January is the time of year that most people feel motivated to tackle their goals. Don’t fight it! Take advantage of that energy and practice these five productivity tips that actually work.

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Invest in tools to make you successful. Take inventory of what you’re missing or what needs an upgrade. If your goal is to increase focus at the office, but your budget desk chair is distractingly uncomfortable…invest in a cute and comfy lumbar pillow. If your goal is to exercise more often, but your yoga mat has seen better days, give yourself permission to buy a new one. Your success is worth it!

Balance Bound Planner: Colorful Stripe
Photo credit: Curious & Co. Creative LLC

You may also benefit from a planner to keep tabs on your progress. The Balance Bound Planner is a revolutionary planner that “helps busy people create order, set boundaries, and prioritize self-care.” If you’re more of a fan of notepads than daily planners, then you’ll love the undated notepad. No matter what you choose, D20 Theory readers can save 15% off their next purchase with code SAVE15!

Balance Bound Planner
Photo credit: Curious & Co. Creative LLC

– Subtract –

Get rid of things you don’t need. I don’t mean you should move the pile or drawer full of clutter to another corner of the room or the back of the closet. Sometimes I wish my husband would read my blog…

Subtracting is important because it makes room for all of the new things you just decided are worth adding to your life. So you really need your faded, misshapen yoga mat from college once your new one arrives? Probably not. You might also subtract…unused apps on your phone; anything labeled “extra” or “just in case” that you haven’t used in the last year; and negative acquaintances. That last one is easier said than done, we know.

× Maximize ×

Everyone has wished there were more hours in the day to accomplish their goals–even if that goal is to get more rest! While we can’t bend time, we can learn how to use commute or break time in a productive and efficient way.

If your goal is to reduce stress…listen to music, take a walk, enjoy a cup of tea, or meditate. If your goal is to earn a promotion…read or listen to a podcast that increases your knowledge of the industry, study for your next exam, or review important documents for tomorrow’s meeting.

÷ Simplify ÷

Use apps that help consolidate, such as Google, Apple, and Airtable. You’re probably already using Google and/or Apple for something in your life. As much as I have a love-hate relationship with both brands–and technology in general–they do allow you to accomplish more with each integration. I bet you don’t even know how many products Google offers. Not to mention, they own scores of non-Google-branded products.

For the record, I love my Macbook but prefer Chrome as my browser, can’t stand the iPhone or Apple Maps, and can’t decide if Google apps actually make my life easier or more frustrating some days. Perhaps I’m just difficult to please.

I recently discovered Airtable, a website/app that is a more user-friendly database of Excel spreadsheets. The bases, tables, records, and fields are customizable and visually appealing. If you are at all disheartened by your current spreadsheet service, consider giving Airtable a try. It has also been very helpful with organizing records as a small business owner.

= Embrace =

Lastly, embrace what works best for YOU. This is both the most vague and essential productivity tip. If you follow this last step, the previous four steps will work for you. Reflect and redirect. Get to know your strengths and weaknesses; then set yourself on a path for success.

It’s time to put pen to paper.

Feeling motivated to make progress on your goals and hungry for more tips? Start by showing yourself and the world you’re serious with this “Hustle Sold Separately” t-shirt from Alley and Rae, my favorite screen-printing company. While you’re waiting for the shirt to be delivered, read my previous post on strategies for making lasting changes for more content on goal-setting. You’ve got this!

Reflect and redirect.

What is the best productivity hack you have discovered? Which aspect of productivity do you want to focus on the most this year? Let us know in the comments!