I’ve had a rocky relationship with productivity over the years. Strange thing to have a relationship with at all but honestly, productivity has had me wrapped around its little finger like a jealous, over protective, toxic boyfriend at times. I’m a very Type A sort of person, I struggle with not being productive and feel like I need to be doing, doing, doing all the damn time. I spoke more about this in a post I wrote a couple of years ago called always being the go girl but thankfully I’ve come a long way since then.

“So if you’ve had such a rocky relationship with productivity, what makes you qualified to give us advice?”

Well, nothing, technically. You can’t get a qualification in productivity. But I have learnt a lot about what works, what doesn’t and what you shouldn’t even bother wasting your time on over the last few years. I’m never not going to be a go-girl but when it comes to getting shit done, it really is a matter of working smarter and not harder. No amount of blog views or praise from your boss is worth beating yourself to the ground over.

Increasing productivity doesn’t have to involve a great big overhaul of your life. You don’t need to hire a life coach or turn to healing crystals in order to get into the right mindset (although if you want to do that too, that’s totally cool) so here are some super easy tips to help increase productivity:

Categorize and prioritize

A to-do list is your first point of call when it comes to productivity. Lists have changed my life. But there’s no use having one great big massive list with 200 things on it. That’s not going to make you want to be productive, that’s going to make you want to wrap up in your duvet and watch Netflix. Categorize your to-do lists into sections (e.g blogging, personal, errands etc) and highlight the tasks of the most importance.

Break down your tasks

And any particularly big or overwhelming tasks on that list can be broken down too. For example, if I’m faced with a particularly long and important sponsored post I have to write, I tend to break it down into sections. Writing the post, checking the SEO of the post, taking photos, editing photos etc. One big task becomes 4 smaller, more manageable tasks.

Stay organised

You know me, I’m the most organised person on the internet (or so I like to think) so I would reiterate this point until you can bare me no longer. Nothing bad ever comes from being organised. Being organised saves a heck of a lot of time and effort which you could be spending doing something else (like your actual work?) Try and organise your space, your laptop, your life a little more and you’ll find your productivity increase.

Have a tidy space

Probably should have put this one at the beginning but I find having a tidy space to work in one of the most important elements of being and staying productive. I work from home and my work “area” (which granted, is sometimes my bed) can often get very messy. The first thing I do in the morning, before I do any sort of work, is tidy up.

Shut off distractions

If there’s an important task that needs doing, the best way to get it done is to just get it done. But in today’s digital world, that’s not always so easy. Consider setting app limits on your phone to avoid scrolling aimlessly through social media, put the TV remote in another room, hide your book and just get. it. done.

Eat, drink enough water and move your body

You can’t be productive if you’re running on empty. Don’t under any circumstances neglect yourself for the sake of ticking off a to-do list. I know when we’re frantically trying to get ahead and stay ahead, we just want to keep going but I urge you to make sure you eat lunch, keep your water bottle topped up and if you can, make time to move your body throughout the day. I do Yoga every morning and always feel better for it.

Stay inspired

Make time to read other blogs, watch an interesting documentary, go for a walk in nature or anything that inspires you to keep going. There’s been days where I’ve got on my laptop at 9 in the morning and not looked at anything else for 7 hours. I feel cross-eyed, headachey and utterly rubbish afterwards because I’ve not taken the time to look at the big picture, get involved and engaged.

Don’t beat yourself up

Some days, it just ain’t going to happen. And that’s that. Nothing and no amount of “how to increase productivity!” blog posts will make you more productive. And that’s okay. Learn to accept it and move on. We can’t always be productive 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Remember there’s always tomorrow

And if you find yourself in that mindset, remember that there’s always tomorrow. Most things on your list likely don’t need to be ticked off this very second. So do what you can, accept defeat (because there’s nothing wrong with that – got an entire blog post coming about this!) and do it tomorrow.

I hope you found this post helpful if you’re struggling with productivity. Do you have any tips of your own to add? I’d love to hear them!

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93 Comments

  1. I loved the “Get Inspired” tip. Most times I end up not writing because I don’t really have an idea on what to write. Such a simple and effective solution! Amazing post! Really nice!

  2. So I’ve been binge-reading your posts for about an hour or so and I must say this is one of my faves. I’m one of those people who often feel guilty when there’s something I should do but don’t do it so when you said it’s okay and there’s tomorrow it really helped remind me that I can forgive myself because it won’t always be perfect.

  3. I think your last point “Remember there’s always tomorrow” is very important. We always think we need to get everything sorted straight away or if we do not do a task today something bad will happen, but in reality this is not the case. So we need to relax and calm down if we could not finish all the tasks today as we get another chance tomorrow.

  4. I love this post! Fully relate to my anxiety and Type A personality screaming at me when I’m unproductive- it really sets me off 🙈
    I like all these tips and I think I’m employing quite a few of them, though not beating myself up can be hard 😅 Great post 💜💙❤️

  5. Breaking down tasks can make a HUGE difference! I think it actually tricks my brain into feeling more productive because I’m checking off more items on my to-do list more often. Thanks for the tips. 🙂

    -Elise

  6. Great tips! I struggle with productivity sometimes. I’ve made a list of loads of things to do with the blog, and even making a list hasn’t helped recently haha. I think I need to break it down more, so I’ll try that! 🙂 I find turning off the internet or logging out of Facebook helps too!

  7. Interesting post! I also find that social media can be one of the biggest distractions (or hindrances!) I work during the day and spend a majority of my time on the laptop and so by the time I get home I’m too tired to sit and work on a blog post on my laptop. Do you have any advice on how to balance work and blogging?

  8. A great post full of great tips, it’s made me want to get more organised with my to do list, I always used to end up with about 30 things on my list then only ever ticking off about a third… then starting the list again, and again. I always like to do that with blog posts too though, write each thing separately on the list – photos, writing, sharing on social media etc. I find listing each thing makes me more motivated to get them done.

  9. Great tips! I have always been an avid list maker but I’ve only this past month started making to do lists each day again of what I need to get done. It has really helped me. I put out 11 posts for March, compared to 1 or 2 or none at all. Before I got sick in 2017 I was doing on average 20 posts a month, so it’s made me so happy that I have increased my productivity. There’s still more I want to set myself to do with regards to my blog. I have to say though that reading your blog related posts have really inspired me & motivated me, so thank you! 😀

    Sarah 🌺 || Boxnip || Latest Post

  10. Ohhhh I like the breaking jobs into smaller bits idea. Thank you 🙂 When it’s too big of a job it’s just overwhelming.

  11. What a pretty flatlay! I can definitely relate to lists being a lifesaver–there is nothing more satisfying than checking items off a list. And breaking a task down into pieces is a strategy I’ve been employing for years–since my dad had me and my siblings train for running long-distance and we got up to three miles. I would divide up the distance by blocks and landmarks and getting past each “checkpoint” was really fulfilling. I still employ that little strategy to this day, with whatever I’m working on, and it works wonders! I love everything about this post xx

    twinklexthoughts.blogspot.com

  12. It can be so difficult to make yourself productive and motivate yourself. I use bartering with myself, I reward myself with my favourite show if I’ve ticked off x amount off my checklist

  13. I love this! I really struggled in March because I was just not achieving on anything and it was driving me mad. I tend to get a honeymoon period where I try a new approach, it works for a bit and then I lose it all again. I’m sticking with a physical written list (not an app) at the moment and that seems to be helping. I honestly think the lighter evenings are having an effect as well. There are some really great tips here – some are acting as a reminder that I too prefer a clean space and I really need to tidy up! haha! Lovely post!

  14. Great post Jenny Funnily I just had my appraisal at work today, and my boss said I’m very productive and officient, which I am but not when it comes to blogging. Unfortunately. 🙁 Which I think has a lot to do with scheduling my time better. I think a to-do list would definitely help me break down tasks and make things more manageable.

      1. I’m going to try. I started off by deleting emails I haven’t read – mostly from online catalogues etc to make things a little less overwhelming. At work I check my email 3x a day at least lol, as we need a clear inbox by the end of the day.

  15. Ohh, I love this post so much!
    I used to be so unorganized all the time, but since I moved to the new city and after I got used to a new place to live and the new job, I decided to be more organized, and so far, it works well, but There’s always space for improvement.
    I think that clean space it the key, because if you don’t have healthy environment you will always have it on your mind that you have to clean it or organize it, you won’t be able to give 100% effort to your obligations, no matter what you do.
    I like your tip about being inspired. It is important even when we are not aware of it.

  16. I agree that I can’t focus with I am working in a messy place. That is why I try to make sure my workspace is clean first before I get started working. Thank you for the other tips as well!

  17. Love this post! It’s hard to stay motivated & on top of tasks sometimes. Being organised is so important – when my brain gets all mixed up I just end up giving up. Another thing that helps my productivity is actually getting ready. When I’ve lounged about in my pyjamas all day I can’t get motivated as well. Sometimes I just need a good shower, to do my makeup and tie my hair into a messy bun! Xxx

    1. The older I get (God that sounds awful), the more I need a to-do list to keep myself focused. My relationship with productivity is all over the place. I’m either fully focused and doing a million things or I’m struggling to do anything. I’d love to find a happy medium! x

      Sophie
      http://www.glowsteady.co.uk

  18. This is such a helpful post! I like to break down big tasks to help me feel it’s more achieveable. I sometimes get distracted with tv or my phone and social media. So I try to plan time to get tasks done and use the distractions as rewards almost. When I eat healthier, I have more energy and feel more productive. Thank you for sharing your post Jenny xx

  19. these are such great tips, I tend to split things up and work on each part instead of trying to tackle everything at once. To-do lists arent something I try to often, maybe I will soon.

  20. Your advice is honestly spot on!
    I tend to find my productivity comes in waves; sometimes I can just naturally work really hard, other times it’s like trying to get blood out of a stone. I’ve just learnt to roll with it now – if I’ve done everything I can to try and be productive and it’s still not working. I just need to accept it! Haha
    Great post lovely!

    Chloe ❤️ http://www.anomalouschloe.com

  21. Some great tips here, Jenny. I’m a fanatic list keeper but sadly my To Dos generally carry over from one week to the next. I like your idea of categorising things though, that’s something I could definitely try. And moving about is one too: I tend to sit in front of my laptop all day and not get up unless I have to. Apart from being unhealthy, it’s not terribly inspiring! Food for thought, thank you 🙂 x

    Lisa | http://www.lisasnotebook.com

  22. I’m so awful with feeling guilty if I’m not productive enough, sometimes I literally just can’t sleep because my mind batters me that I haven’t done enough in the day or completed my to do list! Part of me appreciates that I’m so motivated but it’s so bloody exhausting not being able to switch off. It’s so super important to be organised, I revolve my life around being organised as it makes every day so much easier! And I totally agree with accepting that some days the inspiration just isn’t there and you have to accept and move on! Great post, Jenny 🙂
    Alice Xx

  23. This is something I struggle with too. It’s hard because I am also a go go go type of person and it makes me feel shitty if I’m not always doing something.

  24. STAYING organized (especially in a house of 6) is the hard part for me. If I lived alone, I feel I’d be super organized and efficient. Only one other person in the house is neat and organized, and he’s not even related!

  25. Some great tips! I like to keep my space organized and break down my tasks. I find that I get a lot more work done that way. Great post!