Boosting productivity should be on everyone’s New Year’s Resolutions list, especially if you’re a student, freelancer, or aspiring entrepreneur. We hear about plenty of productivity resolutions for businesspeople, but which ones are actually kept? Using common sense, technology, and productivity apps, such as Flow, here are five New Year’s Resolutions that productive people can actually keep.

RelatedHow to Stick To Your New Year’s Resolutions

Work Less

We all want to spend more time with our friends and families, and less time attached to our jobs and devices. Aside from quitting your job, or cutting back on hours, the best way to work less is to work smarter.

If this means you have to delegate tasks or give yourself limited time with specific tasks, so be it. Set up more automation for those black-hole time-suck tasks — like Twitter. Don’t nitpick until something is perfect, instead make a list of necessary requirements for the task and use the list to guide you from the beginning next time you have the assignment.

We as Americans have a tendency to take pride in being “too busy,” and I do it too sometimes. But if you can get the same things done with time to spare, shouldn’t you? Remember, working smart doesn’t mean you don’t work hard, but it’s the smarter aspect that is a key component of productivity.

Related50 Productivity Hacks to Help You Get More Done

Stay Organized

When you have a million things floating around, and more and more coming in, it can be incredibly difficult to stay organized. Productive people find an organization method that works for them, and they stick with it every day.

This is one of the reasons why I really like Flow. I’ve always had trouble adjusting to digital to-do lists, as I tend to jot things down as I go, and I often have a lot of notes about a particular item. This app, however, is completely detailed and streamlined all at the same time.

It’s easy to organize tasks by project; you can upload documents, and list endless comments with each task. It also highlights things on the day they’re due to remind you, and you can incorporate team members for specific projects or tasks. It’s similar to other programs, but it combines the best of Basecamp and Evernote in one simple application.

Stop Being Lazy

It’s really not that hard to confront procrastination. When a task sounds far too large to manage and you opt out, that’s pure laziness. Sitting in front of the TV with a beer and ordering take out instead of chopping a few veggies and making a couple of meals at once (beer in hand) does not save time.

The same goes for work productivity. It takes a little time to change this perspective and way of life, but things that help include preparing meals in advance, staying organized, and exercising 30-60 minutes a day. One famous suggestion by marketer Peter Shankman is to get up earlier.

Inbox Zero

Ah, the elusive inbox zero. We all want it, but it feels out of reach most of the time. You can actually achieve this by utilizing the urgent/important matrix for emails. Take 20 minutes to organize your inbox with automatic sorting and labeling.

Your boss’s emails are probably important, but depending on your industry, they might not be that urgent. Think of yourself as a restaurant professional with lots of people in your restaurant. Some are more “important” to that night’s shift than others, but all of them need to eat, and in a timely manner (urgent).

Organize your inbox by tagging the dishes that need to leave the kitchen right now, and those that can survive another minute (hour, day, week) under the heat lamp.

Utilize Technology Better

You will save time by spending money. If that means you need to use Flow and other apps on your smartphone, or buy a WiFi hotspot for your hour-long commute, so be it. That might also mean you need to set up your DVR to record your favorite shows, games, news, so you never turn on live TV.

This will help you avoid getting sucked into two hours of time that would be better spent sleeping. Then you can get up earlier — maybe even become a morning person! Watch a recorded show, go for an evening walk, and prepare meals for the following day instead.


RelatedProductivity 101: How to Get Through Your To-Do List


Image: Marwa Morgan