Do you ever feel stuck in a rut, needing more motivation to keep your productivity up in your day-to-day life? Even those of us passionate about productivity can hit a slump.
Despite my love for productivity, I still do find myself grappling with stagnant periods where inspiration seems elusive. But with time and through trial and error, I was able to curate a list of productive things to do to help myself get back on the productivity track.
As a productivity enthusiast, I enjoy experimenting with different time management strategies, testing productivity tips and techniques, and exploring AI tools to fuel and help sustain my productivity.
My personal journey inspires this guide and will hopefully help reignite your spark and help sustain your daily productivity. Keep reading to explore 37 Productive Things to Do To Help Sustain Your Productivity.
Catch up on work
Work sustains us, so catching up on work tops the list of productive things to do. We all have times when it feels impossible to sit down and concentrate on the important task in front of us. But that’s okay, patience is the key to regaining the focus.
1. Tackle smaller or easier tasks
When I get into a monkey mind state, I learned to allow myself to take time. Sometimes anxiety or an unsettled state of mind can temporarily block that coveted working flow. My strategy is to use that “free time” to tackle other (easier or smaller) tasks on my to-do list.
Just getting something done can get me back into that working flow. Completing any task, however small, builds confidence and productivity bit by bit. Before you know it, you’ll regain focus to conquer meatier tasks you’ve delayed for weeks.
2. 5-minute rule
Another strategy that I frequently turn to when I lack motivation to get something done is a 5-minute rule. Depending on the task, you can increase or decrease the time.
Here is how it works. Let’s say you have to read 10 chapters in preparation for an exam or write a report for the next ‘big’ meeting, and you just can’t get to it. Promise yourself that you’ll engage (I mean it, no phone or daydreaming) in this task for 5 minutes. Put everything away, set the timer, and do it.
An unappealing task becomes more approachable when you set a 5-minute timer – knowing the end is near makes starting easier. The (short) time limit attached helps to shift your perception of the task from overwhelming to manageable. This allows you to relax and concentrate. At the end of these 5 minutes, I often feel I can do a little more, so I continue.
The goal is to change how you frame the task, help you relax and concentrate. Starting small and gradually increasing the time limit also helps to build the habit of doing a particular task.
3. Review and optimize your planning
Invest just 10-12 minutes each morning to thoughtfully plan your day, and you could save yourself upwards of 2 hours that would otherwise be wasted on distractions or ineffective work.
As productivity guru Brian Tracy notes, “Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution; this gives you a 1000 percent Return on Energy!”
The key is being proactive and realistic in your planning. It will shield you from negative emotions associated with unfinished tasks.
The small upfront investment in planning defines your productivity, helping you stay on track and focused versus being overwhelmed and frustrated.
4. Study your notes
Your notes from online courses or business meetings are invaluable, helpful resources. Often, we spend time taking notes but neglect to review them.
Revisiting these notes keeps you up to date, reinforces learning, and enhances understanding. Regularly updating and studying your notes turns a passive activity into an active learning process, making your study sessions more effective.
Reviewing your meeting notes ensures you’re well-prepared for upcoming discussions, helps you recall past decisions, and keep track of tasks and responsibilities.
5. Create and share meeting summary
Crafting a meeting summary is one of those productive things to do that helps to refine your professional skills.
Meetings often sow confusion. Though discussions may seem clear in the moment, participants frequently struggle to recall specifics afterward when it’s time to execute. The post-meeting action plan can feel fuzzy once everyone disperses, whether it’s a course project briefing or a bi-weekly team huddle. By learning how to create effective summaries, you bring clarity and direction.
A good summary includes key talking points, decisions made, and assigned tasks. It’s crucial to keep these notes up-to-date and share them with relevant team members. This practice ensures everyone is on the same page, spends time wisely, and eliminates ambiguity.
Become a better version of yourself
Embarking on productive things to do today is like sending a gift to your future self. Forget fleeting New Year’s resolutions; it’s about becoming the healthiest and happiest version of you.
6. Get into a habit of daily reading
Spending just a few minutes each day immersed in a book is a profoundly productive thing to do.
Many successful people, like Charlie Munger, an esteemed American investor and Warren Buffett’s right-hand man, advocate for reading as a cornerstone of success.
Munger’s philosophy, “As long as I have a book in my hand, I don’t feel like I’m wasting time,” underscores the most significant benefit of reading: it’s a valuable investment in oneself, never a waste of time.
7. Keep a journal
I find journaling one of the most introspective and fulfilling ways to spend time. It also is another common habit shared by many successful people.
It’s productive because it offers a better way to understand your thoughts and emotions. Whether it’s a few lines each day or a deep dive into your inner world, journaling can be a transformative path to self-improvement and reflection, offering clarity and a sense of calm in the hustle of daily life.
I particularly cherish using a five-year diary. In our busy lives, days often tend to blend. Revisiting the same day over five years illuminates changes and growth, offering unique insights into your evolution. It’s a remarkable way to learn from the past and connect the present-day version of you with the past.
8. Reduce your phone time
Have you ever realized how much free time you spend scrolling on your phone?
Glance at your phone usage stats; those non-productive hours might just surprise you. Excessive phone use has been linked to various mental and physical health issues.
The good news? A 2023 study suggests reducing phone use by just an hour can significantly enhance mental health and life satisfaction.
If you want to feel productive, take the leap and cut back. Cutting down on bad habits can open up a world of fun and productive things to do. Need help finding alternatives? Learn Awesome Things To Do Instead of Being on Your Phone. This article is packed with fun, creative, and productive activities to fill your newfound time.
9. Try time management strategies
Mastering time management starts with a basic understanding of different techniques.
Start by refining your to-do list; this small step can save time and make a big difference to your day. Consider adopting time blocking, where you allocate specific hours to tasks, reducing the urge to multitask.
Another method is the Pomodoro Technique, a cycle of focused work followed by short breaks, enhancing productivity and focus. Lastly, timeboxing involves assigning a fixed time to a task, improving efficiency and decision-making. Experiment with these strategies to find what works best for you.
10. Pick and follow one of the productivity hacks
Choosing and consistently applying a productivity hack can profoundly benefit your future self.
Whether it’s a small habit like doing 5 squats a day or learning a new project management tool, these seemingly small routine changes can foster a productive and healthy lifestyle.
Remember, these habits may take weeks or even months to stick. Don’t worry if progress feels slow; every step counts. By focusing on one change at a time, you’ll see a tangible improvement in your quality of life.
Looking for a few ideas? Read my Productivity Hacks 101 post for inspiration.
Fostering creativity is vital to enhancing your personal growth and productivity. It helps to remove the fear of failure and rejuvenates your approach to tasks and projects, sparking innovative ideas.
11. Create or update your vision board
A vision board is not just a collage; it’s a visual representation of your goals and dreams. Crafting or refreshing an inspiration board is a dynamic way to visualize and track your aspirations. It’s one of the most productive things to do to ensure you’re aligned with your goals.
Regularly updating this board keeps your future self in focus, guiding your actions towards achieving those dreams. Dedicate a few minutes to envision your ambitions, and let your board serve as a daily reminder of where you aim to be.
12. Redecorate your room or your workspace
Transforming your personal space by redecorating can be a refreshing change.
Incorporate wall art that inspires you or brings back favorite memories, creating an environment that reflects your personality and passions.
Adding indoor plants is more than an aesthetic choice. Plants beautify your space, purify the air, reduce stress, and enhance your mental health. They improve focus and performance, making your workspace a sanctuary of productivity and calm.
13. Do a DIY project
Any DIY projects, from repainting furniture, crafting handmade pottery, or even reorganizing storage spaces, ignite your creativity and upgrade a vast array of skills. You’ll need to use precision and vision to sand and stain and old desk. Crafting pottery shapes your artistic expression. Tetris items into drawers, finding the ideal layout.
Through DIY, you prototype and problem-solve. The sense of accomplishment from completing DIY crafts then motivates you to apply that can-do attitude towards other productive tasks.
Let DIY enjoyment spark you. Sketch wall designs, upcycle fabric into totes, prune overgrown plants—hands-on, creative projects make you feel capable, energizing productivity.
Learn how to Improve Productivity
Elevating productivity goes beyond finding productive things to do. How about using your free time to get to know yourself better or acquire new productivity skills to enhance efficiency?
Discover practical methods like creating playlists, finding apps, and gaining insights from TED Talks.
14. Discover your most productive times
Identifying your peak productivity periods can drastically enhance how you spend time. Everyone has certain hours when they’re more focused and energized. It might be early mornings for some or late nights for others.
Track your productivity levels over a week or two. Notice when you feel most alert and when your energy dips. This self-awareness allows you to schedule challenging tasks during your prime time, making a big difference in your efficiency. Embrace this personal insight as one of the productive things to do to elevate your work or study habits.
15. Make a productivity playlist
Music can be a powerful ally in boosting focus and productivity. Creating a personalized productivity playlist can transform the way you work.
Start by selecting tunes that keep you motivated and focused. Opt for genres or tempos that resonate with your work rhythm, whether classical melodies or upbeat instrumentals.
Remember, the right music can turn mundane tasks into enjoyable sessions and help you power through your tasks and chores. Experiment with different styles and tracks until you find your perfect productivity mix.
16. Find a new productivity podcast, app, or a YouTube channel
Exploring a new productivity podcast, app, or YouTube channel can be a great source of inspiration and motivation supporting your quest to enhance efficiency.
These platforms offer a treasure trove of helpful resources and fresh perspectives. Whether learning new strategies, finding inspiration, or simply getting motivated, dedicating a few minutes to these resources in your free time can make a big difference. They provide practical tips that you can apply immediately, helping you feel productive and staying up-to-date with the latest productivity trends.
17. Eliminate distractions
In our busy lives, eliminating distractions is vital to boosting productivity.
Start by clearing away unnecessary physical stuff that clutters your workspace. A tidy environment promotes a clear mind. Also, identify and actively work on reducing bad habits that interrupt your workflow, like frequently reaching for your phone to check social media or emails.
Whether it’s silencing notifications, organizing your workspace, or setting specific times for email checking, reducing interruptions can make a significant impact. It’s about creating an environment that supports concentration, helping you to be more efficient and accomplish more.
Purposeful Acts of Good
Incorporate kindness into your to-do list or revisit your New Year’s resolutions focusing on altruism. Acts of kindness, big or small, not only benefit others but also enrich your own life with positivity and purpose.
18. Get in the habit of writing a gratitude journal
Creating a gratitude list can be a powerful exercise to re-live favorite memories and combat negative emotions. Reflecting on what you’re thankful for, from small joys to significant achievements, helps cultivate a positive mindset.
This practice also helps to bring back pleasant memories and shifts focus from what’s missing to what’s present in your life. It’s a simple yet effective way to nurture contentment and appreciation, helping to ground you in positivity and resilience.
Volunteering in your local community is a rewarding experience that enriches your life and those around you.
You can do many things, such as helping at a food bank, tutoring students, or contributing to environmental projects. Volunteering allows you to connect with diverse groups, learn new skills, and make a tangible difference. It’s a powerful way to give back, build community bonds, and connect and gain a deeper understanding of the world around you.
20. Write a review
Writing a review is a simple yet impactful act of kindness. Consider the times a detailed review guided your decisions – from avoiding a purchase from a dishonest seller to choosing the perfect boutique hotel for a holiday.
Your reviews can help others make informed choices and support local businesses. It’s a way to extend your altruism beyond, influencing and aiding a wider audience. By sharing your honest experiences and insights, you participate in a more extensive network of mutual assistance and trust.
Embracing foresight in life’s journey means setting long-term goals and preparing for upcoming events. Whether it’s crafting 5 and 10-year plans, selecting thoughtful gifts well in advance, or adopting a healthy meal plan, planning ahead transforms your future self.
21. Create 5 and 10-year plans
Crafting 5 and 10-year plans is a strategic way to turn your dreams into achievable goals.
These long-term plans serve as a roadmap, guiding you toward your desired future. Whether advancing your career, learning a new skill, or achieving personal milestones, these plans keep you focused and motivated.
Remember, each step in your plan should be SMART: specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and time-bound.
22. Opt for a healthy meal plan
“You are what you eat!” This saying rings true when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle that supports productivity.
Opting for a meal plan is a practical way to eat healthier. It involves pre-planned meal prepping, saving you time during the week and making grocery shopping more efficient and focused.
Planning your meals in advance ensures you’re fueling your body with the right nutrients, leading to better mental and physical health. Plus, it’s a great way to learn new skills in cooking and nutrition.
Organize Your Life
Organizing is a perfect activity to switch off mentally. Tasks like tidying your closet or sorting document files are simple yet productive things to do, offering a break from intense thinking. It’s a way to stay efficient while giving your brain a well-deserved rest.
23. Organize files on your computer and phone
Are you a digital hoarder? I am. My devices often become cluttered with all those pictures and files I rarely open.
But here’s my strategy: every two months, I dedicate time to sift through and delete unnecessary files. This simple act of cleaning up my digital space not only makes it easier to navigate but also feels surprisingly refreshing. It’s a small yet effective way to stay organized and efficient in managing my digital space.
24. Cancel all the subscriptions you don’t use
Taking a close look at your subscriptions can be enlightening. Are there services you’re paying for but rarely use? Canceling these can free up some extra money each month. It can be quite surprising just how much you can save by simply letting go of unused subscriptions.
Streamlining your expenses and decluttering your financial commitments is a great way to increase financial productivity and efficiency, ensuring your resources are focused on what truly matters.
25. Clear Inbox Clutter
Clearing your inbox by unsubscribing from newsletters you no longer need is an excellent way to save time and enhance focus.
Each unwanted email is a potential source of distraction, a minor interruption that, cumulatively, can affect productivity. Eliminate these, and make room for important communications. You will feel more productive and focused too!
Move your career forward
Let’s focus on your professional aspirations. Advancing your career is one of the most productive things to do for self-growth.
Consider revisiting your New Year’s resolutions and inspiration board and evaluating your progress toward those goals. It’s not just about earning extra money; it’s about fulfilling your potential and achieving your dreams.
26. Update your resume or LinkedIn profile
Refreshing your resume or LinkedIn profile is a vital step in career advancement. It’s an opportunity to showcase your latest achievements and skills.
Ensure your profile reflects your current role, skills, and accomplishments. Regular updates keep your professional image up-to-date, making you more visible to potential employers or collaborators. This simple yet impactful action can open doors to new opportunities, aligning your professional presence with your career aspirations.
27. Find remote work opportunities
How about enhancing your work-life balance as a way to improve your personal productivity? Finding remote work opportunities is one way to achieve a better work-life balance. You’ll be surprised how much time you can save on commuting, too!
Begin with updating your online profiles and resume to reflect your readiness for remote roles. Explore job portals that specialize in remote positions, and don’t hesitate to network online through professional groups and forums. Finally, tailor your applications to show how your skills and experiences align with remote work requirements. This proactive approach can open up a world of possibilities, allowing you to work from virtually anywhere.
28. Follow industry experts on Social Media
Following industry experts on social media can be a valuable strategy. These professionals often share insights, articles, and commentary that can deepen your understanding of your field. It’s a practical way to stay informed and inspired, allowing you to engage with the latest discussions and developments.
This habit broadens your knowledge and connects you with a network of like-minded professionals and thought leaders.
Discover new things
Embarking on a journey to discover new things is a chance to learn new skills, explore different perspectives, and ignite your curiosity.
Why sit idle when you can engage both your body and mind in exciting pursuits? This exploration might just spark your next big passion, productive habit, or even revenue streams.
29. Find a new location to work or study
Changing your work or study environment can significantly enhance your focus. Why not try a local coffee shop or library? The ambient noise and new surroundings might spark your creativity and productivity.
Additionally, exploring different places within your own city can offer fresh perspectives and break the monotony of a routine setting. This change of scenery can be refreshing, helping you to find new inspiration and motivation in familiar yet unexplored spaces.
30. Learn a new language
Learning a foreign language is a cultural asset and can significantly boost cognitive abilities.
A longitudinal study found that bilingual individuals exhibited enhanced attention and concentration. Even in adulthood, language learning improves general intelligence, reading skills, and memory abilities. It also strengthens the brain’s natural ability to focus, developing new areas of your mind.
Embracing a new language enriches your communication skills and sharpens your mental faculties.
31. Learn to code
Learning to code is an empowering step towards tech literacy. Numerous online courses provide a basic understanding of various programming languages. This skill opens up career opportunities and enhances problem-solving and logical thinking abilities.
This skill opens numerous opportunities, from web development to app creation. It offers a pathway to creative expression, opening doors to innovative projects and ideas.
Start small, practice consistently, and watch as this new skill transforms your ability to interact with the digital world.
Boosting your physical health and mental health doesn’t require monumental efforts. Even small activities, like a brief workout or a quick stretch, can significantly boost energy and mood uplift. You don’t have to do intense workouts to feel the benefits – when multiplied, small, consistent efforts can make a substantial difference in how you feel.
32. Take your dog for a walk
Taking your dog for a walk is beneficial for your furry friend, and it’s a great way to stay active and clear your mind.
This simple activity gets you outside, allowing you to enjoy fresh air and a change of scenery. It’s a chance to momentarily step away from daily stresses and connect with nature.
Plus, it’s an opportunity to bond with your pet, improving your mental health and theirs. Consider it a mini-break that rejuvenates both body and mind.
33. No Dog, No Problem! Walk, Listen, Explore
If you don’t own a dog, go for a walk and listen to a podcast. It’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors and engage your mind. Alternatively, you could become a dog-walker. It’s a fantastic way to ensure regular walks and enjoy some furry company.
For goal-oriented people like myself, combine your walk with grocery shopping or errands, like sending a delayed return. Or, visit a local museum for a blend of physical activity and cultural enrichment. Whatever your choice, stepping outside is a refreshing change of pace.
34. Complete a short workout
Incorporating a short workout into your daily routine can be a fulfilling way to keep up with your New Year’s resolutions. Starting your day with a quick exercise session as part of your morning routine can energize you for the rest of the day.
If motivation is an issue, consider working out with a family member or best friend. Find a YouTube workout video that caters to your fitness levels and interests.
This small commitment can significantly boost your energy and mood, making it a manageable yet impactful way to stay active and healthy.
Embrace the saying, “No man is an island,” by spending time with those you cherish. Connecting with others enriches life with joy, creating shared experiences and precious memories.
35. Reconnect with a long-lost friend
Have you ever wondered about your old friend with whom you shared countless laughs but lost contact over time?
Reaching out to reconnect can be a heartwarming journey down memory lane. It’s like opening a childhood photo album, each memory a page filled with nostalgia and warmth.
Rekindling these friendships can bring joy and remind you of the bonds that shaped your early years. It’s a beautiful way to revive cherished connections and maybe reforge lasting ones.
36. Catch up with a friend or a family member
Use your free time to reconnect with a friend or a family member. It’s a heartwarming way to preserve family memories and share life updates.
Why not combine it with activities like meal prepping? It turns a necessary task into a fun bonding experience, creating new memories. These moments are precious, building deeper connections and enriching your personal life.
37. Go to a networking event
Attending a networking event can be a catalyst for personal and professional growth. Such events offer interesting news and insights from your industry and provide a platform to exchange ideas with peers. They’re an excellent opportunity to build connections, learn about new trends, and get inspired.
Whether finding a mentor, discovering potential job opportunities, or expanding your horizons, networking events can open doors you didn’t even know existed.
I hope you found this post helpful and will try some of the things recommended above!
As someone passionate about productivity, sustainable productivity has been an ongoing journey of discovery for me. I’m continually learning, whether experimenting with new techniques or adopting the latest AI-powered tools.
This post aimed to share my little tactics or ‘productive things to do’ to help you sustain your productivity journey, especially during these ‘don’t feel like moments’.
The three important things I have learned from these moments are
- There are times when it’s okay to sit and do nothing. Or even get bored! Maybe your body and mind need the time and space to rewire so creativity and motivation can come back naturally and stronger. Allow yourself to have these quiet moments of inactivity and boredom.
- Each action counts, no matter how small, it helps to propel you toward a more fulfilled, motivated, and creative life.
- Consistency triumphs over intensity. Small, sustainable additions to my routine helped me stay on track and in the end, made the biggest impact, slowly transforming my lifestyle.
Like everyone, I still experience low productivity moments. But with time and experience, I now know better how to deal with them to get back on the productivity track, feeling even more energized, focused, and happy. Using the tips discussed above, I’m able to reignite my passion for productivity every time.
Like anyone, I still have low productivity moments. But experience has taught me how to rebound quickly. Now, when my focus wavers, I have go-to strategies to get back on track – reigniting my passion and energy. Whether it’s taking a brisk walk, tidying my workspace, or setting a challenging timer, these little resets I shared above work wonders. They help me and hopefully will help you to redirect your mindset and recover your productive spirit.
So keep exploring! Test different approaches from this list and discover what sticks. Let the momentum build gradually. Anchor the changes that bring you joy, motivation, and creativity. The path to self-improvement starts small but leads somewhere incredible. I can’t wait for you to discover it!