You don’t need to get up at 4am. Just find a few minutes and you’ll see big changes, advises Coach.
The problem with most "simple" productivity advice is that it isn't that simple. "Just learn and implement a complicated new bullet-journalling system!" your friends clamour, waving notebooks full of what look like hieroglyphics in your face. "I've started getting up at 5am to do yoga, make juice and spend 45 minutes on gratitude thinking."
Apart from being needlessly complicated, this is mostly unnecessary. The best productivity tips work anywhere, for everyone, with anything, which is why they're so successful. The ones below work in a few minutes a day with nothing more than a pen, a bit of paper and an internet connection. Try one, then try them all.
Sitting at your desk for eight hours uninterrupted (or even four, assuming you're planning to take lunch) isn't fun or productive. Instead, chunk your time up with a Pomodoro timer - they're those big, tomato-shaped timers often found in kitchens, though it's easy to find one online.
Though you can choose any set-up you want, a traditional Pomodoro work interval is 25 minutes, followed by five minutes of rest that you use to get up from your desk, walk around and have a swig of water. If you're planning to spend it at your desk, use takeafive.com to create a self-destructing tab that'll get you off Twitter after your allotted break.
Make an anxiety list
The problem with typical to-do lists? You scribble everything on them and nothing gets priority. There's a better way, though.
First, write down the four or five things that are causing you the most anxiety - looming projects, big stacks of invoices or emails to friends, family or potential clients that you've been putting off.
Now go through those and pick the one thing you're the most worried about, and that's your focus for the day. Whenever you find yourself procrastinating or daydreaming, that's the job you come back to - and when it's done, you do the next one. Simple.
Find hidden time
It's easy to think you can't fit in new projects if you're looking for big unbroken slabs of time to work with, those mythical uninterrupted hours where you can get loads of things done. Finding that kind of time is tough. Finding "hidden" time is much easier.
Take stock of the time when you're ordinarily just messing around: playing Candy Crush on your phone, checking your social media feeds for the 12th time, waiting in queues. With phone apps that let you do everything from learn Japanese to reading the complete works of Kurt Vonnegut, there's no reason you can't use these to spend just a few moments on self-improvement. It all works.
Use the X effect
If you're trying to start a new habit - whether it's drinking your two litres of water a day or working on your novel - the key is to do it every day. If you've got a day-to-day calendar, great; otherwise, sketch out a 10x3 grid on an index card. For every day you keep up your habit, put an X on the calendar - and try not to miss a day.
Banish "zero days"
A "zero day" is any day where you do nothing towards your chosen goals - a day where you don't do a single burpee or write a single line of your blog. Your goal is to stop having these. If it's 10pm and you've done nothing towards your chosen goal, do that single burpee, or write that line or idea, even if it's just on a sticky note.
A better idea would be to start in the morning: get up five, or ten, or 30 minutes early, and wipe out that zero just as fast as you possibly can. Whatever else you do, you've achieved something and things will snowball from there.
Next it's time to have a more creative day
And find more ways to #swapforgood with the BRITA fill&go Active