Whether in business or at home increasing productivity can be a useful tool in being able to accomplish goals and day-to-day tasks. Productively using our time can not only save us some blood, sweat, and tears but allow us to get a grasp on each day. Below are tips that can help you and your employees be more productive.

Stop and Plan Ahead

First, take the time and write a to-do list, whether it’s for one day or the week, you need to plan each task including meals, checking email, and free time. Preparing a to-do list allows you to get the list out of your head and on paper. Visually seeing the list will help you know what you have to do and prioritize the importance of each task. Brandon Turner from Entrepreneur.com tells us of the importance of time-blocking, “simply designating time to work on each task on your list.” Too often, we make a list of the things we have to do and hope that we’ll eventually accomplish each task. Instead of hoping, make the time to do it.

Toughen Up

Always plan to do your most important task first. It’s normal to want to procrastinate the most important project and work on the easy tasks first. But getting your biggest project done first or even working on a section of your project each morning, will ease tension from your mind and allow you to focus on other tasks throughout the day, allowing you to be more productive, and working more efficiently on less important jobs.

Eliminate Distractions

Once the schedule is made with a specific time to work on each task, it’s important to exercise discipline and cut out all distractions that could cause you to lose focus. Let’s be honest, the minute you hear your phone go off, it’s instinct to want to check your phone, and if we don’t it eats at us until we do. Therefore, turn off phones, social media alerts, and even silence email notifications. In your schedule, you can block out a time each day to return calls, check emails, and even get on social media.

Stay Alert

While it’s important to work hard, it’s also important to take breaks and allow our minds to rest. We can’t give 100% if we are distracted or tired both mentally and physically. In our daily schedule, we must make time for breaks. Take a few minutes each hour to step away from our desks to get a drink of water or go for a quick walk around the office. These breaks will allow our brains to recharge and allow us to come back to our work rejuvenated.

 Establish Good Habits

BusinessInsider.com reported on the book The Power of Habit written by Charles Duhigg. Duhigg said, ‘“getting into the routine of making your bed every morning is correlated with increase productivity… And is a ‘keystone habit’ that can spark ‘chain reactions that help other good habits take hold.”’ Maintaining good habits like making your bed, eating breakfast and exercise will help you stay disciplined and set the tone for the rest of your day.