There is a common belief that productivity means getting as much done as possible. Many leaders and productivity gurus, however, disagree with this notion because it implies that any work, including busybody work and idle tasks, can make one feel productive. Unfortunately, the opposite is true—doing busy work without creating progress can make one feel burned out. Therefore, the alternative idea is that productivity means completing the most important tasks in the most efficient way.

For those of us who struggle with feeling productive throughout our workday, here are some methods to help you improve work productivity.

Businesswoman using productivity tools

1. Task Boards

One of the easiest ways to increase your productivity and efficiency is to visualize all the tasks and important assignments that need to be completed. Tools such as Trello are excellent for this. Trello is a project management tool that simplifies task management by letting users organize lists and tasks that can be modified and archived. For mobile app users, Todoist is another task manager that can help users track and prioritize things that need to be done.

Visualizing a complete list of your tasks and goals can help you prioritize your time efficiently so you get the most important things done through the day.

2. The Pomodoro Technique

Productivity gurus who push for work efficiency swear by a method called the Pomodoro Technique. The method was first created by Francesco Cirillo, an efficiency consultant who worked in the software industry.

The Pomodoro Technique breaks up your workflow into 25-minute increments, in which you can focus on one task without any distractions. After each 25-minute increment, you can take a short break, and then begin another 25-minute set.

The increments allow you to get into a steady workflow where you can stay focused for a prolonged period of time. The increments help battle workday distractions such as checking your phone, checking your email, and other small disturbances.

Mobile apps such as FocusBooster can help users time their increments as well as track their Pomodoro sets with notification alarms.

Listening to music while working

3. Use Music to Focus

Another way you can boost your productivity is by listening to music to help you focus. Although not for everyone, for those who like to listen to music while they work, listening to instrumental pieces help those who need to tune out excessive noise or chatter around their work environment.

Ambient music, classical music, white noise, and even nature sounds such as rainstorms, can help listeners retain their focus as they work. Apps such as Will To Focus create specialized playlists and soundscapes for listeners who need to concentrate on their projects.

If you’re thinking of trying this method, consider choosing music with a slow and steady tempo if you enjoy a relaxed mood, or an upbeat tempo if you like to work to an energetic pace. Also, consider setting your music volume at levels that would enable maximum concentration on your work.

4. Morning Routines

Establishing a morning routine is one of the best ways to start off your day in a productive mindset. Entrepreneurs such as Tony Robbins and Tim Ferriss share with their followers the importance of establishing a morning routine.

Robbins himself has a list of rituals he performs every day to start his morning in the right mood. His routine includes meditating, practicing gratitude, and positive visualization, where he imagines himself achieving his goals. Ferriss, on the other hand, has interviewed over 100 different leaders about their morning routines in his book Tools of Titans. Ferriss’s morning rituals include making his bed, doing push-ups, drinking a cup of pu-erh tea, and journaling.

Jumpstart your day with an energizing morning routine as you go into your workday.

Reading personalized emails

5. Check Your Messages At Set Times

Lastly, another productivity method is setting a time to check your emails and messages. Many productivity gurus advise against checking your messages first thing in the morning, which can make you feel scattered and overwhelmed. Instead, they encourage setting a block of time to check all your messages at once rather than responding to messages throughout your workday. This will bar unnecessary interruptions to your focus and workflow, which can be difficult to reestablish once you check your phone and take time to respond. Unless it is a time-urgent matter, most emails and messages can wait.

When it comes time for you to check your email and messages, you will have more time to focus on crafting an appropriate and optimal response.

6. Use The Available Web Services

Today, there are plenty of web services available that you can use to help you save time, thus increasing productivity.

For example, if you’re running a business which functions can be outsourced, you can use websites like Fiverr to find freelancers quickly, instead of posting on job boards, which can be very time consuming.

Here’s another example; if you’re looking for financing, it’s time consuming to go from bank to bank – either online or off line – to fill in loan applications. Instead, using websites like Opportunity Business Loans, you only need to fill out just one application and  be connected to over a hundred different lenders right away, saving enormous amounts of time and money.

Productive and engaged employees

Now Over To You

What’s the best way that works for you when it comes to increasing productivity? Please share it with us!