How to Build Game-Changing Productivity Habits

Productivity Habits

Adopt just a few productivity habits and you will set yourself and your business up for success.


  • Check your email a certain number of times per day.
  • Do not respond to a new incoming message until a scheduled time.
  • Turn off the email notification sound on your computer so that you are not interrupted in the middle of a task or project.
  • Deal with all incoming messages so that at the end of the day your inbox is empty.
  • Create folders in your inbox to save necessary messages that are important that can’t immediately deal with. Name those folders.


  • Make sure your personal and business files are separate.
  • Have an easy to use filing system where you can easily and quickly find everything you need.
  • Regularly purge files.


  • Create two lists of projects, one for long-term and one for short-term. Prioritized each list.
  • Schedule completion of the projects in your planner.
  • Set up a place to house all of your projects.


  • Create a way to capture all of your tasks.
  • Evaluate this system quarterly to see if it is still working.

Storage and Office

  • Store all of your overflow supplies are in one place. Make it a place where you can easily find what you need.
  • Label all containers.
  • Place all office equipment is strategically near you to make access easy.
  • Have a place for archive files.

Time Management

  • Use your planner.
  • Be on time for appointments.
  • Return phone calls and emails in a reasonable amount of time.
  • Plan ahead for the next day.

Adopt just a few productivity habits and you will set yourself and your business up for success. Click To Tweet

Focus on a few productivity habits you want to improve and make them your goals for the New Year. Post them somewhere where you can see them. Evaluate them on a quarterly basis to see if you need to change something or recommit to a goal. You may even decide to rewrite the goal entirely. Make all of your goals realistic so that you do not become discouraged if you don’t meet them. You are on your way to a more productive, stress-free workday.

Need more productivity habits reading? Check out this article from Fast Company, 15 Habits That Will Totally Transform Your Productivity.


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Janet Schiesl

Janet has been organizing since 2005. She is a Certified Professional Organizer and the owner of Basic Organization. She loves using her background as a space planner to challenge her clients to look at their space differently. She leads the team in large projects and works one-on-one with clients to help the process move quickly and comfortably. Call her crazy, but she loves to work with paper, to purge what is not needed and to create filing systems that work for each individual client. Janet is a Past President of the Washington DC Chapter of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) and was voted 2016 Organizer of the Year by the Washington DC Chapter of NAPO.


  1. Seana Turner on February 17, 2020 at 8:31 am

    I really love the idea of making both long-term and short-term project lists. If all we make is the long-term list, we often take no action. I’ve seen this in myself for things I need to get done around my home. I told my husband that I was feeling that the tasks were large, undefined and causing me angst. So, we sat down, made a better list, and then set some priorities. Now I can move forward on one item at a time, which feels much more manageable.

    • Janet Schiesl on February 17, 2020 at 2:21 pm

      I use long and short project lists because I know that my most productive time of day is in the morning. That’s when I work on big projects. I work on shorter projects in the afternoon when I attention is not as good.

  2. Hazel Thornton on February 17, 2020 at 9:46 am

    Even the simplest of habits can be a game-changer in the long run. This post reminded me of a favorite book — The Slight Edge, by Jeff Olson. Have you read it?

    • Janet Schiesl on February 17, 2020 at 2:25 pm

      No, I haven’t read it. One of my favorites is Small Change by Susan & Larry Terkel.

  3. Janet Barclay on February 17, 2020 at 11:31 am

    I’ve recently started using Toggl to keep track of the time I spend on various projects, including email. I love that it tells me not just how much time I spent on it each day, but how many times I did it. I’m hoping this information will help me to be more diligent about only checking at certain times and not in between every other task I work on!

  4. Janet Schiesl on February 17, 2020 at 2:30 pm

    No, I haven’t read it. One of my favorites is Small Change by Susan & Larry Terkel.

    • Janet Schiesl on February 17, 2020 at 2:33 pm

      Sorry Janet. I posted my response to Hazel to you.
      I’ll have to look at Toggl, since I am finding myself wasting time lately. Thanks.

  5. Nancy Haworth on February 17, 2020 at 6:49 pm

    Great advice, Janet! I like how you suggest turning off email notifications and only checking it as certain times per day. This is a great way to reduce distractions and stay focused!

    • Janet Schiesl on February 17, 2020 at 7:16 pm

      Hi Nancy –
      I have been successful in doing this and it saves me a lot of time. During the work day, I only check social media twice and I give myself 15 minutes each time.

  6. Linda Samuels on February 17, 2020 at 9:37 pm

    Turning off the various beeps, buzzes, and fly by notices have really helped me. When they were on, they were constant distractions. That’s the way they are designed. So for quite a while now (years maybe) all those notices are turned off. Instead, I attend to messages when I’m able to. It helps me be more present and my workflow isn’t constantly interrupted.

    • Janet Schiesl on February 18, 2020 at 7:30 am

      I agree Linda. The interruptions that these notices cause waste so much time in your day. After an client appointment, I sometime sit in my car and read messages and return phone calls. Usually nothing is so urgent that I needed to deal with it at that moment and I’m able to catch up with a few minutes in my parked car.

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