How to be more productive in life with these 31 simple tasks that will help you get things done in less time even when you have no energy or motivation.
Do you struggle with productivity, especially when you’re feeling low on energy or motivation?
Do you feel chained to your unfulfilling to do list?
Do you want to do all the things but your mind and body just won’t cooperate?
Do you feel like a lethargic hamster in a wheel or have a brain with squirrels running through it?
If so, don’t worry, you are not alone. That’s me too and that’s why I created this post for you! I’m a productivity book and app junkie so I’ve done all the research and testing to compile the 31 best, super easy, actionable tasks that will transform your productivity and help you get more done, even when you’re not feeling your best.
In this post, you’ll learn:
- How to set yourself up for success by understanding your values, time, body and energy
- How to create an effective to-do list
- Strategies for managing distractions and staying focused
- Tips for staying motivated and avoiding burnout, and
- Tricks for maximizing your time and getting more done in less time (so you can have more FUN!)
Whether you’re a busy professional, student, or stay-at-home parent, these are the best productivity tips and tricks to help you achieve your goals and be more productive in all areas of your life. So what are you waiting for? Start reading now and take the first step towards a more productive life and have more time for fun!
How to Be More Productive in Life: The List of 31 Best Productivity Tips
Before we start, let me say that this list isn’t designed to overwhelm you even more. I’ve learned that the key for how to be more productive in life (especially with a chronic illness) is:
Do the best you can, when you can, to move forward on what matters to you and your family. Give yourself rest, grace and compassion to do the bare minimum on the bad days. Rejuvenate yourself so you can give your best to others.
And this is just a quick list to not overwhelm you further but to help brainstorm ideas. I’ll be talking more about how exactly to accomplish each of these in future blog posts and email newsletters, so be sure to stay tuned.
Alright, here we go…
Set yourself up for Success by Understanding Your Values, Time, Body and Energy
There may be times you lack mental energy or motivation because what you need to do doesn’t align with your values. Your to do list can feel draining or you procrastinate on something you just don’t want to do.
To set yourself up for success and be more productive in life, we’ll be focusing on analyzing your values, time, body and energy so you can reframe your to do list and align them so you’re motivated and energized to get things done.
1. Write down your core values: Your core values are what drives you. Think about what really fires you up and what really gets under your skin mentally and physically. Reframe your to do list in how they relate to your values.
2. Track your time: Spend a few days tracking your time to see how you actually spend it. Be brutally honest about the breaks you take so you can find the time wasters so you can find ways to be more efficient with the things you must do.
3. Understand your body: Whether you have a chronic illness or just don’t feel like your normal self physically, it’s important to understand how your food, sleep, medicines affect your symptoms, mental and physical health. Spend a few days tracking your food and symptoms. I recommend tracking this for a month to really see patterns evolve.
4. Understand your energy: I think the key for how to be more productive in life is to think about when you do your best work, what energizes, and what drains you. Track your energy levels in order to budget the energy you have so you can be the most productive you can on any given day.
5. Understand your rest and sleep: Think about when you need rest and what activities genuinely make you feel rested. Think about and track how much sleep you truly need to have your most productive and energized day.
6. Understand your motivations and rewards: Brainstorm what motivates you, your love language and how you like to be rewarded for your hard work.
Create an Effective To-Do List
One of the biggest challenges in how to be more productive in life is knowing what to do and how to prioritize your tasks so that you stay within your energy budget for the day. Creating an effective to-do list is one of the most important tools for staying productive, especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed or unmotivated. Here are some tips for creating an effective to-do list:
7. Create a master task list: Before you start prioritizing your tasks, write down everything that needs to get done. This will help ensure that you don’t forget anything important.
8. Categorize your tasks: Categorize your tasks in the way that makes sense to you such as by life area (health, finances, home), by energy needed (mental clarity needed, physical health needed), by time needed (a quick win, 30 minutes, 1 hour, etc) or a combination. This will help ensure you know even the little things that can be done to move forward even when you don’t feel like it.
9. Prioritize your tasks: Once you’ve written down everything that needs to get done, prioritize your tasks. Start with the most urgent and important tasks, and work your way down the list. Since our finances is one of my primary goals, I also like to prioritize my task list based on what brings us income or saves us the most money.
10. Break larger tasks or projects into smaller ones: If you have a large task that’s overwhelming, break it down into smaller, more manageable tasks. Make tasks as small as you need to feel like you are making progress even if something isn’t completely done. This will help you stay focused and motivated.
11. Use a digital productivity app or tool: Consider using a digital productivity tool, such as Notion, To Doist, Things, Asana or Trello, to create and manage your to-do list. Download the app to your phone so you can stay organized, track your progress, write down any new tasks or ideas quickly before you forget it and it can even tell you the next best task to work on given the time you have and energy.
By following these tips, you can create an effective to-do list that will help you stay on track and get more done, even when you’re feeling low on energy or motivation.
Strategies for Managing Distractions and Staying Focused
Distractions can be a major productivity killer, especially when you’re working from home, have kids at home or in a busy office environment. Here are some strategies for managing distractions and staying focused:
12. Declutter the area you spend the most time: clutter weighs on your mind whether you know it or not. Declutter the top area where you and your family spend the most time and make sure to keep it tidied up (everything where it belongs) before bed each night.
13. Eliminate distractions. It’s amazing how much time and temptation you’ll save by deleting social media off your phone and having to login to those from your computer.
14. Set boundaries: Communicate with your coworkers, family members, or roommates about your work schedule and set boundaries. Let them know when you need to be left alone to focus. If you’re a mom, then this is a topic to discuss in #25.
15. Use the Pomodoro technique: The Pomodoro technique involves working for a set amount of time, usually 25 minutes, and then taking a short break. This can help you stay focused and avoid burnout. Do as many Pomodoros of “deep work” as you can do. This Pomodoro timer can help you stay on track and provide a visual cue of how long you need to focus.
16. Find a quiet workspace or wear noise-canceling headphones: If possible, find a quiet workspace where you can work without distractions. This could be a separate room in your home, a quiet café, or a coworking space. The headphones do work well if you work at home with a noisy neighbor with a hyperactive and loud leaf blower (true story).
17. Keep the most important priority visible: If it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind. Keep whatever your priority for the month, week or day is visible and in a place where you will see it multiple times a day so you can remember to get back to it.
By implementing these strategies, you can manage distractions and stay focused on your work, even when you’re feeling low on energy or motivation.
Tips for Staying Motivated and Avoiding Burnout
Staying motivated can be challenging, especially when you’re working on a long-term project or something you’ve been dreading for awhile. Here are some tips for staying motivated and avoiding burnout:
18. Set clear goals: Having clear goals can help you stay motivated and focused on your work. Make sure your goals are aligned with your values, small enough to be achievable and can be broken down into steps or milestones so you can see your progress.
19. Celebrate small victories: Celebrating small victories, such as completing a task or reaching a milestone, can help you stay motivated and avoid burnout. Write them down in a journal or planner every day or keep them in Notion so you can look back on them when you need a pick me up.
20. Game-ify your progress: turn your goal or task completion into a game. Put a larger than life goal or savings tracker on a bulletin board, or a don’t break the chain for a habit you want to cultivate or use Habitica, a fun app to uplevel your avatar as you complete your habits and goals.
21. Schedule breaks and take them!: Taking regular breaks can help you recharge and avoid burnout. Make sure to take short breaks throughout the day, and take longer breaks or vacations when needed. Schedule time with friends as a reward and be as productive as you can until you see them.
22. Stay organized: Staying organized can help you stay motivated and avoid burnout. Make sure to keep your workspace clean and organized, and use tools like calendars and to-do lists to stay on track.
23. Surround yourself with positivity: Being around positive people and things can help you stay motivated and energized. Surround yourself with people who inspire you and things that make you happy. Conversely, let go of toxic people or situations go that bring you down.
24. Pair a task you dread with something you love or enjoy: Find a way to make a task you dread more enjoyable such as listening to energetic music, audiobooks or podcasts or coloring in goals or savings trackers (see #20)
25. Have a family meeting: Get your family on board with what’s going on, how they can support you and how you can support them. Make it a fun and regular event on your calendar to have their input as you plan your week ahead.
By following these tips, you can stay motivated and avoid burnout, even when you’re working on a long-term project with little energy or motivation.
Tricks for Maximizing Your Time and Getting Things Done in Less Time
If you’re feeling low on energy or motivation, it’s important to make the most of the time you do have. Here are some tricks for maximizing your time and getting things done in less time:
26. Delegate tasks: If possible, delegate tasks to others who are better suited to complete them. Assign age appropriate chores to your kids, acknowledge that done is better than perfect. This will help you free up time and focus on the tasks that you are best suited to do.
27. Use time-saving tools: Use tools like online grocery order pickup, done for you menu plans, automation software, keyboard shortcuts, and templates to save time and streamline your workflow. It’s amazing how even a few minutes saved here and there really adds up to a more productive life. See how I use Notion as a free personal assistant!
28. Eliminate distractions: Eliminate distractions like social media, email, and unnecessary meetings to help you stay focused and get things done in less time. Be very intentional about what goes on your calendar and spends your time and energy.
29. Automate recurring tasks into effective routines: setting effective routines makes recurring tasks easier because you don’t have to worry about when it needs to be done. Also, doing the task regularly allows you to find ways to make it easier and more efficient.
30. Create an ideal week Think about what your ideal week would look and feel like. Put those time blocks in your digital calendar or productivity planner. Do your ideal week quarterly or as your family schedule changes with school, sports and activities.
31. Review and reflect on how your time is spent: make time for monthly, weekly and/or daily review and reflections so you can celebrate what went well, learn from what didn’t go as planned and brainstorm ideas to make your next month, week or day easier or even better!
By implementing these tricks, you can make the most of the time you have and get things done, even when you’re feeling low on energy or motivation.
Subscribe to my Newsletter and Get a Free How to Be More Productive in Life Checklist and Tracker!
I had lots of fun putting together this How to Be More Productive in Life Checklist & Tracker. It includes:
- a checklist of prompts shown above
- a bingo style 31 day productivity challenge tracker, and
- a productivity challenge review with reflection prompts so you can document what worked and what didn’t.
I couldn’t decide which piece to give you, so I’m giving you the whole workbook so you can get down to what truly helps you take action and be more productive even on days you don’t want to. You’ll get the guide for free when you subscribe to my weeklyish newsletter where I’ll send you more of the planning, productivity and life stuff that works to make life easier and better. It’s a weekly resource to encourage you in a world of chaos and unending to do lists. Sign up here:
Tools and Resources to Be More Productive In Life
- The 8 Best Productivity Books to Read to Achieve What Matters to You Even When You Have Low Energy
- Books to Reread for Fun, Productivity and Decluttering
- The Best Productivity Tips for Moms So You Can Get More Done and Have More Fun
- My 2023 Planner In Notion to Be More Productive in Life Despite Little Energy
- Develop Your Finishing Instinct
- 7 Ways a Cleaning Schedule Will Help You Be More Productive
- How to Make a Vision Board
Do them one a day or dedicate a block of time to get through all of these tasks. I’ve given you 31 easy, actionable tasks of how to be more productive in life so you can achieve your goals, even when you’re feeling low on energy or motivation. Whether you’re a busy professional, student, or stay-at-home parent, these tips and tricks will help you be more productive in all areas of your life. So what are you waiting for? Start implementing these simple tasks today and take the first step towards a more productive life!