a woman working at home

With the relentless 24/7 business culture today, we fall into the norm of overwhelming tasks and multitasking. Innovations like the internet and smartphones made it hard to find focus. The Internet is no doubt one of the greatest inventions ever, but if not used wisely, it brings distraction and leads us away from being productive. If you have your smartphone with you while working, increasing productivity can be impossible to achieve. One email or notification can distract you instantly. I am guilty of this and I realized it’s the biggest factor to less productivity. But it’s time to make some changes. In this article, you’ll learn

  • How to increase productivity, whether at home or work
  • Tick off your to-do-lists and get your goals done
  • How to make progress and be your most productive self 

Here are 10 ways to increase productivity and add more hours to your day

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1. Increase your productivity by working at your energy peaks

We all have our time when we feel the most energetic and motivated to do things. Some people feel very best in the morning and some feel most productive at night. Figure out what time feels best for you and take advantage of it. What specific time in your schedule works the most for you. Use this time to tackle the most important task and check off the least tedious tasks later. When are you upbeat and positive? When do you feel worst? Examine your moods in a day and look for patterns because timing is vital in increasing productivity. Do your big three when you feel best. 

2. Developing a supportive daily routine will instantly increase your productivity

Quick fixes like coffee may sound good but it’s not as effective as long-term fixes like establishing and setting clear routines and habits. The goal here is to autopilot things. Cultivate routines to increase productivity and put it into practice.

There are two main components to remember when establishing a routine: cues and rewards. By knowing this, you can take steps to achieve the results you desire. Let’s take my routine as an example to better understand this. When I arrive at work, I get to my desk and open my bright orange file folder. This is my cue to start making lesson plans and prepare the games and materials I need for all my classes. The reward I get is delivering well-prepared and fun lessons to my students. I consider this a reward because I like to create a fun learning environment. I like to be organized with the flow of my lessons and I genuinely enjoy teaching kids as if they are just playing with me

3. Cut out distractions by using the airplane mode

A woman with an iphone

The best way to disconnect yourself from your phone is to set it to airplane mode. It turns off all notifications and distracting messages. Another way of disconnecting is to install Freedom on your phone and laptop. Start with a 30 – 40-minute session, block all unnecessary websites, set a timer, and do some heads-down work. You will be amazed at how much more focused and productive you will be when blocking distractions. 


4. Prioritize tasks and learn how to say no

Do you feel disappointed at yourself when you don’t get to tick off all your to-do lists? Sometimes, this can lead to feeling guilty and feeling bad about yourself. The best way to address this is to set three essentials tasks and everything else will be bonus. Only when you finish your big three tasks, then you are allowed to add more to your to-do-list. 

To help you prioritize, learn how to say no. When someone asks you for something and you know that you should decline, just say ‘no. It’s time to stop saying yes to something just because you want to please other people. It’s time to use the assertive no and prioritize yourself. This might be difficult at first because you worry that people would dislike you, and think that you are selfish but know that it’s okay. Saying no to someone else means saying yes to yourself. That is one of the greatest feelings imaginable. 


5. Organizing your work area boosts productivity

work area

I am a big believer that when you work in a cluttered environment, your mind is also cluttered. The mess around you can be a huge barrier to your productivity. Get rid of the mess, clear off your desk, put things in the right place so you can get much work done. Label your files and put the things you always use close to your reach. Remember this: The amount of effort you put into organizing your work area will boost your productivity and will pay off in a big way.

Dig deeper into organizing your workplace through Marie Kondo’s book: The life changing magic of tidying up. Grab a copy, read it and you won’t have a messy workplace anymore.

6. Use commute time effectively

How long do you commute to and from work take? Whether it’s short or long, take advantage of it. Use your time to read books, listen to podcasts or motivational audiobooks. In Japan where I live, one or two hours commute to work is normal. A lot of people read books on the train. They make most out of their time by reading or listening. 


7. Automate as much as you can

Save yourself more time by automation. Use Lastpass to manage your passwords and make logging in super easy. Save yourself several trips to the bank or offices by auto paying your bills. This will help you not miss deadlines. Shop online and schedule your purchases. 

8. Minimize the number of decisions you make in a day

When faced with many choices, it’s easy to lose focus and when you lose focus, it can result in less productivity. The best thing to do is to minimize the number of decisions you make. And planning takes an important role in doing this. Plan your meals and outfits of the week to save you time. Plan your day at night or in the morning. 

9. Spending more time on self-care

a woman journaling

This might sound counterintuitive but when you spend more time on self-care, it increases motivation and motivation begets productivity. Choosing self-care is eating well, getting enough sleep, moving your body, and choosing the right people you surround yourself with. It’s easy to get overwhelmed these days because of increasing workloads, demanding bosses, and small tasks that we say yes to. These can take a heavy toll on both your mind and body but you can do something about it. When you feel that work itself is stressful and draining, indulge in self-care immediately and gain your energy back. Spark up motivation by taking care of yourself after a stressful day. By doing this, you will have a clean slate for productivity the next day. 

10. Correctly timed breaks help increase productivity

Breaks: we need them. But when used wrongly it can lead to either distraction or procrastination. Five or ten minute-breaks are ideal in-between hours of working. And when used correctly, it increases productivity. A small chat with a co-worker is a proven stress reliever. Take time outdoors too. Take a short walk around your workplace, connect with nature to reduce stress. Some people love coffee breaks.



01. Get a productivity partner

Find a person who can resonate with you and hold you accountable. Find a person who embarks the same productivity journey and support each other.

02. Don’t drink coffee first thing in the morning

Drink water instead to hydrate you and help control hunger. Have your first sip of coffee later in the morning. 

03. Turn off the TV

TV is such a big distraction when trying to do some work at home. It can easily interfere with your workflow. Better turn off the tv and so you can increase productivity.



Follow these simple ways to increase productivity and you will be well on your way to gettings things done at work and home. Which tip resonates with you most? Which tip is new to your and would like to try? Comment them down below.



  1. Sheryl

    October 16, 2020 at 2:20 PM

    What a helpful post! I totally agree with you in that we need to learn how to say no in order to help us prioritize. I also loooove your #8 tip — lately I’ve been trying to plan my days in advance. I like to use to-do list apps on my phone to help me remember the things I want to finish tomorrow. I have a question for you, do you prefer creating to-do lists in paper planners or digital planners?

    Looking forward to reading more of your posts, Ali!

    1. Ali

      October 17, 2020 at 12:40 AM

      Hi Sheryl ., thanks for reading 🙂 Saying no has been difficult for me but I learned how to master it and I couldn’t be more productive ever. Its really important to prioritize tasks.
      And to answer your question. I’m a paper-person. I prefer writing down my plans, goals, and tasks. I wanna know about you too?

      1. Sheryl

        October 17, 2020 at 4:23 AM

        I used to be a paper person too but now I’m converting to digital planners! Haha x

        1. Ali

          October 25, 2020 at 1:05 AM

          That’s fair enough. Use what best suits you 🙂

  2. Alyssa

    October 16, 2020 at 12:54 PM

    So much great info! I will have to save this for later to keep myself motivated 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    1. Ali

      October 16, 2020 at 1:02 PM

      Thank you for reading Alysa 🙂

  3. Lenka

    October 14, 2020 at 2:58 PM

    I’m a freelancer and blogger and working from home is extremely demanding in this sense. No boss, so you have to be organized.
    I agree, no coffee first thing in the morning! I have a protein shake for breakfast every day and it’s much better.
    I’m gonna use some of the advice you’re suggesting to increase my productivity.
    Thanks for the tips!

    1. Ali

      October 16, 2020 at 1:03 PM

      Thanks for reading Lenka 🙂 Yeah no coffee first thing in the morning really gives a boost to productivity. Im glad these tips help

  4. Tanya

    October 13, 2020 at 2:20 PM

    This is a great post! Love the idea of a productivity partner to help keep each other on track. Also, I love that you included spending time on self-care because we can’t pour from an empty cup.

    1. Ali

      October 14, 2020 at 2:18 AM

      Having productivity is such a great help. Thanks for reading Tanya and “You can’t pour from an empty cup” is such a powerful phrase. I love it

  5. Erika Ravnsborg

    October 12, 2020 at 7:13 PM

    These are lovely tips. I’ll need to remember these.

    1. Ali

      October 13, 2020 at 5:26 AM

      Thank you for reading Erika. I hope they are great help you to increase productivity

  6. Hope

    October 12, 2020 at 11:14 AM

    I really needed this.. Sometimes I am. Motivated and at times I am not.. Recently got a planner and am hoping it will help me being productive. Thanks for the actionable ideas..

    1. Ali

      October 13, 2020 at 5:27 AM

      Im really glad that this post is timely. Planner plays a big role in our productivity. I hope you find it helpful 🙂

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