With the New Year right around the corner, it’s a good time to evaluate your work habits (yes, in addition to your fitness routine and maybe even your haircut). Especially for you creative freelancers out there, productivity often equals money, happiness and general well-being. We found 13 tips that are sure to revamp your working style, allowing you to spend more time doing the things you love.
1. Hours Time Tracking App: The first step to maximizing your productivity potential is tracking how much time it takes you to do things now, at a normal pace. Once you know how much time certain tasks actually take, you can start planning your time efficiently — and see where you’re potentially spending too much time. (We’re looking at you, Pinterest.)
2. The One-Item To-Do List: Tim Ferris is a productivity mastermind. He accomplishes so much in a day that it’s kind of mind-boggling — just check out his 4 Hour Workweek for proof. But luckily for us, he shares his hacks, and we’re really digging his one-item to-do list suggestion. Basically, he suggests you spend two to three hours each day focusing on one thing that scares you or makes you anxious, and he promises that when you finish that one thing, you’ll feel super accomplished.
3. Behance Action Book ($16): With each page divided into sections for your brainstorming, meeting and conference call notes, the Action Book makes sense of your scribbles, making you more likely to act on them. This is a must-have for those of us who have piles of notebooks and notepads with good ideas buried in them.
4. Wake Up Earlier: It’s easier said than done, but to get more time in your day, you have to make more time. Waking up an hour earlier gives you more time to prepare for your day. With these tips from Flipping Heck and gorgeous DIY clocks, waking up earlier will be easier than ever.
5. Stay Hydrated: Did you know that drinking water helps you stay more focused? Neither did we. When your body is craving water, your brain is more easily distracted. Always keep a water bottle by your desk — we’re fans of this minty-fresh bkr bottle.
6. Take Mini Breaks: Since you’re drinking more water, you’ll probably find yourself taking more mini breaks anyway. These small pockets of time away from the computer screen are great for your productivity. Take time to refresh your brain, but be careful not to slip into procrastination mode.
7. Create Your Own Deadline: Some of us work best under pressure. The tick-tock of a looming deadline gets us in the zone. But you can’t put everything off until the last minute. Track your own personal deadlines in a planner, and see what you can accomplish.
8. Keep a Tidy Desk: It’s easiest to get things done in an organized workspace. How much time did you spend last year digging around for a pen or a pair of earbuds? The geniuses over at Evernote — everyone’s favorite app — designed these sleek desk organizers to keep your space looking good.
9. Bluetooth Shower Speaker ($60): Sure, you’re thinking, “What?” But stick with us for a sec. Bluetooth speakers are amazing, and having one in the shower is even better. Stream your latest audiobook while you’re getting ready in the morning, and you might feel like the smartest person alive.
10. 15 Minute Music Breaks: If you’re lucky enough to spend your days working with your headphones on, you’ve probably figured out that it’s difficult to concentrate when a song you love comes on. But if you take 15 minute breaks to rock out, you’ll find the rest of your day goes a little bit easier.
11. Get More Sleep: Sure, we told you to wake up earlier, and now we’re telling you to get more sleep. The more rested you are, the easier it is to get stuff done. Plus, you’ll just feel better about yourself. (photo via Healthy Sleep Texas)
12. Say No, Work Less: Maybe you’re thinking “If I’m more productive, I can work even more.” But sorry, that’s the fast road to burn out. If you want to keep the productivity train moving, you should work less. And the easiest way to work less? Just say no to things. It’s okay. In fact, it’s better.
13. Eat Brain Food: It’s nearly impossible to concentrate on anything when you’re hungry. But when you pig out on food that’s not awesome for you, you can slip into a food coma, which is, again, not great for doing work. Snack on brain foods like nuts, seeds, fruits or dark chocolate between healthy meals.
How do you plan to stay productive in the New Year? Let us know in the comments!