Productivity is often an elusive concept to most.

You may think that being productive means stuffing as many tasks as you can in a day.

Whereas productivity is all about prioritizing and maintaining an average speed to get things done efficiently.

The key to being more productive is managing your time effectively and having a routine that works for you.

Do you find it difficult to power through your day with so many balls in the air?

Read on to find out how to manage time efficiently to boost your productivity.

1.    Work in 15-20 minute bursts

15 minutes may not seem like a whole lot of time to complete a task.

And to be honest – it isn’t, especially when you’re distracted by interruptions or your beeping phone.

But think about how much you can accomplish in a short span if you’re completely focused.

Ever have one of those extremely inspired/motivated spans where ideas are hurtling towards you at lightning speed? That’s exactly what you can do consistently if you work in 15-20 bursts while concentrating on the task at hand.

Take breaks, cut out distractions, and let nothing stand in your way for those 20 mins.

2.    Swing those breaks in your favour

If you work in 20 min bursts and take a 5-10 min break, you’ll feel less chained to your chair and more in control of your day.

Go ahead and use those breaks to pack in stuff that needs to be done or you WANT to do.

Let those breaks be a reward and motivation for your to jump back into your tasks refreshed.

Need to order your groceries? Finish your crossword? Hop on the treadmill? Or simply meditate?

Get them done and come back rested.

Remember: Breaks are rewards and you deserve rewards for working this hard.

3.    Separate ideation and execution time

The 15-20 minute bursts are perfect when you just have to power through and do.

But what about ideation or thinking time?

My advice?

Enact a divide between your thinking and doing time.

When you’re ideating, create a mind map or checklist of things to do. This is how you can think efficiently without letting your mind wander. And I can’t stress enough how writing down your thoughts,  and tasks makes you more accountable every day.

Once you’re done with the ideation phase (whether in a single productive burst or in a few more), take a break and transition to the execution bit.

4.    Create a not-to-do list at regular intervals

“Where did time go today?”

Ever had this thought at the end of an unproductive day?

We indulge in many unproductive activities throughout our day, especially when we’re not feeling motivated (that’s why take breaks, ladies and gents!).

What do you think becomes a time sink for you?

All the thread-jumping on reddit/Quora? A whatsapp catch up session with the good ol’ folks from college? Cat photos? Simply procrastinating?

Just how a to-do list makes prioritizing your tasks easier, a not-to-do list is the best way to rule out distractions that eat away at your productive hours.

5.    Prioritize 3 big tasks (maximum) in a day

Your to-do list is a mixed bag of urgent and not-so-urgent tasks, am I right?

It may seem like a good idea to cram all the urgent tasks in one day so that it frees up the rest of your week.

That’s the expectation.

The reality?

You’re too exhausted and not to mention overwhelmed to finish all those heavy weights in one day. As a result, they inevitably spill over to the next day and the next. It chips away at your confidence and you unfairly categorize yourself as a procrastinator.

So if you want to get things done, simply focus on 3 big tasks in a day and do the most challenging task first!

When you get the most difficult task down first thing, you feel like doer. And you inevitably carry this vibe through the rest of your day.

The Wrap

A productive day is not sorcery, just good time management.

Remember, our brains work the best when distractions are eliminated willingly.

So work on getting the most done in 20 minutes and enjoy your well-deserved break.

And never underestimate the power of a not-to-do list.

Wondering how to be your best productive self without stretching yourself thin? Join my “10 days to a more productive you challenge!”