20 Ways To Improve Productivity (And Ditch The Overwhelm)

Ways To Become More Productive

You’re living the ultimate dream as an entrepreneur.

No morning commutes. Nobody dishing tasks out to you. And the best part? You can work from wherever in the world you desire.

But how do you stay productive and avoid the overwhelm?

Here are 19 ways to become a productivity powerhouse:

1. Slay your goal planning

You want to stop wasting time and supercharge your productivity, but you’re not sure how to go about it.

The first step should always be setting attainable but ambitious goals.

Your goals should:

  • Be specific and actionable
  • Have a good ROI
  • Align with your long-term goals
  • Be attainable – but still a challenge
  • Use numbers (like ‘’reach 10,000 email subscribers by 04/15/18”)
  • Always have a deadline

Start by laying out your goals for the year. According to this study, you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down.

Here are yearly goals you can focus on:

  • Your blog traffic
  • Blog income
  • Number of email subscribers
  • Your content (how often you’ll post, how you’ll promote content, etc)
  • Social media strategy
  • Your income sources (will you be freelancing, creating courses, doing affiliate marketing, etc?)

Once you’re crystal clear on your goals, you can jump into making a plan.

2. Make a 90-day plan

If you can create a spectacular 90-day plan –  your entire schedule can streamline from it. You can create your quarterly plans once a year, or before the next quarter begins..

Here’s what you do:

  1. Decide on three big goals you want to accomplish in those 90-days
  2. Assign each goal to a month (Example: Goal #1 is January, Goal #2 is February, Goal #3 is March)
  3. With each monthly goal, break it down into smaller actionable steps

Here’s an example of a 90-day plan can look: with examples of monthly goals you might use:

Example Of A 90 Day Plan

You’ll need to fill in your action steps for each month, so you always know what you’re doing next.

3. Monthly, weekly, and daily plans

You already know what you’ll be focusing on, so creating these plans is child’s play.

Monthly plans:

  • Take 1-2 days towards the end of the month to plan the next month
  • Use the action steps you decided for that month

For example, let’s say this month is dedicated to growing your email list.

Your action steps could include:

  1. Creating 5 new content upgrades
  2. Sending out a weekly newsletter with something of value
  3. Research email growth strategies and implement them
  4. Create 2 new lead magnets
  5. Craft conversion-focused landing pages for every content upgrade and lead magnet

You don’t need to get ultra specific for each week. But do make a few points for what you’d like to pull off for each week.

Weekly and daily plans:

  • Each Sunday plan your week (and now you get specific with your days)
  • Focus on what needs to be done that week first (add anything urgent in first)
  • Break down your action steps for the month, into bite-sized steps for the week, then for each day
  • Start plugging each task into your day planner for each day. Or use an online program like Google Calendar or Trello.

Here’s an example of how you can use Trello to organize your week and individual days:

How You Can Use Trello

If you’re more a digital person than a notebook person –  Trello is a top-notch tool!

4. Structure your days for maximum productivity

The big picture is crucial for long-term productivity success. But, your daily grind is where it really counts.

The important thing is to commit to a personalized daily routine. No matter how that looks for you!

An example of an efficient daily routine:

  • Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day
  • Make your bed, and get dressed
  • Nourish your brain ( and a little coffee wouldn’t hurt!)
  • Gather the supplies you’ll need for the day
  • Give yourself a designated lunch break. As well as several small breaks to replenish your coffee cup or stay hydrated.
  • Take a short walk. Studies show diversions help to increase your focus on tasks, including time-consuming ones.

These tactics will train your brain that it’s a workday. Leaving you less likely to wander off to the big black hole of Facebook.

Your 90-day plan is underway. Now let’s dive into some productivity and time-management strategies.

5. Brain dumps

If you’re not familiar with what a brain dump is, you don’t know what you’ve been missing.

You know that feeling of complete overwhelm, or even utter defeat?

Doing regular brain dumps can massively decrease those feelings. And improve your overall productivity.

So what’s a brain dump?

A brain dump is writing down every single task that comes to mind – work and personal.

It’s basically a huge to-do list that leaves your brain feeling less overwhelmed.

Once you’ve done your list – it’s time to mark off anything that isn’t aligned with your businesses purpose or goals. If it doesn’t help your ROI – cross it off for now.

Divide things up into urgent, important, not important, etc.

You’ll want to do this on a regular basis. Before you schedule your week is your best bet. You’ll be amazed how much lighter you feel.

6. Create outlines and templates

Writing quality content is an art, and it takes time. So does creating captivating graphics for your content.

If you have an outline or a template ready to rumble – you’re going to save yourself loads of time.

Content outlines

Create outlines for your blog posts – and when you sit down to write, all you’ll need to do is fill-in-the-blanks.

You can whip up a quick outline in a matter of minutes.

Here are the main points you’ll want to include:

  1. A working title
  2. An intro (beginning with great “hook”)
  3. Headings for each of your main points
  4. Bullet points under each heading with your main ideas
  5. A conclusion
  6. A call-to-action

For images

Crafting the perfect social media image can be a daunting task to do from scratch every time.

Use a program like Canva to create and save templates of your images.

You can create a folder that says ‘’Templates’’ like this:

Create A Templates Folder

Then you can click on the image you want to use as your template, and click “Use as template”:

Click Use As Template

7.  Don’t tackle larger tasks first

Contrary to popular belief, tackling larger tasks first won’t help your productivity.

Starting with the smaller tasks benefits your productivity far more. Which leads to fewer burnouts.

Mainly because you feel a sense of accomplishment when you get to cross tasks off your list. Making it a smooth transition to the larger task calling your name later on.

When you do get to the larger tasks – make sure you break them down into smaller chunks. This’ll help you power through the rest of your day.

8. Try out time-management techniques

A well-known time-management technique called The Pomodoro Technique is an effective tactic to get more work done in less time.

In fact, that’s the philosophy: if you have less time, you have no choice but to complete the work.

How does it work?

You work for 25-minutes and then take a 5-minute break. Every 25-minutes is a “Pomodoro”. After you’ve gone through four Pomodoros, you take a 15-20-minute break.

Your focus is solely on the task at hand, because you know that timer is going to go off soon.

If you use Google Chrome, you can download the browser extension called “Workflow”. Which is a Pomodoros app with a timer.

To try it out, click here and then you’ll click “Add to Chrome’’, as shown below:

Click Add To Chrome

9. Multitasking is the Enemy

Ah, multitasking. We all do it.

But, since it’s making you 40% less productive  –  you may want to change your ways. Altering this behavior may be the key to unlocking your inner productivity powerhouse.

The most troubling of all? Many studies have found multitasking is damaging your brain and is lowering your IQ.

Scary, right?

The only way to cure your chronic multitasking is to focus on one task at a time. You’ll feel more accomplished when you do.

And at the end of the day – you’ll find that you’ve gotten more work done.

10. Leave brain-draining tasks for certain times of day

There are two types of people in the world.

Those who live for early mornings and enjoy birds chirping while they sip coffee. And those who despise mornings and wish they could sleep all day.

Chances are, if you’re not a morning person – you’re more productive in the evenings.

Figure out what type of person you are, and you’ll discover what time of day you’re at your best.

Then make that the time of day you leave the brain-draining tasks for.

11. Conquer your content

Your content is the cornerstone of your website.

That’s why most bloggers use a content calendar to plan it all out, so they’re not left frazzled.

Do you find yourself scrambling at the last minute to come up with blog post ideas? If so, it’s time to utilize an online tool like Trello or Google Sheets (excel). Either or will organize your content ideas ahead of time.

Here’s an example of a simple content calendar made with Google Sheets:

Simple Content Calendar With Google Sheets

Using a content calendar is excellent, in combination with other tactics to keep your content creation process as productive as possible.

Ideas to conquer your content for maximum productivity:

12. Batch your tasks

In your search to become a rock star at time-management, I’m sure you’ve come across this brilliant tip.

That’s because it really does work. Experts swear by it,  bloggers love it, and business owners should be doing it more!

Think of it like doing the laundry: you wouldn’t wash one t-shirt at a time, would you?

No. You’d wash every item of clothing at once.

Batching tasks is when you take an amount of time and do only alike projects at once.

Such as creating several blog posts at once, or scheduling all your social media posts at once.

It may seem tedious, but when the time comes that you need a blog post, stat  –  you’ll sure be glad you batched your tasks!

13. Track your time

Tracking your time is exactly how it sounds. You start by setting a timer or using one of many time tracking apps at your disposal.

Try evaluating how long it takes to complete particular tasks. It’ll benefit your time-management majorly. That should be your first step.

Then, begin tracking your time for each individual task you work on. It’ll keep you laser-focused!

This will also help to avoid adding too many items to your daily schedule. Because you’ll be able to approximate how long each task in your day planner or online scheduling tool

There are loads of time tracking apps, and Toggl even has a browser extension for Google Chrome:

Time Tracking Apps Toggl

14. Turn off the outside noise

How many times have you been working on an urgent project just to be sucked into the biggest time-suck of all: Facebook? Or whatever your particular poison is.

When you work at home they’re endless distractions ready to take you down.

Who hasn’t gone on Facebook for “only 5-minutes” to then realize it’s been 3-hours? And your work is still sitting, incomplete.

This is where this genius app comes into play:

Facebook News Feed Eradicator

If Facebook isn’t your biggest time-suck, there’s another fabulous app to keep you on task and eliminate distractions:

Facebook StayFocusd

15. Automate, outsource, and use shortcuts

As a business owner, there comes a time when you’re going to have to invest.

The best investments you can make in your business are ones that have a high ROI or save you money.

Luckily most of the tools you’ll need are beyond affordable.

Some of the best ways to automate, outsource, and use shortcuts:

  • Leverage social media scheduling tools, like those discussed in this article (pro tip: social media inboxes are also a huge timesaver).
  • Invite guest contributors to your blog
  • Hire a freelance writer or VA to lighten the load
  • Use shortcuts in your content strategy
  • Use blog post title generators and blog post idea generators

Blog topic generators are great for creating content in a hurry. Check out our list of headline tools to learn more.

16. Use dual monitors

Content creators and creative entrepreneurs often have 20-30 tabs open at a time on a slow day.

It’s unavoidable for most, when you’re trying to craft valuable content or work on projects online.

Various studies have concluded that using dual monitors improves productivity. Instead of using one computer with 50 tabs open, you have access to two separate screens.

In fact, one study found it increases productivity while working as much as 30%.

Give it a go – you’ll be glad you did.

Keep in mind: stay focused on one task at a time. As we established earlier – multitasking is not good for your brain and kills your productivity.

17. Time-blocking

Time blocking is when you assign particular tasks for certain parts of the day. It helps to meet your deadlines and creates a realistic schedule.

We’ve established that deadlines are a MUST when setting goals and learning how to manage your time better.

Time-blocking allows you to set a deadline for each task you’re working on. This increases the probability that you’ll gets complete those tasks finished by the end of the day.

18. Leave a block of time empty

Nothing in life goes exactly planned, and this especially applies to business.

Tasks take longer than we anticipate sometimes. Friends drop in for a visit, or other unexpected things land smack dab on our calendar.

You should always be prepared for that.

You can leave yourself 30-minutes at the end of each day. And if it ends up you’re right on schedule, you can use that time for another short task you had planned for later in the week. Or practice some self-care!

Another option is to leave an hour or two free at the end of the week. This way, if unexpected things do come up during the week that you weren’t able to complete –  you can take the time to finish them off.

19. Prioritization is key

Setting and crushing goals is one of the greatest components of a successful time-management plan. But, prioritization is the secret sauce.

When everything is crucial to you – you’ll be pulled in bazillion directions. Making it near impossible to focus on anything or finish any tasks.

First, you should do a brain dump, and get everything that needs to be done out on paper.

The main items you want to prioritize are those that have a high ROI and get you to your goals faster.

It’s up to you how you choose to divide and rank your tasks after you’ve written them all down in a brain dump.

This is how Suzi at Start a Mom Blog prioritizes her tasks. She uses the Eisenhower Decision Matrix:

Eisenhower Decision Matrix

Then she prioritizes her tasks into something like this:

Eisenhower Example

There are numerous ways to prioritize your tasks, – but keep that in mind your most important tasks should always be the ones that have great ROI’s and are aligned with your long-term goals.

20. Optimize “meetings”

According to one study, ineffective meetings cost up to $37 Billion per year! 

And apart from wasted money, there’s all that wasted time— and as we all know that time = money. 

For this reason, it’s important to avoid in-efficient meetings and conduct meetings that boost collaboration and help get everyone on the same page. 

Here’s a few best practices that can help:

  • Set clear agenda: Before conducting a meeting, make sure to have a clearly defined set of goals and objectives. 
  • Shorten your meeting time: This helps create a sense of urgency and drives attendees to discuss (and solve) matters much faster.
  • Follow Up with the attendees after the meeting’s over.
  • Don’t hold meetings unless absolutely necessary. That means no “status update” meetings.

Wrapping up

If you’re struggling to gain control over your lack of productivity or your poor time-management skills  –  you’re not alone.

It just might be the #1 things bloggers and entrepreneurs battle with.

But that doesn’t mean you have to remain stuck.

There are countless productivity tools out there, and as we’ve discussed today: endless strategies to supercharge your productivity.

So get out there and ditch the overwhelm for good!

Ways To Become More Productive