Remember how you scroll through your social media page and then stumble upon an amazing post, one that’s so good that you must share it to your friends? Hacks & tips to improve our productivity in one way or the other is something that we all seek. It’s the very essence you need to survive in this increasingly competitive world no matter which industry or field you’re from. You have no other choice.
A while back, on a regular day, like today… I came across this post by Morgan J Ingram on LinkedIn, who has appeared as one of our guest speakers on SparrowCast, an initiative we took to bring in the industry experts & thought leaders to share their best ideas.
Now, this post struck me for two reasons.
One. The post was just a question.
‘What is your #1 productivity hack or tip?’.
The ultimate question that’s constantly on the back of the head of anybody who’s trying to prove their worth.
Second. The comment sessions the post had attracted.
It was just flooded with hacks & tips that many follow through to increase their productivity. Processes that many swear by.
I started bookmarking the ones I thought were worthy right away. And I could see how anyone might quit halfway through them with frustration. Nitpicking through the long trail of comments was confusing every bit. There was a lot of hit & miss, vague, duplicate comments.
How easier everybody’s life would be if there was a list where I can find the best practices together from the lot! Something more pleasant & highly beneficial than reading through an endless line of comments. Well, that’s what I did.
I have gathered the best practices together and have published them in one place so as to save everyone a bit of pain of going through each comment and passing the verdict whether it works or not.
In this article, I discuss my best 10 picks from the lot and my take on them
Here you go.
1. “Say “no” more often – Be ruthless in only saying yes if it serves your top priorities. Keep in mind that “No” can also mean “yes but not now” to revisit in the future. Also, “no” is a complete sentence – you don’t have to justify anything.”
Well, couldn’t agree more, Megan!
Not many get it. But doing something faster is not the ultimate productivity hack, but saying no is. The truth is we say “yes” to way too many things.
How many times have you ended up, overwhelmed by how much is on your to-do list? You will race then to meet the committed deadline and sometimes compromises on the quality of the work delivered.
It’s worth asking whether it’s necessary. It’s okay to say “NO” when you have your plate full. The work will be assigned to someone who has the time to do justice to it. Productivity is not about the quantity alone, but quality too. Wouldn’t you agree?
2. “Pareto Principle is 80/20 – Review your day. What was the 80% waste. Then don’t take those actions tomorrow.”
Justin Michael has pointed out an amazing point here.
Pareto Principle, otherwise known as the 80/20 rule, primarily means that 80% of results is a product of 20% of your actions. Stretching ourselves thin by chasing a million opportunities has every chance to backfire and can exhaust you.
Contrary to the popular belief, overworking can neither make you more productive nor does it yield the desired results every time.
Instead, strategically focus on those few opportunities that can surely help you reach your objectives effectively without draining you out. A blend of hard work and smart work pays off every time.
3. Nate Guggia says, “Running. Aka exercise. Not kidding. If I’m feeling blocked, lacking energy, or just off my game, going for a run (or any kind of exercising) gets me clear, focused and energized. It’s an incredibly predictable and reliable productivity hack for me.”
Exercise is indeed a great way to trigger the creative energy in you. Workout sessions like swimming, running or playing sports can act as stress busters and keep you motivated all day long.
In fact, a recent study by Briston University found out that exercising every day can boost your productivity exponentially. They conducted a study on 200 employees and found that 41% of the workforce felt more motivated to work after some kind of physical exercises.
This is something that you can try without giving a second thought and see the difference for yourself.
4. “Sleep”, says David Kirkdorffer.
This is something we hear now and then, but dismiss it too often. Most of us are ready to sacrifice a good few hours of sleep too quickly to finish our pending work, most sadly thinking that you’re actually increasing your productivity. The reality couldn’t be further from what you thought.
Sleep deprivation makes you tired, stressed, and unfocused, which in turn makes your work advance at a very slow pace. Whereas a good night’s sleep has a positive effect on the brain and helps in improving concentration, performance and productivity. Well, we all must go with Ashley Kelly here; ‘Sleep, wine, laughter.’
5. “Micro to-do lists is a personal favourite – I keep an overall list of things I need to do, but if I have an hour or 2 window set aside for full focus. I’ll take 5 minutes at the beginning to write a micro-list of immediate priorities. That way when I finish 1 thing I can go right into the next. Helps keep momentum/focus going so I can stay locked in throughout that hour or 2 and make it more productive.”
Hassan El Zein has indeed come up with a pretty useful hack, something that I too stand by.
I know that we all have that master list of monthly tasks. But very few of us take the time and effort to make a micro to-do-list for each day.
Having a micro list for day steers you away from any confusions or distractions. You have your day sorted out, helping you to be more focused and your workflow streamlined.
Order your micro list in a way that it gradually builds up & lets you accomplish your main objectives. This helps you not to overwhelm by setting unrealistic goals.
6. ”Putting my things-to-do list in my calendar so it’s no longer a list… but actual activities that I have to perform/achieve. Over time, it creates great daily habits too!”
Well, the hack seems to have really helped Leigh Smith and I really do believe that it can help each one of us too. And it’s something that goes with the previous hack.
Instead of listing out your tasks manually in a sheet of paper or doc; you should actually schedule it in your calendar and set a reminder too. Now, your calendar is not going to let you forget your scheduled tasks and thus avoids you wandering off doing unnecessary work. With the gentle reminders that pop-up, you are bound to do them anyway!
7. “Less is more”, says Srikanth Kalakonda
Most of the big fishes in the industry go by the quote. Focus on efficiency rather than the amount of work. As mentioned before, make sure you are delivering your finest work rather than completing a lot of work at one go. Quality work will help you gain better results than the quantity of work. Overdoing something doesn’t compensate for a shabby work delivered. Something that we have written into our culture code at SurveySparrow too. Deliver nothing but wows to your audience.
8. “The Hour of Power: Spend your first hour of the day doing the most important (and not most urgent!) things that need to get done that day, the ones that will most impact your achievement of goals. After that, prioritize down based on importance, always remembering the Eisenhower Matrix.” says Darien Dumanis Werfhorst.
Now, this sounds like an impactful hack. Follow the Eisenhower Matrix is your way! Prioritize your work based on its importance and urgency.
The most important tasks can be done first, you can schedule the rest for later and maybe even delete some off if they won’t make much of a difference to your goal. Always be outcome-oriented.
9. “Spending required amount of time and efforts in sharpening my tools, learning and staying fit. Easiest way to boost productivity” says Roshan Nangare
Keep yourself updated with the latest developments in your field of work is something that you just can’t skip. Having the latest technology in your hand lets you accomplish more with minimal effort. This helps you deliver impeccably high-quality work in a shorter time. Knowledge is always power and it’s the same when it comes to maximizing your work productivity for the better. Stay updated to the latest trends in the industry and keep your skills sharpened. Prove yourself worthy every second of the day.
10. Christopher Fago shares a link to a set of 100 productivity hacks. If you didn’t find your ultimate hack yet, you may want to go through this super-useful list as well.
These are the top tips that I stand by when it comes to maximizing productivity. Got any more in mind? Then let us know in the comment section below.