If you’re anything like me, you’re bursting with ideas and things you want to do during the day. The biggest problem, there are not enough hours during the day, or are there? Again, If you’re anything like me, you’re probably reading this blog post, while trying to do a few other things all at the same time.
Time management is a daily struggle for, but there are hundreds of ways we can improve our productivity level and get more out of each day. Below are twenty-one of my favourite productivity hacks to next you to the next level.
Every day starts with the morning, but too often people don’t take advantage of it. Rather than lying in each day, get up and get on. There are plenty of CEO’s who would recommend that you get up before 6am, giving yourself plenty of time for the Gym, Reading, answering emails and catching up of work.
Turn off the TV
If you’re anything like me, you probably spend a few hours each week (sometimes each day) watching TV. In the UK, studies show that we spend 9.4 hours per week sat on the sofa watching TV. Switch it off and get with work. Rather than sitting down after work for an hour of TV, use this time for yourself.
If I don’t spend my hour or so a day in front of the TV, I often do something even worse. Watch TV, while I’m trying to work. This is probably the worse thing you can do, you’re not watching TV, and you’re not working. Studies show that watching TV while you’re trying to reduces your productivity level by 26%.
The Time Diary
The time diary is a brilliant way to understand what you do during the day. The idea is to split your day into 30-minute chunks. After each 30-minutes, write down what you’ve done during those 30-minutes. You could be surprised by what you spend your time on. Overall, it’s a great way to understand where you can save time to be more productive, and where you’re wasting time during your day.
Studies show that each of us has a magic hour where we can be most productive than other times throughout the day. The idea is to find these magic hours, which are typically 2.5 hours after you get out of bed and schedule your most important or most brain-power consuming task’s of the day, during this period. This will allow you to complete these task’s quickly, while saving other less brain-power consuming tasks, for later in the day.
If you’re anything like me, you struggle to control your email box, and your to-do list builds up to such an extent, you’re not sure what to do. This is where maintenance days come into play. The idea, which I do once a quarter, is to spend a whole day, sorting out those things you need to do, but never have the time. This could be anything from email boxes to do-to lists or cleaning and laundry to running errands around town. The point is, you take the day, and spend the whole day getting it done.
What Are You Wearing?
If you’re going to work from home, make sure you’re dressed for the occasion. Studies show that those who work from home, showered and wearing suitable work clothes are more productive than those who are working in their bed-clothes. The study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology showed that doctors were more focused and performed better at work when wearing a lab coat.
What you’re wearing is important, but so is the environment. Firstly, you need to make sure you have all the tools necessary to be able to carry out your work, but it also needs to be comfortable and free of distractions.
Room temperature is probably the most critical part of your environment and will affect productivity. Research suggests a temperature of 72º-74ºF (22-23ºC) is usually ideal. If the room is much hotter, you’ll start sweating, if it is colder, you’ll begin to shiver, both of which are not good for concentration and productivity.
Clear Desk Policy
Companies across the world have a clear desk policy to help employees reduce distractions and increase productivity.
It’s not scientifically proven, but from personal experience, make sure your notifications are all switched on your phone, email box and computer. Nothing ruins productivity more than a notification on your telephone about an interesting topic or an email that you stop everything you were doing, to read.
Can you outsource a task? In the world we’re living in today, so much can be outsourced. As an example, I’m terrible at Microsoft PowerPoint. I should learn it, but what’s the point when I can outsource to a professional. If I have any presentations, I write the content and send it off the “PowerPoint expert” who turns it into an epic presentation.
The To-Do List
Have you ever found yourself struggling to get to sleep? It’s often because you have a selection of things you need to do the next day, swirling around in your head. This is where the “To-Do” list enters. Make a note of each thing you need to do and get them out of your head. It’s also a great idea to cross them off your list each time you complete the task. The sense of achievement, minimal I know, but the sense of accomplishment will spur you onto the next job.
Time For the To-Do-List
You must write a to-do-list each day and cross of the items as you go, but also try to give yourself a set amount of time to complete each task. As an example, I knew I wanted to write this blog post about productivity hacks and wrote it on my notepad, however, I also wrote “90 Minutes” next to it. This means that I give myself 90 minutes to think, research and write the blog post. The pressure is on, and it keeps me going knowing that I need to stick to the schedule before moving on.
Seven Hours Sleep
It’s been scientifically proven that you need a minimum of seven-hour of quality sleep every night to improve your attention, concentration, creativity and decision-making abilities. The Four “D’s” of Productivity;
- Delete – Is it worth it to spend your time on that project
- Delegate – Can I not outsourced this project to someone else
- Do It Now – Anything that is going to take less than five minutes, do it now and get it done
- Details – It’s all in the details, but you can waste so much time checking and re-checking, for very little return
Just Say No
I’m not sure if it’s because I’m an out of the box thinker, but I love looking at new ideas and new projects. The problem, it’s just not possible to be always looking at something new. If you want productivity, you need to learn to say “NO”.
Two Minute Rule
If you spend long enough sat at your desk, small task will inevitably pop up throughout your day, and you could just add to your to-do list. If the job is going to take less than two minutes to complete, do it now and get it over and done with. If’s longer, add it to your to-do list and don’t think about it again otherwise you’re likely to distract yourself from your task and hand, and this will take even longer to complete
If you’re working on your computer at home, make sure you install and use a site blocker so that when you get distracted, you don’t simply head over to your favourite website and waste time. StayFocused Or Freedom.com are great options.
Listen To Music
Personally, there is nothing worse than trying to work in a totally quiet room with no background noise. This leaves two options, a white noise generator, I have tested out using the sound of the waves in the background, or, music, however, if you’re going to listen to music, avoid listening to music with lyrics otherwise often you’ll find yourself singing along to the music, which could be distracting.
Make sure you use a password manager to manage all your passwords. Not only is it more secure this way, but it stops the process of forgetting, and trying to replace a password which is a horribly time-consuming process. I spent the good part of an hour trying to re-set three passwords early today which could have been avoided if I had simply been using a password manager – LastPast is a good option.
Read Emails Once
How often have you read an email, left it in your inbox and then come back to it later that day