A recent study discovered that 44% of freelancers found it impossible to take a week or more of holiday during a six month period. Similarly, if you’re an office worker or situated at the helm of a business, you’ll know how increasingly difficult it is to find downtime in this manic world.

For some time, I’ve been building my own productivity habits in order to ensure that I can take some time off. Holidaying and removing oneself from the world of work is absolutely essential if you’re to avoid burnout and remain productive.

It isn’t easy, though. Deadlines are deadlines and the many, many methods of modern communication means it is near impossible to escape from emails, messages and phone calls relating to work.

I did hit on something recently, though. I realised that the majority of the productivity habits I had successfully adopted were all conducted within a work environment. As helpful as they were, clearly, they required me to be in ‘work mode’. This was a problem.

I decided there must be alternative ways to improve work productivity while away from the desk and regain that all-important ‘me time’. And you know what? I’ve found them.

Here’s how you can improve your productivity by indulging in non-work activities. There are three things I now do which have transformed my work and personal life, and they’re ridiculously straightforward.

1. I’ve become a gymaholic

Ok, perhaps that’s pushing it, but I now combine a flexible working day with regular trips to the gym. As a result, my mind is fresher, my body fitter and I have an increased desire to achieve stuff.

Exercise is a brilliant way to increase the brain power and stamina required to get a lot of work done in a shorter amount of time. This has enabled me to reduce the hours I work on my business and increase the number of long weekends away I enjoy with my better half. Win-win, as they say.

2. I plan my leisure time

No one wants to turn hobbies and time spent with loved ones into long to-do lists, but I have found that, by planning my leisure time, I’m able to do the same to far greater effect when at work. As a result, I’m less stressed, because I know I’ll meet deadlines.

It isn’t an exact science and I don’t plan everything down to the last second, but if I have a particularly busy weekend ahead, I’ll make sure I know where I need to be at specific times and roughly allocate time to each activity. Far from removing the enjoyment from my leisure time, it ensures I spend optimal time doing the things I love.

3. I keep a tidy house

I’ve not always been the tidiest of individuals and I’ve always been rather intent on holding onto things rather than throwing them away, but that has all changed thanks to my new productive lifestyle.

Now, my house is – relatively – tidy, always. Stuff that’s not in use is put away, and items I no longer need are consigned to the bin. The effect this has had on my working day has been amazing. A tidy mind is a productive mind, and I’ve carried my new desire to be clutter-free right across to every project I undertake

Wrapping up

Just one of the techniques above may be enough to increase your productivity levels at work, but the combination of all three has had a profound effect on my ability to get stuff done.

If you think holidays have been lost forever, think again. You can absolutely increase how productive you are by indulging more in the things you love.

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