How to Work Productively

Motivate me to work…..


Working productively is always a hard one to master but hopefully you can take some of these tips and get a little better. Obviously working a hundred percent productively all the time is not possible but just a few small changes can make all the difference.

Working self-employed is particularly hard for me in terms of motivation. I have an endless to do list that never gets smaller and I never know when to stop and how much I should be optimising into my day. To me, following some of my boyfriend’s advice works wonders when I want to get things done. I have also come up with things that really get me working at my best and together this seems to help.


Tips to take away….



Music really drives me. I love listening and playing music. I play the violin so I am so lucky for this. However, when you need to get things done, a little background music works so well! I am loving Alessia Cara’s music at the moment as she has the perfect mix of upbeat and more lyrical numbers. When listening to music, I always get a bit more awake from it and it fuels me like food does. If you don’t feel too silly, why not try having a little dance for a few minutes in between tasks. Put a smile on your face and don’t take yourself too seriously!

Cool Stationery

This sounds pretty high school but it really does work in making you want to get those tasks done. Any tools you can use to help you are worth it and organisation with notelets and sticky tabs help so much. They are also pretty and make the tasks seem more thrilling.

Light a candle

Scented candles awake your senses and provide you with something nice in your background environment. Who said noses can’t be involved in multi-tasking? If lighting a candle isn’t possible at work, how about trying a nice perfume and sniffing it every now and again? Maybe reapply it at 3pm to get you through the afternoon. Awake your senses!

Cut down on caffeine

Sounds pretty backwards but I really think caffeine is my enemy sometimes. It can make you more anxious and once the caffeine hit is lost, you are back to square one. So I suggest trying decaf tea/coffee and delicious herbal teas. I have really got into ginger & rhubarb tea recently and peppermint infusions.

Completing little tasks FIRST

This is a common trick and by completing little tasks first, your mind gets less overwhelmed at the length of your to do list! Set a time limit on things, especially emails. It so easy to get caught up in admin and not get on with other tasks that day. So try to do things only for a certain amount of time. Check emails regularly – two lots of 30 minute sessions a day is probably better than a 2 hour session every other day for major emails. If it is a quick reply, deal with it straight away and file it away. You can delete emails and they will stay in your inbox for 30 days so once it is read and finished with – delete it.

Unsubscribe to any annoying emails

I am such a sucker for offers but sometimes this really clogs up my inbox. So unsubscribe to the ones you always delete, otherwise it just delays you and makes you miss important emails. If this is too much for you, why not set up a separate email address for work (if you are self-employed) and keep the other one for non-urgent “personal” emails to flick through when you have more time?

Don’t add it to your list if you aren’t going to do it in the near future

I am always adding things to my to do list but sometimes I have to think… “is it essential or is it one of those “rainy day” tasks that I am never going to forget?”. I really have to be strict with myself when adding to do list items. It isn’t always easy as I tend to forget things quite easily but things I will do all the time like practising my violin I just won’t add. Things like having a clothes sort out I won’t add either – I’m not going to forget about it and it isn’t urgent and I’m sure every time I open my wardrobe I will remember.

Something to look forward to

Plan something nice to do at the end of the day – your favourite meal, a trip out, drinks with friends, a mini pamper, a reading session, TV catch up? That way you have a little reward for your efforts.

Get out for a walk

A change of scenery can work wonders. You will get a fresh perspective on things and come back with more gusto. The same goes for taking time off and planning a nice outing at the weekend. Yes, we all have those boring chores like ironing to do but doing a little bit in the evenings means you can have time at weekends to have a little adventure and time out. Also, take a 5-10 minute tea break during your day – you will be much more productive!

Write different to do lists

If you have things that need to get done but will take a little longer (projects), then write them on a separate to do list. Complete so much of the “doable tick off tasks” a day and a little of the “research/project” tasks. Variety also helps. Having the separate to do lists takes away that confusion of tasks that can’t be immediately achieved and those that can.

If something isn’t working don’t push it

For instance, if I am having a particularly bad practise on my violin I take a break and revisit it another time. Sometimes you have to admit defeat and the next time you will have a fresh perspective on things.

 Don’t put things off

The sooner you do something; the sooner you don’t have it lingering in your head. I am so bad at this. I love procrastinating! But to me I feel so much better when I reply to an email straight away or phone someone early on in the day when I have more gusto. Easier said than done sometimes but it really helps me and gives me more confidence for other tasks at hand.


Do you have any tips on motivation?





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