How to be productive on a daily basis

We all have days when we’re not in our sweet spot of optimum productivity but my hope in sharing this post with you is that those days will be few and far in between the productive ones.

These are all things that have worked for me; even if just one of these tips helps you be more productive, I’ll consider the writing of this post worthwhile.


Start your day with intention

When you start your day, decide how you want for it to go.

Do you need to make lots of decisions today? Do you need to just work and get things done? Do you need to connect with people and build relationships? Do you have to have hard conversations? (these are all aspects of a typical day for me)

Once you have the intention for the day, you might even want to dress for it. On a day of hard decisions/ conversations, I often wear red to the office 🙂

Always have a list

A list helps you focus on your priorities.It doesn’t have to be boring. Make it fun by using brightly coloured pens, write in fun notebooks or on a post-it note.

The reason we have a list is to help you focus.

If you only need to focus on two things today, then your list has two things. I suggest you only put 3 – 6 items on your list so that you’ll get through them. Your daily list is not the space for a brain dump – save the extraneous items for your master to-do list.


Eat your frogs

Frogs are those things you find difficulty in doing. Eating the frog means doing those things first.

Usually these are things like dealing with the difficult client query first thing in the morning…

The point of eating the frog is this – even if your day goes pear-shaped, at least the important things got done early on.

Mix up rewards with work

For every x number of minutes you work, do something fun to relax.

I love tea. So I reward myself with a cup of tea (not every hour) after a block of really good work.

Taking that break refreshes you and gives you an energy burst.

You’ll have to experiment to find your optimum block of working time – mine is about 2 hours. I tried 45 minutes as I’d read all over the place and I’d always feel like I was just getting into the zone where things flow when it was time for a break. So I extended my work block and I am far more productive.

What are your tips to be productive?

Is this something you struggle with? Why?

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  1. This is something I have been struggling with a little. I have become so busy I have almost worked myself to a standstill. I feel like I cannot concentrate.
    I read this thing about working 30 minutes and then taking a 5 minute break and you do this for 4 cycles and then take a 15 minute break.
    It sounds short, but it works for my eyes, which I was advised to rest every 20 minutes. I found I could concentrate longer after a while. I just needed to get myself started.
    So you assign a task to the chunk of time and you do not get distracted by something else. If something comes to mind while I am busy, I just write it down and continue.

    • That sounds like a good rhythm to your work. I know the Pomodoro is 25 mins and 5 mins break (there’s an app if you want to try – you can adjust the times in the app).

      It could be that you work yourself to a standstill because your brain is holding your very long to-do list. Have you dumped out all your tasks on a master list?

  2. Great post. Also something that I am struggling with at the moment. I know I am definitely more productive when I make a list. Just got to be better at doing it everyday. When things are either very crazy or very quiet, I skip the list and then everything goes pear shaped. I also know the hardest part for me is starting. Once I get started, I can keep going. Most often I do the opposite of “eat the frog”. I find it easier to get started with easy tasks and tick them of my list and that builds the momentum for me to get to the more difficult tasks.

    • Let me give you a tip that works well. Tell yourself of those frogs….what is the smallest, easiest micro-step you can do to start the frog?

      E.g. For drafting documents, I start playing with fonts or outlines (fun!) and that helps me settle in to start!

      Or for my work budgets, I started making a list with my pretty PENS. Takes 5 minutes but gets my mind focused to “really” start.

  3. Excellent tip!!!

  4. Making a list of your works and prioritizing them is very basic and important part of life. Very beautiful tips.

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