[Expert Hours] Join us on March 20th: Maximize Time Off While Ensuring Legal Compliance Register Now

Table Of Contents

30 Ways to Increase Productivity

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Table Of Contents

Feeling sluggish this week? Increase productivity with a few simple tricks:

Get to Work Early

You’ve heard this saying a million times: the early bird catches the worm.

Are all of the world’s most productive people just “morning people”? That can’t be. Even if you are not a morning person, working in the morning does carry one important advantage: there are fewer people up, and fewer people to bother you. Fewer human distractions mean increased productivity.

Avoid Meetings Without Clear Objectives

Don’t catch yourself saying: I’ve survived another meeting that should have been an email. It’s okay to ask whether your presence at a meeting is absolutely necessary. Moreover, avoid at all costs being the person who plans a meeting without a clear objective.

Do Your Most Challenging Task First

It’s an easy trick to increase productivity: start the day with your most challenging task. The longest tasks are often the easiest to postpone. Then you’ll be stuck with it at the end of the day, feeling most unproductive.

Communicate Wisely

Communicating effectively is crucial to productivity. Having the right tools is a great way to increase productivity**.** Of course, Slack is a popular choice, especially for remote teams. Making sure that everyone stays on topic in the right channels is also important.

Track Your Time Off

Did you know that you can do leave tracking through a Slack app?

Vacation Tracker is a great tool for teams. It integrates directly with Slack. Any user can request a vacation, a day off, a sick day, or any other type of leave directly in any Slack channel. Less paperwork means an increase in productivity!

Divide and Conquer

Divide tasks that seem daunting into smaller steps. Strike them out as you go down the list, to feel an instant increase in productivity.

Check Your Email Only Once Per Day

This trick is used by some of the top business professionals out there. Answering emails as soon as they come in interrupts your workflow. Then, it takes time to get back into it.

Limit Time Spent on Social Media Apps

Unless absolutely necessary to your job, reduce your time spent on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to 10-15 minutes per app. There are apps you can install to help you control your social media use. Certain apps, such as Instagram, also offer timers that notify you once you have spent a certain number of minutes on the app.

Write Down Your Thoughts

We sometimes prevent ourselves from being focused because we spend too much time overthinking. Get out of your own head by writing down, or typing what is on your mind.

Move On

When stuck on a task, move on to the next one!

You learned this trick when practicing for an exam or a standardized test: in order to increase productivity, don’t dwell on the problems you can’t resolve. Move on to other problems, questions, or tasks, and get back to the harder issue later. Just make sure you do return to it in due time!

Buy a Water Flask

To avoid wasting time at the water cooler, bring a large bottle of water and keep it at your desk. Staying properly hydrated is also a great way to improve overall health.

Use a Task Management App

When working on multiple projects simultaneously, things can definitely get confusing. You might keep a robust to-do list, or you might just have a bunch of sticky notes lying around. Keeping things organized on an app, such as Trello, can be a great way to increase productivity.

Identify the Bottleneck

Every process or task generally has a bottleneck, or a situation that causes an unnecessary delay. Figure out the bottlenecks in your daily process and find ways to address them.

Ask for Help

There is nothing wrong with reaching out to a colleague or a friend when you are feeling a slump in productivity. Whether it’s an issue with a project task or a personal problem, there is no shame in needing a helping hand.

Group Similar Tasks Together

Even in today’s modern age, we can still learn something from Fordism, the early 20th-century mass production system. With Fordism, to increase productivity, all similar actions get grouped together, in search of cost minimization.

Identify Redundant Tasks

Challenge yourself to identify redundant tasks in your workflow, and find a way to remove them. You may improve your own productivity and help out your whole team in the process.

A process that is often redundant and still done on Excel sheets, is vacation planning!

Vacation Tracker offers a solution that will remove the need for any old Excel sheets and will save your team or HR manager a lot of time.

Use the Right Tools

For everyday use, pick tools that are responsive, easy to use, and work for you.

This is true for physical tools or your hardware, but also true for your software tools.

Go For a Walk

Fresh air can help clear the mind. Exercise also takes you out of your bubble: a win-win for your mental and physical health.

Listen to Music

However, make sure that it’s music that doesn’t distract you. Although it’s often tempting to listen to Christmas music around the holidays, music with lyrics can be distracting for certain people.

Take Short Breaks

Taking breaks from time to time has been proven to increase productivity. However, make sure that these breaks are timed so that you don’t go overboard.

Eat a Light Meal

Do you recall that lethargic feeling you got after eating a huge plate of thanksgiving dinner? Then you probably agree that having that feeling at work would be rather counter-productive! Avoid it by eating a lighter meal at lunch.


Coffee is a delicate addiction. Too much coffee can make you overly anxious and this can have an adverse effect on your productivity. Yet, coffee can also ground you, give you energy and greatly increase productivity. Use with caution.

5S Your Space

The 5S methodology comes from Lean Manufacturing. Yet, it can still be applied to an office environment. The 5 “S” are: sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain. This translates to getting rid of the superfluous items on your desk and only keeping what’s necessary nearby. So, make sure your charger, your phone, and all of your resources are near you as you work.

Stretch at Your Desk

Use your little breaks productively to loosen your muscles. Various desk yoga moves can be found online.

Plan Everything in Your Calendar

A good calendar is good not just for work, but also for your personal life.

To increase productivity, plan your day around your work and your other activities. You’ll be more likely to workout if you actually dedicate time to it in your calendar.

Race Against the Clock

Any person who has run long distances knows that it becomes addictive to set new personal records. Why not try the same approach with your work tasks? Time yourself and challenge yourself complete tasks quicker every time. However, never sacrifice quality over quantity!

Find Shortcuts

See how other people work and analyze their techniques. Are they doing something you are not? Could there be a better way to do the work that you do?


This word gets thrown around often. Yet, you don’t need to be a meditation guru to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is simply about recognizing your thoughts, and letting them go. To increase productivity in your day, just catch yourself drifting off-topic, and get back to it!

Take a Vacation!

Some time off from everything is a great way to reset.

Plan your time off on the Vacation Tracker app, and get even more peace of mind. Your days off will be visible to your whole team and no one else’s productivity will be affected by your absence.

Work Smart, Not Hard!

We end this list with another aphorism.

All it really means is to use your time effectively. However, personal effectiveness and even productivity could be quite subjective.

Maybe it’s time to redefine how you measure your own productivity?

Kristina Ousmanova
Kristina Ousmanova

Kristina recently left behind fast-paced life of Human Resource Business Consulting to freelance as a Content Writer. A regular Vacation Tracker contributor, she can be found working remotely from her home in Montreal, usually while eating a variety of snacks.

Manage Time Off in Lieu (TOIL) in Vacation Tracker

Manage Time Off in Lieu (TOIL) in Vacation Tracker

Read more
TOIL vs. Overtime Pay: What’s Best for Your Business?

TOIL vs. Overtime Pay: What’s Best for Your Business?

Read more
Understanding Substitute Approvers in Vacation Tracker

Understanding Substitute Approvers in Vacation Tracker

Read more

Do you want to simplify PTO tracking?

Schedule a free consultation with our team to learn how Vacation Tracker can help you.

Request a demo