Productivity is one of the most mentioned words in today's working environments. It is essentially the measure of output produced by a particular amount of input. Productivity seeks to maximize output with the least amount of resources possible. Humanity has grappled with this concept for millenia. Ever since we discovered economic activities such as agriculture, we have been obsessed with productivity. We have always desired to create more output in an increasingly efficient way. Today, productivity is derived from advances in technology and increased levels of skill in our work. High performing professionals and executives make use of productivity hacks. These are helpful activities and habits which seek to maximize productivity in the workplace and beyond. Here are the 18 smartest productivity hacks to save time and make your life easier.
Make your bed in the morning
This is a simple activity that can set the tone for the rest of your day. Strive to make your bed when you wake up in the morning. Often taking less than two minutes, making your bed helps you to feel as though you have accomplished something and motivates you to keep accomplishing throughout your day. It makes you productive.
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Come up with a To-Do list at the beginning of every day
To be more productive throughout your day, come up with a To-Do list of the tasks that must be completed immediately or even on that day. Arrange them according to priority. The activity of creating a To-Do list every morning helps you to focus on your priorities every day. It keeps you accountable and productive.
Apply the Two-Minute Rule
If there is an activity which you should perform and it can be completed in less than two minutes, do it immediately. This helps you to overcome procrastination. In most cases, the activities which can be completed in a very short time are usually uninteresting. Get them out of the way so as to channel energy to more interesting tasks and boost productivity.
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Check your social media accounts at specific times
Social media is a commonly used way to communicate today. People can send messages, pictures and videos to each other on these platforms. Examples of these are Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. However, social media can be a real time-waster. It is addictive and you can find yourself scrolling through feeds all day. Thus, set specific times to check social media. This can be during your lunch break or after you have completed the day's work. This allows you to invest in every minute of your day and be productive.
Switch off the notifications on your smart devices
Majority of us use our smartphones and tablets to log into our social media accounts and email addresses. Once we do this, we leave them connected to the Internet. This allows notifications to flow in. They are very distracting and tempt us to check our accounts at the time when we should be working. Thus, boost your productivity by turning off your notifications. This gives you a chance to concentrate on your work.
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Set specific times to check your emails and messages
E-mails are a very common way of communicating today. They are used both in business and casual settings. The average employee gets well over fifty emails daily. While it is important to read them, they can consume too much of your time. Thus, set specific times of the day to check your emails. This will help you to focus on other activities during the rest of the time and boost your productivity.
Meetings should be short, curt and productive or not held at all
Many organizations around the world waste a lot of time and money holding meetings. They waste time by discussing irrelevant topics. They also waste the skills of various people by asking them to attend whereas they add no input whatsoever. Therefore, if you have to hold a meeting, keep it short and highly productive or do not have it at all.
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Begin your day with clearing your mind
Each one of us has an activity which helps us to clear our minds. Examples of these activities are meditating and exercise. To ensure that you are performing at high productivity throughout your day, you should always begin your day with a relaxing and mind-clearing activity.
Say no if and when it is needed
You only have 24 hours in your day. You spend at least 6 of these resting or asleep. Therefore, only pick a workload which you can comfortably handle. If someone asks you to handle more than that, politely decline. No can become your best friend on the path to complete productivity.
Create a work area that is neat and provides you with everything you need
There is a myth that a cluttered work area leads to a cluttered mind. Thus, experts advise that you keep your work area neat so as to promote clear thinking throughout your day. This has some truth in it. When you have a neat workstation, you can find your work tools quicker. This saves you time and boosts your productivity.
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Come up with a strategic plan
A To-Do list is a great way to map out the activities which you hope to perform in your day. However, sometimes you need a plan that is more detailed and that covers a longer period of time than a day. In this case, strive to create a plan on Sunday that covers your week from Monday to Friday. It should schedule 4 to 5 hours of intense work every day. The rest of the time should be dedicated to Rest and Recreation (R&R) or activities which are semi-productive such as replying to emails and networking. However, arrange your tasks such that your strategic plan is flexible. This is a great way to promote productivity.
Eat your frog first
This is an expression which means that you should always begin your day by doing the most undesirable activity first. In most cases, this is an activity that is either tedious or involves using skills which you consider difficult. By completing it first, you confirm your personal capability and this gives you a shot of confidence. This makes you more productive throughout your day.
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Always be punctual
Not only is it good manners to be on time for your job, it is a major key to productivity. By getting there on time, you are able to start your tasks on time and also manage your co-workers or subordinates. Being punctual helps you to be productive and also to extend this to the people around you.
Complete one task at a time
To be at your most productive, you need to complete one task at a time. Majority of people indicate that you need to multitask so as to get more done in a shorter period of time. Behavioral scientists and productivity gurus indicate that multitasking actually causes you to waste time and become less efficient. Thus, perform your tasks one at a time. This keeps your productivity at a high level.
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Keep the open tabs in your computer at a minimum
There are sites which have a collection of articles, lists and video playlists that number in the hundreds. They are often very interesting and one piece of content links to the next one. More often than not, we find ourselves opening one story after the other in tabs on our browser. These stories are linked and cause us to keep opening tabs until we have more than ten of them open. They are distracting and clutter your computer desktop. To be productive, ensure that you do not get sucked into these linked articles. Also, keep your tabs to a minimum. You can use an application such as Pocket to save the interesting stories which you come across to read later.
Delegate activities to your colleagues or surbodinates
Delegation is one of the most important skills that a manager should have today. It is the ability to assign tasks to other people so that you can focus on what you are best at. If you are in a managerial position, you should delegate so as to boost your productivity. It gives you more time to focus on your strengths and achieve more at the end of the day.
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Remember to take breaks in-between your working schedule
As much as you desire to work hard, you should take breaks in-between your working sessions. Researchers have discovered that taking breaks in your mid-morning as well as in your mid-afternoon is highly important. The recommended amount of time for your breaks is 17 minutes after working for 52 minutes. It is also not enough to simply take a break. The activities which you perform during your break are highly essential as well. Your break activity should not concern work and should be performed as far away from your workstation as possible.
Get enough sleep every day
To maximize your productivity, you need to be fresh and alert. This means that you should get enough sleep every day. When you have poor sleeping patterns and do not get enough rest, you are more likely to be irritable, inattentive and make bad decisions. Therefore, try to get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep every day.
The Important Take Away
Productivity is a constant concept in modern workplaces. By embodying this concept in your life, you can increase your capability and boost your output exponentially. The hacks above can help you to increase your productivity. Apply them in your life and see a new perspective in how you perform.