The Best Ways to Stay Productive at Work, No Matter the Circumstances

Staying productive at work is a challenge most working professionals face. Situations can change from day to day, or even by the hour, which can hamper your ability to stay productive.

Despite the distractions — however important they may be — leaders need the ability to stay focused on tasks and long-term goals in order to keep projects moving forward. So, how can professionals stay productive in their work environment? To find out more, we asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council the following:

Q. What is one thing you make sure to do every day to stay productive at work, no matter how much else is going on or demanding your attention?

Here’s what they advise:

1. Set Daily Goals and Block Time

The two most effective approaches to productivity are assigning daily goals and blocking time. The 1-3-5 list technique assigns one major win for the day, three mid-level goals, and five quick wins. Ensuring that the major accomplishment is done no matter what is key. And blocking two to four hours daily with zero distractions will both tackle this and leave some time for emergencies. – Mario Peshev, DevriX

2. Leave Your Office for an Hour

I leave the office and create a quiet space elsewhere. This includes turning off notifications and muting the phone. That way, I can focus on a project or certain decisions I have to make. Sometimes, I combine this with going to the gym or some type of exercise, especially if I need time to mull over a decision. – John Hall,

3. Use a Best Self Journal

Use a best self journal. Every day I use this tool to write out my three big to-do items. If I check even one off, it is a win, and it helps prevent my monkey-mind from taking over. By focusing on one thing, I always accomplish something. Otherwise, sometimes the animals run the zoo. – Codie Sanchez, Cresco Capital Partners

4. Turn Off Notifications

The key to maintaining focus and achieving peak productivity is limiting your distractions. Slack, email, Skype, text messages, Facebook — the list of notifications goes on and on. Turn them off for an hour or more and watch your task completion time drop dramatically. The good news? They’ll still be there when you reopen the apps and turn off do-not-disturb mode! – Dan Suski, YachtList

5. Track Your Time

Try tracking your time — down to the minute — every day for a month. I did this a few years ago and it changed the way I work. My productivity soared. You’d be surprised how activities that seem insignificant can add up to hours in your day or week. There are tons of time-tracking apps out there, but I just used a pen and paper and was shocked by the results. – Yaniv Masjedi, Nextiva

6. Have Some Quiet Time

Business is hard. The demands for your time, your attention, and your direction make it hard to understand and work on the things that will actually build your business. Instead of turning to books, courses, coaches, or crying, try getting quiet with a journal. You’ll find that dumping your thoughts onto paper and writing out your options is life-altering. I’ve found the early morning to be best. – Craig Haynie, CablesAndKits

7. Focus on Five Things

Each day, I write down five key things to accomplish that day. This has majorly helped my productivity by keeping me on track and making completion seem attainable. Before I started doing this, I would add a seemingly endless list of tasks, try and accomplish too much, and accomplish very little. Physically writing down five key things and then attacking the hardest one first has worked very well. – Joel Mathew, Fortress Consulting

8. Meditate, Lunch, and Nap

Being able to focus throughout the day is key. Start every day with meditating. It will keep you focused and increase your efficiency. Never skip lunch, as having lunch will provide you with energy to stay active at work. We all get tired and a little slower by the end of the day. Take a 10- to 20-minute power nap in the afternoon to refresh your brain and boost your energy. – Michael Hsu, DeepSky

9. Start Early

I am an early riser and am most productive from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m., so I make it a point to wake up early and work during those hours. My mind is the sharpest then. This helps me get the most important tasks on my to-do list done for the day. – Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Fem Founder

10. Exercise for the Mind and Body Connection

The one constant of my morning routine is exercise. I utilize it for the mental and spiritual benefits even more than the physical. It helps me think, strategize, and communicate better throughout the day, and it just makes me happy! Working out has become a non-negotiable part of my morning. By default, I have a lot of fear and anxiety. Exercise has been the best medicine I’ve found. – Michael Barnhill, Specialist ID

11. Have a Morning Routine

I think it’s important to prepare yourself to perform at the highest level. I’ve developed a morning routine where I get up at 5 a.m. and am at the gym by 5:15. I exercise for an hour, and then I meditate for 20 minutes in the sauna. During my meditation, I focus on what I’m grateful for and what I’m going to accomplish that day. This helps me be more productive, feel great, and live a more fulfilled life. – Kevin Getch, Webfor

12. Eat Breakfast

I have to eat a big, healthy breakfast in the morning. If I don’t, I can’t concentrate and my work ethic goes down the drain. Get your body the nourishment it needs to help you get through a busy workday. There is nothing worse than being hungry right as your day is starting to ramp up. – Colbey Pfund, LFNT Distribution

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