Productivity always begins with self.

As you are leading others, it will prove difficult, if not impossible, to show them how to be more productive if you aren’t efficient yourself.

This isn’t to suggest the methods you learn will always prove beneficial to others. But as you test out different strategies for yourself, you will gain access to more resources and insights you can share with your team.

1. Turn Off The Notifications On Your Phone

We take our smartphones with us everywhere we go. And, they tend to provide a rather constant source of distraction. From a productivity standpoint, that’s a problem.

Take a moment to turn off all notifications on your phone. Then, try not to look at your phone while working, especially if you’re engaging in high-level work.

Unless your work requires you to constantly be on your phone, turning off notifications will instantly make you more focused and productive. Most messages you receive are not urgent and can wait until you are ready to deal with them.

2. Track How You’re Spending Your Time

You might be working 12-hour days, but do you know exactly how your time is being spent? Unless you can create a complete breakdown for your day, you aren’t fully aware of how effective you are (or aren’t).

Track your time and figure out how you’re spending it. Use an app like RescueTime to see how you’re spending time on your computer too.

3. Restructure Or Eliminate Meetings

Meetings can actually be the worst contributor to suffering productivity in practically everyone’s schedule! Unless your meetings are particularly well organized, they can end up wasting everyone’s time. You shouldn’t spend an hour talking about something that can be addressed in an email.

If you must have meetings, restructure them to be a better use of everyone’s time, including yours.

4. One Task At A Time

If you are multitasking, your productivity may be suffering.

Sure, you may be good at it, but multitaskers tend to miss important stimuli and take a lot longer to switch from one task to another. That’s a big problem if your work requires you to be detail-oriented.

Create a priority list, choose which task to engage in now, and give your full attention to it (until completion).

5. Take Breaks

Take regular breaks at intervals that make the most sense to you. Some studies show the optimal amount of time to work before breaking is 90 minutes. But this doesn’t work for everyone. So, find what works for you. Get up and walk around. Drink some water. Go to the washroom. Snack.

6. Meditate

Yes, you read that correctly! This practice was adopted by corporations like Apple, Google, and Yahoo. “91 percent of participants reported it positively impacted the culture and 60 percent reported increased focus and better decision-making skills.”

Meditating calms the mind and allows you to function at a higher level for longer. Meditation can also put you in an alpha state (which occurs when you are daydreaming or practicing mindfulness) and even a theta state (which occurs during the deepest states of Zen meditation). This, in effect, is equivalent to sleeping and most people are not sleeping enough.

Approaching your work with clarity and a sense of peace allows you to mitigate stress and unnecessary mind chatter.


Put yourself in an environment where you can work and remain inspired. Oftentimes, we aren’t even aware of how our surroundings are affecting us.

Place plants in your office, hang attractive photos or paintings, and keep your workspace organized. This will have a positive impact on your mind and your productivity.