. Observe when you are most alert and how long you stay productive, and then schedule your important work for that time. The other more systemised things in your day like meetings, one on ones or shopping can be saved for the remainder of your day.

By scheduling your day this way, you’ll be able to create a new and more productive way to manage your time.

4. Five Minute Rule

If you can do a task in five minutes or less, do it right away instead of putting it off and losing productivity.

“If you spend a minute or so understanding a task but don't take action, you’ll have to go back and re-familiarize yourself with the task later on,” - Girvan, 2017

Multiply that by the 10 times it may happen in a day and you can imagine how much of our time goes to procrastinating and taking on information without simply completing it.

5. Create a System

Like anyone - you would have been exposed to and adopted a few productive habits over time, but you're also human and would have some unproductive ones too. A simples way to tackle these is to reach out and create a system around them.

Simply take a moment and be honest with yourself on which habits take away from your day and allow you to be unproductive. With that list, underline one or two that have the most detriment to your day, plan out time to actively shift this habit and create social accountability with someone to keep you on track. For example, if you find yourself checking your phone compulsively or at times that cause a distraction, plan a morning, afternoon, and evening time slot to manage your screen time or simply restrict access to certain apps and notifications until your day is done.

You’ll find you get distracted from accomplishing more important goals throughout the day anyway.

6. Stop Multitasking

The power of one thing so undervalued. Unfortunately multitasking does the opposite to increasing your productivity. Changing tasks more than 10 times a day drops your IQ an average of 10 points. Not that any of us actively count IQ points in a day - I'm sure you can count the amount of things you achieve each day and more often than not, that number is a lot less when you spend the day multitasking. Less is more - getting things done more effectively and efficiently by focusing on one task at a time is the key to productivity.

7. Take Smart Breaks

Before feeling brain fog or getting a headache, take a break. Since your brain has uses up its glucose levels in tasks, give yourself a moment to refresh and take a few minutes to drink some water, close your eyes, listen to music, go for a walk or meditate. A quick break (not five minutes every five minutes) will allow you to feel refreshed and continue your day.

8. Track your progress

It's so easy to lose track of the progress we make. It's important to celebrate the achievements - big or small - and any excuse to acknowledge your efforts by tracking your progress and development. Write them down and reflect on them daily or weekly to make sure you're making progress towards your goal.


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Kelly Grech-Montgomery
Kelly Grech-Montgomery
Dec 09, 2021

Love the 5 minute rule! I will adopt this.


Dec 06, 2021

Thank you for sharing this - it's crazy howe much more productive you can be when you stop multi tasking and focus on ONE THING


jett hoste
jett hoste
Dec 04, 2021

Great read!!

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