7 Areas to Improve Your Productivity in the New Year 
I did have set a challenge to myself as I wanted to be more productive with my time. After realising, plus reading articles from multiple sources, reading books, watching documentaries, talking to people, this list of areas I wanted to some sort follow throughout the year. I compiled this list a few years ago, and every year I review and check if I am on track, what has worked, what has not worked and what should I include and exclude. And am still working on maximising my efficiency and making the most of my time.
Everybody has the same time length as you and I go throughout the day, we should not find any excuses based on somebody else experiences, on the other hand, at the same time, I wanted to share here with you as I find it quite useful.
- Limit email replies to one per minute.
- Turn off the new. There is nothing important there. You find yourself just following somebody else agenda.
- If I can’t understand what an email asks: I don’t reply.
- Don’t answer the phone. Emergencies are rare.
- Use keyboard shortcuts.
- Suppose someone contacts you via chat (WhatsApp, Slack, Teams) with a simple ‘Hi’. I don’t say anything. When I want to contact someone, I briefly explain the meaning of my contact, and I expect the same back.
I don’t read emails first thing in the morning, and I prefer to look after my things first rather than somebody else’s priorities.
I limit the number of replies, and I don’t reply to everything; it is the essential and worth response; otherwise, I don’t.
If I don’t understand what an email asks, I don’t reply.
I stopped listening to the news in the morning and for the rest of the day. I find that there’s nothing so important to allow my energy to drain with the information, plus what I’m putting in is not always what I agree and want in my life. So No, I do not read or listen to the news anymore.
I don’t typically answer the phone straight away unless it is an emergency, which tends to be rare. I listen to the voice message and call back if it is interesting enough to return the call.
I DO use keyboard shortcuts, and I even set some of them to accommodate a particular need or program, especially for repetitive tasks. Come on, who don’t use shortcuts? They are so much easier and faster. It may be harder to remember them initially, but the more you practice, the more it will become second nature.
- Define your fashion uniform. Wear it daily.
- Wear smart fabrics.
- Carry on an all-occasion outfit with you.
- Discard what you stop using.
I tend to keep it simple and standard. I got a set of designs and wear for a particular occasion, and tend to use similar colours (my favourite is blue).
in the process of minimalism minimalist and want only to have and carry what I need. Most of us don’t use 80% of our stuff and clothes are included.
I want to wake up and don’t have to spend my process thinking and decision making energy for the day deciding what clothes to wear.
I tend to get good quality, not branded, highly-priced fashion clothes, but suitable fabrics that will last for a while.
I dispose of the ones I don’t use anymore. That’s simple.
- Visualise your end product.
- Start before you feel ready.
- Assume you are right when in doubt.
- If you have a mind block, make a mind map.
- If you can’t write it down, record it.
- Doodle and notes in a non-particular format as you go along. It helps visualise and memorise.
- Document what works and is valuable and current.
- Retire what needs to save and delete what’s duplicated and not helpful to avoid confusion in future when required to refer to.
I like that word as it implies that we can bend our reality. Bend the rules of life in our favour.
Visualisation is essential for anything you want to do. It is no longer a secret anymore. All the successful people do, ranging from sports athletes to celebrities, entrepreneurs, inventors and anyone who has anything at all in life, maybe you do unconsciously, I mean, involuntary. Trust me, it is much more enjoyable when you know what you want from the thinking process up to when it materialises, and the feeling is most rewarding. Watch Think and Grow Rich – The Movie, and you will understand what I mean.
I start before I’m ready and learn along the way; the last thing I want is to end up in the learning loop. Lear a little, do a little, make a mistake, review, repeat many times over until you are done. I have an upgraded quote for that line:
“Don’t worry about speed, direction is more important. I would rather be moving slowly in the right direction than fast in the wrong one.” – Steven Barlett (founder of Social Chain, ThirdWeb and FlightStory)
I assume I’m right when I’m not sure, as I feel much more productive that way. If an error occurs, I adjust and carry on. I don’t want to get stuck in decision conflicts.
When I get a mental blockage, I draw, make a doodle, progress with a mind map then process mapping as I find it easier to release any blockages that my mind tends to set the traps.
When I can’t write, I record myself later on the transcript. The main thing is not to lose momentum.
I like to give and receive feedback, whether it is wrong or good; as long as it is constructive, I think everybody deserves the opportunity to improve as life is a constant and not a definitive end.
- Manage anxiety – run, swim, dance, walk.
- Sleep more. You will get more done.
- Take naps when energy runs low.
- Do meditate.
- Be grateful for each day of your existence.
- Kiss your kids good night as if it was the last.
- Be ready to die.
- Enjoy more time with family and friends.
- Have faith.
I have natural anxiety about doing things, and I can’t stand still for too long. I have to do something. One of my habits is to go for a walk, it can be anywhere really, but I prefer in the countryside where I can see some trees and mountains, my favourite spots are those, but I could go anywhere as well, as long as I’m walking, I’m happy. When I’m at clients, I do one thing at lunchtimes: walk and explore the region; if you want to team up with me discuss anything outside the office, you better be ready to go for a hike as you won’t find me seat in a corner in an office canteen.
I sleep well most of the time; I force myself to sleep not too late as I like to wake up early; I mean early as
five 4:30 am as I find it much more productive around this time than later in the afternoon, for example.
When my energy is low and I feel drained, I like to close my eyes for a moment or even get a quick 5-10 minutes nap (some calls power naps). I think this gives me a bust for the rest of the day. There’s no one set rule about meditating, as far as I am aware. And if you have no idea how to do it, there are plenty of apps or even audios you can get from YouTube guiding you through. The practice becomes a habit, and habit becomes your second nature. There are things we don’t have control in life, and soon as we manage to let it go, there fear, the worries, and live life with abundance, and enjoy each day as if it was the last, in my opinion, it is a life to worth living.
- Do the easiest things first.
- Prioritise one item per day.
- Set a daily routine.
- No meetings unless they are decisive.
- Better done than perfect.
Most of the time, you need to aim to keep yourself happy, as this will motivate you to do more and more until all the things you need to get done. I focus on the things that I have to do that is easy or more challenging; first, it depends; I focus on the gradual build-up satisfaction that it gives me once a task is complete, then move to the next and the next after that.
Have you heard the book “The One Thing“? Yes, I’ve learned that focusing on one thing is much better than having a list of priorities if there’s such a thing as a priority in the plural. One thing a day will get you much closer to your goal than waiting for the right moment to do a bulk load of things, and it will frustrate you, guaranteed.
I like to have a daily routine. I’ve learned a lot by trying and error and having constant productive discussions about this subject with my wife. What to focus on, list of things to do, amongst many things, like wake up early, have a glass of water, sometimes with apple cider, a cup of black filtered coffee (no sugar), read my life goal list for a few minutes, think about what I’m going to do for the day and being grateful for what I have right now. Skip breakfast, 16 hours fasting, I know some may not agree with that, but since I have been skipping breakfast for over
a year two years now, I have been feeling much better throughout the day, I can concentrate better, and feel even more energised. My next step is OMAD (One Meal A Day), starting every Tuesday, with no meal for 24 hours. I’m going to say I am impressed, I thought I was going to give up on the first try, and it has been four weeks now, and I feel pretty good on that day. Walk in my lunchtime for at least 30 minutes, sometimes 1 hour. I have been running for the past 12 months almost every day, between 5k to 10k, occasionally 13k. And I feel like it is a habit now as I want to carry on even more. I trust the walking routine were the basis to get to this point. Have a light lunch, have a not so heavy dinner, play with the kids, have a pleasant conversation with my other half, watch something interesting like a documentary or something factual; I try to limit fictional to a minimum. I’m trying to limit my alcohol intake (Fridays and Saturdays), ideally, stop altogether; let’s see what’s brings the new year. I have a nice update on this line. I have been sober since August 2020. And I can see how my mind, body and soul have transformed for much better, and I wish I would have done this way before that. All these accomplishments in this article would not have been a success if I had not stopped drinking alcohol. Not that I did have social or family issues with it. It is not that. It is a fact that I could not have been able to concentrate on any of these.
What about the meetings? Are they necessary? Only the important ones and I try not to elongate them with nonsense talking, and I prefer to spend the time on doing than talking.
I prefer to get things done than get them perfect as it takes a long time to make them perfect, and usually, it goes over the deadlines.
- Routine your meals.
- Eat healthy food.
- Get delivered to save time.
- Negotiate a daily deal with your supplier.
Getting into an eating routine is not easy, but you should try. Since my family and I have started doing that, I find it better, enhancing my productivity.
Healthy food depends on the point of view and has gone across the transition to eating more plant-based food and less meat in general;
Avoid going in-person shopping. There are too many marketing traps there. Especially if you are hungry or can’t resist a “promotion”. Online shopping is pretty efficient and reasonably fast these days. In the UK, most of the biggest groceries retailers are delivering at a reasonable price and good delivery services, and you don’t need to spend hours shopping when instead of being productive with the convenience of getting it delivered to your door; if you can’t wait, there’s Amazon Prime who can have within hours. I think that is pretty awesome if you are ever that desperate.
When I’m working away, in a client, and I find a good restaurant and I find going there regularly, I tend to ask for a discounted price or loyalty program discount. You can do that for your coffee too. Why not? With being working towards eating less, I prefer now to choose the better quality that I can find. I know it can come with the price, but it is my body at the end of the day, and I instead spend on good food now than later with health care.
- Notice the 80/20 rule. 20% of work produces 80% of the result.
- Focus on the important, suppress the urgent.
- Decide the outcome before even starting.
- Start ‘idea dump’ book for genius ideas you can’t work on now.
- Eliminate trivial decisions, like what to wear.
- Learn to ignore—no need to respond to everything.
- Do a bad first draft. You can’t edit a blank page.
- Treat time as your money.
Since I’ve heard of the 80/20 rule (In the book “The One Thing“), which means, 20% of work produces 80% of the result, I have been working on it, and it is applicable in almost anything in life, like magic, except that it is a natural law, well, like the law as it does work. Try it.
Just focus on the essential bits and suppress the urgent matter.
I like to decide the outcome even before it starts.
Ideas come and go, and the secret is in the execution of the picture, be prepared, get prepared, take notes; I walk with a small notebook, which I take notes as ideas flow in my mind and later work on something that I have seen or thought about the other day. The more I do it, the more ideas I have.
Don’t spend time with trivial decisions like what to wear for the day. Have a set of clothes and colours that you don’t have to decide, save the energy for more significant decision points.
I’ve learned to ignore and not to respond or react to everything. You don’t have to say or respond, say you will come back to that, and do it needs to, and forget or ignore if it doesn’t worth it.
I tend to draft first, then return and adjust as I find that much more helpful than a blank page or going into too many details at the beginning and missing out on end due to too much time spent trying to make it perfect.
I’ve learned to treat time as money, and it works!
There you go, this is my every year new resolution. For the past few years, it grew and got reviewed, and I don’t expect to end there, I expect to get even more evolved than this. But one thing is for sure, with consistency and perseverance, anything is possible.
What about yours?