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8 ways to be more productive in the new year

The beginning of every year is a good opportunity to "start anew", to try and make some changes for the better and stick to them. It's not just for losing weight and getting fit, it's for every aspect of our lives we can improve. I personally don't like the big promises like "From 1st of January I stop eating bread!" or "No more chocolate from now on!". These are not realistic promises. What a sad life it would be without chocolate! Here are some real and easy ways to boost your productivity and get results for whatever you are after.

1. Get yourself a daily planner

I am a big fan of daily planners since I started using one in university and saw how much more organised I became. There are these small tasks that you say to yourself you'll do "whenever" because they take little time, but then you forget. If you write down your to-do list for the next day, you'll easily keep on track and won't forget. You are less likely to procrastinate either. The rewarding feeling when you tick something off your daily planner motivates you to stay on track.

2. Use mornings for output and evenings for input Use mornings for activities which require more energy and focus from you. For example lifting weights, writing or tackling a difficult project at work. Use evenings for the opposite, like reading, watching TV series or documentaries. We have more energy in the morning than the evening and if you organise your day around that fact, you will see improvement in your productivity.

3. Try the 2 minute rule If a task requires less than 2 minutes to be completed - do it right away. There is no reason to procrastinate these little tasks like making your bed, putting the laundry machine on or sending an email.

4. Make your bed in the morning Apparently making your bed in the morning and in general keeping your place tidy subconsciously gives you a sense of accomplishment and pushes you to accomplish more tasks during the day. Also, even if "no one is going to see it" or "it doesn't matter", making your bed in the morning subconsciously makes you think of yourself as an organized and tidy person, which again encourages you to be one.

5. Set limits on social media

Probably the biggest time-waster there is. If you go now to one of these apps and see how much time you have spent there over the last week you would be surprised. Luckily these apps now have the option to display reminders when you go over your pre-set limit for the day. It's a good way to see how much time you spend scrolling through random 5 second videos that do not contribute to you in anyway. At least for me it was, hehe! Also, muting your notifications makes a big difference. If you are like me and prefer to reply to emails and messages the second you see them it could be a big distraction during the day from other things you are doing. Mute your notifications and check for new messages within those apps just once or twice a day.

6. Create your own deadlines Creating deadlines (probably writing them down in your daily planner) is a good way to get longer projects done. It gives you a sense of accountability and actually makes you more likely to complete the project. Telling people about it also makes you want to complete it because you don't want to look like someone who just makes "false promises".

7. Delete apps that are too addictive and not useful for you That game on your phone where you slash through falling fruits might seem like a nice way to pass the time but in reality it's one of the biggest time-wasters. These games are designed in a way to give instant reward and make you addicted so you spend more time playing. If you like phone games and don't want to give this up completely, try more problem solving, puzzle games or trivia where you can actually learn something new or develop your thinking.

8. Dedicate 1 hour a day for something that improves you Whether it being reading a self improvement book, going to the gym or learning to play an instrument, try to find time for yourself for doing something that develops you. Setting a daily time for these kinds of activities not only will improve you but it will subconsciously make you think of yourself as a person who works for themselves, is organised and productive. I hope you found helpful tips in this article and that the new year will be very productive for you! Thank you for reading!

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