I am generally a person that gets a kick out of being busy, I am at my best when I have things to get done. Though, I recently faced a challenging period in terms of productivity, efficiency and balance.

Last month was a very hectic period for me. I had to manage multiple projects at a time and my social and personal life was very busy as well. To the point that I was feeling really overwhelmed at times. That led to feeling unhappy, to bad eating habits, less exercise, and a horrible sleeping schedule.

I was clearly asking too much of myself. I needed to step up my game in order to get results and stay sane. So, I sat down and analyzed what was I doing wrong and right and made the decision to switch up a few things. Some I put into action immediately and some are still work in progress, but they have surely help improve things at work and in life and I would like to share them with you.

If you are also struggling with time management and work-life balance, these 8 productivity hacks may help you.

velvet pants fall 2018

Get a morning routine.

Snoozing ten times before deciding to leave the bed, looking at your social media feeds before anything else, getting ready in 2 minutes and rushing out the door to work with an empty stomach is definitely not the best way to start your day. Choosing for a structured morning routine is super powerful. Give yourself extra time to calmly get ready for work, have a healthy breakfast and allow yourself to set the tone for your day. This is one aspect where I can give myself a tap on the shoulder, my mornings are precious and I can tell you that the days I hurry to work in a frenzy, are not my best.

Set goals, Make a to-do list

Make a list of the most important things you want to achieve each day and maybe for the whole week. It is better to prepare your to-do list the day before so you can save the energy that your brain and body need to remember tasks, start the day by tackling them right away instead. You will also feel satisfied when you scratch off all the completed to-dos! I like the old fashioned paper lists, though there are tons of apps that help you keep track of your to-do’s. For our household we mainly use Wunderlist.

Do one task at a time

I feel like my through my whole education I was taught to think that productive people where those that could do many things at a time. Well, it turns out that is all a myth and it has been proven that we can’t multitask! Do one task at a time and you will actually finish it faster to then move to the next.

Do what makes you happy

Turn of your computer/phone notifications

It is so easy to get distracted nowadays. With all the email notifications, messages, Instagram, Facebook, Skype (the list can go on), it is hard to concentrate on one task, and as said in the point above, we can’t do multiple things at a time. So use technology to your favor, avoid distractions by turning off all those unnecessary notifications or even leave your phone in your bag. If not for the whole day, at least for that hour that you have planned for finishing an important task.

Set expectations (learn to say no)

You are not a super hero and there is a limit to what you can do. So set expectations from the start, be realistic with yourself and with your team. If you don’t have the time or skills, say no or delegate if possible. I can definitely work on this one.

Take breaks

It may sound counter productive, but taking some breaks here and there can help a great deal. Take a coffee break or go out for a short walk to clear your mind. You will come back to your desk with renews energy and fresh ideas.

playing with leaves fall

Spend time on yourself

This one is so important and very tricky one because it is so easy to forget that your well-being comes first. So, no matter how busy you are, take time to do something that makes you happy. It can be anything: reading, dancing, music, etc.To me, exercise is vital to stay sane. I practice hot yoga 3 to 4 times a week. That not only helps me stay in shape physically but also mentally! In the end, you will be happier and more productive than if you stayed at the office staring at your screen.

Meditate

The word meditation can sound scary for some or maybe you have not tried it yet. Learning how to quiet your mind is incredibly powerful. There are a lot of studies out there that say that meditation can help us to eliminate negative thoughts, worries, anxiety that prevent us from feeling happy. Plus, is has great benefits in terms of productivity as it helps with focus and better sleep. If you don’t know where to start, there are a lot of websites and apps like Headspace that offer free guided meditation sessions. Mindfulness is something that all of us should practice!

Work smarter, not harder

And remember, you may not have control over a lot of things that happen around you, but you can control what you allow to take up your time. Change is possible, you just need to make it happen.

What are your productivity hacks?