essential previous learningIntroduction to Time Management

Free Article – Top 10 Tips to Boost your Productivity

Learn to work smarter not harder

Key learning outcomes:

  • Implement a priority system so the most important tasks are completed in the first instance.
  • Create a schedule for all tasks and activity which notes a deadline to increase your productivity.
  • Recognise your peak working periods and schedule your tasks accordingly.
  • Adopt a “switch off” policy to minimise distractions from technology.


There is a vast difference between being busy and being productive. It is unrewarding to finish your day exhausted having been on the run without a minute to spare, only to be left wondering what you actually achieved. To help avoid this we have compiled a list of tips and tools to boost your productivity. They have been proven over time and are the basis for habits adopted by highly productive people in their everyday lives.

Work to a deadline

Without exception, people shift into high gear when they have a deadline to work towards. This is why you will often feel at your most productive just before you leave for a holiday. One of the tricks highly productive people employ is that they always set themselves a deadline for any task or activity.

Be the rooster of your workplace

You will often find that the most productive people get to the workplace earlier than anyone else. They believe it takes time to warm up to work so they give themselves an extra 15 or 30 minutes to get into maximum productivity mode. Additionally, if you have already built up your work momentum, you are less likely to be distracted when Mary comes in and talks about what she cooked for dinner last night or what happened on the latest reality show.

Know your prime time

Everyone has a prime time during the day. Some of us are morning people and some of us are most productive in the afternoons. One of the keys to high productivity is to be self-aware and to know when you are at your best. This allows you to schedule your most important tasks and activities at the time of the day when you feel at your peak and conversely schedule your more routine tasks at times when you expect to feel a little flat or low in energy.

Focus on the most important three

Highly productive people know that they become less focused and productive if they try and plan too many tasks and activities in one day. They always start their day by figuring out the three most important things they need to complete and then prioritising these tasks. This way they are never left feeling at the end of the day they have been unproductive, because no matter what happens the most important things have been crossed off the list.

Move your body

You will find that exercising for just 30 minutes every day will boost your energy levels and productivity. The most productive people tend to exercise in the morning; however, there is no real hard and fast rule and often it comes down to your schedule. A little is always better than nothing. Also, if you know you are in for a long day at your desk or the computer, try and go for a walk or even just get out of the office into the fresh air for some breaks during the day. This will keep your mind and body active. Simply getting up from the desk and doing some stretches can help to get the juices flowing.

Become more anti-social

The most recent studies out of the United States suggest that over 75 per cent of all online adults use some form of social media every day. This means that between social media alerts, texts and emails you can easily get caught up and distracted by things that will not boost your results or productivity. Highly productive people know when to switch off. They turn off their phones and audible alerts before starting an important task so they can focus 100 per cent. If you work your schedule to coincide your unplugged time with your prime time, you will see an immediate lift in your levels of productivity each day.

Use the power of leverage

In order to be highly productive you need to leverage the resources and the skills of those around you to the best possible advantage. Highly productive people do not spend time doing things that could easily be done by someone else. They have become masters at delegation and understand the power that outsourcing can bring them. It is important to know your own strengths and weaknesses; you will be more productive if you spend time on the things that you can do well and activities that bring the greatest rewards for the effort that you put in.

Think like a surgeon

You cannot imagine a surgeon halfway through an operation having to search for a tool or piece of equipment they need. They are well prepared and have everything ready and available at a moment’s notice. Highly productive people think like this; they do not waste valuable time searching for things that they might need during the day. They have a clean workspace that has everything they might need at their fingertips.

A stitch in time saves nine

This old saying is worth thinking about when you are looking to boost your productivity. Often spending a few minutes every day or some time every week on a task or activity will save you a lot of time in the long run. Try not to put off things until tomorrow that you know could or should be done today. Otherwise, before you know it, what might have taken you less than 30 minutes every week has become a mammoth task.

Don’t spend time reinventing the wheel

When you think about it, most of what we’ve got to do has already been done by someone else. Before spending time looking for a way to do something, spend a few minutes researching to see if someone has not only done it, but has also documented the process. Of course, we do not advocate spending endless hours surfing the web; however, if there are tools at your disposal they may save you vast amounts of time and boost your productivity.


Measuring your output will not just keep you accountable and ensure your productivity levels remain high, but will also motivate you to keep moving forward. One last tip is to keep a log of all of the things you have done every day, week or year. This allows you to go back and see how much you have achieved rather than simply focusing on how much you still need to do. We like to do this by keeping our “things to do” lists in a bound book. We write a new list every day on a new page, which allows us to go back over time to reflect on all of the things that we have already accomplished.

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