What are the most productive habits

7 habits that will make you 7x more productive

Achieve more in less time and still have fun? This is probably the dream of any student who does not resort to performance-enhancing drugs. I can't offer you a miraculous productivity pill, but I can offer you 7 damn helpful habits to at least double your productivity and achieve more in less time.

Let's get started!

1. The unfair advantage and how to use it

Most people get up at 6:30 a.m., get ready quickly, maybe have a quick breakfast and then rush off into student or work life. How can you get an unfair advantage here?

Get up 30 minutes earlier than usual.

With these 30 minutes you are giving yourself an unfair advantage over the competition - you suddenly have more time than others ... and as we know from Dagobert Duck, time is more valuable than money if you know how to deal with it.

Give me 6 hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.

Abraham Lincoln

What does dear Abraham mean to us?

Of course, getting up 30 minutes earlier does not help.

Use this precious time and build up a morning routine to sharpen your ax - speak to prepare your body and mind for the day ahead.

Those who sow stress for breakfast will reap burnout in the evening.

If you build up a morning routine and, for example, do a short power workout for 20 minutes, meditate or read a good book, your body and mind will be much more relaxed and balanced.

So in the morning not even the morning traffic jam on the tangent can disturb you.

# 1 tip: get up early and sharpen your ax.

2. The secret trick to converting your to-do list into a done list

I don't need to explain to you that to-do lists are useful. With a to-do list, you set your focus for the day and always know what to do.

Why do to-do lists so often remain unfinished and are postponed to the next day?

Good question!

The secret trick to solving this problem is as follows:

Every morning, set a to-do list with the most important 3-5 items of the day and then share these items according to priorities. The most important item on your list gets number 1 and is at the top - everything else comes after that.

The biggest and most important task is usually also the hardest and most arduous, so you should give it all your attention at the very beginning, when you are still fit and rested.

In English this is called Eat the frog - eat the frog, so do the most difficult and uncomfortable task first.

This has a psychological effect - you have already done your most important tasks at the beginning. So it can only go uphill.

# 2 Tip: Create a to-do list and do the most important task right at the beginning, everything else comes afterwards.

3. How you can achieve more in less time with tunnel vision

Multi-tasking is one of the greatest lies of our time.

It just brings unnecessary stress and makes us only half-heartedly complete all of our tasks.

If you want to be stressed out then multi-tasking, if you want to be productive then you need tunnel vision.

How do you get tunnel vision?

Turn off all possible distractions for a period of time that you want to be hyper productive.

How this works in detail:

  • Put your phone on airplane mode
  • Avoid external interference (the good old "do not disturb" sign helps here)
  • Answer all emails only after your productive working hours
  • Turn off your internet (if you don't need it)

We are repeatedly torn out of our thinking pattern by distractions and never reach the hyperproductive state, which the psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi calls the flow state. (Incidentally, he also wrote the book Flow: The psychology of optimal experience *, which I can highly recommend).

In the flow state we are in a complete tunnel vision and forget everything around us because we are completely absorbed in our activity. In this state we work most productively and can achieve the most. But in order to get into this state, we have to turn off all distractions for a period of time.

# 3 Tip: Turn off all distractions.

4. Activate your laser light focus

In order to activate your beast mode and get into the flow state faster and faster, the brain needs certain anchor points.

Anchor points are habits that we always carry out before we start a deep work session so that our brain can adjust to them.

In other words, always before you activate your tunnel vision, you make yourself a cup of coffee or tea, which you drink during the process. Or you can turn on your desk lamp every time you sit down to work. Or you look for a specific place where you always sit down to work, such as a café or a library.

As in the experiment with Pavlov’s dog, our brain couples certain stimuli with productive work.

This is how your brain remembers:

Coffee / desk lamp / library = productive work

It will take a while for your brain to associate certain habits or places with your deep work sessions, but once you've done these things a few times, it will be much easier for you to get into this productivity state and your beast -Mode to activate.

# 4 Tip: Set anchor points when you are productive.

5. Why sprints are better for our brain than marathons

Our brains are like a lion - deadly at close range but absolutely useless on long chases.

We can work very well and productively for short periods of time, but after 2-3 hours most of them run out and prefer to surf around on Facebook or Instagram.

To avoid this low, I recommend the Pomodoro technique. With this technique, you work in sprints instead of marathons and thus stay productive and energetic in the long term.

The Pomodoro technique works like this:

Pick up your cell phone and set the timer for 50 minutes.

In these 50 minutes you concentrate only on your task at hand. You don't do anything else, you don't take breaks and you don't surf the internet. For the next 50 minutes it's called complete beast mode.

When the 50 minutes are up, you can take a 10-minute break to relax yourself and your brain.

Then the next 50-minute session is concentrated.

Use this technique especially if you have boring or tedious tasks that you keep putting off. In this way you create an artificial time pressure that encourages you and lets you work productively at the same time.

Our brain has a maximum attention span of 60 minutes, after which our concentration drops drastically. To avoid this, we work in sprints and not in marathons, because this gives the brain time in between to recharge its own batteries and start up with new energy.

In the next step we will look at how you can use your breaks effectively.

# 5 Tip: Work in short, intensive time intervals.

6. Recharge your batteries

In order to recharge your energy stores after a 50 minute sprint, one thing is extremely important: break, break, break.

For the next 10 minutes you relax completely and avoid all thoughts of work. Here it is advisable to actively use the break to pursue other productive habits, such as meditation.

Studies (here, here and here) have shown that meditation can significantly reduce the level of stress, brings health benefits such as a reduction in anxiety and sleep disorders and contributes a large part to general well-being.

Sounds pretty good, doesn't it?

To learn to meditate, I can recommend the Calm app.

There you will find many guided meditations that make it easy for you to focus entirely on your own breath and body for 5 minutes and to come back to the here and now.

Alternatively, for example, you can also:

  • Make 50 jumping jacks
  • Walking at a fast pace (for the I-don't-like-to-monkey-with-jumping-jacks-in-the-office - types)
  • Do some stretching exercises (here are ideas)

# 6 Tip: Use your breaks actively to relax.

7. Live healthy and double your productivity in the process

Would you like to know how to do something for your health and at the same time double your productivity?

Avoid a heavy, greasy lunch.

Our brain uses a large part of the volume of blood that is pumped through our body every minute. When we eat a lot of food, we start to digest it. This activates our intestines and needs a stronger blood flow in order to be able to absorb all the essential nutrients.

This blood is then missing in our brain, which is why we feel tired at noon. Of course, we also need something to eat so that our brain can work at its peak, but the greasy lunch should be postponed to the weekend if possible to counteract the tiredness.

Much better would be a balanced, light meal, such as a salad with egg or tuna, a healthy roll or a protein shake. You can find more recipe ideas for a healthier diet in the book Healthy cuisine in 20 minutes * by Tamara Begemann.

Even if pizza, McDonald’s or kebab are tempting, these dishes are counterproductive for our brain power and productivity and do more harm than good. But don't worry, you don't have to be productive and healthy every day 😉

The bare truth about productivity ...

Finally, I don't want to withhold a fundamental truth about productivity from you:

It's damn exhausting.

Productivity is impossible without a certain amount of effort and commitment on your part. Anyone who wants to achieve more in a shorter period of time than others has to work with great concentration, at least in this short period of time.

My 7 productive habits are not about investing less effort - on the contrary.

It's about eliminating the unnecessary distractions and energy guzzlers in order to work on the really important things with the highest concentration and energy.

So don't chase from one productivity tip to the next - sit down and damn it and activate your beast mode.

Eat the frog!

* Affiliate link