13 Small Changes You Can Make Today To Boost Long-Term Productivity

What is one small change in people’s routines that can help them boost their productivity and happiness in the long run?

Productive planning with a team member

These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.

1. Start Journaling

Make a habit out of journaling every evening. What you write, you learn. By recapping your thoughts, emotions, successes and failures, you’re opening your mind to ways you can improve in both your personal and professional life. Journaling helps focus the mind on what’s important, in the office and at home. True productivity is not about efficiency, but rather about prioritizing what matters. – Josh Awad, Depression Alliance

2. Create a List of Goals Every Day

Creating a list of your daily goals can help you in several ways. It can help you order your day more effectively because all of your tasks are laid out in front of you. It can help you enjoy the feeling of accomplishing minor challenges. Finally, it serves as a record of what you’ve done for the day, month and year. You can use that to measure your productivity and how your work has changed. – Matt Doyle, Excel Builders

3. Set Strict Time Blocks for Social and Email

Social media, YouTube, Slack and email are huge time sucks, whether it’s on your phone, tablet or computer. I create strict rules on when I have access to social media or email. This helps me stay focused. When I’m tempted to break, I remind myself, I can just wait and later on, I can look at the social media. – Jason Khoo, Zupo

4. Avoid Being Reactionary

Do not allow yourself to be reactionary until later in the day. This means, no social media or email until you are taken care of. When you read a story in the news, you have an emotional reaction. When you read an email, you have to react (by responding). Save that for later. Instead, focus the early part of your day on taking action toward what you need to accomplish. – Rana Gujral, Behavioral Signals

Business leader giving pep talk to a team member

5. Focus on Others

I often find myself thinking only about my responsibilities from the moment I wake up until I go to bed. However, I’ve found that when I focus on others’ needs around me, my day is increasingly happy and productive. Looking for opportunities to serve or brighten someone’s day allows me to remember and appreciate the important things in life. Go serve a family member, coworker or stranger. – Colton Gardner, Neighbor

6. Go to Bed Early

If you don’t get enough sleep, it’ll affect every area of your day, especially your work. You’ll feel fatigued, cloudy and possibly irritable if you don’t dedicate enough time to rest. Make sure you set a new routine with an earlier bedtime to ensure you boost productivity and happiness. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

7. Set Intentions

If you wake up in the morning and don’t set intentions, you’re more likely to feel disoriented about the upcoming day. You want to make sure you know what’s in store so you’re prepared for what’s ahead. Make sure you set intentions for everything you want to accomplish during the day and watch how it affects your productivity. – Jared Atchison, WPForms

8. Write Down Your ‘Success List’

What helped me manage all five of my businesses and still stay fit and able to travel around the world on a month-to-month basis was simply writing down my day-to-day success list. I called it a “success list” instead of a to-do list to elevate my mindset. For every task I accomplish, I feel more rewarded and successful, which then boosts my productivity. Make every hour count in your day! – Fritz Colcol, ABN Circle

9. Sit Up Straight and Smile

Being mindful of your facial expressions and posture will work wonders for your daily productivity, happiness and ultimately, health. The simple act of sitting up straight and smiling releases dopamine and serotonin (positive hormones) throughout your brain. Make this a habit by setting reminders. Over time, you’ll notice a lift in your mood that will help you produce your best work. – Karlo Tanjuakio, GoLeanSixSigma.com

Entrepreneur having a short break, spacing out

10. Take Many Short Breaks

While it may seem productive to work for four straight hours, working in four one-hour periods with short breaks in between is a much better strategy. This prevents mental burnout and can keep your energy levels consistent throughout the day. I recommend looking into something like the Pomodoro method for more research. – Bryce Welker, Accounting Institute of Success

11. Hold Walking Meetings

A simple way to make your days more productive is by booking walking meetings. You’ll get a nice amount of steps in, an increase in your general health and well-being. Also, walking often makes you think better, so you’ll likely make better decisions. Besides, you can do this face-to-face or on the phone. – Aaron Selkrig, Selkrig Performance Unit

12. Always Be Networking

Talk to a new person every day for a week. I think we get so caught in the same cycle it can be easy to not engage with different people. You never know what story and experience the person on the bus or in life to get coffee behind you might be able to share. You think you know what your day is going to be like until you meet new people and expand your horizons. – Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.

13. Exercise More

Sometimes I get busy and say, “I’ll go to the gym tomorrow,” only to realize that I haven’t been to the gym in months. When I start going to the gym for a little bit of cardio and weight training for an hour a day, three days a week, I feel so much better. Words can’t describe the energy, productivity and happiness I feel once I get my body back in the rhythm of exercising. – John Turner, SeedProd LLC