Have you ever felt like you could do everything you needed to, if only you had time? Or maybe, you always feel like time slips away from you? Worry no longer, we’re here to help! Here’s a list of best productivity hacks available out there to boost your productive output!
1. Tomato Technique
The tomato technique is all about using breaks to make your work super-productive.
We all subconsciously look for shortcuts and put off the most difficult tasks whenever we have been working too long – it’s in our nature.
The idea behind the Tomato technique is to split your time into chunks of productive time, separated by chunks of breaks. Ultimately, this allows your brain to wholeheartedly focus on whatever you are doing- work or play- increasing your productivity manifold.
The odd name comes from the tomato-shaped egg timer used in the original research a few decades ago.
Set your timer for 25 minutes of work, and focus absolutely on a single task. Follow this with a mandatory 5 minute break. Don’t skip these, or you’ll destroy your working stamina.
After four sets of work-and-break, take a longer pause of half an hour. Work hard and reward yourself for your hard work!
Let’s face it- most of us don’t exactly look forward to getting up before the sun’s truly up.
However, researchers have found that an early start could lead to all-day increased productivity – but it has nothing to do with work.
This method prescribes waking up before everyone else (say, around 6 am), and spending the extra time completely on yourself. Do whatever makes you feel good about yourself!
As a result, you arrive at work in a positive mood, thereby improving your general productivity for the day.
Breaking from the direct bed-to office progression even enables you to enjoy your job more, since it is no longer connected to something disruptive.
3. The Priority Tasks
This is more of a pro tip than a hack; prioritize only a few (3-4 at most) tasks for the day, and thus increase focus, and ultimately, productivity!
For example, at the beginning of your working day (or even the night before!) write down a list of three most important tasks to be done that day. Describe them in a specific sentence, rather than in a couple of words, eg. “analyze the difference between products A, B, and C” rather than “analyze products”.
Now you have a few achievable goals to accomplish that day, instead of sort-of kind-of tasks which you aren’t as sure of.
Even if you finish only the priority tasks for a day, you’ve made that day productive, fulfilling its purpose, and giving you a boost of confidence.
Another useful little hack, the Two-Minute rule prevents small tasks from snowballing into a menace.
The rule dictates that when a task approaches, you first ask yourself “will this take more than 120 seconds?”
If the answer is “no”, do the task right away.
You need 20 papers copied? Do it now. You need to reserve something online? Do it now.
These quick tasks tend to be boring but easy, meaning that the longer you leave them, the more you want to put them off. On the other hand, because they tend to be so mindless, these tasks can also act as an opportunity to take a break and stretch your legs.
Getting these seemingly insignificant tasks done now gives you a sense of accomplishment, and means you don’t have to keep worrying about them.
A boost to your work morale, or a nasty pile of time consuming chore-work? The choice is yours.
You can read further about the Two Minute Rule here.
5. Email Management
Have you ever received an email which ended up taking a massive chunk of time out of your day? Or have you spent forever looking for that one email you read just recently, but can’t find anymore?
There are two things you need to do to manage your emails effectively
First of all, you must keep your inbox neat. Immediately after you read an email, archive it (if further reference is needed) or delete it.
This way you’ll never again lose important messages, nor spend an inordinate amount of time just hunting for a specific email.
Secondly, if you don’t have a personal virtual assistant, designate two exact times when you’ll deal with your email, and organize them in a way which won’t disrupt your working flow – at the beginning of the day, before your lunch break, or before you head home.
We all know that sitting at a desk is bad for your body- is it any surprise that it takes a toll on your brain as well?
Researchers have found that staying put all day, in the same seated position, negatively impacts your productivity. Reduced physical activity, coupled with the monotonous setting of your office, puts your brain into lazier and less creative thinking patterns.
Whenever possible, try to do some simple tasks away from your desk. For example, check your email while going for a 15-minute walk outside. Physical activity, coupled with the shift in environment and some fresh air, can work wonders.
It might be listening to your favourite music, or using a specific ritual to help you unwind.
Take some time to think about where you tend to lose steam, and how to fix that. How can I become more productive? Determination is the greatest skill at your disposal: resolve to keep trying to improve, and you will.