There are always deadlines and things we need to do where we can certainly use a boost of productivity.
Whether it’s for personal reasons or just a project that really needs to get done at work, if we can get things done efficiently AND at a quicker pace, we’ll simply have more time to do other tasks.
I’ve come across a lot of productivity hacks over the years and this list is boiled down to what I feel really will get you the most bang for your buck.
1) Get out of bed earlier
If you have a set lists of tasks to do each day, when you wake up earlier it will give you more time to get to that list.
By getting up a little earlier each day, you tend to not have a lot of noise around you. It’s peaceful and a great way to knock out things on your to-do list.
It’s been proven scientifically that we have a limited amount of willpower that we can use each day. If you can get up earlier, you’ll be able to use that willpower to get done whatever the day calls for.
That brings me to my next point.
2) Get the biggest tasks or the most important things done first thing
You have tasks each day that take precedence over everything else. You know exactly what you need to accomplish. Whether it’s in your head or listed out, you definitely have a list of things to do.
By getting up early and taking care of the most important things first, you’ll not only have a greater sense of accomplishment, but your days tend to go much easier.
We all know how hectic it can be when the rest of the world wakes up. We get interrupted a million times a day and everything is urgent.
Chances are, if you procrastinate to get these important tasks done, your stress levels will be higher and your willpower may be depleted by that point. When that happens, you’re probably pushing those tasks to the next day.
Just get started. Get your highest priority projects done first thing. Your future self will thank you.
3) Declutter EVERYTHING
When my workspace is cluttered with papers and just junk that’s accumulated over time it stresses me out. It’s incredibly distracting and it takes up space in your mind, trust me.
If you have a clean space where you can get work done, your mind has the ability to focus on just one thing until it’s completed without the crap around you taking up mental space unconsciously.
I’m sure a lot of that stuff you can throw away too, trust me. Go through it once, store it somewhere else or chuck it in the trash. You wont miss it.
4) Start getting control over the information streams you consume daily
There are a lot of things that we consume daily that just take a lot of time to get through. Go through them and see if it’s things you really need to read. Do you REALLY need to check out that block? How about that newspaper? What about that magazine?
By reducing the time you spend reading unnecessary items daily, you open up times of productivity where you can accomplish so much more.
I have drastically reduced what my mind consumes on a daily basis to scheduled times of reading and catching up in industry news.
Notice I said industry news and not the news in general. I don’t even watch the news. Some people call it crazy, but I don’t like filling my mind with negativity. Plus, I get to hear what’s going on in the world from everyone around me. I like it better that way.
5) Get to your job earlier than the rest
Some of the best and most productive days are when I get into work during the quiet hours of the morning. Before you hear all the phones ringing and people chatting, there’s nothing around you that can break your focus.
It’s extremely peaceful and you’ll be surprised with how much you can get done in such a short amount of time.
Not to mention, not dealing with morning traffic is great. You might be able to work out a schedule with your boss to so you can leave earlier. Win/win. More productive and less stressful.
6) Make meetings highly productive or find a way to get out of them completely
While we would all love to just say “no” to most meetings, that’s probably not practical. You can give excuses though if you feel the meeting will be unproductive.
The right excuse can go a long way especially if you’re wrapped up in other projects and busy being productive.
In almost all circumstances, meetings aren’t necessary and can be completed much quicker than they usually are. There are ways of making meetings effective, though.
7) Stop giving yourself work that you don’t need to do
Do you find yourself cranking out tasks, but not getting anywhere in the process? If you’re not getting closer to a goal, then you’re just doing busy work.
It’s very possible that you get work and tasks from people that are non essential for you to do. If that’s the case, and you notice it, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask why it needs to be done.
If it is, can you pawn it off? If you can’t give it to someone else, make sure that it’s known you’re already overloaded with projects that have a higher urgency to get completed.
Don’t take on those tasks that are unnecessary and bog you down. Your productivity will thank you for it.
8) Make a to-do list
Do you know what the important tasks are each day? Write them down. It’s easy to forget things that you need to do.
Believe it or not, it gives your brain a rest. Instead of making lists in your sleep at night, write down what you need to accomplish the next day and get it all out.
It’ll give your brain a much needed break and I guarantee you’ll sleep better because of it.
9) Schedule time off from the internet
Tim Ferris popularised this in his book the 4 Hour Workweek and he says that you should have set times where you’re checking your email. Some of the wealthiest people in the world have adopted this way before Ferris made it popular and swear by it.
They’re not attached to their emails and aren’t easily available. They make sure of that and it’s something to ponder.
You don’t need to be attached to your email. The world will not come to an end and people will just have to wait until their turn comes and you get back to them. You’ll see how non urgent 99% of the emails you get really are.
10) Work on things you care about
This one might seem like a stretch at first glance, but if you think about it, it’ll make all of the sense in the world.
If you care about something or really want to achieve a goal, you will do whatever it takes to get it done.
You’ll work extra time, you’ll cancel other engagements and your excuses suddenly disappear.
Find something you truly care about. If you can’t get behind the vision of your company, the work you’re doing on a daily basis, or the team you surround yourself with, find a new one. You’ll be a much happier and more productive person because of it.
I hope you enjoyed these tips. I struggle with these at times, but when I put them into practice they make a world of difference.
11 – Bonus Tip) Work in scheduled chunks.
A friend of mine introduced me to the Pomodoro Technique where you work in 25 minute laser-focused blocks of time and then take 5 minutes of rest before starting another.
It’s seriously a game changer and I urge you to try it out for yourself. Previously tasks that took me 2-4 hours to complete can now only take 1-2 Pomodoros to get done.
I’m incredibly more productive because of it and it feels absolutely amazing to knock out important tasks each day with ease.
Try it and let me know how it works out for you!