I’m easily distracted. It doesn’t take much to kick me off the productivity train. Nothing sucks up my time like deciding to spend a “few” minutes on Instagram or YouTube.

I’ve tried all kinds of tricks to help improve my productivity, but when it comes down to it, I’ve only found three things useful.

Turn off social media notifications

No matter where you work or what you do chances are you keep your cell phone near you. Personally, I keep my cell phone near me all day-I need it for work, but I try to use it strictly for phone calls and the occasional text. It wasn’t always the case.  There was a time when I had notifications going all day and anytime something would pop-up I would check it. Every. Single. Time. If someone commented on one of my posts, I would respond immediately. Notifications began monopolizing my day. It took me several months, and a few professional setbacks, to accept that I needed to turn them off. So one day I did. The first day was hard, but as time went on it became much easier, and now I don’t feel the need to be on Instagram all day.  I check when it’s convenient.

Listen to instrumental music

I almost always have music on while I’m working. I’ve found it helps me keep my energy up, but when I need to buckle down and get something done, I stick to instrumental music, because lyrics can be a little distracting. If you’re not a fan of classical music, you can still find lots of options to help get you through the day. I often alternate between instrumental jazz, house, and trip-hop.

Set up rewards

My to-do list often contains things that I don’t want to do, but that I know I need to do, for example, laundry, cleaning the bathroom, etc., but by bribing myself, I’m able to get more done (and a lot faster). My rewards aren’t elaborate. Sometimes it’s pizza and a movie, once it was a new mat for my at-home Pilates workouts. It doesn’t matter what the reward is, so long as it’s something that you want. I know you can just go straight for the reward, but knowing that you “earned” it makes it so much more gratifying.

These tips aren’t complicated, but they’re effective.

Try one at a time, or all three at once, and slowly you’ll begin to notice your productivity increase.

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