50 Productivity Hacks Everyone Should Use Right NowFeb 10, 2021
One of the greatest challenges faced by entrepreneurs at any stage of their career is finding the motivation to stay productive. The world is filled with distractions that demand your time and attention but giving in means putting off goals and potentially harming your business growth. That's why many of us need productivity hacks to help us with our personal development, business growth, and work-life balance.
We’ve rounded up 50 productivity hacks to help you shut out the distractions and find the drive to keep yourself working:
1. Always have something to take notes:
Keep a pen and notepad or even a few pieces on hand at all times. Note-taking can help your mind stay engaged and focused, plus you never know when you’ll come up with a brilliant idea and need to write it down.
2. Avoid commuting to the office:
If you have an option to get your work done from home, seize it. Commutes can be draining and eat up hours of your week. That’s time you could spend on improving your business and taking care of tasks.
3. Avoid eating big meals during the day:
Big meals need a lot of energy to digest, so your body starts taking that energy from anywhere it can. Next thing you know, you’re dozing off at your desk. Stick to small meals and snacks throughout the day to keep your energy levels—and productivity—up.
4. Avoid the snooze button:
A few more minutes of sleep sound great, but you’re not getting the quality rest you need when you hit the snooze and try to catch a few more Zs. Forget the snooze button altogether and get up on your first alarm.
5. Be goal orientated rather than following a to-do list:
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by a to-do list that never ends. Instead, focus on goals that are in your reach and determine what items from your to-do list will help you achieve a specific goal and do just those. That way, you’re reaching goals and knocking items off your list.
6. Brain dump once a week:
Our brains are like sponges, and sometimes they become so saturated with information it feels like you can’t absorb anything else. Combat that feeling by having a brain dump once a week. Write down your thoughts and ideas to free up space in your mind.
7. Check emails two times a day:
Technology gives you instant access to your email anytime and anywhere. It’s tempting to check your inbox whenever you get an email, but that habit is derailing your productivity. Instead, set aside time twice a day to go through your inbox.
8. Define your Most Important Tasks (MITs):
Prioritizing is key to managing your time. If your to-do list is overwhelming, take time to select your MITs. These are tasks that are imperative for reaching your long-term goals for your business or yourself.
9. Do the most important task of the day first:
Set the pace for your day by knocking out your most important task first. It’s easy to tell yourself that you can put things off to another time, but starting your day with accomplishment will help you stay productive the rest of the day.
10. Don’t start the day with distraction:
It can be hard to jump right into work. Why not warm up a little by watching a funny video or a quick scroll through your newsfeed? Because it only takes one distraction to derail your productivity for the rest of your workday.
Follow Tip 9 and dive into work. Your to-do list will thank you later. Let's move on with the next productivity hacks.
11. Drink more water:
Water is essential to life, but did you know it also can be key to increasing your productivity? Studies have found that staying properly hydrated increases brain function, which in turn keeps you productive.
12. Exercise in the morning:
Going to the gym or heading out on a run may not be everyone’s first choice for their morning routine, but studies show exercising daily increases alertness, energy, and cognitive abilities—all of which are factors in productivity. So, start your day out with exercise and reap the benefits.
13. Find the schedule that best suits you:
The world is filled with early birds, night owls, and all sorts of people in between. You know when you work best. Alter your work schedule to align with times you know you’re productive during your day.
14. Give up multitasking:
You might think you’re getting more done with multitasking but in reality, you’re likely giving less effort and attention to the tasks you’re trying to complete simultaneously. Instead, focus on one task at a time to ensure it is being completed correctly because you’re not saving time if you have to go back later and correct a mistake.
15. Give up TV. Television is the ultimate distraction:
Avoid it as much as possible if you’re working from home or in an area that keeps one on all day.
16. Have an afternoon nap:
Naps just aren’t for little kids. If your schedule and work commitments allow it, make time to take a quick afternoon snooze to recharge your energy.
17. If it takes less than two minutes, do it now:
Everybody has two minutes to accomplish something. Get your quick tasks done, so you’re not worrying (read: distracted) later.
18. It’s all about prioritization:
It truly is. If you have goals, you should have a plan to reach them. As part of that plan, you need to set priorities that will help you reach those goals. Your priorities are your own, so don’t let other people distract you from them. Set your priorities, stay productive, and reach your goals.
19. Keep distractions to a minimum:
This can be easier said than done, but identifying possible distractions and limiting your interactions with them will do wonders for your productivity.
20. Keep your phone in airplane mode until your first task is done:
No texts, no calls, no emails, no distractions. Do yourself a favor by putting your phone on airplane mode and tackling your task.
21. Learn how to say “No.”:
This can be the hardest yet most rewarding lesson to take to heart. Saying no allows you to keep control of your time and energy. We all want to be helpful, but we’re of no help to anyone if we are overwhelmed and overcommitted. You can’t do everything, and by trying to do so, you’re sabotaging your productivity. Embrace “no” as your new favorite word.
22. Make 60-second decisions:
The longer you take to make a decision, the more distracted you become by the issue, and the less time you have to complete other tasks. For relatively low-stakes decisions, let yourself think about it for a minute but no more.
23. Make sure you have everything to complete your tasks:
Having everything you need at the ready will keep your focus on your work, instead of wondering where you put that pen or the report you need to finish your task.
24. Make your work environment comfortable:
Comfort looks different to everyone, but you know what makes you feel at ease. Perhaps it’s using a lamp with warm light, putting up pictures of family and friends, or keeping a blanket on hand for when the office gets a little chilly. Investing in your comfort will pay off in higher productivity.
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25. Music and productivity in the workplace:
Music can be a distraction or a shield from distractions. If you find it easier to work with music in the background, create a playlist of favorite songs that you won’t need to mess with once they start playing.
26. Pick a calendar management tool:
No longer are we tied to organizing our lives on paper wall calendars. Plenty of email providers and apps offer calendar management tools, so look around and find one that fits your lifestyle best.
27. Plan your day the night before:
Take a moment to sit down and plan the next day. By intentionally planning your day, you’ll identify your MITs and determine how to complete them while working around meetings, appointments, and other commitments.
28. Read “Getting Things Done” by David Allen:
Allen walks you through his step-by-step guide for staying productive and turning that commitment into success.
29. Reconnect with your why:
In the chaos of creating or running a business, it’s easy to lose sight of why you set off on your entrepreneurship journey in the first place. Take time to reconnect with the reason why you wanted to be an entrepreneur in the first place and use that passion to drive your productivity.
30. Reduce decision fatigue:
Do you ever get so tired of making decisions that you run out of mental energy? A lot of people do, so many in fact that the experience is called decision fatigue. You can reduce yours by decreasing the amount of decisions you need to make by planning ahead, delegating to others, and setting deadlines.
31. Remember the Pareto Principle:
If you’re unfamiliar with the name, perhaps you’ve heard of the 80/20 rule? Vilfredo Federico Damaso Pareto, an Italian economist, is behind it. It boils down to the idea that 80% of results will come from just 20% of the action. With that principle in mind, determine what 20% of your tasks are important then delegate or let go of the rest.
32. Reward yourself:
As an entrepreneur, it can be easy to get caught up with everyone else’s needs and wants. Remember to reward yourself for all the hard work you’re putting into your business. It doesn’t have to be a grand vacation, but find something that brings you joy and allow yourself time to embrace it.
33. Schedule eating:
When you’re busy, it’s easy to skip lunch. But skipping meals isn’t good for your brain—it needs the energy to stay productive—so make time for meals in your schedule.
34. Schedule tasks:
No matter how small, setting aside time for tasks will keep your schedule moving and help you get work done.
35. Split test your sleeping habits:
Part one of this test requires you to go to sleep and wake up around the same time every day (weekends included!). Part two hinges on waking up at the right part of your sleep schedule. You can download apps to track your sleep cycle and find the best wake-up time for you.
36. Start the day off using the 60-60-30 technique:
Essentially, spend two 60-minute sessions working on tasks then take a complete break for 30 minutes. It’ll help you get productive and stay that way throughout the day.
37. Stick to your routine:
People are creatures of habit and it’s no different when it comes to our jobs.
38. Tell people to stop distracting you:
You are the steward of your time and sometimes that means telling people to leave you alone so you can get work done. A little chit chat isn’t the end of the world, but prepare to be firm with people who don’t see their conversations as interruptions to your productivity.
39. Block out your time:
Whether it’s work-related or personal, dedicating time to work on tasks and projects can help you make progress and limit distractions.
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40. Turn off push notifications:
You’re connected to the world at large through your phone and computer, but those push notifications you receive are nothing more than distractions. If you need to hunker down and get work done, turn off those push notifications.
41. Use background music:
It’s easy to get distracted by other people’s chatter, so putting on background music can fill your environment with familiar sounds that allow you to get focused and stay productive.
42. Use noise-canceling headphones:
You can take tuning out with music one step further by investing in a pair of noise-canceling headphones. What’s that distraction? I can’t hear you!
43. Use the sleep cycle to wake up with energy:
As mentioned in hack #35 of the productivity hacks list, if you’re jolted awake in the wrong stage of sleep, you can feel drained even if you’ve had a full night’s sleep. Figuring out the right time to wake up will give you a boost.
44. Use StayFocused to block distracting websites:
Browsing the internet is the world’s most effective method of wasting time and distracting ourselves from work that needs to be done. If you know you’ll spend hours scrolling instead of working, consider using StayFocused, a browser extension, to block websites you use to distract or procrastinate.
45. Use the 6 list rule:
Also known as the Ivy Lee Method, this one is simple. Only put the six most important items on your to-do list for the next then organize them by order of importance.
46. Use the Pomodoro Technique:
This technique follows five easy steps: Get a to-do list and a timer; set your timer for 25 minutes, and focus on a single task until the timer rings; once the time is up, mark off one Pomodoro and record what you got done; take a five-minute break; and then after four pomodoros, take a 15-30 minute break.
47. Visualize yourself:
Where do you see yourself in five years? What have you accomplished? You might have goals for your business growth, but do you have goals for yourself? Take time to visualize yourself and use those visions to fuel your productivity.
48. Wake up early to do your morning routine:
Your morning routine can set the stage for your entire day. Start it off productively by getting up early and incorporating some of the aforementioned hacks to set yourself up for success.
49. What gets measured gets managed:
This managerial mantra seems obvious on its face, but remember that some important aspects of business cannot be measured and some aspects that can be measured don’t contribute to productivity. It’s up to you to drive the productivity you need to propel business growth.
50. Work with your ultradian rhythms:
These rhythms refer to the ebb and flow of your body’s energy throughout the day. As previously mentioned, you know your body best, and you know when in the day you’re at your peak productivity. To stay at that peak, work with your ultradian rhythms instead of pushing yourself to work constantly throughout the day.
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