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Productivity can make or break your day, particularly if you’re trying to prepare for that big interview, apply for your dream job, or just trying to get tasks done around the house. Being able to focus and power through your workload can seem like a daunting task, particularly if you have a short attention span, or the lure of that smart phone is just too much to resist. Here are out top five tips to beat the barriers that stand in the way of you becoming a lean, mean, productive machine:

Clear your head

Starting simple is better than no start at all, especially when it comes to getting your mind ready for the jobs ahead. Bringing your mind into a calm, collected state before starting your tasks will give you a greater sense of clarity and ensure that any mistakes are kept to a minimum.

A perfect way to begin introducing a sense of calm in your mind is through simple breathing exercises, many of which can be found through a quick web search.

Put down the smart phone

The digital age is fantastic, connecting us instantly to anyone, anywhere. However, the era of lightning-fast internet, videos of dogs and funny pictures has proven a drain on the productivity of everyone at least once.

Popping onto your phone to check your friends latest Facebook post can be a slippery slope to spending hours flicking through videos of a Pug riding a bicycle and obviously, when it comes to getting work done, this is never ideal.

Removing ourselves from our devices can be far more difficult than it may initially seem, especially when we are so used to using them on a regular basis. But eliminating this digital distraction can lead to a huge improvement when it comes to completing vital tasks.

Make a plan of attack

Creating a rough list of what you need to do is an ideal way to start your journey into being more productive. Writing a list gives you a physical, ordered set of defined objectives for you to complete, instead of a jumbled set of ideas floating around and bouncing off each other in your head.

By no means do you need to stand like a military general gazing down on a regimented, detailed battle plan spread out across your dining room table, but a small plan can certainly help.

Start with your easiest task or the one that takes the least time. Beginning small can kick start your internal motor and spur you on to plough through the rest of your tasks.

Keep hydrated

Strangely enough, guzzling down cans of sugary energy drink isn’t the kindest way to treat your brain, even if the surging buzz you feel through your body initially tells you otherwise.

The incoming sugar-crash will leave you exhausted, and dangerously, craving another can. Cutting the sugar and embracing the H2O is an easy, albeit boring, way to give you the energy levels you need for your grey matter to fire on all cylinders.

Our bodies are 70% water, and there is a reason we’re encouraged to drink more of it. It’s good for us!

Find the right environment

Our surroundings, even the people we submerge ourselves with, can have a profound effect on our ability to do anything, let alone important jobs!

Situating ourselves in an environment that is suitable for writing out your job application, completing important documents or fixing your washing machine is vitally important. Distractions can not only make you lose focus, but can affect the quality of your end product, meaning you may have to redo it anyway!

Ultimately, working in a place we feel focused will stop us from creating more work for ourselves in the future.