The Best Productivity Hacks of All Time
Productivity is the measure of how much work an individual can complete in a given time.
Whether you are a student trying to get ahead in your academic career, a businessperson trying to stay ahead of the competition, or a stay-at-home parent trying to balance work and family responsibilities, productivity is key to success.
But how do we improve or measure our productiveness?
Productivity can be improved by mastering some best-known productivity hacks, such as organizing one’s time, setting goals, and developing a workflow. The most common way to measure our productiveness is by the amount of work we can accomplish in a given period.
Yes, as individuals, we all have challenges that we face daily working towards our purpose in life and business. And yes, it’s very easy to get distracted from our goals in this age of pop-up notifications.
So, as a student or working professional, how do you overcome these challenges and distractions to get the most out of your day?
Today, we will be discussing the best productivity hacks of all time that you can apply right now and 10X your daily achievements.
Plan your day ahead of time
One of the practices of highly productive individuals is that they plan their day ahead. Planning your day and writing it down gives you a sense of purpose and enables you to know what you should be doing next. This removes all guesses from the process and helps you achieve more in time.
An adage says, ”if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” If you want to be successful, you must schedule your day so that you know what to do at any given time and for how long.
You can’t just wing it and hope for the best; you need to have a plan and stick to it.
Now, let me ask you a quick question, what’s your schedule for the day?
If you cannot readily mention at least one thing that you have planned for the day, then it’s simple; you can’t get the most out of it.
You can accomplish so much if you take just 15 to 30 minutes to plan your day the night before. You can also do this in the morning if you are an early riser.
Below are some tactics that you can apply now to help you get the most out of your day.
- Get a scheduler to note down all you wish to accomplish the following day;
- Break down your plans into bits of 30 – 60 minutes; this could include the exact time you want to leave home and be present at work or school.
Many times, paying attention to minor details like planning to leave home a little earlier to get to work earlier can be all the difference you need to be productive for each new day.
Prioritize your schedule
It’s not enough to just plan your day.
To maximize your time and get more out of your day, you need to prioritize your schedule based on importance and urgency.
An excellent time management tool that you can use to do this is the Eisenhower matrix, also called the Important/Urgent matrix, named after the United States of America 34th President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
How do you apply this time management tool?
After listing up your planned activities for the day, you may realize that each task does not carry the same weight; some are more important while others may be more urgent.
So, how do you know which task to do first?
To effectively prioritize your day, follow the Eisenhower Matrix system and categorize your tasks as highlighted below:
- Important and urgent
- Important and not urgent
- Not important and urgent
- Not important and not urgent
The important and urgent task needs to be done today or tomorrow at the latest.
The task that is important but not urgent should be put on your to-do list.
The task that is not important and urgent is a task that is less important to you but needs to be done as soon as possible. Such tasks should be delegated so that they don’t come back to haunt you.
The task that is not important & not urgent can be left undone until they fall within one of the top categories.
We have a Personal Productivity Course that can teach you the strategies that top performers use every day to increase their productivity.
Make commute productive
According to a report by New York Post, the average daily commute in the United States is 35 minutes. Driving to work in their cars takes Americans roughly 152 hours each year, or 19 full workdays.
If you don’t work remotely and have to commute every day to work, you can take advantage of this time-consuming activity to check your email, read a book, meditate, take a nap, create a long-term and short-term to-do list, listen to a podcast, relax with your favorite songs, reflect on yourself, get news updates, learn something new online, complete pending work, or get a head start on your daily task, etc.
You can also use this time to improve your memory right here on Iris.
Applying this hack will help you stay more productive and get more out of each day.
Create a clean and dedicated workspace
Did you know that working in a clean office environment helps to increase productivity?
At the workplace, it is important to have a clean working space so that you don’t get distracted and waste valuable time searching for information and work tools that you need to complete a specific task.
When your workspace is tidy, you are happier and able to focus better on your work at hand.
A survey reported by CleanLink shows that “94% of employees find that a hygienic, healthy and risk-free work environment impacts their happiness (57% strongly agree).”
And the happier you are, the more productive you get.
Also, working in dirty conditions propagate hazardous microorganisms, that can result in an increase in employee sick days costing employees their health and organizations money ($2.5 million a year).
For those working or schooling from home, you may need to psych yourself up and create a dedicated workspace where you will do your work. Don’t just work anywhere in the house, as this could psychologically affect your productivity.
Finally, once you are done for the day, clean your workspace up so that you can resume the next day ready for work and uncluttered.
We live in the most distractive time of all ages. Distractions come from different places, like getting text messages, online messengers, pop-up notifications from a website we subscribed to, and workplace gossip.
It’s a little wonder that we are still able to accomplish much. However, we are living far below our potential daily due to these distractions.
If you desire to boost your productivity, the first thing you need to do is ban your phone from your work area during work hours.
You can turn your phone off or use a side blocking app until you have finished your work; this will help you stay focused and productive.
Break up tasks using the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique involves working in 25-minute batches followed by a 5-minute break.
Sometimes it’s helpful to break up tasks into smaller, more manageable parts.
This technique of breaking up tasks into sessions is called the Pomodoro Technique, which was devised and popularized by Francesco Cirillo.
Rather than getting bored with your task due to long hours, taking these breaks will help you refresh and come back to your work with a fresh perspective. You can also take it a little further by rewarding yourself with your favorite snack after finishing each task that takes longer than 25 minutes.
It can be difficult to say no to friends, work colleagues, and clients as well. However, if you don’t set boundaries and say no to requests, you’ll feel overwhelmed, and this will harm your productivity.
Setting boundaries will help you focus on what’s important and reduce the amount of stress you’re under.
In addition, unless you are superhuman, you can’t handle every request brought to your table. So, this is where setting boundaries will teach you to delegate some tasks like a boss.
Going back to hack number 2 which talks about prioritizing your schedule, any request on your list or that is bought to your table that does not fall into the “Important and urgent” category should be turned down.
Those that fall into the “Not important and urgent” should be delegated immediately.
Setting boundaries will help you focus on projects that you are good at without letting menial tasks get in the way.
Multitasking is a bad habit that can be harmful to your productivity. It’s tempting to try to do two things at once, but in reality, it’s tough to focus on two tasks.
Research shows that multitaskers are not more productive and achieve far less than they would have achieved if they focused on one task at a time.
Instead of multitasking, try to focus on one task at a time. This will help you get more done in a shorter amount of time. If you find yourself struggling to focus, take a break and come back to the task later.
One more danger to this work style of multitasking, as reported by a study done at Stanford University, shows multitasking can affect your ability to focus on just one thing in other areas of your life.
Reflect on your day
One hack that is hardly ever thought of is reflecting on how your day went and what you were able to accomplish. Doing this will give you a sense of happiness if you are crushing it or let you know where you need to work on.
In addition, reflecting on your day refreshes your mind and gives you new perspectives on what to do next, thus helping you create accurate priorities for your tasks.
Get a good night’s sleep
Once you are done for the day, it’s time to sleep (yippy….).
Productivity has a lot more to do with your energy and focus than it has to do with time. There are tons of studies that support this.
A good night’s sleep will make you feel more energized and focused on the day’s tasks. Thus you get to accomplish more in your day.
The most active people take more breaks in-between tasks and still accomplish more because they feel rested, energized, and ready to take on any task assigned to them.
Advances.sciencemag.org released a report about better attendance and better grades by the students in Seattle public schools due to a recent pushback in resumption time, which allowed the student to sleep a little bit longer.
The importance of having a good sleep cannot be overemphasized. However, until we learn to value it as a society, the best you can do for yourself is to apply this hack and boost your productivity.
As you can see, becoming productive in your daily living is achievable if you simply follow the system discussed above. Mastering these best productivity hacks can help you win both in life and in business.
Just as we have discussed, learn to plan your day, prioritize your to-do list, and take advantage of unproductive work hours such as commuting to work.
When you are on the job, make sure you have a clean workspace, start with your most important and urgent task at hand, ban anything that could distract you, take regular breaks to help you stay focused, and set boundaries and single task.
Note that productivity has more to do with your energy and focus than it has to do with time. Research shows that people who get more sleep tend to be more energized and more focused than individuals who don’t, so ensure that you get enough sleep and wake up early to start your day productively.
Now that you are well equipped with the best productivity hacks, you will be much more prepared in any school or work environment. If you are looking for more tips and tricks, you can take a look at our personal productivity course.