Every ambitious professional hits this wall eventually. Your to-do list keeps growing, but you still have 24 hours in a day. How do you get more productive when you’re already working as many hours as you can?

Even if you hand off work to someone else, you still have to ruthlessly prioritize and choose which things won’t get done. There’s simply not enough time to do everything you want to do — which is why you need to work on time management.

That time crunch is the reason productivity techniques are such a hot topic. Amazon lists over 60,000 books related to productivity.

There’s a lot of advice out there. It seems like everyone has their own productivity system, and nobody has found the perfect solution yet.

That’s why we wrote this guide. Use this list to compare some of the most popular productivity methods. At least one of them will work for you.

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10 best productivity systems

People are different. Some people love cilantro, and others hate it. Your desk might be super organized, or you might subscribe to Albert Einstein’s belief that a cluttered desk is a sign of an active mind.

It should be no surprise, then, that there’s a huge variety of productivity techniques to suit different kinds of people.

You won’t actually know if a system will work for you until you try it.

There’s a big difference between being busy and being productive.

For best results, focus on just one tactic at a time. Bookmark this post so you can come back to the list and try something else if your first attempt doesn’t go as well as you hope.

Here’s one more tip before you start.

If you plan to increase your productivity, you should start tracking your productivity metrics now.

There’s a big difference between being productive and being busy. Productivity means that you’re doing quality work, getting a lot of high-priority tasks done, and wasting as little time as possible.

Productivity diagram

Track your work time so you can see accurate, unbiased productivity data. In fact, time tracking can be a powerful productivity booster on its own.

When you’re ready to get started, use this list to pick a productivity technique to try.

Quick overview

Technique What it is
The Pomodoro Technique Use a timer to work in a structured system of focus time and breaks
The Pareto (80/20) Technique Focus on the top 20% of tasks that have 80% of the impact
Time Blocking Schedule blocks of time on your calendar for specific tasks
Getting Things Done (GTD) Write down and organize ideas so that you can focus on top priorities
Zen to Done Adopt a system of habits to make productivity come automatically
Task Batching Work on similar tasks together to get into flow state more easily
Don’t Break the Chain Build or break a habit by focusing on one thing each day
Eat the Frog Beat procrastination by doing the most difficult or important thing first
Intentional Single-tasking Finish faster by focusing on one thing at a time
The Rule of Three Instead of focusing on tasks, focus on three main goals

1. The Pomodoro Technique

Pomodoro is a type of tomato. It’s also a productivity system. The name “Pomodoro Technique” comes from the tomato-shaped timer that inventor Francesco Cirillo used to measure his work time and breaks.

Pomodoro technique

This productivity system works on a structured schedule of focused, uninterrupted work time and scheduled breaks. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Pick a task to work on. Choose only one task and get rid of all other distractions. Close your browser tabs, turn off your Slack and social media notifications, and get ready to focus.
  2. Set a timer for 25 minutes. Once the timer is running, you’re in focus mode. Work on your chosen task and resist the urge to do anything else until after the timer goes off. This 25-minute work segment is called a pomodoro.
  3. When the timer goes off, make a mark that you’ve finished a pomodoro and take a five-minute break. Even if you’re still in the mood to work, take a break. Use your timer to make sure your break is just five minutes.
  4. After finishing four pomodoros, take a longer break. Your long break should be at least 15 minutes, but not more than 30. Give yourself time to mentally decompress. It’s a good idea to walk away from your desk during this time.

You can use the Pomodoro Technique to tackle a big item on your to-do list, or this might be how you structure every workday. Some teams even use this system across their entire company.

Here you can find a task tracking template that you can use for the Pomodoro technique – it’s free for up to five users.

Who it’s for

The Pomodoro Technique works best for people who work on focused, creative types of work. This is great for people like software engineers, writers, people who do a lot of research, and anyone who does repetitive tasks for a large part of their day.

Cirillo was a student when he invented this technique. It’s a great method for studying because it balances intense focus with short breaks that give you time to absorb information.

Some people can’t use this productivity system because of the nature of their work. For example, your customer support agents would have a tough time answering live chats and phone calls in pomodoros.

Pros and cons

If you have deadlines to meet, this is a powerful system. You feel a sense of accomplishment and can see your progress after every session.

Planning ahead is easier with this system, too. You learn to break big tasks into 25-minute segments, which makes planning your day more practical. If a task doesn’t fit into a pomodoro, you can’t do it that day.

The Pomodoro Technique is a great way to tackle big tasks, but it’s less ideal if you need to finish a lot of little things.

Each time you change tasks, you lose a little bit of focus, so multitasking is a big productivity drain. The Pomodoro Technique limits task switching. This means you get more done with your work time.

However, some jobs need a lot of task switching.

This technique loses a lot of effectiveness if you can’t block out distractions. Entrepreneurs especially struggle with this. Your team needs you, your customers need you, and you can’t always control when the phone or the doorbell rings.

Those short breaks can become a problem, too.

Some tasks are easier when you get into a flow state. If you’re in the flow and the timer goes off, it can take a long time to get back to peak productivity. Lots of people struggle to reach flow state at all when they’re limited to 25 minutes of focused time.

2. The Pareto (80/20) technique

The Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, applies to a surprising amount of everyday things.

If you have a garden, 20% of the plants will grow 80% of the crops. Look at your team, and 20% of the people do 80% of the work. The Pareto Principle applies to everything from the economy to the distribution of stars in the universe.

The Pareto Principle or the 80/20 rule

And, yes, it applies to your productivity system, too.

When you work, the top 20% of your time generates 80% of your revenue. If you use a productivity tracking tool, you might notice that you have focused bursts where you get a lot of work done, then a lot of time that doesn’t seem to generate much.

At the same time, 20% of your tasks make up 80% of your results. That means that your top priorities are at least four times more important than everything else.

Whether you pay attention to it or not, the 80/20 rule already applies to your work. You can use this basic principle to get more done in the same amount of time.

To put this rule to work for you, determine which of your tasks are in that top 20%, then tackle them first. Spend the first 80% of your day working only on those priorities. Then, you can shift focus to lower priority tasks at the end of the day if you need to.

Who it’s for

This productivity improvement system works well when you have control over your priorities and to-do list. It’s great for an entrepreneur or freelancer but not ideal for someone in a production role.

You can use the 80/20 technique when prioritizing is your biggest concern. It’s a good way to decide what gets done and what doesn’t.

Pros and cons

The Pareto Principle already applies to your work whether you pay attention to it or not. Using this productivity system may come more naturally to you because the concept is simple and profound.

However, this isn’t as structured of a system as some of the other ones on this list.

To make an 80/20 productivity plan work, you need to spend a lot of time planning and analyzing. If your priorities aren’t clear or you don’t have enough data to make informed decisions, choose a different system.

3. Time blocking

Time blocking is a popular technique because it’s simple, effective, and works in most situations.

Lots of people think of time blocking as a scheduling technique. If you deal with a lot of meetings, that way of thinking might work better for you.

The idea behind time blocking is that you break your day into focused blocks of time and schedule specific tasks in each block. When the time is up, you switch tasks, even if you didn’t finish the one you were already working on.

Time blocking calendar

Lots of people think of this as a scheduling technique. In fact, you can use your calendar to organize your time blocks and force yourself to switch tasks on time.

Here’s how to do it.

Start by making a list of everything you need to accomplish by the end of the week. Don’t overlook meetings, checking your email, and breaks. Those take up time in your day, and you should plan for them, too.

When you add up all your tasks, you might realize that you don’t have enough time to get everything done.

Next, estimate how much time it takes to complete each task on the list.

When you add up the time you need for all of your tasks, you’ll probably find that you don’t have enough hours in your week to get everything done. Prioritize the most important tasks and schedule those first.

You can use a paper calendar, but you’re better off using the calendar app you use to schedule meetings. Make sure your highest priority tasks are marked as unavailable time so that your team can’t interrupt you with meeting requests.

Add any meetings or scheduled items that you can’t move next. With the remaining time, add in lower priority tasks wherever they fit.

When you get an alert saying that a time block is over and it’s time to work on something else, move to the next task. It’s okay if you didn’t finish the task. You can come back to that later in another scheduled time block.

To make this even easier, get our free time blocking template.

Who it’s for

Time blocking is ideal for people who need to manage a lot of different tasks and priorities. If you already work from a calendar, this will be an intuitive system for you.

If it doesn’t fit into a block, it doesn’t make it onto your to-do list.

This is a great productivity system for freelancers and other people who do client work. By scheduling time for each client with a clear starting and stopping point, you can make sure that each of your customers gets the attention they deserve.

Entrepreneurs always seem to overcommit themselves. This technique can help break that bad habit.

You’ll get better at estimating how long each task should take and learn to say no to anything that doesn’t fit your top priorities. If it doesn’t fit in a block, it doesn’t make it onto your to-do list.

Pros and cons

This is a versatile system that’s easy to learn, easy to follow, and very effective.

One of the biggest advantages of timeboxing is that it trains you to get work done more efficiently so that you can finish before you run out of time in your block. You’ll find that you can tune out distractions and defer interruptions until the right time.

People who don’t do traditional desk work can still use time blocking effectively. You can use it to get through your list of household chores or tackle big projects that look impossible.

On the other hand, time blocking takes a lot of time and effort to set up. At the beginning of each week, you need to go through the entire process. List your tasks, estimate hours, and put all those little boxes on your schedule.

In other words, you must add a box to your schedule to set up your timeboxes each week.

While sometimes you need a rigid schedule, this technique takes some practice to allow more flexibility into your day.

You don’t want to schedule downtime, but you do need to adjust if things come up that demand your attention.

Time blocking is a powerful productivity system, but a lot of people abandon it because it takes too much time and effort to stick with it.

4. Getting Things Done (GTD)

The basic idea behind Getting Things Done is that you should get your ideas out of your head and onto paper so that your mental efforts stay focused on the right things.

GTD is a system for overthinkers.

This happens in five steps.

  1. Capture – Write everything down. As soon as you have a thought about a task, project idea, or question, jot it down and get back to what you were doing.
  2. Clarify – At the right time, go back to your list and process those things into clear and actionable steps. Some things might not be a priority, but others should go on your to-do list so you can handle them at the right time.
  3. Organize – Put those things in the right place. Appointments go on your calendar. Tasks go into your task management software. Anything that you need to delegate gets assigned accordingly.
  4. Review – Look back at what you did last week and forward at what you’ve planned this week. Are those things aligned with your goals? Do smaller reviews each day to make sure you’re on track.
  5. Engage – Work on tasks in order of priority. When you’re working, turn off distractions and focus on finishing one task at a time.

You can layer Getting Things Done on top of a different productivity improvement system to make it more effective.

For example, let’s assume that you already use time blocking, but you have a hard time deciding what to schedule and keeping distractions to a minimum. Add Getting Things Done to the mix to help you organize your ideas and get them scheduled at the right times.

Getting Things Done

Who it’s for

This is a system for overthinkers.

If you’re the type that can’t sleep at night because of the ideas buzzing around in your brain, Getting Things Done is for you. Its goal is to organize those thoughts so that you can focus your energy on the task at hand.

This focus makes it a great system for creative professionals.

Since you can combine Getting Things Done with other methods, this is also a good option for people who are looking for a better way to manage priorities.

Pros and cons

The biggest advantage of Getting Things Done is that it addresses a problem that most entrepreneurs have. It’s hard to choose what to work on when there are so many opportunities.

Instead of forcing you to ignore all those brilliant ideas, Getting Things Done embraces them and gives you a structured way to fit them into your schedule.

That’s a double-edged sword, though. You can quickly overwhelm yourself with a huge list of things that you don’t have time to do. If you tend to spend a lot of time chasing the next opportunity, you might need a more structured system to help you focus on finishing one thing.

Getting Things Done doesn’t apply to anyone who doesn’t set their own priorities. It’s a great system for business leaders, but most of your team members will need to use something else.

4. Zen to Done

Zen to Done

Zen to Done is a modified version of the Get Things Done (GTD) technique. To use Zen to Done, work on adopting these ten habits.

You don’t have to do them all at once, and you don’t have to develop all ten. Focus on one at a time and select habits that address whatever issue you’re currently facing.

  1. Collect – Carry a notebook or use an app on your phone to write down ideas, tasks, or anything else that pops into your mind. Instead of working on those things right away, write them down so that you can focus on whatever you were already doing.
  2. Process – Instead of noticing small tasks and putting them off until later, process them and make decisions immediately. This applies to your email inbox, your incoming tasks, and anywhere else you get assigned new to-dos. If you can do it in two minutes or less, finish it. If not, trash it, delegate it, file it, or schedule it.
  3. Plan – Determine your top three priorities for the week and schedule them first. Then, schedule the top priorities for each day. Fit everything else around those major projects.
  4. Focus – Only work on one task at a time. Turn off notifications, put your cell phone away, and eliminate distractions.
  5. Keep it simple – Use a simple system for everything. Don’t switch from tool to tool or bounce around to different techniques all the time. Find the simplest way to do something and stick with it.
  6. Organize – Everything has its place. Tasks should be organized based on where they are in the process and what you need to do next. Organize as you go instead of waiting and sorting things out later. As soon as you read an email, file it. When you get a new task, assign it.
  7. Review – Did you meet your goals last week? What are your goals for this week? Review weekly to make sure you stay on track, and look at larger goals on a monthly basis.
  8. Simplify – When new work gets added to your to-do list, find ways to strip it to its essentials and finish it in the simplest way possible.
  9. Routines – The more you practice a routine, the less you have to think about it. Set and keep weekly routines like checking your email at a certain time, scheduling all meetings on a certain day, or even dropping off your laundry on Thursday mornings only.
  10. Find your passion – Look for tasks and work that you’re passionate about. Maybe it’s a cause you can pursue at work, or you might love a specific type of task. Whatever it is, find ways to incorporate passion into your day.

Who it’s for

People who have used the Get Things Done approach might like Zen to Done a little better because it’s more flexible and simpler.

If you’re the type of person who journals and reflects, you’ll like Zen to Done.

This system works best for people who work independently and like to analyze. If you’re the type of person who likes to reflect on your successes and failures to gain more insight, this is the perfect productivity tactic for you.

Pros and cons

Zen to Done is one of the few systems that works for any kind of job. Whether you work on an assembly line or you’re the CEO of a billion-dollar company, you can use the principles of Zen to Done to finish tasks more efficiently.

That being said, it’s not the simplest or most structured productivity strategy. You must decide which parts to use and which to ignore, and applying them to your task list is totally up to you.

If you want a system that you start using today and see results tomorrow, this isn’t the choice for you.

6. Task batching

Imagine you need to make sandwiches for a picnic with all your friends.

When you make those sandwiches, is it most efficient to make and wrap each one individually? No — the most efficient way to handle this task is to set out all the bread, then spread all the mayonnaise, then add the meat to every sandwich, and so on.

This is called task batching.

When you group similar activities together, you get things done faster. This productivity technique works because it minimizes distractions and reduces context switching.

Remember, it takes 23 minutes to refocus after a distraction. Task batching helps you stay focused on the task at hand.

Here’s how to get started.

  • List all of your tasks – First, write down all the tasks you need to complete. Pay special attention to repetitive tasks since these are the best fit for task batching.
  • Group tasks into categories – Organize those tasks into logical groups. For example, you could have one category for your inbox and schedule, another for research, and a third for meetings and calls.
  • Divide categories based on mental effort – Some types of work take more effort and concentration than others. Rate each category from one to five. A rating of one means it’s simple or mindless, and a five means it needs the most focus and effort.
  • Create a schedule – Add batches of tasks to your calendar. Schedule the most difficult batches in the morning when you’ll have the most energy and concentration.

Give yourself breaks between four- and five-level tasks by scheduling batches of lower effort work. You’ll wear out if you try to do too much all at once. Nobody can sustain that kind of focus for more than a few hours.

Be careful, though. It’s easier to get distracted when you do long stretches of boring, repetitive work. Try to give yourself a variety each day.

Who it’s for

Task batching is very useful if you do a lot of repetitive work.

Virtual assistants and data entry specialists can benefit from this technique and get more done in less time.

It’s also a good system for customer support representatives, retail teams, and people in manufacturing or shipping. Batching manual tasks is just as easy as intellectual ones.

Schedule batches of high-focus tasks at the time of day when you have the most energy. For most people, that’s the beginning of the work day.

This system also works for non-repetitive tasks like writing and graphic design. However, if creative work is a big part of your job, task batching might not be the best option. It’s harder to use an assembly line mentality for highly creative work.

Pros and cons

Task batching improves your focus and makes it easier to get into a good flow. It also forces you to break down big projects into smaller tasks, which helps you feel less intimidated about getting started on a project.

With task batching, you’ll make fewer mistakes, work faster, and get more done.

The main drawback of task batching is the setup process. It takes time to divide all your projects into smaller tasks, categorize them, organize everything into batches, and create a schedule.

It’s also not always sustainable. Emergencies will definitely pop up from time to time, and you’ll need to abandon a batch of tasks to deal with them straight away.

7. Don’t break the chain

Don’t break the chain is a productivity method popularized by and named after comedian Jerry Seinfeld.

It’s simple. Choose a daily habit you want to build. Each day you complete your goal, add an ‘x’ to your calendar.

Over time, you’ll build a chain of x’s. Seeing the long chain makes you feel bad about breaking it, which motivates you to stick to it.

don't break the chain productivity technique

For example, let’s say you have a bad habit of working through lunch and you want to train yourself to take that break every day. Put a big, visible mark on your calendar every day that you take a full 30 minutes. Next time you’re tempted to eat at your desk, you’ll see the growing chain of successful days and think twice.

Here’s how it works.

  • Decide on a task or goal – What do you want to accomplish? Decide on a single goal you’d like to accomplish every day. It can be a habit you want to build or a daily task you need to complete.
  • Determine what constitutes an ‘X’ – Do you need to finish something completely, or are you happy with completing 80% of the work? Are there circumstances when you can plan ahead and give yourself a break? For example, you might want to arrive at work on time every day, but you can make an exception for a doctor’s appointment.
  • Download and print out a calendar – Having a physical calendar will help keep your goal top of mind because it’s visible. Download a calendar template for the current year and print it out or get a printed calendar that you like.
  • Start building the chain – Every day you complete the task, add an ‘x’ to your calendar. As days go by, watch the chain grow. Don’t break it.

Who it’s for

Don’t break the chain is for people that are looking for a simple productivity technique and enjoy using a pen and paper to mark their progress.

It’s a great choice for anyone looking to build a long-term habit like writing 1,000 words every day. You can also use it for personal habits like meeting your step goal or going to bed on time.

Procrastinators find that this system works especially well because it’s easier to get things done if you think about the one important thing that you can’t miss. Over time, you can start another chain for another habit and gradually break your procrastination habit.

Pros and cons

The main advantages of the don’t break the chain technique are that it’s simple and visual. It forces you to focus on the main task on your plate for the day.

However, it’s probably not the best option for you if you’re the type of person who needs a bit more motivation than a chain of ‘x’s on a calendar to complete your tasks.

This is not a productivity system that will help you manage your to-do list. Instead, it’s a technique that helps you build habits and stay consistent with a specific goal.

8. Eat the frog

Eat the frog got its name from a Mark Twain quote:

“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

The productivity consultant Brian Tracy is credited for creating the technique. To do it, identify the most important or most difficult task on your to-do list and complete it before starting anything else.

eat the frog productivity technique

If you think a task is going to take multiple days to complete, you can divide it into steps. Then, make the first step your ‘frog’ for the day.

Who it’s for

Eat the frog is for people who have a hard time prioritizing tasks. It forces you to determine which tasks are the most important so that you can complete them before doing anything else.

This technique is also great for anyone who struggles with procrastination.

If you’re the type of person who finds creative ways to procrastinate — like deciding that you need to clean your entire apartment before getting started on a difficult task — this technique will help you get started on your most important task of the day more easily.

Pros and cons

By making you do your most important task first, you take advantage of the time in the day when your energy and concentration levels are at their highest.

You also have the most willpower at the start of the day, so it makes sense to tackle the thing you want to do the least.

The drawback is that starting the day with your most difficult task can be demotivating. If you don’t feel like getting started on your frog, you might avoid doing anything.

9. Intentional single-tasking

Everyone knows a person that brags about being an effective multitasker. Maybe you’re that person yourself.

There’s no such thing as effective multitasking.

When you think you’re multitasking, what you’re actually doing is rapid task-switching. People who try to handle too many tasks actually get less done.

What you should try doing instead is intentional ‘single-tasking’. Focus on a single task and work only on that one task until you complete it.

This technique is easier when you cut out distractions.

  • Put your smartphone away – This one’s obvious. Your smartphone is likely the biggest source of distractions around. Put it in your desk drawer or leave it in another room.
  • Close down all other browser tabs – Do you usually have a dozen browser tabs open? Close down all the tabs that aren’t essential for the task at hand.
  • Install a website blocker – There are website blocking extensions for most modern web browsers. Install one and block distracting websites such as Facebook and Twitter. Keep them blocked until you’re done with work.

Who it’s for

Honestly, everyone should be single-tasking. You can also combine it with most of the other techniques from this list.

Pros and cons

Single-tasking will make you more productive, reduce your stress levels, and help you get into a state of flow more easily.

However, it will take you some time to get used to it if you’re the type of person who likes working on or thinking about different tasks at the same time.

10. The rule of three

The rule of three is simple. Choose three outcomes you want to achieve for the:

  • Day
  • Week
  • Month
  • Year

Unlike most productivity techniques, the rule of three focuses on outcomes instead of activities. By focusing on outcomes, you ensure that you’re not spinning your wheels by working on tasks that don’t move the needle forward.

The rule of three keeps you focused on the outcomes you want instead of the things on your to-do list.

Want to start using the rule of three to improve your productivity?

  • Decide on your three outcomes – Write down what you’d like to accomplish today, this week, this month, or this year. It’s okay to be ambitious, but make sure you’re realistic, too.
  • Break outcomes into tasks – Take your list of outcomes and break them down into tasks necessary to achieve them. For example, if you’re looking to publish a blog post today, your tasks might include doing research, writing, editing, and adding the post to your website.
  • Ignore everything else – Once you have a list of tasks that lead you to your desired outcomes, don’t work on anything else until you complete them. Prioritize those ahead of everything else.
  • Review your day – After each day, review what you’ve accomplished and ask yourself if you did everything you set out to do. If you’ve failed to achieve your three outcomes, refocus tomorrow.

Who it’s for

If you often find yourself working the entire day without much to show for it, the rule of three might be for you. It will help you focus on results, instead of working just to stay busy.

It’s especially suited for self-employed individuals, such as freelancers and consultants.

Pros and cons

The rule of three helps you see the big picture and forces you to focus on what really matters. It’s also easy to get started with, which makes it more likely you’ll stick to it.

However, if you’re not self-employed and don’t have a lot of say in what tasks you’re going to focus on every day, the rule of three might not be the best fit for you.

Bonus: 4 productivity tips to get more done

The methods we listed above are popular systems for a lot of reasons. No matter what productivity technique you use, though, you’ll get more out of it if you layer in good work habits.

These four tips work with all of the methodologies discussed in this article. Add them to your productivity toolkit to get more done in less time.

Use project management software

Project management software

Whether you’re working by yourself or as a part of a team, project management software can help you stay organized and enable you to be more productive.

You can use a project management tool to:

  • Create to-do lists – Keep track of all your to-dos in a single location and make sure you don’t forget anything.
  • Manage tasks – Create and assign tasks, set deadlines, and add checklists, notes, and attachments to each task.
  • Launch projects quickly – Use project templates to get started on a project quickly without having to brainstorm and create all the necessary tasks from scratch.
  • Meet deadlines more easily – Use the project Roadmap feature to see project progress at a glance and make any necessary adjustments to meet your deadline.

Hubstaff Tasks is an excellent tool for this.

Try it for free

Take advantage of automation

You’re looking to increase your productivity in order to get more done, right? Why not try automating some of the tasks you’re currently doing manually?

Automation can help you get more done in less time. It also enables you to eliminate human error, and with it, the need to waste time on re-doing tasks.

You can use automation to streamline all kinds of tasks. Email sorting, schedule management, marketing, and even customer support are all commonly automated tasks.

Here’s how to get started with automation.

  • Identify automation opportunities – Decide which tasks you should automate. Repetitive, recurring, and time-consuming tasks are usually a great fit for automation.
  • Find the right tools – Which automation tools you’re going to use will depend on the types of tasks you’re looking to automate. A tool like Zapier can help you automate a wide variety of tasks. There are also solutions out there that specialize in automating a specific type of task, such as email marketing or scheduling.
  • Automate your processes – Use automation software to automate just one process at first. Monitor the results closely. If everything seems to work properly, look into automating additional processes to save even more time.

Automate timesheets, payroll, and more with Hubstaff.

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Improve your work-life balance

As you can probably tell by now, increasing productivity doesn’t mean working more hours; it means finding ways to get more done in less time.

Improving your work-life balance can help with this. By having a healthy work-life balance, you’ll experience less stress and improve your physical and mental health. This, in turn, will enable you to be more productive at work.

Here are some things you can do to improve work-life balance:

  • Stick to set work hours – More and more companies have started offering flexible work hours. This can seem great at first. However, if you’re not good at managing your time, working flexible hours might mean that you end up working throughout the entire day, instead of being done by 5 or 6 PM, like you usually would.If you’re experiencing this, try setting fixed work hours for yourself and stick to them. Make sure to unplug completely during off-hours by turning off notifications and avoiding checking your inbox.
  • Strive to have an active social life – It’s not uncommon to get so busy that you neglect your social life, especially if you work from home. Try to schedule some social time with your friends at least once a week.
  • Engage in hobbies – Hobbies are a great way to keep your mind engaged during your free time. If you don’t have a hobby already, consider getting into photography, joining a dance class, taking martial arts lessons, or doing anything else that interests you.
  • Take time off – Taking time off regularly is crucial for maintaining work-life balance. Don’t be afraid to take time off to go on a trip or to just chill out at home from time to time.

Work during your peak productivity hours

Another way to boost your productivity is to try working during your peak productivity hours.

Regardless of whether you’re a morning person or a night owl, everyone has a time of the day when they do their best work. Similarly, everyone has a time of the day when they’re the least productive.

Time tracking is the best way to identify when you’re really at your most productive. You can use a time tracking tool like Hubstaff to do this.

Once you’ve tracked your time for a month, look through the data and look for days or times of the day where you complete certain tasks faster or slower.

Once you’ve identified your peak productivity hours, divide your workday into these categories:

  • High productivity hours – This is when you should focus on the most important tasks, as well as those that require a lot of concentration or effort.
  • Medium productivity hours – Reserve this time for tasks that don’t require a lot of critical thinking or creativity such as replying to emails or data entry.
  • Low productivity hours – While you can find low-effort tasks to do during low productivity hours, it’s best to use this time to rest by taking a break.

Next steps

You’ve reached the end of the list. Now it’s time to take action. Here’s what you should do next:

  • Pick a technique – Choose one productivity technique from the list. Pay attention to the Who it’s for section under each technique to get a better idea if a particular technique would be a good fit for you.
  • Test it out – Try out the technique for the next seven days. Review your week and figure out if the technique helped you be more productive or not. If you couldn’t stick to using the technique, or it just wasn’t a good fit for you, try another one from the list. There are bound to be at least a couple of techniques that you can implement into daily work.
  • Subscribe to the blog – We write about different ways to improve your productivity every week. Subscribe to the Hubstaff blog to get our latest productivity tips straight to your inbox.

Looking to learn more? Check out these posts:

This post was originally published in October 2019. It was updated in July 2021.