15 productivity hacks for successful work

Written by SM Team

June 17, 2024


Sometimes it seems we need all the productivity hacks for us to be able to walk away from our desk. There will be work days that effortlessly come together. And then there are those days where the work is endless. Getting to the point where the work piles up leads to work stress intruding into your personal time as it consistently ticks at the back of your brain. You then question why you work at all – if the cost is our mental wellbeing and happiness.

Nothing will work unless you do

One of the biggest challenges with working is staying focussed and completing tasks on time.

A bad day looks like you
can’t prioritise tasks
❌ are missing deadlines with emails getting lost
❌ have lack of focus, direction and clarity
❌ are feeling overwhelm
have little work-life balance

In the survey Does Employee Happiness Have an Impact on Productivity? which you can read >here, Management Science finds that happiness increases productivity with each one-unit increase in happiness (on a scale of 0-10) leading to a 12% increase in productivity.

✅ Work Productivity

  • Increases efficiency
  • Boosts work quality
  • Allows for better decision-making
  • Reduces stress to improves wellbeing and motivation for job satisfaction
  • Drives business growth and creative thinking
  • Leading to improved customer satisfaction 

15 productivity hacks for successful work

Productivity is a learned skill. Welcome to practical and productive tips to help you reach your work goals and succeed – whether working from home or the office. 

1. Wake up early

An early start gives you time to eat a good breakfast, work out, shower and gear up for the day ahead. 

🔥 Pro-tip: if you’re not used to waking up early, try easing yourself into the habit. Try going to bed and waking up 10 minutes earlier each day until you’ve reached your goal time. 

2. Eat breakfast every day

Breakfast gives our body the energy it needs to stay alert and focussed. Everything we eat is converted by our body into glucose for the energy our brains need to stay alert.

🔥 Pro-tip: try meal-prepping your breakfast the night before. Overnight oats and yogurt parfaits are easy to make ahead and grab when you’re on the go.


3. Exercise in the morning

30-minutes of regular exercise each day boosts your overall energy, so you’ll be more productive for the day ahead.

🔥 Pro-tip: don’t overwork yourself. Too much exercise can also result in injury, fatigue, depression and anxiety. Stick to 30-minutes of exercise a day, 3-5 days a week –  just to be safe.


4. Take time to journal

Writing in the morning or before bed can help organise your thoughts while boosting creativity and relieving stress. Writing can also improve communication skills, for more effective leadership. Let it out: self-expression arranges your thoughts for more coherence and clarity.

🔥 Pro-tip: dedicate about 30-minutes to journaling every morning to set up your day. No one needs to see what you write, so don’t worry about “whether it’s good enough.” It will work for you – that’s what matters most. 


5. Have a dedicated workspace

Create a dedicated space that has all the tools you need to be productive and is only used for work. Decorate it and give it personality – keep mood boards and family photos nearby to remind yourself why you do what you do. Compartmentalising your work space also makes it easier for your mental wellbeing too.

🔥 Pro-tip: Some homes are filled with too many distractions for workspace, so don’t be afraid to find areas outside the house to work, such as your local library, shared office space or a coffee shop.

6. Work near natural light

Natural light helps boost Vitamin D in our bodies to improve our circadian rhythms and sleep patterns. Natural light also helps us to focus so we get more done. Light creates a more comfortable environment.

🔥 Pro-tip: Try setting up your workspace near a window or sunny area.

7. Plan your day

A schedule keeps you on track and lessens the chance of distraction from your tasks or wasting time – because you’ll know what you need to do and when you’ll need to do it.

🔥 Pro-tip: get in the habit of keeping and updating a daily planner or calendar. Make a daily to-do list in the Notes app of your phone.

8. Set a single goal for the day

By setting yourself one goal, you’ll stay focussed. The less bandwidth your brain is taken up by too much mental clutter, the clearer it is to get things done – and done well.

🔥 Pro-tip: always keep your goal Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely – establish a SMART goal.


9. Avoid multitasking

Our brains aren’t built to do more than one thing at a time. As we multitask, our brains are bouncing back and forth between different tasks, which slows performance and leads to more mistakes. Multitasking can negatively affect our well-being, mental performance and productivity.

🔥 Pro-tip: Group similar tasks together and complete them one-by-one, instead of simultaneously. By grouping similar duties, your mind can quickly shift its focus to the next job on your list.


10. Take regular breaks

Giving yourself permission to relax and step away from your desk clears your mind, allowing you to return to work with more focus and greater energy.

🔥 Pro-tip: during those breaks, you can eat lunch, walk, stretch, read a book, meditate or connect with friends. Make sure your breaks leave you feeling refreshed and ready to work.


11. Work in time blocks

Time blocking involves scheduling blocks of time for your tasks throughout the day. Blocking this time in your calendar for your to-dos gives your workday structure, making it easier to focus while encouraging you to prioritise your tasks.

🔥 Pro-tip: The POMODORO Technique – which you can read about on verywellmind >here is a popular method for boosting productivity, breaking down working in 25-minute increments with 5-minute breaks in between each session. If this seems too small an increment for you, adjust to 50-minutes and 10-minute breaks – it’s about what works best for you.

12. If you can't do it ASAP, set deadlines

If you manage your time well, you should know which tasks can be completed immediately and which tasks require more attention. Set a deadline for a healthy sense of urgency to help you properly manage your time.

🔥 Pro-tip: Audit your time to see how long specific tasks take to complete so you will always create realistic and manageable deadlines.

13. Don't be afraid to say No

Learn to say ‘no’ to last-minute requests, impromptu phone calls and inconvenient plans in order to stay on track. Establish your boundaries and stick to your schedule. Alternatively, note what your priorities are and ask where the last-minute request or task could fit in to accommodate everyone’s schedule. Success is managing your and your team’s time well.

🔥 Pro-tip: if you have a shareable digital calendar such as Google Calendar, mark off specific days and times you’re unavailable for meetings or requests and share with your colleagues.

14. Forget about perfectionism

When all else fails, the most significant hack to productivity is patience – and getting it done. Be patient with yourself and remember that tomorrow is another opportunity to do better. Also realise a good plan rolled out now is better than the perfect plan for next week or next month. 

🔥 Pro-tip: Stick to 3 tasks a day to keep life focussed on completing tasks rather than getting those tasks perfect.

15. Schedule in Me Time

You schedule all your appointments in – right? You are just as important as those appointments, so make sure to schedule in self-care time too. This will prevent burnout. No self-care treat is too unimportant: me-time makes me-better.

🔥 Pro-tip: Fit self-care activities into your daily routine so you’ll always have something to look forward to, celebrate and reward yourself with.

Organise the office

Focus on being productive, rather than being busy

Need decluttering and organisation help? Space Managers declutters and organises busy families and homes. Book a FREE 20-minute Discovery session >here to organise your home and office – let’s get you sorted for a happier, more productive You.

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