We all want more time. We constantly crave longer deadlines and calmer schedules. This is intrinsically wrong. To put it bluntly, no one has more time than anyone else.
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Everyone’s days have 24 hours. No more, no less. This is why lamenting the busyness of our lives will get us nowhere.
Ergo, our focus has to shift from wanting more time toward improving the content of our days.
By tweaking your daily routine, minimalism can make you more productive. This will ultimately lead to a more balanced daily rhythm and more success on multiple levels.
10 simple ways to productivity improvement
The following are 10 steps to take at home and in your working life. While these simple habits will not make you Benjamin Franklin overnight, they will lead to instant productivity improvement.
1. Develop a morning routine
Some people love mornings, others despise the mere thought of getting up before 7am.
Whichever side you’re on, developing a morning routine is a massive step toward productivity improvement.
I love mornings and get up at 6am on most days.
My morning routine has three main components: a gym session, a short stint of meditation (I am no guru, I mostly just visualize a calm, serene place in my head), and a proper breakfast meal. I usually listen to podcasts or read a coffee table book during breakfast.
Now, this is what works for me. If I skip my morning habits, I usually notice a drop in productivity for the remainder of the day.
In this sense, my overall productivity hinges on my forenoon routine.
You might hate mornings and function better in the evening. There is a common misconception that a morning routine has to happen super early.
Your morning can start at 10am, 11am, or 2pm. This is naturally dependent on your occupation but if you don’t work a corporate job, no one will question your definition of “morning”.
The essential point is that you develop an effective way to start your day. Sports and meditation are often perceived as productive things to do but they probably don’t work for everyone.
One very easy thing to do is to immediately make your bed after getting up. This will give you the feeling of “having done something” before encountering the day.
On this basis, find a way to gear your mind and body toward productivity in the early stages of your day.
No matter what time you start, the morning routine will set the tone for the rest of the day.
For more info, read about my minimalist morning routine here.
2. Work in adjustable blocks of time
The “block principle” is one of the most hailed productivity improvement techniques and certainly effective.
In this context, the art of dividing work into time segments has two focal points.
Firstly, the blocks have to be adaptable. If a certain slot ends but you feel driven to continue, you shouldn’t stop yourself just because your timetable says so.
Aside from adjustability, a lack of distractions is of paramount importance.
Consequently, avoiding distractions is synonymous with focusing on one specific activity. Get the idea of multitasking out of your head.
Let’s say you dedicate one hour to writing an important essay. This hour has to be social media-free and devoid of phone calls, texting, and television peeping.
Speaking of which, by the love of all that’s holy, leave your background TV off when concentrating on a specific task.
Music, on the other hand, can have a very soothing and productivity-fostering effect. Relaxing Youtube sets like BLUME usually do the trick.
3. Meditate for a couple of minutes
Productivity improvement through meditation is probably on every CEO’s calendar.
Before imagining Buddha and Confucius, don’t get too hung up on the classic yoga-inspired image of meditation.
Meditation can be a simple act of reflection. Sit down and clear your mind for a couple of minutes while listening to relaxing music.
Visualize what you want to accomplish today. It might not always happen, but a short session of mental cleansing usually has a profound effect on your overall productivity.
4. Spend a certain amount of time per day reading
Many people underestimate some of the most basic productive things to do at home.
Reading a couple of minutes every day will boost your overall concentration levels and broaden your horizons.
The internet is an endless source of possibilities in this regard. If you aren’t an avid bookworm, simply read one or two articles on insightful sites like Britannica or Investopedia before going to sleep.
In this context, people tend to spend hours online without taking advantage of the myriad of free productive things to do on the internet.
As mentioned in point 10, integrate a bit of reading into your night routine. This will sharpen your mind on a daily basis.
5. Condition your surroundings for productivity improvement
A decluttered, well-organized workspace is a prerequisite for productivity.
A minimalist desk with little to no distractions, as well as a clear, bright field of vision, will lead to instant gains in productivity.
Avoid loose items and opt for goal-oriented ornaments. As an example, if you fancy workspace decoration, go for a modern, uber-cool bamboo coffee cup.
For some inspiration on how to declutter, have a look at the Japanese organizational culture.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo is one of the best references in this regard.
6. Allocate specific time slots to social media and “bullshit”
Not all productivity-furthering habits are related to productive things to do. Our brain also needs downtime – it can’t be calibrated toward productivity 24/7.
On this basis, instead of feeling guilty about engaging in “stupid” leisure activities, we should allocate specific time slots to our inner idiot.
These short spells of “bullshit” will ultimately lead to productivity improvement thanks to their liberating feel.
In a nutshell, bullshit feels commitment-free and therefore makes us happy for a couple of minutes.
Watching stupid youtube videos, scrolling down Instagram aimlessly, and sharing idiotic memes gives short-term enjoyment to most people.
The major challenge is to control the amount of time spent on these sites. It is thus essential to set a clear time limit and to stick to that limit.
As an example, set yourself a limit of thirty minutes for childish memes and imbecilic Youtube videos.
If you don’t have the discipline to respect your self-defined time cap, ditch these activities until you manage to restrict yourself.
7. Draft an ambitious daily or weekly to-do list
No matter your occupation, setting weekly or daily goals is a must for productivity improvement. A proven method is to draft an ambitious but realistic weekly to-do list.
Ambition aside, don’t overwhelm yourself. Start small and work your way up. Kick off with 5 goals per week and try your best to achieve 4.
Even if you don’t accomplish every task on your list, this weekly to-do list will set a clear road map for the next 7 days.
8. Set your physical wellbeing routine
Some people don’t like sports, but the productivity-bolstering effects are unquestionable.
Even if you start small by going to the gym twice a week, you will notice prompt concentration boosts as well as major work impulses.
In short, the gym mentality will enfold other aspects of life. Sports-related discipline, focus, and growth can be applied to other areas.
Aside from psychological strength, a combination of mental and physical fatigue will improve the quality of your sleep.
9. Journal every day
Even if it’s just a couple of sentences, writing down your progress, goals, and feelings is essential for your personal growth.
Journaling every day is among the best productivity improvement techniques because it will constantly remind you of your goals.
Aside from future targets, your journal will also underline your past accomplishments.
In simple terms, your journey will be chronicled in steps. This will always highlight the fact that Rome wasn’t built in a day.
10. Start planning the next day before going to sleep
On par with your morning, your night routine sets the tone for the quality of your sleep and subsequently the success of the next morning.
In this sense, a proper nightly routine will subdue your thoughts and secure mental restfulness.
There are many ways and techniques to empty your mind before going to bed.
I personally favor a combination of preparation and relaxation.
On this basis, here are three simple steps to add to your night routine:
- prepare your outfit for the next day. This will save you a ton of time in the morning and eliminate at least one potential headache.
- wash your face and congratulate yourself on what you have achieved today. If you share the bed with your partner, make him/her a compliment.
- read a couple of minutes before going to sleep.
These three elements work well by providing the perfect mix between relaxation and preparation.
The outfit part affects your mind positively as it will enable you to go to bed feeling organized for the day to come.
The second part spreads happiness, gratitude, and pride. In conjunction, these three will make you feel good before going to sleep.
Finally, reading 10-30 minutes before bed will increase your mind’s fatigue levels and simplify the act of falling asleep.
Useful links on The Best Productivity Improvement Techniques
- more in the section “Work”
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo on Amazon
- read The Ultimate Night Routine – The 10 Best Evening Habits
- read 8 Minimalist Ways to Overcome Procrastination
- check out 6 Ways to Empty Your Mind if You Are Stressed Out
- read The Best Remote Working Hacks to Stay Productive Anywhere
Don’t miss a beat!
Jack Krier is a writer, photographer, and entrepreneur. On Minimalist Focus, he shares his ideas on minimalism and personal growth, helping thousands of readers improve their lives by focusing on the essentials.