11 Productivity Hacks to Start Today
Some days it just seems like you're on fire. Everything you touch turns to gold, and by the end of the day you've achieved more than most people do in a week! And then there are other days. Those days. You know, the ones where you just can't seem to get anything done, and you feel like you should just lay down on the couch and watch a movie with a bag of potato chips. So how do we trade procrastination and laziness for extreme productivity? Well, here are my best tips to help you become a master of productivity:
1 - Love What You Do
This is a pretty simple tip, but any time you have a large amount of work that has to be done, it's best if you love what you do. If you're not passionate about the work that your doing then you'll probably not be very motivated to get it done, and that's when work really seems like a drag. If you're slaving away in a job that drains you and makes you feel like you're moving towards a dead end then it's time to find a way to love that job, or get out. If you don't then you'll find that true productivity is always an uphill battle. If you make sure that what you're working toward is something that you're passionate about then you'll find an unlimited amount of motivation in your work.
2 - Write it Down
If you have a heap of work to do then you need to WRITE IT DOWN, otherwise you'll be leaving it all up to your memory, which is not sufficient. I always find that my day flows much easier, and I get so much more work done, when I have a list right in front of me. The first step on the journey to productivity is clarity. First, get clear on what needs to be done, and then you can get to work.
3 - Prioritize
Now that you have a list it will be time to prioritize your tasks. I would suggest that you categorize your tasks into the following areas: must do, should do, and can do. What are the tasks that cannot wait any longer, and that you must do today? What are the tasks that you should do today if you can? And what are the things that you can do today if you have time? These are the categories that will help you to prioritize what you should be doing, and what can wait.
Another way to look at prioritization is to ask this question: what are the force multipliers? Or in other words, what are the tasks that, when completed, will make the rest of your work flow better? If you will do the tasks that make the rest of your work easier to do then that will be the most intelligent approach.
4 - Find the Low Hanging Fruit
Something that I often do to kick-start my day is to look at my list and pick off the low hanging fruit. In other words, I do all of the tasks that will only take a couple of minutes each. As I do this I can check off many of the things on my list, which is a great way to get a boost of motivation for my day, because I'm able to feel like I'm accomplishing a lot when I may have only spent 15 minutes on five tasks.
5 - Exercise
Exercise is a great source of energy, and if you're looking to get pumped for your day then even 10 minutes of good exercise can be a great start. If you can find moments throughout the day to leave the desk and get active then you'll find that you can achieve greater concentration and a stronger focus on the task at hand. Our bodies weren't built to sit at a chair for eight hours every day, so make sure that you get some solid exercise every day, and find times to get moving in between work.
6 - Stay Hydrated
Water is the ultimate source of nourishment for your body, so if you want your brain to be at it's best then you'll need to stay hydrated. Get into the habit of drinking 6 - 8 glasses of water every day; you won't regret it, and your body will thank you.
7 - Rest
Part of being a super-productive person is knowing when to work, and when to rest. Even your heart knows that it cannot work non-stop. It works at a ratio of one part work, two parts rest, and it has the most important job in the world! So make sure that you find time to get your fix of laziness and leisure. When you have great leisure time then you'll find that you're better able to switch on your work mode and become completely focused on the tasks at hand.
8 - Let the Small Bad Things Happen
Whenever you're faced with a really important project, you should consider letting the small bad things happen. For example, you're working on a proposal for an important client, but if you don't pay the electricity bill today then you'll be charged an extra $25. If you're in the zone and you're on a deadline with the proposal then you need to focus on the most important task and pay the bill later. Sometimes it's important to prioritize the important things now, and focus on the small things later.
9 - Cut Out the Notifications
If you really need to get things done, then I suggest that you turn off the notifications. Put your phone on "do not disturb" mode, and focus in on what you need to get done. Who cares if someone calls you? You're doing important work, and if they need to talk to you then they'll leave a message. On top of this, if you value your time then people will respect that, and they will understand if you have to get back to them later.
10 - Be Productive, Not Busy
You need to be your own critic, and so you need to constantly ask yourself; "Is this important, or am I just being busy?" Because there is a huge difference between being productive and being busy, and the people who can understand the difference between these two states will be far more successful in any field. Are the tasks that you're doing just making you FEEL productive? Or are they actually getting things done and moving you closer to your goals?
11 - Early to Bed, Early to Rise
Finally, I would suggest the age-old principle of "early to bed, early to rise." I find that the time when I'm most productive is when I am able to get a great nights sleep, and wake early in the morning to get straight into my day. Try going to bed at 10:30pm and waking at 6:30am every day for a week. If you can do this for a week then you'll find great increases in your productivity and you'll feel great! There's an old military saying; "we do more before 9am than the rest of the world does all day." Can you imagine if you were the kind of person who got more done before 9am than the rest of your colleagues got done all day? What kind of impact would that make on your life?
I really hope that you implement all of these strategies into your day, because they've been so helpful to me, and I know that they can help you too. If you want to excel in any area of your life then you're going to have to work on your productivity levels, and if you don't then you'll find that you're not really living up to your true potential in your career, relationships, finances, and health. These productivity hacks have the potential to 10X your daily output, but the only way that will happen is if you take action. Do the work, and see the results!