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The new year always inspires us to make changes and set goals to better ourselves and be more productive. Bad habits built up over the years can make you sluggish on the job. In order to flip the switch and make this coming year your most productive yet, you need to change your environment, eliminate your temptations, and adjust your mindset to turn bad habits into good habits. It only takes about 30 days of a new activity to create a new habit, so get started with these tips and by February, you’ll be your most productive self for the year to come.

Tip #1. Start Your Day Right

Your morning routine has a powerful impact on how productive you are throughout the day. Things like exercise, getting up early, and following the news can really help you get the most out of your day. In his book, The Miracle Morning, Hal Elrod says ““How you wake up each day and your morning routine (or lack thereof) dramatically affects your levels of success in every single area of your life. Focused, productive, successful mornings generate focused, productive, successful days—which inevitably create a successful life.”

Here are some more pro-tips to help you hit the ground running every morning.

Tip #2. Be More Proactive

“Being proactive is more than taking initiative. It is recognizing that we are responsible for our own choices and have the freedom to choose based on principles and values rather than on moods or condition. Proactive people are agents of change and choose not to be victims, to be reactive, or to blame others.”

Steven Covey, Author of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Being proactive means planning ahead, ignoring the urge to procrastinate, knowing which of your goals should take priority, and acting on them before they reach a crisis point. People who are reactive instead of proactive are always caught on their heels, often dealing with issues as they arise once they become an emergency. But if you take ownership and focus on solutions before they become problems, you will create a smoother and less stressful path ahead.

Tip #3. Be Intentional with Your Time

“Thought determines action. Do not let your whole life be a reaction to the things that happen around you each day. Let your life be an action.”

Matthew Kelly, Author of Off Balance: Getting Beyond the Work-Life Balance Myth to Personal and Professional Satisfaction

Your time is possibly your most precious commodity. No amount of money can buy more of it, you can only use it wisely. To do that, you need to be laser-focused and intentional with the time you have. Consider planning out your day, down to the quarter hour if you can. Cut out unnecessary distractions, like notifications on your phone or incoming email. Learn to say no to the meeting invites which you don’t need to attend. Keep multitasking to a minimum. Avoid eating lunch at your desk. While, of course things will always come up, trying to be more intentional with your time will help you focus on what is most important and boost your productivity along the way.

Tip #4. Take a Break

“Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges. So relax.”

Bryant McGill, Author of Simple Reminders

While it might seem counter-intuitive to take more breaks to boost your productivity, it’s been proven that overworked employees are actually less effective on the job. Aside from making time for your family and regular vacations, make sure you take breaks throughout the day to improve your productivity on a day to day basis. Try a little desk yoga after marathon meetings. Or at the very least follow the 30/30/30 rule (every 30 minutes, look 30 feet away from your computer for 30 seconds to help reduce eye strain). These little breaks throughout the day can help clear your mind, reduce your stress, and allow you to be more effective when you are focused on the task at hand.

In her book Thrive, Ariana Huffington talks about just how important it is to remember what’s most important in your life, who we impact and what we are productive with that makes us successful. She reminds us that “It’s not ‘What do I want to do?’, it’s ‘What kind of life do I want to have?’” And with that goal in mind, we become our most productive selves.  

What are your tips for a more productive workday? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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