13 Proven Productivity Hacks Our Editors Swear By (They Really Work!)

Supercharge your productivity with these proven hacks from our team of editors.
Updated Dec. 5, 2023
businessman lost in thoughts at work

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From getting out of the house in the morning to cranking through a neverending to-do list at work, we’re always looking for more hours in the day to get more done so we have more time to grow our wealth.

Our FinanceBuzz editors are some of the most productive people we know. They know how to prioritize work, schedule their time, and find time to relax. 

If you’re ready to optimize your day and be more productive, here’s how six of our FinanceBuzz editors organize their day and give themselves more time back.

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Go to a coffee shop

Monkey Business/Adobe business woman using laptop at work

Amanda subscribes to the philosophy that changing your environment can level up your productivity.

When she doesn’t have meetings, she goes to a coffee shop where she can work for hours, getting more done than she ever would at home.

Removing distractions like a full dishwasher or a dog that needs a walk can help you focus on deep work. That’s worth a $5 latte, especially if you can earn cash back while working.

Use an agenda

fizkes/Adobe woman making notes while using laptop

If you’re looking for somewhere to keep your ongoing to-do list, consider using your agenda as a record rather than a notebook.

Amanda says she has a good agenda and puts a list of what to get done that day in it each day. She keeps little boxes on the side of each item she checks as she completes each item.

Put the phone away

Jacob Lund/Adobe business woman working from home

This one is short and sweet. Amanda’s top tip is to put your phone away, eliminate distractions, and power through your work.

You might be shocked at how much you can accomplish when your attention isn’t shifting to the ding of a new notification.

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Sort your to-do list by priority

Liubomir/Adobe busy business woman using laptop

Gabriela suggests writing out a weekly to-do list and immediately prioritizing tasks so you know which should be tackled first, which must be done by a specific day, and where you might have flexibility.

This can evolve throughout the week as new tasks arise, but going into the week with a prioritized blueprint adds clarity to your to-do list.

Know when you’re ready to focus

peopleimages.com/Adobe businessman focusing on official project

Gabriela says she always works on her most high-focus projects during the hours when she’s in the right headspace to dedicate time to those tasks.

You might need an afternoon free of meetings to dive into deep brainstorming, or you might do your most focused writing when you’ve just returned to your desk on Monday.

Know when you’re ready to focus and prioritize your work accordingly.

Don’t sit down

Southworks/Adobe son and father looking after home

You know that quick break you want to take after work? The one that turns into four hours on the sofa binge-watching your latest show?

Laura’s number one productivity rule is that she can’t sit on the couch until she completes her evening chores. After work, she goes straight into get-it-done mode.

Whether taking the trash out, emptying the dishwasher, cooking dinner, meal prepping, cleaning the kitchen, or squeezing in a workout, she can’t shift into lazy mode until those things are done.

Just do it

Monkey Business/Adobe woman working from home using laptop

It can be too easy to get caught up in overthinking a task, then procrastinating, and before you know it, hours have passed. Amanda suggests not overthinking any one item on your to-do list.

If you see something that needs to get done, whether replying to a message or an email or reporting an issue, just get it done quickly, then get back to your work.

Take a walk in nature

loreanto/Adobe man walking dog in park

Catherine suggests tapping into her productivity, creativity, and anxiety-reducing hack all in one: taking a walk in nature.

Nature has healing effects, and taking a stroll outside can help you overcome writer’s block and boost productivity by helping your brain reset. And raising your heart rate is always beneficial.

Use the Eisenhower Matrix

Nuthawut/Adobe to do checklist on laptop

Catherine suggests using the Eisenhower Matrix to prioritize your to-do list and avoid being overwhelmed. This quadrant system sorts tasks into important and urgent vs. not important and not urgent.

Alternatively, you can pick the top three things you have to get done today and focus on those. Everything else can wait.

Get an accountability buddy

mavoimages/Adobe three colleagues using laptop together

Catherine recommends getting an accountability buddy for those things you really don’t want to do, like working out or cleaning your office.

For example, if you're someone who struggles to make it to the gym, it can help if someone is there waiting for you.

Or, if you’re trying to work on a long-term project at work, find a partner you can check in with periodically on progress.

Keep a clean office

bnenin/Adobe woman wiping work desk

A clean office can help you focus on the task at hand rather than getting distracted by the mess that needs to be picked up or that pile of papers that needs to be sorted.

As an editor, Catherine points out that even creatives need to clean up the chaos once in a while to promote positive mental health and productivity.

Put on some music

zephyr_p/Adobe hand turning on retro radio

Andrea swears by putting on the right music. It can vary depending on her mood, but she has a few go-to playlists that inspire her to crank through work.

Your productivity music might be upbeat dance tunes, or it could be calming classical. Find the music that lets you work to the beat.

Match your energy to the task

Kaspars Grinvalds/Adobe Woman using calendar on office computer

Everyone’s energy levels will look different throughout the day. That’s why Michael suggests matching your energy to your task.

Some people are ready to hit the ground running in the morning. Others take a few hours to ease into the day or prefer to charge through their most taxing projects at night.

If you’re the most focused and awake early in the day, work on tasks that require the most focus and mental energy. If you crash later in the afternoon, save that time for simple tasks you can do in your sleep to avoid making foolish mistakes.

Bottom line

peopleimages.com/Adobe colleagues discussing work at office

Your most productive day will look different from your colleague’s. Everyone has to find the routines and habits that work for their energy levels and working rhythms.

It’s an evolving process, but learning about others’ productivity hacks can give you ideas that could help you optimize your day, get more time back, and maybe even get ahead financially.

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Author Details

Heather Bien Heather Bien is a writer covering personal finance and budgeting and how those relate to life, travel, entertaining, and more. With bylines that include The Spruce, Apartment Therapy, and mindbodygreen, she's covered everything from tax tips for freelancers to budgeting hacks to how to get the highest ROI out of your home renovations.

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