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Here are 12 ways to be more productive in 2021. These are simple tips that you can put into practice immediately to start your new year off right.

1. Start writing things down.
In my opinion, the number one thing a person can do to instantly feel more productive is dump out their brain onto paper. And then do this every single day. 

2. EWO.
Ending your day with order is something everyone can start doing immediately. This very small technique packs a lot of punch. Ending your day feeling calmer, clearer, and more focused is a smart thing to do AND it gets tomorrow off to a much more focused start. 

3. The Friday 45.
The Friday 45 is just like EWO but on steroids. This powerhouse technique tells you to put 45 minutes aside every Friday to prep your upcoming week, wrap up your current week, and let your brain start to let go of work for the weekend so you can enjoy yourself. 

4. Tidy as you go.
Waiting for an entire day to clean out the kitchen is one approach to clearing clutter … and one that might not happen for a while. Another is to tidy as you go. Marie Kondo’s best seller from last year, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, really nailed this concept. Sure, you might have to do a big clean-out of areas, but to maintain space, you must tidy as you go. 

5. Listen better and communicate more clearly.
The better we listen and communicate, the more clearly defined our time becomes. Clear Is Kind. 

6. Create a landing pad for your front entry.
Coming home after a frenetic day is hard. Coming home after a frenetic day to a messy entryway is downright sad and depressing. Create the space that you see upon entering your house to be functional and inviting by having a place to put things that collect and gather (e.g., shoes, coats, bags) as well as a home for charging electronics, gathering mail, hanging keys, and wiping feet. This very small change can instantly increase your mood, which is a good thing for all parties involved. 

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7. Plan your meals.
You have likely heard of this and maybe done it in the past — now is the time to put it into action. Look ahead on Sunday, write down the meals you’ll be making during the week and go to the grocery store only once. BONUS: You’ll be eating healthier and saving money because you won’t be calling the pizza delivery guy at the last minute anymore!

8. Go to bed earlier. Get up earlier.
Yes, I know it bugs you to hear this over and over … but it’s pretty impactful. Set a timer to start getting ready for bed. Then set your alarm just 15 minutes earlier to get up. It’s amazing what you can do with 15 extra minutes in the morning. 

9. Touch things only once.
Every time you touch that email, piece of mail, or item in your home to move it around, you have to make a decision about it. Set your systems up that allow you to touch it only one time. 

10. Have a weekly meeting with your partner (at home). 
This is a TOTAL game changer if you and your partner feel like ships passing in the night. You need to talk about lingering things like the checkbook balance, the party coming up this weekend, who’s dropping the kids off at school on Friday, what is the next step with the painting quote we got for the house, who’s going to fix the gate that got broken, and on and on and on. Consolidate these items into a weekly meeting. Have a regular time that you have your “business meeting” and hammer out all the details together around the business of your relationship and life. Having a glass of wine or bowl of ice cream during this meeting can be a help, too. 

11. Have a weekly meeting with your team/supervisor at work.
Communication is the lifeblood of any business, and it’s a crime when you aren’t having an ongoing, regularly scheduled meeting to talk through challenges and get feedback from others on increasing performance and working through problems that come up. Schedule this NOW!

12. Figure out a way to decompress and recharge.
Is it exercise? Meditation? Playing guitar? Spending time with your dog? Or my personal favorite as of late … adult coloring time? Whatever you choose, it’s important to understand that this is precious time. You cannot go long without recharging and you don’t need a lot. A little goes a long way. 

Here’s to a beautiful 2021 ahead!

Sara Caputo transforms how individuals, teams, and small businesses navigate workflow and increase productivity. Her work has been featured in Working Women, Success, and Forbes, as well as other national and regional publications. She can be reached at

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