The Productivity Hacks You Need in Your Life Now
Productivity is becoming more and more elusive nowadays. While the average work day is filled with a plethora of tasks and meetings, there’s a sizeable chunk of time that disappears due to disorganization, stress, and distractions. Check out our top ten recommendations for developing better habits that will set you up to be the most productive you can be.
1. Establish Morning Routine
One of the easiest way to reach your most productive state is by starting your day off with a morning routine. Morning routines are a priority for many successful entrepreneurs and are claimed to be a missing piece in reaching peak productivity. If there’s some sort of activity that provides a sense of calm and allows the headspace to set proper intentions, try doing it first thing in the morning before your workday begins.
Is exercise an important component of your day? Try working that into your morning routine so you get it out of the way. Do you find yourself craving hot cup of coffee as soon as you turn off your alarm? That’s an important factor of a morning routine as well. Try writing out a list of 5 things you like to do after waking up as this is the perfect way to get used to a morning routine.
Creating and sticking to a simple morning routine helps reduce the amount of stress associated with starting off on the right foot, and also helps with preparing yourself for a busy day.
2. Meditate, meditate, meditate
A clear mind is necessary for a successful work day; whether you have a massive to-do list or a slew of big decisions to make throughout the day, the best thing you can do for yourself is to get your mind to a place of calm (before the storm). Enter, meditation.
With origins in ancient India, meditation is the practice of mindfulness and awareness. The practice has been around for centuries and has proven benefits like increased immune function, decreased anxiety and depression, and increased emotional regulation, but the kicker is that it has also shown to improve productivity levels. Many successful entrepreneurs have adopted the practice of meditation and firmly stand by the benefits; by taking time to meditate, you are sharpening your focus and concentration, improving your memory, and clearing up space in your mind that will allow you to better focus and multitask.
3. Create a to do list the night before
As mentioned earlier, having a morning routine is a prime part of setting yourself up for a productive day. While it’s important to be aware of all the things you need to accomplish in a day, we’ve found that writing out a to-do list the evening before, instead of the morning of, can help free up some mental space and a good chunk of time that you can dedicate to working.
Thinking through and jotting down tomorrow’s action items will help give you peace of mind so you can enjoy personal time free of stress after your work day is over. It will also give you the perfect canvas to start working immediately instead of having to dedicate precious time to planning your day… as the day is already in progress. Keep your morning routine as work-free as possible and write down your to-do’s for the following day the night before.
4. Turn off notifications and limit social media use
When it comes to distractions, there’s nothing that will immediately tear you away from intensive work like a text message “ping!”. Yes, your iPhone is the method by which you keep in touch with the world, but it also has the ability to snag your attention while you’re on your way to beating a deadline.
One of the best (and easiest) ways to stay productive throughout the work day is taking the plunge and silencing your notifications. By doing this, you’re getting rid of a common distraction while also curbing your screen addiction. Your attention span will increase and you’ll have uninterrupted time to finish your tasks without having to respond to one of the many group chats you’re part of. By getting into the habit of being a little less available to everyone trying to reach you, you’ll prioritize yourself and your work instead of the multitude of notifications you receive every day.
5. Consolidate your apps
Would you consider yourself to be an early adopter of the latest and greatest apps? Have you lost track of the amount of social, financial, gaming and health apps you’ve accumulated so far? Mobile apps have changed the way we work and live as there’s an app for everything – from scheduling and planning apps to the slew of apps you use to edit photos, we’re at a point in time where we are most definitely experiencing app overload.
Stick to the top apps that you get the most use out of so you’re not scrolling page after page to find the ones that matter most. By paring down and decluttering your phone, you’ll make things a little easier for yourself.
Having a hard time letting go? Categorize your apps by using this insanely helpful feature.
6. Keep your workspace clean
Your busy schedule keeps you in constant grind mode: you’re taking calls left and right, shooting out important emails all day long, and running from one meeting to the next. When you finally have some time towards the end of the day and sit down at your desk, you notice the utter mess that is your workspace. Papers strewn about, unnecessary items cluttering your desk, and general disarray that’s not too easy on the eyes.
Sometimes it’s hard to stay present and aware of your surroundings when you’re working through a busy day. But a messy workspace causes unnecessary stress and anxiety and can easily be a time suck when you have to spend extra time tidying up here and there during the day when you could be using that time to complete tasks.
If you notice that your workspace is a mess by the end of each day, make a conscious effort to spend a quick 10 minutes before you head home for the day cleaning any unnecessary items from your desk. Morning you will appreciate it.
7. Start the day with your most daunting task
Once you’re through with your morning routine and done skimming through any pressing emails, the best way to start attacking your to do list is to identify the most difficult/painful task and beginning there. While there are people out there that disagree with this method, there is evidence that suggests that by starting off with something you struggle with, you’ll preserve the feeling of accomplishment throughout the day.
Working through something a little more complex than the rest of your tasks stimulates your brain and helps you prepare for everything else you have to work through. By jumping your tallest hurdle first, you’re setting yourself up for a productive day.
8. Start time blocking
Sure, your calendar and to do list help organize your life but do you ever feel the need for a little more structure and motivation to complete projects in their entirety, without disruption? Being flexible and able to multitask are two important characteristics necessary for success. But sometimes, it feels like “heads down” work is just getting harder and harder to achieve.
Time blocking is the practice of allocating blocks of time throughout the day to specific tasks. If you’re well aware of the recurring tasks you do on a daily basis, block out a chunk of time to accomplish each. For example:
9 am to 10 am: check emails
10 am to 11 am: schedule social media posts
11 am to 12 pm: outline new blog content
12 pm to 1 pm: lunch time!
This practice will not only help schedule your day to a T, but it will also give you an idea as to how much time you spend on each task so you can optimize your workflow and save time in different areas.
9. Learn how to say “No”
If you’re a self-proclaimed people pleaser, this one's for you. We’ve all been there: plate full but moving things around to squeeze in another project, another meeting, another undertaking. “Yes” you say after yet another one of your coworkers asks for a small favor, right after your boss assigned you a new project with the request for a speedy turnaround. The stress is real.
In situations like these, it’s important to take a step back and assess everything you have on your to-do list. It’s important to work hard and be open to spending a little more time than usual to accommodate an increased workload, but it’s also crucial to be honest about how much time you actually have to spend on last minute requests.
Saying no is one the most important parts of being truly productive because it allows you to set boundaries when absolutely necessary. There will always be something new and pressing that arises, but when you’re 100% booked, you’re 100% booked.
10. Use Paras
We know, we know. We just talked about limiting the amount of apps you use. But if there’s one app you need to achieve peak productivity, it’s Paras.
Paras is the perfect hub for all things work and life – you’ll not only get organized, but you’ll also accomplish more. With Paras, all of your scheduling, team communication, and tasks are in one place.
Get started on a productive and successful 2019 by downloading Paras today!