Productivity Hack: Do more with less effort!

1. REMOVE THE TEMPTATION OF YOUR DEVICES

Our work computers and, in particular, our phones present a massive distraction. Larry Rosen, a psychology professor and author of The Distracted Mind says that “Most people check their phone every 15 minutes or less…”

And as VoucherCloud’s polling found, many wasted hours are spent checking social media, texting friends or relatives, and answering or making nonwork-related phone calls.

To counter the distraction your phone causes, there are a few easy strategies you can implement to limit these interruptions during your workday. 

The first is to turn off your push notifications. 

Apps such as Facebook and Instagram reward your brain with vibrant colors and attractive icons. So by removing some or all of the color from such applications, you are removing your brain’s want to spend time looking at them.

The best way to do this is to turn off your phone’s blue light or to use some form of grayscale filter. In doing so, you are making your phone much less attractive to look at. 

In doing so, your attention won’t be constantly drawn away from the work-related task at hand. This will allow you to maintain focus and concentration for longer periods of time.

Another strategy you can implement is to remove distracting apps from your phone’s and computer’s home screen or by closing those browser tabs that tempt you to check messages and notifications. 

That way, if you do need to check your phone or computer for any work-related reasons, you won’t be tempted to open up apps or check browser tabs that could potentially waste working hours.

This is a great way of reducing the amount of time you spend on your phone or computer and increase your number of productive work hours.

2. WORK IN INCREMENTS

work schedule

Working incrementally is a great way to boost your productivity at work. It will also help you resist the temptation to procrastinate, which would be a waste of precious time on work-related tasks.

This is particularly useful for those large overwhelming projects.

To avoid feeling overwhelmed, break down your day into small, less intimidating portions. The best way to do this? By making each task around 20-30 minutes. 

Achieving multiples of these smaller tasks will soon add up and make a big project feel very achievable.

3. USE WORK-RHYTHMS TO BE MORE EFFICIENT

work rhythms

Work-rhythms are another great way to stay productive. They help by harnessing your most productive self for the right task at the right time. 

For example, I find I do my best writing during the morning hours. I feel freshest at this time of day, my caffeine levels are at their highest, and my brain feels like a big sponge, ready for as much information as it can handle.

Over lunch, I generally look at spreadsheets and run or enter data. My brain feels ready for a different task but still fresh enough to work productively and accurately.

And then during the late afternoon hours, I answer and send emails, see to work-related social media requirements, and attend any online meetings I may have scheduled.

It doesn’t really matter how it looks, you may structure your day very different from my schedule. What is important, however, is that you structure your day around when you feel best at each daily task you wish to achieve. 

In doing so, not only will your productivity increase but your quality of work will also improve.

4. Use Theming — Schedule Tasks in Batches

This technique brings flexibility in how you group tasks: difficulty, type, deadlines, etc. For example, you’re going to dedicate the whole Monday to activities on social media (improving strategy, reviewing analytics and contents), Tuesday — to writing content (i.e. new blog articles/guest posts/press-releases), Wednesday — to communications (with colleagues, partners, journalists), and so on.

Also, it’s a great idea to sort tasks by their complexity. You could spend Monday (the hardest day indeed), coping with the most challenging tasks, and reduce their difficulty through to Friday. This means you will be doing the fun and engaging things on the last day of the week. The weekend serves as a reset: getting you ready for new endeavours.

2. Skip Unimportant Meetings

If you consider attending another meeting as useless, remember what Mark Cuban said. “The only way you’re going to get me for a meeting is if you’re writing me a check.

51% of employees consider that regular meetings take too much time and distract them from truly important work. So, to not miss anything important, ask your teammates to include your email in the follow-up list. This will keep you up-to-date with the current events and free you from participating in every meeting.

Also, if you are the organiser of these meetings, keep in mind these 9 hacks for boosting their effectiveness!

3. Spend Less Time in Your Inbox

Email is one of the most frequently used digital tools. Adobe found that on average, people send and check their email for approximately 3.1 hours per day, which totals to 15.5 hours per week. Outlook Tracer even calculated how much the action of checking emails costs businesses — £6,000 per annum!

As you can see, breaking the email habit will free time for more urgent and important activities, and save money!

Define several timeslots during the day to check your mailbox, for example, spend 10 minutes in the morning, check what’s new in the middle of the day, and answer emails at the end of the day.

If you are waiting from an important email though, turn on notifications. This way, you’ll stay up to date whilst leaving the non-essentials for later.

4. Start Your Day With Great Challenges

This is a well-known time management technique that implies getting the hardest things done first. In every line of work tasks vary in priorities and complexity levels. Once the most complex jobs have been resolved, other issues won’t seem so enormous and you’ll be able to deal with them faster and easier. It will be like riding downhill for the rest of the day!

Treat it like speeding up. It may take time at first, but once you accelerate, everything seems so simple!

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5. Complete Easy Tasks ASAP

If the task requires up to 5 minutes, don’t delay it — deal with it at once. Sometimes working on the hardest tasks first, results in a pile of small jobs awaiting attention. To avoid an entire collection of them, do trivial things as soon as you become aware of them.

It is the sense of accomplishment that keeps you motivated — no matter how big or small the challenge. Every result is a small step that you subconsciously perceive as an accomplishment.

6. Schedule Blank Time

World-known businessmen like Bill Gates or Warren Buffet use this hack pretty often. They have several blank spaces scheduled in their calendar every day. Such time slots are commonly used for force-majeure situations and can contribute to your flexibility.

Once you have them scheduled, you won’t be stressed when something unforeseen appears on the horizon. If nothing urgent happens, you can always fill in these blanks with upcoming tasks.

7. Delegate

Sometimes, handling everything from your to-do list is just impossible. Outsourcing and delegating help to meet deadlines and maintain high quality. We’re talking not only about simple things but also tasks that require certain specialisation.

Delegating takes some time, of course, as you have to find the specialist you trust and check their results at first. However, once you feel content with your choice, delegating saves you much effort! What’s more, you can even learn from the outsourced experts — bringing professional development your way.

8. Gamify To-Do Lists

Gamification is not only for children, this is a great item on the list of our productivity tips! If it’s not something your company implements as an everyday practice, try to enliven your working routine yourself:

  • Create new challenges for yourself — find harder tasks and try to maintain a high level of quality.
  • Find creative ways of solving common issues. Forget how you’ve done it before — it’s time to try a “plan B”!
  • Calculate how much time you dedicate to a certain type of task, and try to beat your previous results.

Some companies even provide a sort of leaderboard to encourage a spirit of healthy competition between colleagues. Just be careful — don’t let this competition interfere with fruitful and productive team work.

9. Reduce the Rate of Daily Decisions

Making decisions requires great effort, so at the end of the day, after dozens of decisions, you feel exhausted. This fatigue affects every next decision. It is impossible to be highly focused 100% of the time. If you try, you’ll soon miss something essential or make a mistake.

Create a habit of making a maximum of three decisions throughout the day. This will not only help you stay focused but also lead to greater flexibility. You’ll have time for creativity and to become absorbed by the activity.

Keep your mental energy for something more important than pondering on what to have for your dinner or which suit to wear. 😉

10. End on a Positive Note

Analyzing the things done is an effective daily habit. If there are mistakes, you’ll still have time to fix them tomorrow. If everything is great and you’re doing it ahead of schedule, it’s even better!

When conducting such daily round-ups, focus on positive outcomes. Every mistake means a lesson learned. Every wasted time slot is a step to more efficient planning. Don’t get upset if your plans haven’t been fulfilled. Think of how you can fix that later and become more productive in the long run!

AND, don’t forget about automation and the useful tools for working efficiently. They will teach you how to be more productive at work!

Culled from medium.com, simplish.co

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