Want to maximize your work productivity? Read on to find out some of the best productivity hacks that could change your life.
Do you ever feel like your day was not productive enough? With the constant social media notifications distracting us from work, being productive can often become super challenging.
It is one thing to talk about improving one’s performance and maximizing productivity, however, practically implementing this in our daily activities tends to be hard. To cater to this problem, it is important to realize that productivity is achieved through a certain mindset. So, you must be committed to changing your work habits to ensure that you work in an efficient manner.
Each new day brings a fresh set of responsibilities and objectives with it. Continuing to work according to the same old pattern will never achieve the level of success you desire. You might already know about a few productivity tips learned over the years. However, there is a lot more that an individual can do to make sure they are on top of their game.
Read this article thoroughly to find out some of the top productivity hacks to improve your work rate. So, without any further ado, let us jump right into it.
Table of contents
- 1- Set a Particular Time to Check Your Email
- 2- Read Every Email Only Once
- 3- Set a Specific Goal for Each Day
- 4- Make a Timetable of the Tasks You Have to do
- 5- Note Down Your Top Three Tasks of the Day
- 6- Stop Multitasking
- 7- Work in Short Bursts
- 8- Use the Pomodoro Technique
- 9- Take Regular Breaks
- 10- Learn to Say “NO”
- 11- Make Sure All Your Things are Ready the Night Before
- 12- Templates Can be Used for Routine Tasks
- 13- Use App/Website Blocker Tools
- 14- Know When You Should Work Alone
- 15- Perform Similar Tasks in Batches
- 16- Take Time to “Reconnect” to Work Each Morning
- 17- Wake Up Early
- 18- Let Go of Perfectionism
- 19- Use the Important / Urgent Matrix for Your Decisions
- 20- Listen to Productive Music
1- Set a Particular Time to Check Your Email
Going through a pile of emails can not only be taxing, but it also wastes a lot of time. The best way to avoid spending hours of your day scouring through emails is to check mail at certain times. You could allot a specific time solely to search through emails and respond to them. It is ideal to set these times for twice a day, preferably one in the morning and then one after lunch or in the evening.
2- Read Every Email Only Once
Your inbox will turn into a horror story if you do not get back to emails instantly. Therefore, once you open an email, do not leave it for later. Immediately decide whether you want to reply to it or delete it, and then do so at that very moment. Although developing this habit is not easy, it is a lifesaver once you get the hang of it. Your life will be much more organized and easier if you start replying to your emails on time.
3- Set a Specific Goal for Each Day
If you are a multitasker, you need to train yourself to focus on one main goal at a time. In this fast-paced world, this productivity hack does not seem to be very efficient. However, that is not the case. Once you start focusing on one task at a time, you will surely notice a hike in your productivity rate.
4- Make a Timetable of the Tasks You Have to do
One effective productivity hack is to make a timetable of all the tasks you are supposed to perform. This will assist you in doing your work on time. Sticking to a timetable ensures maximum efficiency and is an excellent productivity tip. An example of how you can set a timetable is given below.
10:00 – 10:15 am – Set up all your tools, browser tabs, emails, coffee, etc.
10:15 – 11:00 am – Internet research
11:00 – 01:00 pm – Work on your tasks
01:00 – 02:00 pm – Break time!
Setting a timetable allows you to work under time pressure and to complete tasks according to the given deadline. It also ensures that you do not focus on tasks that would not yield fruitful results.
5- Note Down Your Top Three Tasks of the Day
Another productivity hack is to make sure that you write down the three most important tasks of the day. Writing it down ensures that you perform your tasks in an organized manner and never miss your top priorities. Furthermore, make sure to do the important tasks first.
In addition to this, when you are making a list of the top three tasks that need to be performed, try to write about them in full detail, leaving no room for any confusion or uncertainty. Instead of being vague when you write your tasks of the day, be more specific. For example, instead of writing “finish writing an article” say “write a 3000-word article on productivity tips by the end of the day.” This will help you stay on track and know what your priority is instead of doing less important tasks.
6- Stop Multitasking
The main thing you need to do before improving your productivity is to quit performing multiple tasks at the same time. People often start multitasking when they are running short on time and want to get done with their tasks. However, multitasking only provides you with a false sense of productivity, and actually winds up wasting most of your time.
Furthermore, research shows that performing multiple tasks adversely affects the human brain. While it’s enticing to simultaneously complete multiple things, there are high chances that multitasking won’t actually do you any good.. Studies also show that only 2% of individuals can multitask in an efficient manner. This implies that 98% of us are damaging our productivity rates by not focusing on one task at a time.
In addition to this, studies have also proven that multitasking results in a 40% decrease in efficiency in addition to losing 10 IQ points! Therefore, although multitasking sounds like an effective way of getting work done, it is actually quite the opposite. Surrounding yourself with a team that understands the adverse effects of multitasking, will be extremely beneficial in letting go of this habit.
7- Work in Short Bursts
You cannot focus on something for a long period without your mind getting drained. Therefore, in order to stay fresh, it is essential for an individual to work in short bursts. Each individual has a specific attention span, for some people, it is around 30 mins, while for others it is more than that. Regardless of how long you can focus on something, you must work in short intervals to ensure that your mind remains fresh, thus resulting in maximum productivity.
8- Use the Pomodoro Technique
An extremely popular productivity hack is the Pomodoro Technique. According to this technique, you can take a five-minute break after working for every 25 minutes. When you constantly practice this productivity tip, you will notice a change in your attention span and your ability to concentrate on tasks will be 10 times better. This productivity hack is very effective as it slowly develops certain habits that would yield long-term results. Thus, making the Pomorodo technique an extremely useful productivity tip to learn.
9- Take Regular Breaks
In the event that you follow the Pomodoro Technique or any other similar method, you’ll normally wind up taking a few breaks from time to time. This allows your brain to recuperate from extreme concentration. However, you need to make sure that you productively spend your break time. Avoid doing anything that would strain your mind, so that you are absolutely fresh when you resume work in a few minutes.
While you are taking a short break, do not do anything that would require intense focus or any task where you’d have to make a prompt decision. Your brain is working diligently during work and you need to concentrate as little as you possibly can while on break. You could try to walk around a little in your workspace, or maybe even meditate a little to relax. Another great choice is to do some yoga or stretches, thus, not only giving your mind but also giving your body a much-needed break.
10- Learn to Say “NO”
It is not easy for some people to say no to others. However, in order to boost your productivity, it is essential to do so whenever you can. When dealing with most people, it is enough to just firmly let them know that you can’t do something. However, it’s an entirely different story with your boss. Given below are some ways to say no to your boss or any other figure of authority:
- Tell them that you’d love to take care of the task but you have other work
- Show them your task list
- Ask them which of the tasks would they like you to delay to make time for this one
- Wait for their response
Remember that this is as close as you can get to say no to your boss. However, one great thing about this is that it maintains an extremely professional environment. In addition to this, it also lets your boss know that you have certain other tasks to take care of.
11- Make Sure All Your Things are Ready the Night Before
Before going to bed, make sure that you prepare everything that you will require the following day. This will only approximately take up 15 minutes of your time, saving you some extra time in the morning. So, if you have gym class at 8 am or work at 9 am, make sure that you have your clothes and bag (or any other essentials ready). Furthermore, another thing you can do is to prepare your food and put it in containers. This will make things convenient – all you have to do is simply pick a container before leaving for work. Better yet, make an agenda so that you do not miss anything.
12- Templates Can be Used for Routine Tasks
A template is something of a “fill-in-the-blank” type of record and is an excellent tool for similar tasks and assignments. Do you send email updates on a regular basis? To save time, you can make a template. The same thing can be done if you habitually give presentations or make spreadsheets, find or make a template you can work with and it will save you a ton of preparation time.
For instance, people often use canned responses in Gmail at any point they get a request or an inquiry that has previously been answered. This can help save up a lot of time on a task that can otherwise frequently be a significant interruption.
13- Use App/Website Blocker Tools
Another great productivity hack is to use app/website blocker tools. According to a few different studies, the minimum amount of time an average digital worker can go without browsing their email or text messages is 6 minutes. Living in such a social and digitally connected world, we continuously feel the need to check our notifications. Such a distraction can mess with our ability to pay attention to work even for a brief timeframe.
This needs to change and there are various applications and website blocker tools available to help you with it. All you have to do is make a list of the applications and websites you want to block during work hours, and it will automatically be done for you. In addition to this, you can also block individual pages. Furthermore, you can even keep your notifications from coming through during work hours and they will only come in once your work is done.
This ensures that you can get maximum work done without any distractions. Thus, making it an excellent productivity tip.
14- Know When You Should Work Alone
It is often said that teamwork and collaboration is an excellent way to be more productive. However, that is not the case for a lot of people. For some people, working in a group means more distractions, and they tend to perform better when working alone. In such a situation, the manager should be more understanding and realize that some people are more productive when working alone. If you know that you do not work well in a group, make sure to let your manager know about it.
15- Perform Similar Tasks in Batches
Performing similar tasks together is an excellent productivity hack. This is because you would be in the same state of mind for those specific tasks. For example, you can batch together your “social tasks”, such as going through emails, text messages, and voice-mails. Another example would be to batch study-related tasks together, like completing an assignment and preparing for a quiz. Batching tasks will make your work more organized and flow in a smooth manner.
16- Take Time to “Reconnect” to Work Each Morning
As important as it is to disconnect from work every time you go back home, it is equally important to reconnect to work each morning. If you are someone who just enters the office and immediately starts to work, you are doing the wrong thing. This will not only reduce your productivity rates, but you will also exhaust yourself more quickly. Therefore, it is important to take a few minutes each morning to reconnect to your work environment. You can do so by thinking about the tasks you need to perform for the day. In addition to this, make sure to start your day on a positive note.
By taking your time to think about your tasks and goals for the day and reconnecting to the workspace, you help your body and your mind to ease into the day. This will boost your productivity and ensure that you are focused throughout the day. In addition to this, your commitment to work will also increase. An excellent way to reconnect to your work each morning is to ask yourself a certain set of questions such as:
- What are the tasks I want to accomplish today?
- How will I give my presentation?
Asking these questions will help you reconnect with your work and start from exactly where you left off.
17- Wake Up Early
Waking up early is also a great productivity hack. Although it sounds like a task, it will give you a massive head start to the day. You will feel energized throughout the day and be more productive with your tasks. In addition to this, waking up early also ensures that an individual can complete a lot of the work during the first half of the day.
Once this becomes a habit, getting up early would feel like second nature to you. It is a positive way to start your day and you can get done with all the small things before your actual day begins.
18- Let Go of Perfectionism
There is nothing in this world that can be termed as perfect. Therefore, do not waste your time trying to achieve that. Believe in yourself and your abilities to do the best that you can. One does not always have control over everything, so let go of the ideas of perfectionism that you have set for yourself. Sometimes, it is okay to be content with something that is not good enough in order to move on and do better things.
Trying to achieve perfectionism in everything that you do can also lead to delayed tasks and procrastination. An individual needs to let go of their fear of failure or any impractical work expectation that they have from themselves. Although this seems like a very basic productivity tip, it is extremely beneficial in ensuring that you work effectively.
19- Use the Important / Urgent Matrix for Your Decisions
Using the important/urgent matrix for decisions is an effective productivity tip. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of America came up with a time management tool known as the Important/Urgent Matrix or Eisenhower matrix. It is highly important to be able to differentiate between important and urgent tasks. In addition to this, one must also know that every important task is not urgent and every urgent task is not necessarily important. The important/urgent matrix is an excellent way to understand this and it works by separating tasks into four different categories:
- Important & urgent
- Important & not urgent
- Not important & urgent
- Not important & not urgent
The first part is known as ‘Do first’ as it consists of tasks that are important and need to be completed as soon as possible. The second part, called the ‘Schedule’, includes tasks that are important but less urgent. These tasks need to be on your calendar, however, they are second on the priority list. Furthermore, the third part of the Eisenhower matrix is called ‘Delegate’. These tasks are less important as compared to the others but are still urgent. The fourth and last part is known as ‘Don’t Do’ because these tasks are neither important nor urgent.
The important/urgent matrix is a great productivity hack that allows an individual to focus on important and urgent tasks so that they can efficiently spend their time.
20- Listen to Productive Music
Research has proven that music is an excellent way to stay focused and enhance productivity. Listen to calming music while working to help you focus. You can also experiment by listening to different genres to see what type of music leads to maximum productivity levels. A great tool for this is Focus At Will, as it uses playlists of instrumental music that boosts your concentration. Background noises like those of a busy coffee shop or a television playing in the living room also help in improving one’s focus and overall performance.
Being productive is extremely important in this day and age. Most of us have heard the saying, ‘Work smart, not hard.’ And the truth of the matter is that most successful people go by this saying. They know of the significance of maximizing their productivity rates without wasting a lot of time. Remember that to be more productive, you need to change your lifestyle. These 20 productivity hacks can help any individual work smartly and augment their productivity rates.