It’s a great feeling when we get stuff done. Most of us talk about running out of time or not being as productive as we would like to be. A few years back I decided to make some changes in my everyday habits that helped me to be more productive without having to spend any money or implement sophisticated systems. I also discovered that I was more present – to the task, to what was important, to myself and to other people.

Try these simple tips.


1. What is Your Intention? – Don’t put off the important stuff.

To me, this is the most important practice that I have incorporated into my life. At the beginning of most working days I sit at my desk and take a few moments to breathe deeply and reflect on what I need to achieve today and what I’d like to achieve today. In these moments of reflection I get clear on my priorities and I make a commitment to do what I can to support my intentions. (I’m also a crazy list maker.)


Work first on what you need to achieve and then on what you would like to achieve. Set your intentions each day.


2. Say No to Your Phone – It’s meant to be a communication tool, not an appendage!

We survived perfectly well for decades without being ‘connected’ 24/7. For many of us the mobile phone has become like a fifth limb. We go into panic mode if we accidentally leave the phone in the house or the car. I often need to remind myself that 99% of phone calls or text messages are not emergencies. The world is not going to end if I don’t have my phone on me.

Many would agree we love our mobile phones and they provide us with quick and convenient access to people and tools. However, if we are so focused on taking every call, answering every text or looking at every post, we are letting the phone control us. I often choose to put distance between my mobile phone and myself and it feels great!

It’s OK to say no to your phone for periods throughout the day. Health professionals tell us that we sleep better if we have at least an hour of tech-free time before bed. I’ve tried it and it works for me.


If you are working on a project, reading a book, chatting with family or friends turn your phone off so you can be more present.


3. Come Clean – Your workspace will support or distract you.

In my experience, if my workspace or my home is untidy or cluttered I am easily distracted. I can be more focused if things are in order. Everyone is different, but if things are all over the place we waste valuable time looking for what we need… and it doesn’t help our stress levels either.


Take time at the end of the week or first thing at the beginning of the day to clear your workspace of clutter.


4. Purge Unwanted Emails – Press unsubscribe!

I can’t count how many hours I’ve wasted opening emails that I don’t need. I’m personally on a mission to unsubscribe from companies and people that send me stuff I don’t need or want. It’s a time-waster wading through emails to determine which ones are worth keeping and which ones I want to delete.


If you are not getting big value from emails then unsubscribe.


5. Move Your Body – Taking short breaks can revitalise your energy levels.

When we are concentrating for long period of time and not being physically active our brains and our bodies become fatigued. I like to get up once every hour, have a stretch, take some deep breaths, drink a glass of water and then I’m ready to get back to work. I also do a few Pilates moves if my muscles or bones feel constricted.


Remember to move. This helps you shake up your state of mind and brings refreshment.


6. Do Something Different – What is the difference that will make the difference?

We often complain that we are bored or in a rut, or we continue to behave in ways that are not serving ourselves or others. We run habitual patterns that hold us back. It sounds too simple but sometimes all we need to do is something different.

I was working with a client a few weeks back who was struggling with negative attitudes relating to her work. She is not in a position just now to leave the job so we discussed ways she could improve the situation. She acknowledged that she cannot change the tasks she has to do which she finds tedious and boring, nor can she change the attitudes of the people she works with – however, she can change her attitude.

I suggested she wear different clothes to work, she takes a different route to work, she parks in a different car space, she enters work through a different door and she responds to the first people that she meets in a different way. We also discussed how she could change her frame of mind (her attitude) to a more resourceful state. The next day she did all of the above and reported that doing something different made a huge difference to her happiness.


Choose a few things that you could do differently today to revitalise your attitude toward your work.


There are many more ways to increase our productivity and to be more present. Have you found any of these helpful? Please add your own tips and share what works for you in the comments below.



Monica O’Brien is a professionally trained and accredited Coach and founder of Creative Edge Coaching She blogs on issues about creativity and small business development for conscious artists and business entrepreneurs. 


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