Productivity is one of the most important (yet fleeting) components of personal and professional growth. It comes as no surprise that many of us look to the daily routines and habits of productive people to be more successful. 

Productivity isn’t about getting sheer quantities of tasks out the door or looking busy all the time. Instead, it’s applying yourself to achieve great results in your work and meaningful growth.

This level of productivity doesn’t happen overnight, but don’t worry — many have achieved it before. The key to it? Consistency.

You don’t need to be productive to be consistent. In fact, it’s the other way around; by building consistent routines, you can achieve productivity. Let’s dive into productive habits you can build to help bring out the best version of yourself.

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Understanding productivity

Productivity isn’t something you can claim. There’s a science behind it, and its foundations are built on developing habits.

Research shows that habits and routines have a positive impact on our cognitive abilities. Even simple, seemingly trivial tasks like stretching in the morning or taking a short afternoon nap can:

  • Boost your ability to focus at work
  • Improve your decision-making skills
  • Sharpen your critical thinking abilities

The human brain loves routines because they provide a sense of stability. Since it’s human nature to feel anxious over things we can’t control, the predictability of routines provides us with relief. In turn, this enables us to use our brain to its full capacity.

Additionally, routines reinforce positive behavior and give you a sense of accomplishment every time you knock out something on your to-do list.

The more you practice routines, the better your brain becomes at allotting resources for them. Over time, you’ll be able to finish tasks faster while consuming less mental energy. It becomes like muscle memory.

This is what productivity is: the human brain’s ability to automate.

3 morning routines that boost productivity

1. Eat a healthy breakfast

The brain needs fuel to work its magic. The expression “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” didn’t come out of nowhere — studies show that skipping breakfast impairs cognitive function and work efficiency.

Making a balanced breakfast part of your daily schedule nourishes your body and charges your brain for the work ahead. When you eat breakfast, the boost enables you to take out your most challenging tasks right away and achieve hot streaks throughout your day.

2. Meditate and practice breathing exercises

3 Step Meditation

(Source: Canva user)

Maybe the early bird gets the worm, but it isn’t uncommon to feel a rush of anxiety as you start your work day and face the piles of to-dos in front of you.

This isn’t your fault. Your brain just came out of several hours of relaxation, after all. No athlete enters a competition without warming up. Meditation is the mental counterpart to that.

Make it a habit to meditate and slow down your morning routine before work. Instead of looking at your work as one big entity, look at it as a collection of individual tasks, each of which you are more than capable of handling.

Unlike how it’s portrayed in movies, productivity isn’t about being caught up between ten things at the same time. Contradicting as it may sound, calmness is a primary driving force behind a productive day.

3. Do physical exercises

Grogginess is not a companion you’d want to have when you start your day. The few hours in the morning before you tackle your responsibilities will set the tone for the rest of your day, so spend them practicing healthy habits.

Exercise, when done properly, can supercharge your body and mind for the upcoming day. It doesn’t have to be intense — basic activities like brisk walking or jogging get your blood flowing and cause your brain to release mood-enhancing endorphins.

Exercising is the best way to rinse grogginess off your system. It boosts your energy levels and overall mood, setting the stage for sustained productivity.

3 workday habits that enhance efficiency

1. Focus on one task at a time

Despite its detrimental effects on a person’s mental ability, many people consider multitasking to be a normal part of work. While it may feel like you’re progressing in multiple tasks simultaneously, this fragmented approach to work impedes deep work and leads to reduced efficiency in the long term.

On the other hand, there are few productivity habits as successful as single-tasking. By dedicating your full attention to one thing at a time, you’re allocating the full extent of your cognitive abilities to accomplish the task. Single-tasking also enables you to enter flow states and stay organized more easily.

To help you avoid multitasking, here are some time management methods you can try:

  • Time blocking
  • Pomodoro method
  • Getting Things Done

That said, single-tasking might be easier said than done with everything that goes on in a workplace — which brings us to our next point.

2. Minimize distractions

A big battle has been going on in the business world for decades, but it isn’t corporation versus corporation. Instead, it’s employees versus distractions.

For all its merits, technology is also a culprit. With the shift to remote work, officemates may not loiter near water coolers anymore, but that concern is quickly overtaken by Slack messages or social media apps.

Blocking time for uninterrupted work is an effective counter to distractions. Treat anything that doesn’t contribute to whatever you’re about to work on as a distraction. You can also try some basic strategies to stay focused, like:

  • Turning off your notifications
  • Putting your phone away
  • Setting Slack and Email to Do Not Disturb
  • Moving to a quieter location

You can also tap into technology to help. Productivity tracking tools, website blockers, and habit-building apps can help you stay focused by incentivizing your progress or showing you where you can improve.

3. Learn how to prioritize

Being good at single-tasking and resisting distractions goes a long way. However, working on the wrong things can hurt individual and team productivity.

Productivity scales. Ideally, you should not only be efficient with your own work but also move the needle for your colleagues. You wouldn’t call it a successful day if you finished multiple tasks efficiently but missed some deadlines in the process.

A time management matrix (or Eisenhower Matrix) provides the framework for successful prioritization of important tasks. To use it, you need to organize your tasks into four categories:

  • Urgent and important: Do these first.
  • Not urgent but important: While not urgent, these tasks may be valuable to ongoing projects. Block time for them.
  • Urgent but not important: These tasks can be unpredictable, like a last-minute meeting or a fire you need to put out. Determine if you can delegate them.
  • Not important and not urgent: Remove these tasks from your to-do list or delegate them.
Eisenhower Matrix

Productivity is about doing work that matters and being efficient at it, not one or the other. Dedicate time to revisit your to-do lists and evaluate the tasks that deserve immediate attention.

3 evening routines to prepare for the following day

1. Avoid screen time

After a long day of looking at a computer screen, it’s recommended that you give your eyes their well-needed rest. This is one of the best things you can do to achieve sustained productivity in the modern world, as counterintuitive as it may sound.

Excessive screen time also has negative effects, such as technology addiction and impaired emotional and social intelligence. These won’t help you be more productive, but more importantly, they’re bad for your health.

Disconnecting yourself from screens sends a signal to your brain that it’s time to relax. Establishing a consistent routine of warming up before work and then cooling down after also creates clear boundaries between work and personal time, which is vital to work-life balance.

2. Spend time on hobbies or passions

Engaging in fulfilling activities fosters a sense of personal satisfaction and well-being. The idea behind it is to pivot your attention completely away from work, which is likely the biggest “stressor” in your daily routine.

Spending time on hobbies helps you develop long-term productivity because they stimulate the mind while giving you enjoyment. Treat them as something to look forward to after work to stay motivated to get your work done.

These activities develop other parts of your brain that you may end up using at work. And just as a rising tide lifts all boats, this contributes to your overall productivity in and out of work.

3. Prepare for quality sleep

Productivity has never been about going full throttle throughout the entire day. Doing so can quickly lead to burnout and jeopardize any other habit you’re trying to develop.

After work hours, make sure to eat dinner. Then it’s time to make your next big goal to get a good night’s sleep. Be intentional about it — don’t think of sleep as something that will “just happen.” Some of the best ways to create a wind-down routine and induce sleep are:

  • Avoiding heavy meals
  • Reducing caffeine intake
  • Progressively reducing mentally intensive activities
  • Listening to white noise or soothing sounds
  • Creating a comfortable sleep environment 

This lets you maximize the restorative properties of sleep, supercharging both your body and mind for the following day. When you get enough sleep, you can use restfulness as a source of motivation, too.

Tools to help you achieve productivity



Habitica is a productivity app that gamifies task management. By turning daily tasks and habits into game-like challenges, Habitica motivates users to stay on track and achieve their goals.

Just like conventional role-playing games, Habitica players can level up by completing tasks. It also lets players customize their avatars, win rewards, and join groups, further incentivizing productivity.


Hubstaff is a time tracking solution that helps you understand and optimize your own productivity. It shows you not only what you worked on but also how you spent your time. This data gives you insight into your daily habits so you can eliminate inefficiencies in your workflow.

With advanced analytics capabilities in Hubstaff Insights, you can access productivity trends and gauge your improvements over time. You’ll know if you’re on track with building productive habits or spending too much time on non-essential tasks with features that help you:

  • See real-time employee activity highlights
  • Balance meeting and focus time
  • Gauge utilization rates for you and your team
  • Classify work hours


Forest is one of the most unique habit-tracking apps. It helps you avoid distractions by rewarding you for staying away from your phone.

Forest lets you start a timer, during which a virtual tree grows in the app. The timer can be a few minutes or hours long, and the tree wilts if you use your phone before the timer ends. If you successfully avoid your phone for the duration of the timer, you successfully plant a virtual tree.

Here’s the best part: you can convert these virtual trees into a real tree.


In a nutshell, productivity is a repeating process of self-care and developing positive life-changing habits. Part of the satisfaction from achieving it comes from discovering new ways to improve your approaches.

At its core, though, are habits. Humans thrive on them, and even small habits can catalyze long-term success. This point is also emphasized in James Clear’s popular book, Atomic Habits.

The great thing about habits is that they don’t just apply to work. Being consistent with habits in your day-to-day life enables you to achieve difficult goals and learn new skills from scratch.

Have any productivity tips that have made you a successful person? Let us know!

Category: Employee Productivity