Try These Simple Life Hacks to Be More Productive
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.