19 Habits and Strategies to Increase Efficiency, Productivity, and Happiness

Here’s a compilation of the best productivity habits and advice I’ve curated after reading tons of books, listening to podcasts, and doing plenty of my own experiments. Seeking out the good is just as important as limiting the bad, but we’ll also explore it’s time for some new goals.

Increase Positive Habits that Make You More Effective

  1. Make your bed right after waking.
  2. Take at least one walk outside every day.
  3. Send one compassionate/thoughtful/kind message each day. It’s super uplifting and enriches relationships.
  4. Clean for 15 minutes right before bed, reducing your screen time and allowing you to wake up to a clean house.
  5. Read one positive or motivating thing every day. 
  6. Have a dedicated mental reset time at lunch or 5 PM because you’ll inevitably veer off course during the day.
  7. Put dedicated time on the calendar where you only work on one thing. Context switching is not efficient at all, so you can increase efficiency with task blocking.
  8. Schedule time to recharge or just some free time. It won’t happen if you don’t reserve time for it.
  9. Separate big chunks of different work with some kind of physical activity, e.g., four hours of homework, a quick walk, then cleaning or errands. It refreshes the mind and will keep you from burning out.
  10. Start every single day with five minutes of exercise, journaling, reading, and meditation. It doesn’t sound like much, but starting each day with positive habits helps build momentum for the rest of your day.

Eliminate Negative Productivity Habits that Drain Time and Energy

  1. Track the biggest source of stress each day. Anything that is at the top of your list for more than three days needs to be handled ASAP because you pay its emotional tax every day.
  2. Pay close attention to the music you listen to and how it makes you feel. If your music makes you feel anxious or depressed, don’t listen to it while you work, or maybe not at all.
  3. Start taking note of the things you do to distract yourself or avoid work. These might be social media, food, porn, etc. You can get tons of time back by culling those.

Implement Strategies of Successful People 

  1. Try things before you feel ready. You’ll never feel truly ready, but you know you’ll at least learn from trying.
  2. No zero days. Even if it’s a tiny step, make sure every single day moves your goal forward. Once you start quitting, it’s hard to get your mojo back. Small steps add up, so be sure to do something, even if it’s tiny, every day.
  3. Finish things before you feel done. Done is better than perfect, and perfection is unattainable anyway.
  4. All work needs to be visible (use a kanban board or similar). Check it every day because it will become very obvious if progress isn’t being made, and this prevents WIPs from getting stale.
  5. Think about yourself less. Every time you meet someone, ask yourself what you could learn from them. This has the potential to change your perspective, reduce interpersonal friction, and help you have a more constructive attitude.
  6. Adequate sleep is critical; so is your diet, drinking plenty of water, and other health habits. Pick a couple of positive habits surrounding your health to prioritize.

These tools boost productivity and multiply effectiveness in all facets of your life. If you can keep working on developing positive habits while dumping the negative behaviors, you will increase efficiency and enjoy greater happiness. Cultivating productivity habits takes time, but by moving one step forward each day, you will start experiencing momentum toward these goals.

Further Reading

If this post resonated with you, then I highly recommend The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. Why? Because I think you’re like me and you focus too much on the productiveness of your life and not enough on the quality of your life. This book taught me how important meaningful relationships, gratitude, and compassion are. Do you feel like something is missing? Then doing the same stuff faster probably isn’t the answer. This book can help you find what you’re missing. The audiobook is fantastic because the authors are best friends and their stories, teasing, and banter are endearing and hilarious.

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