Wherever we go, our work follows us on our digital devices, ever insistent and intrusive. But how productive are you throughout your working week? I know myself that at times there are so many things grabbing my attention, it’s becomes a challenge to focus on what needs to be done… Today I have rounded up my favourite hacks to boost my productivity!

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We’re now four months into 2016, so it’s time to check in with any goals you wanted to achieve in the first quarter of the year. How have you gone? Did you loose momentum as the year has progressed? I know myself that at times there are so many things grabbing my attention, it’s becomes a challenge to focus on what needs to be done.

Busy lives, multiple goals, social media and the internet all make us veer off track at times, but there are ways we can get back on track and boost our productivity. Here are some of my strategies (read: hacks) to make sure my days are productive.

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Hack #1: Plan your days in advance

This is a huge game changer. If you plan out your week in advance it will help you tackle the urgent things first and you will optimize your work flow. Make a daily to-do list and list your tasks in order of importance, you can make sure that you finish all of your most important tasks during the day.

Hack #2: Turn off mobile data

This is such a good thing for me! If I am easily distracted by my phone I turn off mobile data and wi-fi so I can’t access Instagram, FB or the internet. I am forced to be present and complete the tasks at hand.

Hack #3: Don’t forget to plan time for yourself

Take some time out – you brain needs rest.

Hack #4: Exercise

JD and I make sure we exercise 4, maybe 5 days a week. At times its only 20 minutes, others it may be an hour long session. I love working out before I start work because it helps boost productivity through alertness. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which makes you more alert and because exercise gives you more energy it helps make me feel more awake!

If you don’t have time to put in a full cardio workout or weight session of a day – try and go for a walk on your lunch break or once you finish work.

Hack #4: Time of the day

I was chatting to a friend recently and she said she’s more productive at night time. Everyone has a certain time of the day in which they are more productive than others. For me, I love either early morning or I seem to get a lot done night time too. Just because you’re more productive at night doesn’t mean you have to be anti-social, just incorporate a night or two a week and optimize your work schedule accordingly.

Hack #5: Take advantage of apps

I use ToDoist and I swear by it. I can’t talk highly enough of it. ToDoist people, if you ever see this sentence, go you! But seriously, you can have it on you computer and your phone, you can add people to tasks, you can set email reminders. It’s all kinds of great.

The other good thing is it digitally ticks things off your list, so you can see how many things you have accomplished.

Hack #6: Eliminate all distractions

This includes kittens on YouTube, checking Instagram 100 times in half an hour and also seeing if Net-a-porter has any sales on. Although all these things make for a very, very fun day, they are far too distracting and you’ll get nothing done.

Hack #7: Single tasking

Our society is so fast pace and people are constantly juggling too many things at the same time. Do you make calls while you’re driving? Do you write emails while you’re meant to be spending time with friends? Do you eat dinner and complete a last minute task? By splitting your attention, it means that you’re partially engaged in multiple activities but rarely fully engaged in any one fully. Try focusing on one thing at a time so you’re more productive and get things done in a quicker time frame.

Hack #8: Learn to say no

Learn to say no to extra workloads, events, dinners and social commitments when you’re too busy. No one will be offended!

Hack #9: Don’t work from bed

Just don’t. Unless you’re sick or need to take pretty photos of you laptop in bed.

Now that you’ve read through this, get off the internet! Ha!

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Author: Ally Carey

Hi, I am Ally, a writer and creative at Substance. I have worked in the fashion industry for 6+ years as a model and now on Substance. Substance is a lifestyle blog about fashion, beauty, health and self-improvement; hoping to inspire you to live a life filled with Substance. For more: @AllyMayCarey

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