In this digital era, most of us would have access to technological gadgets and online tools to help us organise our time and be more efficient at what we do. Despite having to-do lists and planners, to the latest applications for time management at our disposal, some may still find it hard to accomplish tasks and enhance their productivity.

More than owning the right tools, productivity is about developing and practising certain habits that will help you get the most out of each day. You can try changing your daily routine or working style by adopting five habits:

1) Habit of Starting the Day Calmly

Starting your day off on the wrong foot will easily kill your productivity. The stress and chaos that ensue when you are late to work, have to face an angry boss, and frantically try to catch up on work will likely ruin your output for the day. If you begin your day scattered, you might find it harder to concentrate on tasks and the quality of your work could suffer as a result.

If you develop the habit of starting the day calmly, you would be able to smoothly ease into the tasks you need to accomplish. Wake up early, enjoy a good breakfast, read the news or get some morning exercise to ensure that your mind and body are prepared and properly fueled up for the busy day ahead. When you feel good, you are also less likely to procrastinate. A happy worker is a productive worker.

2) Habit of Preparing in the Evening

In order to get off to a good start in the morning, you should develop the habit of preparing for work the evening before. The first thing you do in the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day and can even have a major impact on your productivity level; hence, it is important that you visualise or plan the important tasks you need to get done in advance.

In the evening, take a few minutes to reflect on your day, update your to-do list, write down notes for an important meeting coming up, etc. Early preparation can help you organise your thoughts and make a difference in how you will accomplish your tasks the next day.

3) Habit of Working in Focused Bursts

In the competitive workplace, staying focused and on task can sometimes be even more challenging than actual work. Many modern employees have developed a penchant for multitasking, believing that doing many things at the same time is equal to being productive.

To increase your productivity, it is better to work in focused bursts that last 50 minutes or so each, and take short breaks in between to recharge and refresh your mind for greater efficiency. Science has also proven that our brains are not meant for multitasking, especially if the task requires considerable thought and detailed planning. Focus on one task and do it right before moving on to the next.

4) Habit of Taking Breaks

Being productive does not mean you should work non-stop. In fact, by continuously working like a robot, you become less productive. Use these ‘scheduled interruptions’ wisely by stepping away from your computer. Instead, enjoy a snack, take a short walk or meditate. This way, you give yourself time to detox your mind and refocus after each break.

5) Habit of Prioritising

On your to-do list, highlight three tasks that are most important and require immediate attention. Schedule these tasks for the morning and target to complete them by lunchtime. This way, you get to work on the most challenging tasks while you are feeling fresh in the morning. The rest of the tasks on your to-do list can be scheduled for the afternoon.

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