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12 Time-Tested Hacks to Improve Your Productivity at Work

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12 Time-Tested Hacks to Improve Your Productivity at Work

Creating positive work habits will consistently help you to boost your creativity. The following habits have been used to boost productivity and lift morale in the workplace for many, many years. They have stood the test of time, because they hold value and people continue to build their career using them as their foundation.

Arrive Early

Arrive early and be ready to start your day as soon as it is your time to check in. Arriving early eliminates the rush and allows you to start your day on your own terms, without worrying about whether or not you will be late or that you won’t be able to meet your deadlines. When you arrive early, you can start getting your tasks organized and start your day with a smile.

One always has time enough, if one will apply it well.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Always Be Prepared

Always be prepared. Make a list of things you need to do when you first arrive at work in the morning. Know what supplies you will need and gather them together the night before so that all you have to do is come to work, clock in, and begin your day.

You can’t make up for lost time. You can only do better in the future. 
– Ashley Ormon

Work As A Team

Working as a team makes the day go by faster and it also allows you to get to know your co-workers. Working with one another makes it easy for everyone to meet their respective deadlines. While everyone will have projects that are their sole responsibility, you can always lend a hand to others when your work is complete.

Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.
– Michael Jordan

Communicate Effectively

Communicate effectively so that everyone is on the same page. Make sure every member of the team understands what is going on, when deadlines are and who is responsible for each individual task. Communication is the life blood of an organization and if it is not used effectively, things will not work as smoothly as they should.

Define what your brand stands for, its core values and tone of voice and then communicate consistently in those terms.
– Simon Mainwaring

Accuracy Matters

Always check your work for accuracy. This includes spelling, grammar, punctuation and math problems. Anything that is in printed form should be double and triple checked for accuracy. Making sure all of your information is accurate is a sign of professionalism and pride in your work.

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Watch every detail that affects the accuracy of your work.
– Arthur C. Nielsen

Consistently Meet Deadlines

When you have deadlines to meet, make sure all of the work is finished, fact-checked for accuracy, and put together in a professional manner. Try to turn in the project prior to the deadline. Waiting until the deadline is upon you makes the project look rushed. Always strive to be early.

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.
– Abraham Lincoln

Be Organized

Organization is extremely important. If something happens and you are not available, being organized allows you to guide someone through your office to find exactly what is needed without wasting a lot of time hunting through a jumbled mess of papers.

Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.
– A. A. Milne

Arrive Clean and Well Groomed

People who take pride in their appearance will also take pride in their work ethic. Always arrive clean and well groomed and with the attitude that you are ready to take charge of the day. The better you look, the better you feel and the more likely you are to produce over and above what is expected of you.

Our existence and our environment enclosed entities of divinity.
– Lailah Gifty Akita

Be Efficient

Efficiency is key when you are trying to be productive. Prepare a schedule. Take into consideration what tasks are on the schedule for the day and make sure you have enough time to devote to each one. Being efficient will help you stay ahead of the game and make sure you have taken care of all of the tasks on your daily list.

Obviously, the highest type of efficiency is that which can utilize existing material to the best advantage. 
– Jawaharlal Nehru

Take the Initiative

Take the initiative. Do what needs to be done and strive to be the very best at everything you attempt.

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Don’t wait for your ship to come in, swim out to it.
― Cathy Hopkins

Pick a Day of Rest

While Sunday is an ideal day of rest, it’s advisable to log in to your computer briefly on Sunday to assess your Monday game plan, and you will feel more relaxed and sleep soundly on Sunday night.

I look my best when I’m totally free, on holiday, walking on the beach.
– Rosamund Pike

Make Sure Your Goals Are Realistic

Harboring unrealistic expectations prepares you for failure. Take one step at a time and pursue your goal diligently, but gradually. Instead of lofty, idealistic goals, keep goals that are real and attainable.

Often you need to take some risk, but it must be a realistic risk, you can’t take a crazy risk.
– Sergei Bubka

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Beth Worthy

CFO at GMR Transcription Services, Inc

12 Time-Tested Hacks to Improve Your Productivity at Work

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Last Updated on September 9, 2021

10 Best Productivity Planners To Get More Done in 2021

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10 Best Productivity Planners To Get More Done in 2021

Productivity planners and journals are tools of a trade. There’s an art to productivity. Just like art is very personal to the artist, productivity is very personal to the person. What works for you may not work for me. This is an important distinction if you really want get more done in less time.

Too many of us dabble in productivity hacks only to move on to the next tool or trend when it didn’t workout for us, missing the lesson of what worked and didn’t work about that tool or trend.

We put the tool on a pedestal and miss the art. It’s worshipping the paint brush rather than the process and act of painting. We miss the art of our own productivity when the tool overshadows the treasure.

As an artist, you have many brushes to choose from. You’re looking for a brush that feels best in your hand. You want a brush that doesn’t distract you from your art but partners with you to create the many things you see in your mind to create. Finding a brush like this may take some experimenting, but when you understand that the role of the brush is to bring life to your vision, it’s easier to find the right brush.

Planners are the same way. You want a productivity journal that supports you in the creation of your vision, not one that bogs you down or steals your energy.

Let’s dive into the 10 best productivity planners and journals to help you get more done in less time.

1. The One Thing Planner

The NY Times best selling book, The One Thing, just released their new planner. If you loved this book, you’ll love this planner.

As the founder of the world’s largest real estate company Keller Williams Realty, Gary Keller, has mastered the art of focus. The One Thing planner has its roots in industry changing productivity. If you’re out to put a dent in the universe, this may be the planner for you.

Get the planner here!

2. The Full Life Planner

The Full Life Planner is Lifehacks’ ultimate planning system to get results across all your core life aspects including work, health and relationships. This smart planner is 15 years of Lifehack’s best practices and proven success formulas by top performers.

With the Full Life Planner, you can align your actions to long term milestones every day, week, and month consistently. This will help you to get more done and achieve your goals.

Get the planner here!

3. The Freedom Journal

Creator of one of the most prolific podcasts ever, Entrepreneur on Fire, John Lee Dumas released his productivity journal in 2016. This hard-cover journal focuses on accomplishing SMART goals in 100 days.

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From their site:

“The Freedom Journal is an accountability partner that won’t let you fail. John Lee Dumas has interviewed over 2000 successful Entrepreneurs and has created a unique step-by-step process that will guide you in SETTING and ACCOMPLISHING your #1 goal in 100 days.”

Get the planner here!

4. Full Focus Planner

Michael Hyatt, author of Platform and host of the podcast “This is Your Life”, also has his own planner called the Full Focus Planner.

From the site:

“Built for a 90-day achievement cycle, the Full Focus Planner® gives you a quarter of a year’s content so you aren’t overwhelmed by planning (and tracking) 12 months at a time.”

This productivity planner includes a place for annual goals, a monthly calendar, quarterly planning, the ideal week, daily pages, a place for rituals, weekly preview and quarterly previews. It also comes with a Quickstart lessons to help you master the use of the planner.

Get the planner here!

5. Passion Planner

They call themselves the #pashfam and think of their planner as a “paper life coach”. Their formats include dated, academic and undated in hardbound journals with assorted colors. With over 600,000 users they have a track record for effective planners.

From the site:

“An appointment calendar, goal setting guide, journal, sketchbook, gratitude log & personal and work to-do lists all in one notebook.”

They have a get-one give-one program. For every Passion Planner that is bought they will donate one to a student or someone in need.

They also provide free PDF downloads of their planners. This is a great way to test drive if their planner is right for you.

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Get the planner here!

6. Desire Map Planners

If you’re looking for a more spiritually oriented planner, Danielle LaPorte, author of The Desire Map, created the Desire Map Planners. With Daily planners, Weekly planners and Undated planners you can find the right fit for you.

Behind this planner is the Desire Map Planner Program including 3 workbooks that not only support you in using the planners but guide you in your thought process about your life and intentions you’re using the planner to help you fulfill.

Get the planner here!

7. Franklin Covey Planners

The grandfather of all planners, Franklin Covey, has the most options when it comes to layouts, binders, and accessories. With over 30 years in the productivity planner business, they not only provide a ton of planner layouts, they also have been teaching productivity and planning from the beginning.

From the site:

“Achieve what matters most with innovative, high quality planners and binders tailored to your personal style. Our paper planning system guides you to identify values, create successful habits, and track and achieve your goals.”

Get the planner here!

8. Productivity Planner

From the makers of the best selling journal backed by Tim Ferriss, “The Five Minute Journal”, comes the Productivity Planner.

Combining the Ivy Lee method which made Charles Schwab millions with the Pomodoro Technique to stay focused in the moment, the Productivity Planner is both intelligent and effective.

It allows for six months of planning, 5-day daily pages, weekly planning and weekly review, a prioritized task list, Pomodoro time tracking, and extra space for notes.

From the site:

“Do you often find yourself busy, while more important tasks get procrastinated on? The Productivity Planner helps you prioritize and accomplish the vital few tasks that make your day satisfying. Quality over quantity. Combined with the Pomodoro Technique to help you avoid distractions, the Productivity Planner assists you to get better work done in less time.”

Get the planner here!

9. Self Journal

Endorsed by Daymond John of Shark Tank, the Self Journal takes a 13 week approach and combines Monthly, Weekly and Daily planning to help you stay focused on the things that really matter.

Self Journal includes additional tools to help you produce with their Weekly Action Pad, Project Action Pad, the Sidekick pocket journal to capture your ideas on the go and their SmartMarks bookmarks that act as a notepad while you’re reading.

Get the planner here!

10. Google Calendar

You may already use Google Calendar for appointments, but with a couple tweaks you can use it as a productivity planner.

Productivity assumes we have time to do the work we intend to do. So blocking time on your Google Calendar and designating it as “busy” will prevent others from filling up those spaces on your calendar. Actually using those blocks of time as you intended is up to you.

If you use a booking tool like Schedule Once or Calendly, you can integrate it with your Google Calendar. For maximum productivity and rhythm, I recommend creating a consistent “available” block of time each day for these kinds of appointments.

Google Calendar is free, web based and to the point. If you’re a bottom line person and easily hold your priorities in your head, this may be a good solution for you.

Get the planner here!

Bonus Advice: Integrate the 4 Building Blocks of Productivity

Just as important to productivity planners as the tool are the principles that we create inside of. There are 4 building blocks of productivity, that when embraced, accelerate your energy and results.

The four building blocks of productivity are desire, strategy, focus and rhythm. When you get these right, having a productivity planner or journal provides the structure to keep you on track.

Block #1: Desire

Somehow in the pursuit of all our goals, we accumulate ideas and To-Do’s we’re not actually passionate about and don’t really want to pursue. They sneak their way in and steal our focus from the things that really matter.

Underneath powerful productivity is desire. Not many little desires, but the overarching mother of desires. The desire you feel in your gut, the desire that comes from your soul, not your logic, is what you need to tap into if you want to level up your productivity.

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A productivity planner is just a distraction if you’re not clear on what it’s all for. With desire, however, your productivity planner provides the guide rails to accomplish your intentions.

Block #2: Strategy

Once you’re clear on your overarching desire, you need to organize your steps to get there. Let’s call this “strategy”. Strategy is like assembling a jigsaw puzzle. You must first turn over all the pieces to see patterns, colors, connections and find borders.

In business and life, we often start trying to put our “puzzle” together without turning over all the pieces. We put many items on our To-Do lists and clog our planners with things that aren’t important to the bigger picture of our puzzle.

Strategy is about taking the time to brain dump all the things in your head related to your goal and then looking for patterns and priorities. As you turn over these puzzle pieces, you’ll begin to see the more important tasks that take care of the less important tasks or make the less important tasks irrelevant.

In the best selling book, The One Thing, the focusing question they teach is:

“What’s the One thing I can do, such that by doing it, everything else is easier or unnecessary?”

This is the heart of strategy and organizing what hits your planner and what doesn’t.

Block #3: Focus

With your priorities identified, now you can focus on the One Thing that makes everything else easier or unnecessary. This is where your productivity planners and journals help you hold the line.

Because you’ve already turned over the puzzle pieces, you aren’t distracted by new shiny objects. If new ideas come along, and they will, you will better see how and where they fit in the big picture of your desire and strategy, allowing you to go back and focus on your One Thing.

Block #4: Rhythm

The final building block of productivity is rhythm. There is a rhythm in life and work that works best for you. When you find this rhythm, time stands still, productivity is easy and your experience of work is joyful.

Some call this flow. As you hone your self-awareness about your ideal rhythm you will find yourself riding flow more often and owning your productivity.

Without these four building blocks of productivity, you’re like a painter with a paintbrush and no idea how to use it to create what’s in your heart to create. But harness these four building blocks and find yourself getting more done in less time.

The Bottom Line

Your life is your art. Everyday you have a chance to create something amazing. By understanding and using the four building blocks of productivity, you will set yourself up for success no matter which planner, or “paintbrush”, you choose to use.

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As you experiment with different planners you will narrow which one is best for you and accelerate your path to putting a dent in the universe.

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Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

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