Productivity Hacks: Part 1 369

productivity hacks

If you look back on the last few days and analyze the things you did, how would you define your overall performance?

Did you do most of the things on your to-do list? Were you efficient? Did you do focused work on important tasks or wasn’t that concentrated and most of them weren’t that meaningful? Did you waste time procrastinating and just doing nothing?

In other words, can you say these days were productive?

Often the answer is no. And that doesn’t mean you didn’t do your best. It just means you weren’t productive.

Productivity is to do all the important things that need to be done, to do them in little time and with focus.

You can cross everything on your to-do list but that can take days, while it’s planned for just one.
You can do them, but not properly, which will lead to bad results. You can be done eventually but realize that most of what you did was unnecessary.

To avoid these and other mistakes we need to hack productivity. To find loops in the system, to use efficient tools, to prioritize and be mindful of what we’re doing if we want a certain outcome.

Here are some ways, tips and strategies for becoming more productive with less effort.

1. Start your day early.

Waking up really early gives you the chance to do some work without distractions.

The morning itself is productive and this also helps you start your day this way. And a fresh start usually keeps you going until the evening.

Waking up early is not a daily habit of mine, but when I do it, I also do a morning routine, which helps me jumpstart my day and makes me feel great. Not to mention the results I achieve compared to those in the days I oversleep.

This is one of the so-called keystone habits Charles Duhigg writes about in his book “The Power of Habit”. Those are certain big habits that provoke a chain reaction and immediately make us change other behaviors of ours.

Waking up early is a good example.

For me it’s connected with a few minutes of meditation, a quick workout, a healthy breakfast, a fresh and positive start of the day, reading affirmations out loud in front of the mirror and reading or writing something inspirational.
Otherwise, I don’t do each of them often. Getting up early is what causes that routine. And it’s extremely productive.

2. The 2-minute rule.

If you have things on your to-do list (or even in your head – just random things you know you need to do at some point) that take a few minutes, do them right now.

If you leave them for ‘later’, you’ll probably carry them over for a few days, or more. Until they become a burden and you find yourself overloaded with little things to do.

Don’t wait for them to become urgent so that you get them done, do those that take little time immediately. That will save you a lot of stress and unwanted worries. Plus it’s a great starter for the bigger tasks.

3. Define the ‘why’ behind your action.

In his ebook “Master Your Time In 10 Minutes a Day“, Michal Stawicki writes about the importance of purpose.

He has tried many techniques and strategies connected with time management and productivity and has summarized those that worked best for him. He’s developed around 40 successful habits for a year and has multiplied his results.

Here is what he says about finding purpose and thus making your actions more focused and meaningful:

“One of the first steps I took in transforming my life was to formulate my personal mission statement. It took me over a month of writing and rewriting, but it was worth every second. I advise you to do the very same thing.”

“Define your life’s purpose and your path to success will become evident. I’ve done many different things, for many different reasons, but I found there is no motivation like that which came with the realization of my life’s purpose.”

“The action-oriented may see this step as a waste of time, but I assure you that action without contemplation is the true waste of time. Why? Because only sustained action brings lasting results. Without a purpose, sooner or later you will give up, even if you are, like me, extremely stubborn.”

4. Keep a detailed journal.

Another thing Michal has mastered is keeping a journal. The simple technique of just writing down everything you do has many benefits and can be powerful for gaining a better understanding of your mistakes.

“This is your first step in building a more productive mindset. By keeping a time journal you make yourself aware of how you spend your time. If you are interested in implementing a new time management strategy, it’s likely because you don’t use your time optimally. The time journal allows you to get to the core of the problem, to very clearly see areas where you are wasting time.

That’s the main purpose of using this tool – to make you aware of how you really use your time. You can’t improve if you don’t know your starting position. Most people believe they already know precisely how they use their time. Most people are wrong.”

5. A fixed period of time.

Let’s say you’ve decided to write a minimum of 30 minutes each day (or that can be calculated in page number, depending on how you’ve structured your plan) so that you can reach your goal of having a brand new ebook in a month.

What you need to do each day is set a certain time and make it a priority in your daily tasks. Try to find a place where you won’t be bothered and for the next 30 minutes think only about what you’re writing. Stay focused and don’t stop writing until the alarm goes off (if you’re using one).

What ways of boosting productivity have worked best for you?

And here’s part 2.

See also:

How can writing for 10 minutes each day change your life
Why we don’t get things done
Find the why that makes you cry
5 great ways to kickstart your morning
What to do when there are too many things to get done

Image by 55Laney69 @Flickr

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How a Clean Home Can Improve Your Productivity When Working from Home 78

How a Clean Home Can Improve Your Productivity When Working from Home

Do you work from home? If you do, you probably know by now that the distractions of everyday life can be a real challenge to productivity.

But did you know that the state of your workspace can also weigh on your ability to get things done? It’s true. A cluttered, disorganized workspace can really bog you down. You spend too much time searching for things you need, trying to find a place to put things, etc., time that could be much better spent meeting your client’s needs.

Here’s how you can clear the decks and get your home office running smoothly.

1. Reduce the paper clutter.

Despite the trend of moving toward a paperless society, the reality is that running a business almost always involves a certain measure of paper clutter.

The first thing to do is sort through those stacks of paper that are surrounding you. Ask yourself: Do I really still need this? Will I ever need to refer back to it? Toss the things you don’t need and file the rest.

Create a filing system based on how you would search for things.

Would you look by client name? By date? By some other method? Organize your files by how you think.

Moving forward, do what you can to reduce paper clutter. Before you print something, consider whether it really needs to be printed or whether it can be filed electronically. Emails, for example, don’t typically need to be printed (unless you need to include the contents in a physical file).

2. Keep your business separate.

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Another pitfall of working from home is the almost inevitable melding of your business life and your home life.

Be sure your family members know that your work area is your domain, and they are to keep their toys, phone chargers, books, etc. outside of your office space. This will dramatically cut down on your clutter.

Designating your office solely for work purposes will reduce distractions and help keep you on task.

3. Put your phone away.

You probably need your phone to do your job, but the truth is that your smartphone can be a huge distraction from your job, too.

Instead of keeping it within arm’s reach all the time, set your phone in a designated location and only check it at designated times throughout the day. If you pick up your phone every time you get a notification, you’ll do nothing else all day.

4. Divide and conquer.

Running an office requires lots of supplies, but not everything is used regularly. In the run of an average day, you’ll probably use pens, Post-It notes, your planner, your business cards, and perhaps a notepad. Other things, like your stapler, envelopes, and paper clips are used less often.

Cut down on the amount of “stuff” on your desk by keeping to hand those things that are used regularly and putting those lesser-used items away in a drawer. A less-cluttered desk space will foster more creativity.

5. Clean out your computer.

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Think of your computer desktop as a virtual desktop in a real sense. Although you can’t clutter your virtual desktop with paper and pens, there can be visual clutter with too many icons on it.

File documents you’ll need later, and recycle things you don’t need. Your newly streamlined desktop will make it easier to find what you need and you’ll subconsciously work more efficiently when there is less visual clutter.

6. Put things away.

One of the biggest reasons an office space gets cluttered so easily is because we don’t take the time to put things away. Impose the “touch something once” rule in your office. Under this rule, when something comes into the office (a new file, a piece of mail, more supplies) designate a spot for them and put them there. When you create piles of things to deal with later, you’ll soon be overwhelmed with clutter.

Clean things up!

Finally, give your office a thorough cleaning. A fresh, clean workspace can do wonders for your frame of mind and, as a result, your productivity. Companies like KingOfMaids can help!