Every successful professional, entrepreneur or student, surely must master the art of getting things done. It is practically the science of success. When work piles up on your desk, one has to come up with a plan to power through it; keeping themselves always motivated through it all. How do we then get more done in less time? You can start by employing these must-use productivity hacks we compiled below.
1. Spruce up Your Work Environment.
It’s been proven time and time again that a conducive work environment stimulates the creativity of workers. An environment is usually made up of what is seen, heard, felt and even smelled. In a bid to create a stimulating environment, start by organizing your desk, or space. Make sure everything is in order and in its place. Rearrange your space when you can; a particular arrangement can bore you.
For your listening pleasure, if you must listen to music when you work, do so without the lyrics. It’s best to listen to music without lyrics, at least not in languages you understand as they can be distracting.
As a professional, your workspace should be well-aerated and not stifling. Discomfiture puts you off your A-game quite easily. A pleasant scent could also be complementary to your space to appeal to your senses.
Also, if you can, switch up your work environment by taking your work OUTSIDE. A library, a coffee shop or park nearby can be a nice location to get the job done outside the office. The stroll there will definitely serve you well.
2. To-Do’s and Must-Do’s
To-do lists are like the zen to productivity hacking from time immemorial. They are good for itemizing what needs to be done, and sometimes classifying them into levels of importance and urgency.
Keep a list of to-do’s that can be accomplished in just 10 minutes, and do them first before tackling more urgent and top priority tasks and in tackling more urgent and important tasks; tackle your most dreaded task first – Eat That Frog.
Everyone can attest to how frustrating and time-draining it is when you are working on long documents and reports, and for some reason, the PC goes off. This is why you are advised to save, save, save! Save your documents and reports at the end of any major topic, title or point in the document. If at all you lose some part of the document, you don’t have to begin on a fresh footing thus saving good work time.
A great tool you can use to have all your documents and files in one place without having to juggle through various apps is hq.app. Another must-do is to take action on every mail once it’s been opened by you. Reply, delete, forward or archive. Just make sure something is done whenever you get a new email.
3. It’s a Goal!
Have a clear, realistic goal in mind; something for the week or month you can see clearly in your mind’s eye, then build visualization habits that can help you keep your vision while you work on those broken down daily tasks.
In this regard, have a list of “Done” items to be filled by you at the end of every day. You can then review and identify where more of your energy is expended daily.
4. Master Your Minutes.
Time management cannot be overemphasized for the sake of productivity especially as productivity is a measure based primarily on time. One way to master your minutes is to make the most of “lost” hours. The time spent in traffic, time spent while waiting for a meeting to commence and those other time chunks that cannot be accounted for but could be otherwise utilized by making or taking phone calls, listening to podcasts, catching up on novel industry insights among others are times that easily slip away from us.
Also, imagine the skills you could try to master in 30 seconds, or the words of a new language you could pronounce in a minute. It will be fun to find out; you’d have taken time to unwind in that time and actually accomplishing something while you procrastinated which will give you the much-needed boost to achieve more of your tasks for the day.
Consider a gadget-free desk. A desk where all you need to work alone sits there. Even when there are gadgets, notifications are placed on “urgent only,” and all social media apps are safely tucked away in an app freezer. How much work do you figure you can get done then?
Coupled with this, you can unsubscribe and unfollow emails that have long since overstayed their welcome in your inbox and judiciously employ the use of templates for recurring correspondence or documents.
6. The Science of Breaks
A brief interruption is as good as a hearty breakfast after a period of focusing so hard on one thing for a while (at least, that’s what I like to think). Breaks have been known to keep boredom away, help retain information and make connections, and help to evaluate our goals.
A common method used to schedule breaks is called the Pomodoro technique which involves working in small bursts of 25 minutes for 5-minute breaks. After 4 Pomodoro sessions, a longer break of 30 minutes is then scheduled. Another method is by having 10 minutes of work with 2 minutes of break time. Done five times, you’d have completed an hour on the job.
What these techniques, along with others assessed for this article, have in common is to have a time of focused goal-oriented work and take proportionate break times alongside for steady productivity and avoidance of burnout.
7. The Greatest Tool of All – You.
Where there is no you, there is no work you can do; who else would apply these productivity hacks but you? This makes you the most important tool for meaningful work; therefore, taking care of yourself should be the first point of order. In that vein, always get a good night’s sleep, have at least a 10-minute workout in the mornings, eat a proper Breakfast meal every day and stay positive.
Also, use your daily rhythm to your advantage. Is there a time of day you’ve discovered you’re more productive? Or do you perk right up after a cup of coffee? Design your most challenging work to be done in those periods.
To save time and boost your work process at the same time, you could ready all nibbles and water you’d need throughout your focused time-chunk. Bathroom breaks can be timely – plus you don’t want to be sitting in your chair for that long, do you?
Don’t neglect Professional Development. Acquire new competencies, look for more effective skills and perspectives – this is a sure way to have your productivity increase rapidly.
8. The Roles Other People Play.
One of the major parts of our mismanaged time is as a result of time not within our control, time subjected to the factors of other people. How can you take back control of your time where other people are concerned?
How about saying “No” for a change? If there is a task that you cannot do, admit immediately that you are not able to add it to your plans and where possible recommend other options to get the task done. If there are meetings to be had, make them small and effective, only invite as many people as you would if you had to share a pizza and consider stand-up meetings.
Know where to delegate and outsource – you don’t have to do it all by yourself. If all else fails, assign a Task Deputy; someone who can hold you responsible for your uncompleted tasks per time. Perhaps even pay $5 for every task uncompleted. Let’s see if money can steer you right.
Productivity hacks are just the beginning! Stay tuned to hq.app for numerous other avenues to boost your productivity as we work, every day, to bring you more solutions.