I hate being unproductive. You, also, probably hate being unproductive. Everyone hates being unproductive – it sucks. You feel sluggish, demotivated, and really unworthy of a relaxed evening by the end of the day.

If we all have the same 24 hours in a day – how is that guy over there getting all his tasks done, and I've been replying to the same email for about an hour?

Chances are, that guy has a pretty decent system in place allowing him to be at optimum productivity levels. But forget that guy, because we're going to create a system of our own!

So how exactly do we kick procrastination in the face?

You have five ways to go about this – all of which have been tried and tested by myself and a bunch of other individuals, and the results are slightly insane. Let's check them out:

  1. Write everything down – seriously, everything.
  2. Nurture your mornings
  3. Break your day into 5 segments
  4. Take on the heavy load before lunch
  5. Stop multi-tasking

#1 Write Everything Down ✍🏼

Being a writer for a living, this habit wasn't too hard for me to integrate – but  this is an absolute game-changer for everyone.

Ditch the Iphone notes and Google Docs list – go and get the traditional notebook and pen out. Phones are great (don't get me wrong, I'm addicted). The endless amount of apps available at the makes almost anything possible at the touch of a button, but there are so many benefits to doing things old school, trust me..

Your brain (and eyes) need a break for the digital devices, so using a notebook to keep a daily to-do list will really help wean you off the phone – even if it's just for half an hour or so.

If you're trying to have a super productive day, you'll want to remember all the things you have to get done, otherwise a bunch of tasks get left un-ticked. Getting everything down on paper is scientifically proven to show stronger brain activity when remembering information, compared to any digital devices – you heard it here first, folks!

Not only does it serve as a medical preventative method for anxiety and depression, writing is a great way to let the creative energy flow. You can't exactly make scribbles and add funky arrows when typing on your phone 📝

Writing Productivity Products I Love 👇🏼

#2 Nurture Your Mornings 🌅

Ask absolutely anyone around me, I am not a morning person at all. Since the age of 11, I've been the last person, in my family, to get out of bed every morning. I would drive everyone insane with my extremely loud alarm clock (that didn't even make me flinch). I just loved my sleep, and still very much do!

But when it came to 'adulting', I had to start nurturing my mornings, because truth be told, waking up at 10 or 11am was really throwing me off. I felt as if time was just running away from me.

Now I aim to start my day at 6am (7am if I'm working from home). This gives me a solid few hours before my working day starts to have my breakfast in peace, tidy my desk-space, get out of my pyjamas, and have the to-do list set out.

By doing this, I've already woken myself up and gotten into a good headspace to tackle whatever the day brings. When waking up late, I'd be so stressed because I was just dragging myself through the day, scoffing down an unhealthy breakfast between meetings, and not having time to set out any of my priorities.

Now I try to:

🥱 Get consistent hours of sleep each night (around 7 hours)

🍔 Not eat a heavy meal before sleeping (ruins my mornings!)

📚 Read something before bed instead of being on my phone

💆🏽‍♀️ Prioritise 'me' time in the mornings before 9am

🧦 Change into a fresh outfit (even if its loungewear)

Tip: I've been using the Sleep Cycle app after my brother recommended it and it's been a game-changer for me. It tracks your sleeping patterns, and the alarm wakes you up in your lightest sleep phase so you feel super at ease every morning.

#3 Break Your Day Into 5 Segments 🕑

I break my day up into five regular segments, meaning I take five breaks where I shift my focus completely away from work. These breaks  don't have to be a long amount of time, sometimes they can even be as short as 10 minutes. Just as a way of refreshing my mind and not cramming all of my work without a sip of water.

As a Muslim, my breaks correspond with the times in which I pray. This helps me prioritise which tasks need to get done before the next prayer time.  

My old (and common) mindset was that, "Many breaks = Major lack of work". I felt that the only way to be productive was to not stop until I every single task was done – even if that meant working tirelessly for 6 hours straight without a little walk.

Taking a scheduled breaks within my working day is a way of telling myself, "this is going to charge me up to be at that most productive level again for the next few hours of my work".

Being 'too busy to take a break' is a sign in itself that you need to slow down.

#4 Take On the heavy load before lunch 🍜

Ever been so food-coma'd after lunch that the thought of sitting at your desk and producing any work whatsoever just felt draining? Well, the good news is that pretty much everyone has felt like that at some point, so you're not alone.

Referring back to my point of not being a morning person, I'd then convince myself that I'm an 'afternoon person'. That didn't last very long once I realised that after consuming a Pret sandwich  and tomato soup, I wanted nothing more than to have a relaxed, 'work-as-less-as-possible' sort of afternoon. But I was now stuck because there was just so much work to get done.

My solution to this?

As part of my to-do list, I'd section my tasks into these categories:

  • Biggest Priorities ✅
  • Most Time-Consuming ⏳
  • Pretty Relaxed / Admin 😎

The reason I have 'biggest priorities' and 'most time-consuming' in separate categories is because there may be a task that doesn't take up a lot of time, but it's highly important to get done today.

The biggest priorities will get done in the first hour of the morning.

Most time consuming will take up the rest of my morning. This way I get a great head start and can return back to the task in the afternoon without feeling too stressed about it.

I save the 'after-lunch' period for more relaxed tasks that don't require too much brain power! This is anything from admin work, to making small edits to my content writing, or even working on my personal blog to keep it light-hearted.

If you know you have a pretty extensive check-list to get through each day, nurture your mornings and reward yourself with a relaxed end to the day!

#5 Stop multi-tasking 🚩

I'll admit, I always thought people that could juggle so many things at once were super productive. This was until I realised that they're juggling so much because they have no system in place to manage their load.

I still get so much adrenaline with creative projects and end up putting my eggs in so many baskets until I burn out – unhealthy, I know.

But I've learnt over time that this was killing my productivity because I couldn't stay focussed on task long enough to actually complete it to a high standard. So I'd end up with all of these projects on the go, but none of them producing the results that I want.

My brain had so many tabs open and my body was malfunctioning because of it! 🤯

Going forward: Focus on one main task at a time and don't let your eyes wander until that task is done. If urgent admin tasks pop up out of nowhere, then of course make the calculated judgement, but don't let that deter you completely into a whole other world.

And please, don't work through lunch! As much as we think there are benefits for powering through, it does more good than harm. (Plus crumbs all over your laptop is annoying).

5 Productivity Tips: Summary 🤝

That's a wrap, folks! Everything we've mentioned has been key to helping many individuals boost productivity and maintain a stressful work load. We've also busted some serious myths along the way, too!

Let's recap on the fabulous five, shall we?

  1. Write everything down – seriously, everything.
  2. Nurture your mornings
  3. Break your day into 5 segments
  4. Take on the heavy load before lunch
  5. Stop multi-tasking

If you've enjoyed this article or want to know more about how to lead a healthier, and more productive life, make sure to check out the more of the articles on this site.  Feel free to share with your loved ones so they can benefit, too!