Try These Simple Life Hacks to Be More Productive

By Michael KasianLast Updated Apr 18, 2020 9:24:29 PM ET
Receh Ehltpxcw195amivnfpzvfsi W3qqeqllaglbbz5tme97fopgxsdn0 Afv4sf1bzeusaawhfoso9yqfxvhyrw5lnqyb76chef Ohg5cdst79 4yel539jw1ou1le 7n6bjeendoxmdz6g
Photo Courtesy: jeshoots/Unsplash

Technology has made it more complicated than ever to stay focused on your work. Apps, notifications, emails and social media pose constant threats to your productivity.

Instead of trying to multitask or doing a digital detox, there are much simpler ways to be productive. Take a look at some of these simple life hacks to increase your daily productivity.

Kick Multitasking to the Curb

Everyone is constantly bombarded with texts, emails and other distractions during the workday. It's no wonder 20% of full-time employees feel burned out. A common technique to handle the influx of distractions is to multitask, but the human brain can only fully focus on one thing at a time.

Zj7yr5p8m3ca1w4cd0b 2pyjswquiciqublcdgunjlvy7fyoeyvasfm7fmk91mzkqltootuoohuvssv4pvh T9euumc9acgtode3kwa Ef0qrkbnhvfepj5mvre3fmz9lm5ym3wy39ygsfrnia
Photo Courtesy: marka/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

Sure, you can try to text on your phone while you watch the news, but you can't do both together as successfully as you would individually. This is precisely why doing anything else while driving is so frowned upon. So stop trying to do everything at once and allow yourself to focus on one thing at a time.

Listen to White Noise to Concentrate

Music can motivate you in a lot of ways, but it can also be a distraction from getting your work done. The constant influx of words and rhythms into your brain can actually limit your concentration. Not to worry, there are alternatives to your favorite hits.

Aa6bk5q6dir6tixzdtfhxdem7gxk3wi6fo3paxmrujzc9xbgwiiohu3jmm7i40uouc4oypzcuyxsupuxjxkvkp14gcvl2nxzofhm Bbc7emsrtnp Ywrjsabxx8wfq118qnwbhite 0fsqaxq
Photo Courtesy: Relaxing White Noise/YouTube

Try listening to white noise to help you concentrate. White noise can be a great tool to block outside noises while keeping you focused on your work. YouTube has plenty of clips like rain on a tin roof or ocean waves to help you stay focused.

Try Using the Pomodoro Technique

Italian entrepreneur Francesco Cirillo developed The Pomodoro Technique to improve his time management. Named after his tomato-shaped timer, the technique breaks down tasks into 25-minute blocks of time. Between each block, Cirillo allowed himself a five-minute break.

Pby3klcnpwcarop 14orc2bvjs4rhawdbm5715bqoksnzh8afn0be8xl9thoewgvvb Imwdcng15p Fy8ttzqgnn 7cnzhzkjkagddbukucxbsxjhggiabrwnvppglk8g2fshncay15zbk9rtg
Photo Courtesy: Immo Wegmann/Unsplash

After four Pomodoro blocks, he took a longer break. This system works in theory because you completely focus on one task at a time with no interruptions. The Pomodoro Technique provides the opportunity to give your undivided attention to your tasks while getting time to cool off in between.

Set Specific Times to Check Your Email

It's easy to fall down the email rabbit hole. Opening one email can be a slippery slope that leads to a huge time suck in the middle of your work day. It's great to see an empty inbox, but not if it's at the expense of your more important tasks.

U2edqqktn64fkmxokbwpip Nu5v 2yrtbgreps41akmqknw5llqknkdbt40pej4c1a Sex Fqyczs4op1ye1uh3lvspzzpnuu F3hq9tmuj6hzvgakxcnd9v5j0sunqogjznrscmcrh861jh A
Photo Courtesy: Web Hosting/Unsplash

Try and devote two times a day to responding to emails. For example, checking email once in the morning and once in the afternoon will allow you more time to devote to bigger tasks. If someone requires your attention immediately, they'll find other ways of contacting you.

Get Comfortable Telling Others “No”

Saying no to others can be difficult, but you can't let them interrupt your productivity. Generally speaking, it's okay to let people know that you're busy for the moment. Let them know you will get back to them at a later time so you can stay focused on your work right now.

Obope97v0d694dc90lw9uyfnwm Lq 7r6djlvwwplbzyza56wzcgohnffrlywjgzveakyo8c2jz97bcmtii5s3km Ia0shjs112dbbzhhpnalubmnqnvljly Oa9q Ygoxxq0grj0 Ugequ57q
Photo Courtesy: Horia Varlan/Flickr

Now, if it's your boss who is trying to take up your time, you should use a different tactic. Let your boss know you can handle the new task, but be sure to point out your current task list. Let your boss decide which task you should complete first.

Try the Two-Hour “Hermit Mode”

This doesn't require you to live alone on a mountain top. It's much easier than that. The two-hour hermit mode allows you to isolate yourself from distractions so you can focus. Find somewhere quiet and solitary where you can dive deep into your work.

Vqqy8e8jrr0q17moqimyrcu4emgg71sa Tqyczhkejjktncy6abdecoh4l Hkklp3d0lunwccplt6pbywsyc21ppqf026xcroxfrss9qjpuai5jgfrqwgyvghqqulruu Usiebt9pa7mrkud6q
Photo Courtesy: Tim Gouw/Unsplash

It helps if you're able to turn your phone off and avoid other distractions as well. Be sure to take some water and maybe a snack to keep your stomach happy. Of course, allow yourself to go to the restroom as needed.

Take Cold Showers

Waking up in the morning can be difficult. That groggy feeling doesn't go away easily, but a cold shower can often do the trick. Besides popping your sleepy eyeballs wide open, cold showers provide other perks to help your productivity.

9sbkjjxb30rrikg H8oqbmmsveqwqj6ejiqqmdjcy0fuim3htem1mghkarsqvcy4i3wt0tjcjacno3dghh2vdc7ancq327gufk6c4borw1elgo8h8fkxooml74nwz217d8ytb07lftzx 2va
Photo Courtesy: Laura Marques/Unsplash

As the cold water pours over you, your breathing deepens in response to the temperature. Your body tries to keep you warm, which increases your heart rate and activates your immune system. These body boosts can help you stay alert, focused and motivated to get your tasks done.

Detach Yourself from Your Phone

It's time to remove yourself from your phone. This can be super difficult, but it's incredibly beneficial for your productivity. When you're working on something and your phone starts buzzing, it's easy to feel tempted. Don't give in to your phone's temptations.

Ag1jncbqdysifwulqwijq5owhd 4n4j8fqwmxapna0jyq87cqdcv867vbzrduie6n38irtu9fl4pbciiuomwyjbxilfh8wyjmwzjudc Mtka2a9kq Zakwhoo38hqupqjdwfzpqdoifissa2fq
Photo Courtesy: Viktor Talashuk/Unsplash

Seriously, store it somewhere else. Walk away from your phone to drastically reduce the chance for interruptions. It's too easy to check the notifications and updates on your phone, so keep it at bay and stay focused on the task at hand.

Schedule Your Phone Use into Your Day

We're not suggesting you throw your phone away, of course. If you want to check it from time to time, schedule phone time into your work day. If your phone is something that never leaves your sight, it could be easier to start slow.

9iysyu0j1yxcvrwspcv43ozgv7dd1fguh4ou9zkxviyrfpshivhiam81gyy5zofcszhtzjmixxe0 Rufeumf4fyo96f1f6vmz1awlcbjnksginthp9mypqcbmstxmprjweegtohovrisshatq
Photo Courtesy: Robin Worrall/Unsplash

See if you can pace yourself to check your phone once an hour. If that already feels like an impossible stretch, try once every half-hour. No matter where you start, what's more important is to eventually work your way up. The longer you go without checking your phone, the more time you can spend on your tasks.

Turn Off All Notifications on Your Phone and Computer

We’ve already covered how important it is to limit your phone use and avoid distractions. Keeping yourself away from your phone is one thing, but there are other distractions on your computer. Those little notifications can be constant interruptions.

Zbhklwvj5scbbdqo58b8xxsrotan2eidj6ckmxodxmrfa3gsiot Bbw Veacrv8bdvskomm8wktcnkddrtonspaoo5fzzgtkwzh9wsm0nzfpyd37dzw Q1x30ooxt2yijiwdr85nk9wlv8u0sw
Photo Courtesy: Rahul Chakraborty/Unsplash

Pop-ups, alerts and messages of any kind can be hassles that mess with your concentration. Take the time to silence all unnecessary notifications on your devices. One little banner message is all it takes to steer you away from your work.

Restrict Your Visits to Your Favorite Websites

If you're working on your computer, there are ways to block yourself from losing focus. It's too easy to head to your favorite websites, so get ahead of temptation by blocking access to these sites. There are several different web apps you can use to block the sites that cause you to lose precious time.

B35nbfe28yxzr 2mxdzmbs9jw Oe8msp3cxkvcwpfn9cxgfpp4v2r2bix8ggvcsnccvwlonq2ujrowi1cfbpcejecvkns8xkbvfrsqpkd3qh4s3j43siv Uwixzy50v71ozxse 08putrhs Cg
Photo Courtesy: NESA by Makers/Unsplash

Some apps like SelfControl allow you to set timed blockers on your favorite websites. Once the time passes, you are able to visit the sites again. If you're always tempted to check the news or the weather, it's a small adjustment with a major payoff.

Try to Wake Up Early — Very Early

Okay, this one sounds awful, but it could be the best way to be more productive. No one likes to wake up before they have to, but that early morning time is totally yours. You can get your most challenging tasks taken care of before anyone contacts you for other reasons.

Uumzy8xpw2e Azz44xqi6esuxhqrzwmwwcypgdkgltu9gnlzbikqrrqibgjyrv983yrcg 1j8huwj1lf2hmtol8kmnjo3hlgqwcsy8udijonj Szf5c1ropoehxyl3bhr0sub3mrtplq Qlsbg
Photo Courtesy: Malvestida Magazine/Unsplash

If a 5:00 a.m. wake up call is too much, start slow and work your way back. Not everyone is a morning person, so pace yourself by setting your alarm back ten minutes at a time.

Limit Your Social Media Use to 15 Minutes a Day

Social media can be the biggest time suck that costs you productivity. On top of that, social media sometimes has a negative effect on your emotional well-being. Luckily for us, there are several apps that specifically track and block social media sites.

Pk Pukpy0xag7xspgcthymd Cv1tk B8sqz 7zvem8jqsxpfefgwt H Z3pkdpvg2x55wdew6o91cfstaas9c 1sfmbre11tpwt3hhlmvyct Z9wrxrsqu4gaeb1m5filmrjonhux7shnqngpw
Photo Courtesy: geo uc/Unsplash

Apps like Moment track how long you use social media apps throughout the day. Once you know your average use time, try to slowly reduce your time. If that doesn’t work, apps like Flipd and AppBlock block social media apps from working entirely.


Smiling Helps with Productivity

A smile can be a lot more helpful than it looks. The act of smiling, whether you're happy or not, can trick your brain into thinking you're happy. That smile causes a chemical reaction in your brain that releases hormones like dopamine and serotonin.

Ook T Mcznur05kp6l9etvzi5s4s3 4mlhaiec1uqkj Tjmj8itrm Iogxwsver46stz3vqeizt2lx S0m4dzeycrnbpz1e7rnukbgafcvkee9thpxc3pew7h4itm Zcw Oxuqukorlfz8tqma
Photo Courtesy: Philip Cavalcante/Unsplash

Serotonin helps reduce stress, and dopamine increases your feelings of happiness. Having a lot of work to do can be stressful, but simply smiling through it can give you a more positive outlook on your workload.


Organize Your Work Space

Distractions can come from anywhere, including your work space. Chefs know this more than anyone else. Their fast-paced jobs call for concentration and precision in a fast-paced work environment. To help them accomplish their work, chefs use a system called "mise en place."

Jua4q0re Y3dlqwxmbpvlohdet8qgpdkt15sglhl1phhovj5dht4awwzen Lk2q26yvsas43scpu3jkec L1kisddhon1ghzkmvkzruds H5k966adu3haqjpnuhevkahbzajp5ed1pgeywxta
Photo Courtesy: piotr wilk/Unsplash

It's a process that involves arranging their utensils and ingredients before cooking. If you adopt a similar method and organize your workspace to reduce lost time, you can improve your overall workflow.


Write Down Important Things to Remember Immediately

When you let your creative juices flow, it's natural to think of new tasks or remember outstanding tasks you need to complete. But as the mind wanders, some previous thoughts get moved to the back burner.

Yclshuhc Mvvqwi2m9fdgckyybqpxmev7fhn23ozubtjav4jd J3udht Qzkmb2jygcyrmplft0jrrmrqdzesy 1s Lj2hf8vawztlca8bo5z3b Cg6vj4 Evn5q4cf6y39jkpjl65gcmgm6dw
Photo Courtesy: Brad Neathery/Unsplash

Carry a tiny notepad with you so you can write down your thoughts as you have them. This keeps you from forgetting your idea and helps you begin to address the task subconsciously. You can continue working on your current task and eventually go back and address your idea.


Organize Your Day with a K.I.S.S.

Not that kind of kiss. In fact, this old acronym stands for "keep it simple, stupid," which isn’t loving at all, but it can help you get things done fast. Sometimes tasks can feel overwhelming, and you're not sure where to start. Give it a k.i.s.s. and approach it differently.

R7wvuqrvqbo6i21wda3yx3eee74iabltgkjj6erzmpjobqpig1djavl0mfqwz1xhobqbgfpj44m Nwyc6natfdzb6wq58l4njwqcyx0kt0561j9u9gyipkf4yulwttx8834 Xirbaeketuexkg
Photo Courtesy: Tyler Franta/Unsplash

In many cases, this means breaking down your intimidating projects into smaller, more manageable tasks. Streamline your process to take care of one issue at a time, and it’s much easier to finish a big project.


Volunteer Your Time to Help Others

Remember how smiling can help with productivity? The same goes for volunteering your time to help others. Research shows that volunteering reduces stress and helps you stay mentally active. Plus, devoting time to helping others also invests in your own personal productivity.

Bzb2lh77116w Duwfzmyh0i5t8lfbsxh6rmngzknvmtf8lbtwb2invzctyq2c6j3mtaygfkiyrmgn Gng 1o5ahw6fpgtjd1r6pjm3iytckmaashtygverz0gntn4ofuaqxgc2lbl4itpjhnbq
Photo Courtesy: Anna Earl/Unsplash

It's a win/win situation! You're blocking time out of your own schedule to help others, which will ultimately help you feel better. Then, when you go back to work, you return in a better mood and with a better outlook.


Motivate Yourself with Rewards

Do you like going for an afternoon walk? A bite of chocolate? Shopping for another leopard-print article of clothing? No judgment here — go for it! But earn your reward, first. If you need to block out time to focus on a pressing task at hand, then incentivize yourself with a reward afterward.

Qxn1a8mvxipe Lihmr1 7uxk4e4fzimn3atzkxguwcwkat9oze9kfxda4cgnydcr9f4plljt5kvwynbe8lp5onm83li1buecxgusbsc1fnt9zjbkmq Okd0cr9qcl1k497txw Hh4ebcgiwrvg
Photo Courtesy: Analia Baggiano/Unsplash

Delayed gratification is an easy trick to play on yourself to get your work done. A small reward at the end of a difficult work session is a healthy version of working hard and playing hard.


Mid-Day Meditations

Yes, doing "nothing" for 10 minutes a day can improve your productivity. Meditation doesn’t require a yoga mat, and you don't have to change your clothes. First, simply go somewhere quiet. Then close your eyes, breath and concentrate on your breath.

Bxxr3uyt S6dxsiqlbpgqsefomhrqys59rbwlqx97lotvuhej36aypxazzdkewrdhnjzb2yqni Dkverhciq351amldfrk37ma Ci38oretovyglou8cel4pfd0h4ayu Fo1eidspty Wwkfda
Photo Courtesy: Mitchell Griest/Unsplash

Remove yourself from the challenges in your day and float above your tasks, if only for a moment. It can refresh your brain and keep you focused when you get back to work. Plus, it gives you clarity on what's important and what isn't.


Unfollow and Unsubscribe

The more distractions you can remove from your life, the better. So, if a newsletter or a Twitter profile you follow isn't providing any value, just get rid of them. There is nothing more satisfying than bidding farewell to unimportant distractions.

Qcfcfgvixrrcea5mjvq1yjy J1qlta7kkh2uutrie G2etjf22r Rwxekacaidb8kyyc2x6aaql7ljxjaheh3rin8ea7cpipbxwykcxrk12wt A F0htq843vfpc5khuqgewi7cioln3eni0ua
Photo Courtesy: Oli Scarff/Getty Images News/Getty Images

A digital detox includes unfollowing distracting emails and social media accounts that take up time and space. Doing this once a month will reduce the time you dedicate to your inbox. It will also feel better to follow fewer unimportant social media accounts.


Take on Tasks in Two Minutes

It's inevitable that small tasks will pop up throughout your day. When you have bigger projects to tackle, smaller tasks can be bothersome. Instead of putting off a bunch of smaller tasks, ask yourself if one of them can be accomplished in less than two minutes.

Jlh3ipycvhocbbvkjmktk9a1eacxjiwe3pequadifi6xrqf6b2mtocssjulgpms2hzqtltdjhp Scn6d56kiv8jbde77t0hdiw7flrbkjac 4d6rkfompbjl Nveoejotgycodjozghinaguyw
Photo Courtesy: Dan Gold/Unsplash

If the answer is yes, stop what you're doing and just get it done. It's only two minutes out of your day. If it will take longer, add it to your list of things to take care of later.


Make Sleep a Priority

If you want to be more productive, focus on your sleep. When you're sleep deprived, you have more trouble concentrating on the task at hand. It's also easier to get distracted, and you have less energy to commit to important tasks.

Rabsrogyairi2 C Hi3qz Qofahzrxoq5le28vjpunwkyyrepk1fykcb7llvwu Jlsalzjxbbiokgmoaxhf Y3ji5kibgr1mf4hwwknsdnkmoiytv3nwnohiuj9iktntpvl75pc7djdx8q2gzq
Photo Courtesy: Julie Johnson/Unsplash

Sleeping can help prevent you from burnout and helps your memory stay strong. At the same time, a good night's rest curbs your chances of making any mistakes. The fewer mistakes you make, the faster your work will get done — and the happier your boss will be!


Give Yourself Some Sunlight

If you're still clinging to the concept of multitasking, do your work near natural light. Studies suggest exposure to sunlight in the morning helps you fall asleep easier at night. That means you can work on your project AND absorb sunlight at the same time. How's that for multitasking?

Dike8j Kyzf9dkp5ldi Rjrpiaii1 Jdrrq9l Ereeo8lsctgybh2xj8qeoisdr6njmcnsn8 Axqbyayqzi9fqccseowsbrgnhd745m6luspvsrtz8o86lkqvwx9zqtsymmtlrhe6zq4bd4rgq
Photo Courtesy: Volkan Olmez/Unsplash

Sunlight exposure is also associated with increased production of serotonin, which reduces stress, and it also helps the body produce vitamin D, which contributes to a stronger immune system. So, grab your laptop and draw back those curtains!


Start Your Day with Something You Hate

When you have something boring or unpleasant to do, it's natural to brush it off until later. Unfortunately, the more you ignore it, the more it sits in the back of your head, distracting you from finishing your other work.

5lurtqww6im7fqllq4fu Nlytjbvru1aphefzrne2y3vkpv0htmntqtjsox1z2xre12zwgnl577leck5ks1ext Mrqwzikyowjmmhpabry Zcmgrtzoopg5k4vggngexnpzxlmpxjs3c1leftg
Photo Courtesy: lucas Favre/Unsplash

If you know you have to get it done that day, try to make it the first thing you do after waking up. Getting it over with at the start of your day makes it much easier to do other, more enjoyable tasks for the rest of the day.


Slack Makes It Easy to Slack Off

If you communicate with coworkers using chat apps like Slack, you may be slowing down your productivity. The app claims it can "make people's working lives simpler and more productive," but beware. Being available on Slack all day makes it easy for others to distract you with comments that aren’t important.

Lvcrudyzanjuhmxioxcyrehf9fumgcc4 V7y32eqpcjzonlghfavogwoopbfje1s3bicg Sc6a8wwwq7ciqgfrmlrwtfyem8jnpxvnujzdpn8y6x6wj0nkyhfztoal6xrcmecs0hoafcrt2pjq
Photo Courtesy: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Being "always available" on apps like Slack could also be a main contributor to burnout. If your office requires you to use Slack, switch to its "compact" theme to silence notifications and mute unimportant group chats.


Sing to Yourself — Seriously

Believe it or not, singing provides benefits to your physical and emotional health. A University of Frankfurt study revealed singing boosts the immune system and lowers stress. Reduced stress and a stronger body are both super helpful when it comes to staying productive.

Vo 1vdqjaww703wuotyixmc02viefotdmfnvd92g4ia 29nlnyohhcncfjnaj42dyc6kejmm1l8ybfuqi7glyryfjy7x2cwgld5iuym2xkwveyvnyqyowzfbg X36fx19atiinjh0mhe Xzm A
Photo Courtesy: Xevi Casanovas/Unsplash

This doesn't mean you have to start singing in the middle of your office. Serenade yourself in the shower, or sing in your car on the way to work. The effects are long-lasting for your mental alertness, concentration and memory.


Be a Productive Procrastinator

Procrastination is inevitable for most people. The mind wanders from time to time, and that's totally understandable. The key is to learn to benefit from your procrastination. This doesn't include checking Facebook and Twitter every half-hour.

Tgfga4iebisonwnarzp8vybfdc3cratwbbi Ijms5usrbouosv Pvi6tv8z7qmlkp6pua5phjqdf1vmtp8hx10o Jjpuc3crzaixp8syeox2lh83pv4lkfsg9febidscliw U3algchj50btwq
Photo Courtesy: Mohamed MAZOUZ/Unsplash

Instead of procrastinating with something that doesn't benefit you, try something else. Set a goal to learn something beneficial so your brain can feel energized. Scrolling through tweets isn't as stimulating to your brain as reading an article in The New York Times. When you go back to work, your brain will feel refreshed and energized.


Devote a Part of Your Day to Learn Something New

Staying productive at your job means your brain needs to stay alert and energized. If you aren't doing anything outside of your work to keep it engaged, your productivity can lag. Try and learn something new in your downtime to keep your brain energized at work.

Dwmroqwxaofqy3yuugjqp9lqdpgwtz0yweva71jqi Fr2de5wrj0e Laectpnuhpapwwoleo7slg0rjlyukgj18q42aqtodico0tnmxhtje Sdfk17caulyetq9pxyqrxlir6ru9iaizhjgpvg
Photo Courtesy: annie spratt/Unsplash

This doesn't mean you should reach for Candy Crush or other distracting apps. Try learning a new language with an app like DuoLingo or read new recipes to try at home. Stimulating the brain in creative ways could help you think differently about other tasks.


Stop Making “Perfect” Your Goal

Everyone wants to do well at their job, but don't take it to extremes by always striving for perfection. Being perfect means you can't make any mistakes along the way, and that's way too stressful on your emotional and physical health. People are always going to make mistakes, so doing a perfect job all the time is nearly impossible.

Gkftv9lczhdggelmsmh3zg7ermn40 2fnns4u8haqdnt22f7u51kpgnz8veuzfc0kavwpttzhqakaqlsbxbpeldj7rvgcgmhyyux54jjl23nt 7lvfc76wmiwm75vozec7ieo3tymvom4z2ygw
Photo Courtesy: Matthew Hamilton/Unsplash

Any mistakes you make along the way are chances to learn how to do better, and this also applies to productivity. If you try any of these life hacks to be more productive and they don't work for you, try something else! There are many ways to boost your productivity (and your mood!) at the same time, and something is sure to work for you.