Are you occasionally left with the feeling you haven’t done “enough” or simply could have done more? In times where distractions are constantly present (thank you internet), staying focussed has become one of the hardest challenges of our everyday life. However, the good news, there are plenty of very useful tips out there, helping to tackle this very common issue and eventually become a productive hero. The website www.developgoodhabits.com offers a brilliant list of “productivity hacks” which are easy to adapt.
Here are 7 of the best tips:
1. Write down three of the most important tasks every morning
You don’t want any ambiguity in your work days, it’s a productivity killer. So, each morning you should take time to prioritize the top three tasks for the day. Be clear with what you write and use more than a three-word description.
For instance, “research hotels” is bad. Instead, use “review and compare prices of hotels x, y, & z.” This will prevent you from drifting to semi-related tasks that don’t accomplish anything.
2. Set specific times to check email
It’s easy to waste time shuffling through dozens of emails.
All it takes is one email notification and, before you know it, you’ve wasted 20-30 minutes organizing and responding to multiple emails.
What you should do is choose two times a day to do emails. It’s recommended to do one check before lunch and one more before finishing up your work day, that way it doesn’t accidentally seep into your work time.
3. Learn to say “no”
For some people saying no is hard, but if you really want to elevate your productivity levels then you can’t let people order you around all the time.
For most people, a firm “no, I’m busy right now. I’ll let you know if I’m available later” should suffice.
4. Listen to music
Music is a great way to maintain focus and stay productive.
However, everybody is different so it may take some experimentation to find music that helps you focus. A good tool for this is Focus At Will, it uses music scientifically driven to improve your concentration.
You could also use general background noise to improve your focus. Coffitivity emulates the chatter of a coffee shop, which has been shown to actually improve focus.
5. Start your day tough, or start your day small
What you do at the beginning of the day will dictate the flow for the rest of the day.
The way I see it, you have two options:
Do the hardest task first so everything else feels easier
Do the easiest task first to build up some momentum
The first option will immediately pay off as your remaining tasks will feel easy by comparison. But the second option will help ease you into the work process, lowering the chances of procrastination.
Which option sounds better to you? Give both methods a shot and see which works best. Everybody is different, so experimentation is key.
6. Use the one and done rule
Have you ever said “I’ll take care of it later” before? Probably, right?
…But do you actually do it later? Probably not, and it’s not because you’re lazy either.
These situations happen time and time again because we don’t bother adding them to our to-do lists, we assume that we’ll remember to it later.
This most often occurs with low-level tasks (e.g. get milk, take out the garbage), but if it happens enough then you’ve got a big problem on your hands.
Avoid this by simply adding each new task to a to-do list. You don’t even need to think about it, just quickly jot it down and you won’t run the risk of forgetting to “take care of it later.”
7. Keep a pen and pad (don’t rely on memory, write everything down instead)
Memories are notoriously unreliable.
If you try and remember everything you need to do, you’re going to end up with a lot of unfinished tasks. Don’t take the risk, write down everything you need to remember.
Keeping a pen and pad works just fine, but feel free to use an app on your smartphone to do this. It’s really your preference.
These productivity hacks are all part of the article 15 Smart Hacks for Maximizing Productivity from the website www.developgoodhabits.com, by S.J. Scott