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30 Productivity Tips I wish I knew About Years Ago

Working tirelessly is not productivity

I wish someone told me many years ago that working tirelessly does not mean I’m productive.

Imagine working hard with no result or later discovering that you have been doing the wrong thing all this while.

Productivity is knowing how much you can do without breaking, taking breaks to rest and do something fun, and having a life outside of work.

We have been taught to have a hustle mindset where we don’t believe we can be successful without hard work.

Yes, hard work is great but it must be done wisely.

You can do the right work at the right time with the right mindset and get the same result without working tirelessly.

Enjoy the present

Many are so anxious about tomorrow, their future, what they plan to achieve, their goals, etc.

That they have forgotten to enjoy where they are at the moment.

They have missed out on the beauty of today in the bid to make tomorrow better.

Enjoy the present because when you look back tomorrow, you will realize you have missed out on the fun.

Work-life balance is important

I have heard people say work and life can never have a balance, one should be greater than the other.

While they might have their reasons, I strongly believe work and life should be balanced because they are both important.

There are people who enjoy their work and believe it is a part of their life.

There are also people who don’t care about their work but believe it’s something they have to do.

I believe work is a means to make life better, because with work comes the finance (and network) you need to upgrade your life.

Without work, some feel a sense of unfulfillment. 

Without time for oneself, family, and friends, some feel lost.

These two are both important and you should strive to put a balance on them.

Intentionality is the key to fulfilment

Intentionality leads you to planning your life everyday.

Intentionality makes you disciplined and focused on your plans.

Intentional people know what they want and they figure out a way to get it.

When they have a goal, they do all it takes to achieve the goal, even if it takes them out of their comfort zone.

Do it now or regret later

I have a lot of regrets even at my young age, because I am doing things now that I could have done earlier.

The results I’m striving to get now, I realize I could have gotten it a long time ago if I had done it then.

There’s no later. 

You will be happier if you do it now. If you do it now, you will get your results later.

Ask yourself, which is better; Getting results later or starting later and getting results much more later?

I’m sure you prefer to get the results later or as quickly as possible.

So, do it now!

Work neglected today is more work tomorrow

I was a chronic procrastinator.

I assumed there would be time later to do what I should do immediately.

But, the downside is that more work will come, and the work you left undone will still be there.

Which means, you have to do both.

If you need to do something right now, do it, you will be glad you did.

Don’t regret your mistakes, learn from them

If you’re like me and you have made many mistakes in the past, you will know what it feels like to have regrets.

I regret not starting my YouTube channel earlier.

I regret not launching my digital products earlier.

I regret living my blog unattended to for a long time.

I regret! I regret! I regret!

Yeah! We get it. You have regrets.

But what does that change?

Nothing!!

Regrets don’t change anything. You can only change things when you learn from your past mistakes.

If you regret not buying bitcoin when it was still less than a dollar?

Then what does it change? Nothing!

Why not buy that 1 cent coin now that it’s still 1 cent?

Why not put a lot of energy into your blog now and reap the rewards in a year’s time?

A lot of us have regrets but we’re not learning from those mistakes.

One thing I tell myself when thoughts of regret from my past mistakes come is “Yeah, I made a mistake. There’s nothing I can do about it anymore. It’s gone. But I can do better now.”

And then the voice of regret goes silent in my ears.

Prioritization is productivity

Have you seen anyone struggling with productivity? They have not prioritized.

I was speaking to one of my productivity coaching clients this week and I told them why they are not following through with their plans.

Lack of prioritization.

If you don’t prioritize your goals, you will end up doing the wrong things or not doing anything at all.

I gave an example, if you have 5 things to do like:

  • Write a blog post
  • Finish work assignment
  • Run errands for mom
  • Read a novel
  • Learn content marketing

Your first instinct is to pick the easiest to do or to pick at random.

But you will be doing the wrong thing.

Instead, look through what you’ve written and re-list them in the order of most important and urgent.

If a work assignment is important and you don’t want to get fired, then you would pick that first.

If you still live with your mom and she will disturb you till you run the errand, then you should place her errand next.

Your blog post is more important because your readers are waiting for you to drop a new post. Then it should come after.

By the time you arrange this list in the order of most important and urgent, you will have:

  • Finish work assignment
  • Run errands for mom
  • Write a blog post
  • Learn content marketing
  • Read a novel

Reading a novel comes last because it’s more of leisure.

If you get swamped with daily activities, you might have to do the first 2 or 3 important tasks and leave the last 2.

Imagine doing the last 2 first and being unable to do the remaining 3, you would have ended that day feeling unfulfilled and probably getting a query from your boss.

Prioritization will save you from wasting time and will keep you focused.

You can be busy and unproductive

I hear a lot of people talk about how busy they are and I must say it’s a valid statement.

Several people have canceled meetings or events with friends because they are busy.

I have done it countless times and honestly, I really am busy.

There are other people like that too.

But does being busy mean productivity?

Not every time. 

This is why we have many busy but unproductive people.

Also read: Time Blocking for Busy but Unproductive People

How can you be busy but unproductive?

  • When you don’t prioritize.
  • When you spend the whole day working on the wrong things.
  • When you are doing the wrong things.
  • When you are overwhelmed with tasks.
  • When you work all day without taking a break.
  • When you never rest or do something fun, but only work.
  • When you are ‘busy’ with pleasures rather than the important tasks for the day.

There are many ways one can be busy but unproductive.

So, it’s not about being busy. Infact, it’s okay to be busy.

But are you productive?

Protect your sanity by saying No often

If you a freelancer, can I see your hands up (lol)

If you work from home, raise your hands.

These sets of people are considered jobless by half of the people in the world.

As a freelancer, I hear statements like this every time.

“You have plenty time on your hands”

“Get a real job. Go out, work for people, and meet ‘real’ people”

“What are you busy doing every time?”

“Sarah can do this, she has nothing else to do”

“I need your help with some work. I need it as soon as possible”

There are many more words and they hurt.

People have many assumptions about freelancers and people who work from home, and it can lead to these people asking you to do more than you can handle.

You have to understand that you will break if you try to keep up.

Personally, I receive about 5-10 daily requests from friends, families, and even acquaintances.

Because I’m a writer, people assume I can solve all their writing and grammar problems.

And it can gets tiring.

When you say no, they call you names and make assumptions about you.

But, you’re the only one that understands your breaking limit and you must protect it at all cost.

Here are ways I’ve been able to wad off requests without becoming a bad person:

  • I’m sorry, I’m currently swamped with work, I can’t do that right now!
  • I apologize for not picking your call, I had a lot on my hands
  • I won’t be able to do this right now but here is a link to where you can get similar answers and help.
  • Please can you check google for that. There are many answers there.

Sometimes, I sound a bit more harsh than those words up there but those are my best answers.

It’s okay to say No. It doesn’t make you a bad person.

Toxic productivity equals low performance

Toxic productivity is a thing and it is what makes a person think they can be productive if they can squeeze in a lot of work in a day.

It is toxic. It is tiring. And it can lead to many issues like burn out, stress, creative’s block, etc.

If you keep up with toxic productivity for a few days, weeks, or months; one day, you will break and you will find out you’ve been too hard on yourself.

The best bet is to take it easy on yourself.

Don’t take on more than you can handle.

Burnout is not a myth—it’s serious

I wrote about writer’s burnout some months ago and also shared the post on my social media, and a lot of people had something to say about burnout.

So many people are burnt out because of lack of proper planning and time management.

Many do more than they can bare in a day.

While many hate the work they do.

There are many reasons for burnout that I shared in this post. You can check it out.

Burnout is a serious issue and it must be paid attention.

Wishes don’t come true, plans do

There’s this popular saying that “If wishes were horses, beggars will ride”

It means if wishes really do come true, everyone of us will have all we’ve ever wished for.

But, sadly, wishes don’t come true but plans do.

Plans do come true.

When you make plans and you get them done, you have a 100% chance of getting what you desire.

This tells you that nothing happens in this life by chance.

You must plan to get it.

You must be intentional about what you want and make it a reality.

See this: How to Plan a Productive Month 

10 Tips on How to Plan your Day Effectively

Take a break often

Take a break when activities get overwhelming.

Take a break when you feel stuck and you don’t know what to do next, when you get back you will feel better and energized to take on the task.

Take a break when you feel yourself breaking and unable to continue.

It’s okay to take breaks. It doesn’t make you lazy.

Rather, it could be a way to rejuvenate yourself after a hard day’s work.

Write it down

If you have not read 5 powerful benefits of writing things down, you need to do so right now.

There, I outlined the basic and important reasons you should be writing everything down.

Become addicted to writing down.

Don’t give your brain too much work all in the name of “stretching yourself.”

Use your brain for more important things and write down everything else.

Write down your thoughts, your plans, things to remember, etc.

Don’t override your limits

We all have limits and you should know yours.

When you know your limit, you will know when it’s been overridden.

Maybe your limit is that you cannot take on more than one task at a time.

It could be that you can only concentrate on one thing or one problem at a time.

Your limit could be that you’re easily distracted, so you cannot work in a noisy place or in a place with too many people.

Whatever it may be, know them and don’t override them.

Also, if you’re being given a job to do and you know you’re not capable of handling it, know when to say No.

If you’re a freelancer whose target is to make $4000 in a month and you’ve met the target, it’s okay to tell clients you’re closed for the month.

If you don’t learn how to put a stop when you should, your physical health, mental health, and overall well being might pay for it.

Take a vacation

There is time for everything and there is obviously a time for vacation.

When you have worked hard for a long period of time, it is only right that you go out and enjoy yourself.

After all, you’re working to have a better life.

Taking a vacation is a part of that better life.

It doesn’t have to be as grand as going to Paris or the Maldives, if you don’t have the funds, you can visit a nearby state or resort.

You can take one week off doing nothing at home but eating, sleeping, binging netflix, and doing anything that means fun for you.

Habits ride on discipline

You cannot develop habits without being disciplined.

Habit is simply our way of getting our body to do on impulse, what it’s not used to doing.

Imagine someone who has woken up by 10am for the past 19 years, who suddenly decides to start waking up by 5am.

How do you think they will get it done?

Discipline.

If you’re not disciplined, you will struggle with developing good and new habits.

Always keep it in mind that habits ride on discipline.

Keep a journal

Journaling has lots of benefits that can help not just your mental health but also your physical health.

I wish I had known how important journaling was to my wellbeing, I would have started journaling a long time ago.

 When I journaled in the past, I did it because it felt like I was telling a secret friend what I couldn’t tell anyone around me.

Journaling made me feel like I could pour out the activities of my day, my deepest secrets and hurts to a friend who had no mouth to rattle them to others.

I wish I had known the huge benefits it was to me then.

So, I’ll tell you now.

Keep a journal.

It will also be worth looking back on many years from now.

You will see how you used to think, what your life used to be like, and the progress you have made so far—if you keep a journal now.

Editor’s pick:

Believe your words before convincing others

I will also rephrase it as “Believe in yourself before telling others to believe in you.”

Especially when you’re just starting something new, like a business, a blog, a social media page, etc.

You won’t get as much engagement as you would expect to.

Family and friends might engage for as much as a week or two, at most, a month, but after sometime, you won’t see anyone.

After sometime, telling people to share your work will start to seem like a burden.

This is why you need to first talk to yourself in the corner of your room.

Admonish yourself. Root for yourself.

Ensure you love what you do and you have a reason for doing it.

So, when you don’t see anyone rooting for you, you will keep going.

A lot of people have stopped being consistent because they didn’t see anyone.

Little did they know that all they needed to do was continue.

They needed people to praise them and root for them every step of the way but that is not usually the case.

There will come a time you have to keep going even when you can no longer hear the applause.

If you do, millions of people will praise you—but you can only find them at the front.

Delegate, outsource, automate

Do you want to live stresslessly? 

Delegate, outsource, automate!

Whenever you feel overwhelmed about a task or you have many responsibilities weighing you down.

Delegate, outsource, and automate these responsibilities.

It is better to get people to help you with tasks you need to do instead of avoiding the task altogether.

Manage your energy and time

We are usually told to manage our time effectively but rarely told to manage our energy.

You can have time and not have energy.

And it is a delicate thing.

Your energy is the strength you need to get work done.

It is what quickens you to work even when you’re not motivated to.

Your energy is what keeps you going even when time is lost.

You must protect it at all cost.

Protect it by:

  • Taking naps
  • Doing fun stuffs
  • Setting a time for work and sticking to it
  • Postponing what you can’t handle at the moment.

Foster productivity with systems and tools

We are in a digital age where a lot of our problems can be solved by a click on Google or by installing an app on our phone.

Take advantage of these systems and tools and use them to plan your life, automate your work, track your goals, and delegate duties seamlessly.

A tool I will recommend is Todoist, it is a great tool for tracking your daily tasks and todo lists.

Want to reduce stress by delegating tasks to others, with Todoist, you can share your tasks with others.

If you’re like me and you prefer paper planners and trackers, then you should check out this Goal-getter printable weekly planner.

It helps you plan your day seamlessly with the most effective yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily planning goal setting pages inside it.

You can also get it on Etsy or from Selar (in Nigerian currency).

Take advantage of productivity tools and systems now and use them to your advantage.

You may also like:12 Recommended Productivity Apps for Creative People in 2022

Create a productive environment

Some people are unproductive because they live and work in an environment that obstructs their productivity.

Their environment is filled with noise and distractions.

They don’t have a system or routine of work or for waking up.

They are basically living unproductively, so it’s hard for them to get any real work done.

Some characteristics of a productive environment is:

  • White painted walls
  • Live Plants in the room
  • Noise free and distraction free
  • Zero outside-intrusion
  • An organized environment

Stay Focused

In a world filled with distractions and several things vying for our attention, it is easy to get carried away and to lose focus on the important things.

It is easy to focus on the wrong things and take your eyes off the goal.

Always do a check with yourself to be sure you’re still focused on the goal.

Productivity is birthed in focus.

Productivity is easier to attain when you are focused.

Ensure your attention has not been vied off and if it is, get back to work.

Use the internet sparingly

I know you’re always told to stay away from the internet, that the internet is bad for productivity or social media is a life destroyer and a distractor.

But do you also know that many have gotten rich through the internet?

Many get jobs from the internet (like me, freelancer here).

Many have also read life changing articles (like this one—winks) from the Internet.

Instead of quitting the internet like we’re always advised to, why not use it to your advantage?

Don’t let it distract your goal, rather use it to fuel your passion.

Get answers from it. Render services on it.

Network with like-minded people from all over the world and leverage on the relationship to achieve your goals.

The internet has a lot of goodies—yes it can be a disadvantage too, but a lot of us are making our daily living off it and we can attest that it is worth investing your time on. 

Just do it sparingly.

Have a structure

If you plan to succeed in the long term and not just for a short period.

Build a structure!

Build a structure around your business, so that when new ideas come, you won’t struggle to get them done. 

You will just lay it upon an already built structure.

This is an example of a structure. 

You plan to sell digital products but you don’t have all the products ready, yet you know the type of products you want to sell.

Instead of waiting to have all the products before selling, start with what you have.

Create an account on digital products (or any products at all) markets like Etsy, Creative market (a little difficult to start with), or you could create on your website with WooCommerce.

When you do, set it up the way you want it to look. That is a structure.

When you eventually prepare the products, you can then add them to your shop.

Building a structure is like building a house, even though you don’t have all the furniture, paintings, and lighting ready.

After building the house, you can start moving your furniture one after the other.

After a while, your house will be filled with all the necessary features it needs to be a home.

But you need to build a structure first.

Don’t wait until you have it all together.

Build the structure of your business and plans now!!

Start selling your products on etsy and get 40 free product listings.

Affirmation aids productivity

Words like “I can do this,” “I won’t give up,” “Today is gonna be a great day,” “I achieve my goals today,” “I will not settle for less,” “I attract greatness and favour today,” go a long way.

You never know how much those words impact your life, actions, and mindset.

If you want to see changes in your life and productivity, you must call them forth with your words.

Most people who fulfill their goals are those who have filled their minds with words of affirmations.

Speak life to yourself.

Tell yourself words you will like to hear someone else say to you.

Compliment yourself and charge yourself to do better with your words.

Stress is a state of mind

Stress is bad! We know!

But most times, stress is not as bad as we think. 

Psychologist McGonigal, author of  The Upside of Stress found that people who get affected by stress are people who believe stress is a bad thing.

They are people who hate being stressed or hate what is making them stressed.

The author and psychologist also found that if you don’t think stress is hurting you, stress won’t hurt you.

Imagine being stressed because you went sightseeing in South Korea, that would be fun right?

Well, you’ll get back home happy you went through the stress.

This shows stress is a part of our daily life and we can rewire our brain to see stress as something that is incapable of hurting us.

Instead, we should focus on de-stressing and resting.

You may also like: Stress and 10 ways You Can Live a Less Stressful Life

Success is a mindset

In my article, 8 Things you Need to Know if You Want to Be Successful in Life, I explained several things you need to know to be successful in life and one thing you should know is that you need to have the mindset of successful people.

If you program your brain to believe you will be successful, you will.

Because, you will work towards it. 

Your lifestyle will reflect it.

You will make conscious decisions towards becoming what you already envision.

You will not act like others. You will not compare yourself to others.

You will focus on your goals and soon you will gravitate towards what you’ve envisioned.

Success is a mindset, so feel your mind with everything you need to know to become successful.

Read this post: 8 Things you Need to Know if You Want to Be Successful in Life

 Do it afraid

The greatest steps I’ve ever taken in my life were done afraid.

I was afraid to start a blog.

I was afraid to launch my digital products.

I was afraid to share my posts, youtube links, and products so people could engage with them.

I was afraid to market myself.

I was afraid to do a lot of new things.

But I did them anyway.

And today, I’m glad I did.

I had questions like “Won’t people say I’m doing too much?”

“Won’t they wonder why I always have something to share?”

“Will they bother to click my links?”

“Will they like what I have to offer?”

I had many doubts but I did it anyway.

You will have fears.

And to you, they will be valid but do it anyway.

Don’t let your fear stop you from doing what you have to do.

Final thoughts

These 30 productivity tips I wish I had known years ago, are my driving forces now.

I am able to wake up everyday and work on my goals because I know them.

Understand them. Practice them. And apply them to your daily life.

And when you look back in years to come, you will be glad you did.

Need a Productivity Coach?

Do you struggle with achieving your goals or completing your daily tasks! 

Do you struggle with overwhelm, too many tasks on your to-do list, or balancing your work and life?

Did this article describe your current need and struggle?

I can help you!

As a productivity coach, I have helped my clients achieve their goals, held them accountable to get their tasks done, and helped them plan and actualize a more flexible, yet productive life. 

I have helped several creatives who battle anxiety as a result of numerous unfinished tasks and feelings of inadequacy to go from underachiever to high-achiever.

Let me help you too!

Read more about how to start, here.

Reach out to me today to take my coaching sessions. 

The first session is free! Schedule a free call now! 

This call helps me understand what you’re struggling with and what aspect of productivity coaching you need.

In 30 mins, I will give you quick problem solving tips to implement for a more productive life.

I’d love to hear from you!

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