One thing is sure, post-its don’t work anymore
Maintaining clarity and keeping the focus on what needs to be done is not a gif, but a habit.
Sure, some people have more of that efficiency drive than others do; still, everyone can master this.
Productivity is a complex habit that requires you to change your approach to little daily tasks. Don’t worry, we are not talking about making your bed in the morning (although that helps, too), rather, about implementing small things that make your life more efficient.
Keep the focus on automation
If there is at least one action that you do regularly, it’s time to consider organizing that process. Let’s start with an example. For instance, if you never know what to cook for breakfast, you are likely to spend a lot of time thinking or searching for ideas. Instead, you could download an application that’ll send you a digest of simple recipes. It’s only a small action that saves 5-10 minutes every morning.
Automation is the only way to make multitasking efficient and stress-free
We collected 10 essential productivity hacks that bring systematic thinking into your routine. All of them are fast, simple, and free.
Hack #1 – Compartmentalize work and home
Even those who work a typical day at the office often find themselves absentmindedly thinking about their work after the day is done. Planning the next meeting or analyzing what went wrong during the day is the right thing to do – but only until you are still at the office.
The problem with working at home is the high chance of burn-out. When your mind is continuously engaged in work-related activity, it loses the ability to focus, even when you are actually at the workspace. Be sure to have a specific activity for downtime and give it a steady timeslot in your schedule.
It doesn’t have to be only Netflix, or books, or video games. Combine all of these into your week – so you find yourself looking forward to evenings, every single day.
Hack #2 – Be spontaneous
Even though productivity is associated with planning, you need to learn to listen to your impulses. Creative thoughts come unscheduled, and you have to keep up. The easiest way of doing this is by keeping notes.
We bet you heard this one a lot of times. Chances are, you still don’t apply the tip regularly. What are the main problems that people experience, trying to keep track of their ideas in writing?
The form takes precedence over substance. When you start writing down your tohugh, you often see that it’s not coming out as well as it was in your head The right response here is to avoid getting frustrated. Documenting ideas is a skill that improves over time.
You are limiting yourself to hand-writing only. In our digital work, it’s an impossible challenge. Sooner or later, you’ll find yourself in the situation where the only notes you have are on the smartphone.
The fix is to download a smart note manager that synchronizes your written notes with digital ones. We love Notepad++ – it’s an intelligent tool where you can record your thoughts, take pictures of written notes, and add attachments and links.
Counting hours instead of tasks. Putting time slots for each task works for mundane actions, but consuming intellectual work tends to stretch. Don’t force yourself into leaving the task incomplete so that you don’t run behind schedule. Give yourself a right to take your time.
Kanban boards are great for planning, and a simple interface adds a spontaneous feel
Most importantly, don’t forget to organize your notes. Keeping them is only the first step, but you also need to make an order. Assign 2-3 hours every week to update folders and creating new categories. The amount of spent time depends on the tool; in NotePad++ Portable, it takes even less than 30 minutes,
Hack #3 – Do online courses
This seems crazy at first – why add workload if you feel like struggling with completing the current to-do list? Well, hear us out.
When you work on routine tasks each day, your brain needs additional stimulation. To be creative, you need to accumulate various sources of information. The fastest way to do this is by passing an online course from totally unfamiliar fields.
Our favorite online course platforms are the following ones:
- Coursera – this is the biggest online education community;
- eDX – here courses are certified by top universities;
- Udemy – this one is the cheapest, and with great discounts, too.
All information there is structured, and upon completing the course, you get the feeling of satisfaction. It’s not the same as watching Youtube videos on the topic or browsing Wikipedia – because these two seem like procrastination. Passing online courses regularly keeps your brain in great shape, and leaves you open to learning.
Hack #4 – Measure your productivity with read books
To avoid sliding into the trap of ‘I am worth what I make’, find an alternative efficiency measure. Books are great this way: they keep you entertained and give tons of information. On top of that, it’s a great source of creativity and inspiration.
A simple list like this one works just fine
Make a rule to switch between fictional and nonfiction books. Don’ get stuck in one genre – instead, open yourself to topics that you never explored before. Books on science are a must – they create a perception of a bigger picture. When you learn fundamental concepts, it takes attention away from meaningless work issues.
Hack #5 – Hoola hoop
It’s not a demanding physical activity, but it helps you to maintain focus. If you are doing other things, like reading books or listening to podcasts, you also improve your concentration coordination. Hoola hoop requires you to concentrate the energy in a particular region of your body, which a useful skill for brain work, too.
Go out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to do something difficult while exercising. You can learn a new language or play a musical instrument. It’s a great way to get fit, focused, and break the routine with little competitions.
Hack #6 – Don’t stop the rush
Once you caught the motivation, don’t cut it off. This should be a golden rule for all people with concentration issues and ADHD. Your work can be a spontaneous burst of energy if that makes you feel more efficient.
If you feel like writing ten articles in a row, go for it. Have enough energy to pull an all-nighter – don’t hold back. Trying to contain this rush of adrenaline will not likely not work out anyway. Even if you decide to sleep, you are still likely to end up awake in the middle of the night.
However, once you’ve embraced these motivation waves, be ready to pay for these bursts with days of inactivity. Don’t beat yourself up for these unproductive moments. Instead, learn to adapt your schedule and move things around when you are feeling low-energetic. Rest will pay off in yet another efficiency boost.
Hack #7 – Search for light
No spiritual advice, only real practical tips. Daylight keeps your focus sharper and allows you to work longer. It also reduces the strain on your eyesight; considering how much time we spend in front of a computer, even a little improvement makes a big difference.
Daylight activates human output rhythms, increasing productivity and energy levels
Recently, an experiment has proved the efficiency of this hack – so now you can take the word of science. Office workers were asked to participate in the research where one group received 173% more sunlight than another. Unsurprisingly, the results of the first team were much better. On top of that, they have gotten a better night sleep and overall, felt much healthier.
The bottom line
Efficiency is not about working more or pushing yourself. You have to listen to your brain and body, alighting your work process with essential needs. When you are healthy and organized, that’s where creative thoughts start rushing in. Productive people are, first and foremost, happy. Everything else is just an addition.