5 Strategies to Be More Productive in Sport

02 August, 2020
Increasing productivity is important for athletes because it helps them to perform better and faster. Today, we'll give you some simple tips so you can be more productive.

Pretty much everyone would like to be more productive in their daily lives. Let’s face it, we’d all like to achieve better results with less effort and using fewer resources.

However, in the case of athletes, higher productivity means achieving better results in less time. This means squeezing the most out of workouts and having your mind fully focused on the task at hand.

Being more productive in sport depends on many different factors, such as personal, situational, and environmental factors. But despite this, we’ve still been able to put together a list that you can try out to be more productive.

How to be more productive

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be particularly disciplined or responsible to perform better. Whilst it’s true that being a responsible person can be a helpful trait, it’s certainly not everything.

Other variables such as commitment and motivation can influence productivity much more. So, below, we’ve put together some simple tips to help you be more productive and increase your efficiency.

1. Set short, medium and long-term goals

Goal-setting is a psychological technique that involves making sure that the targets you set for yourself are reasonable enough to maximize your chances of success. It’s the main technique used to increase an athlete’s motivation levels.

A woman doing exercise whilst someone else keeps record.

Motivation is closely related to productivity. If an athlete is highly motivated, they’ll be willing to put in more effort and work harder. So, if you’re more motivated, you’ll logically be more productive.

2. Simplify tasks and organize them to be more productive

Many athletes find it difficult to be more productive because they can’t clearly see what they need to do. If they have a lot of different tasks and activities on their schedule, it’s really easy to become lost and confused.

To help address this, it’s a good idea to simplify tasks and activities and think carefully about the steps involved and what order to do them in. This will help you to better organize your time and prioritize tasks so that they’re simpler to follow.

In addition, organizing activities in this way helps you to retain skills and knowledge. The more simple a process is, the less likely you are to forget what you’ve learned.

3. Eliminate any distractions

These days, we’re surrounded by devices and objects to distract us and this can easily cause us to lose concentration. To be more productive, all your cognitive resources need to be focused on the task at hand. It’s important to ignore anything that isn’t relevant.

At this point, it might be worth mentioning the psychological concept of ‘flow’. This concept was developed by Csíkszentmihályi (1975) and refers to when a person is totally immersed in the activity they’re carrying out.

When someone is in a state of flow, they pay no attention to what’s going on around them. They even lose track of time. As a result, any person in this state is likely to be much more productive.


4. Don’t forget to rest

Many people mistakenly believe that the more you work, the better your results will be. However, this is demonstrably false. You don’t need to work for hours and hours without rest in order to be productive.

Our mental capacities have limits, and it’s important to rest and let our minds recover. In just the same way that muscles and joints need to rest after exercise, the brain also needs to rest from time to time.

A couple resting on a sofa to be more productive.

Furthermore, working without taking breaks actually increases the chances of suffering a burnout. Resting will help an athlete to feel fresher, with a clearer head, and with a more positive attitude towards training.

5. Find out which way of learning works best for you

There are many ways to learn a skill, and not all of them work the same for everyone. As a result, if you’re going to be more productive, finding out the most effective way to train could be a key factor.

Some athletes work better with verbal instructions, others prefer to learn by imitation or observation. Our capacity for learning is very flexible, and we can learn new skills in a variety of different ways. But the speed at which you learn will be much faster if you find the technique that’s best suited to you.


You can be more productive if you really want to

You don’t have to be an extremely responsible person if you want to be more productive. Productivity is more related to time management and the number of distractions for each personality trait.

If you want these tips to work, you can’t just apply them once a week. You have to create new habits for yourself. This means learning new ways of doing things and adding new things to your normal routine. The results might not be immediate, but sooner or later, you’ll see a big difference!

  • Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1975). Beyond boredom and anxiety. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.