Habits You Need to Develop for Greater Productivity Our biggest successes often come from our smallest changes.

By Nicole Ramirez

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Productive people have one thing in common: a solid routine consisting of small habits that help them to keep a healthy mindset and lifestyle. For many successful people, these habits didn't take long to incorporate into their routine. Research has shown that a habit takes approximately 21 days to become normal behavior. So, here are some habits you can start practicing to become more productive.

Establish a morning routine

The most effective way of staying productive is to wake up at the same time every day, even on the weekends. This helps your body to maintain its biorhythm. By performing small, ritual tasks like opening your blinds as soon as you wake up, your body and mind will know that it's time to begin your day's work. You should also take a couple of minutes to stretch before getting ready, and then make your bed. These may seem like inconsequential tasks, but they set the tone for remaining productive throughout the day.

Related: 9 Simple Ways to Transform Your Morning Routine and Boost Productivity

Make daily to-do lists

Making a list of priorities for the day helps you to stay on track. Some people prefer to make their to-do lists first thing in the morning, while others like to do them each night to prepare for the day ahead. Either way helps you to keep on track and to manage your time and workload efficiently.

One of the most stressful things in a workday can be staring at your overflowing inbox. Scheduling a regular time in your day that is dedicated to answering emails and organizing meetings will help you from getting overwhelmed. At the end of the day, take ten minutes to organize emails into folders such as To-Do, or Hold for Now, and make sure your inbox has been cleared. This will help you to keep a healthy work-life balance during a time when the lines can be easily blurred.

Keep a journal

Writing down and organizing your thoughts can help you to track and achieve goals. You should even write down your accomplishments, no matter how small, to help motivate you to keep going. In your journal, you can also track the progress of your bigger goals and make note of the smaller tasks you can accomplish to achieve them. This process will help you to reflect and has proven to help boost memory and brain function.

Related: How Journaling Can Make You a Better Entrepreneur and Leader

Take a break

Whatever you're working on doesn't have to sap you of every ounce of energy you have. Take a break at the same time each day, even if just for ten minutes. You'll come back clear-headed and happier, leading to greater productivity than if you'd just barrelled through.

Take fifteen to twenty minutes of your day to work on learning something new. That could be watching a video, listening to a podcast, reading an article or chapter in a book, or studying a new skill or language. You don't have to become an expert overnight on it, or even at all, but stimulating your brain will keep you sharp.

Clean up and organize for tomorrow

After a long day, the last thing most of us want to do is clean. However, tidying up your home and preparing for tomorrow can prevent stress. This daily upkeep can ensure that you don't have to spend an entire afternoon cleaning during the weekend, for instance, after neglecting to all week. Wiping down counters, doing laundry, and laying out clothes for the next day can make you feel confident about the following day.

Keep a nighttime routine

Similar to waking up, having a bedtime routine is vital. Set a time to start winding down. Take a shower, read a book, watch a peaceful show, or listen to mellow music—whatever relaxes you for the night. An hour before bed, lower the temperature and use soft lighting to ease into a good night's rest.

These small tasks won't immediately change your life, but over time they can help to increase productivity, memory, and overall physical and mental health.

Related: 3 Surprising Productivity Benefits of a Consistent Nighttime Routine

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Nicole Ramirez

Growth Marketing Consultant and Speaker

Nicole Ramirez is a digital marketing professional specializing in content marketing, process management and personalized strategy. Her TEDx talk on personalized marketing was named a Top 5 Digital Marketing TEDx Talk.

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