4 Productivity Hacks to Increase your Efficiency

 

Productivity Hacks to Increase Your Efficiency

I love being organized and efficient, and one of my pet peeves is NOT being efficient or wasting time.  I am a productivity hacker.  I’m the type of person who LOVES to-do lists and have been using to-do lists to complete my tasks since I was in high school.  When I don’t complete all the things on my to-do list for the day, sometimes I get disappointed in myself (**cough cough** Type A personality ** cough cough***).

4 Productivity Hacks to Increase Your Efficiency

 

While I’m not the type to wake up at 5am like Business Insider suggests (I should really try but my brain doesn’t seem to want to work or wake up until at least 9am), here are 4 Productivity Hacks that have worked for me to increase my efficiency and hopefully will work for you too!

Pomodoro Technique

What’s a pomodoro?  A pomodoro is the Italian word for tomato, or what Italians use as a kitchen timer.  Simple right?

Since I was introduced to the Pomodoro app a few years ago, my productivity has skyrocketed.  Well, I was addicted to using it regularly but then I slipped.  Sometimes when I want to be ultra productive, or I feel that I’m not productive enough, I use the pomodoro app.  The one that I like the best is BeFocused.  There are many different options out there, and Zapier reviews the best ones.

Technically you don’t need an app for this but you can just set your timer for 25 minute increments, but I find the app is great because you can see how much you’ve accomplished when you check things off.

You name your task and complete your tasks in 25 minute increments (you can also time yourself to see how many pomodoros it takes to complete your task), and then you get a 5 minute break.  After you get 4 pomodoros (about four 25 minute intervals) you get a 15 minute break.  It really helps you complete your to-do list and helps you stay on task.  The important thing is to stay on task during the 25 minute increment, and reward yourself with a 5 minute break to do whatever you want to do, be it rest your eyes from the screen, go for a short walk or get a glass of water.

prioritize your to-do list

Another trick to decrease the level of disappointment should you not be able to complete your tasks (which often results in not wanting to complete other tasks), is to prioritize your to-do list. Think about what’s the most important few things that you want done in the day and schedule it in earlier.  These are things that must/should be done today.  Everything else can wait or be scheduled for later in the day, for when you might not be at your most productive.

scheduling your to-do list

I found that this was the most effective way for me to increase my productivity.  The pomodoro technique is awesome, but I needed something on top of that.  Scheduling my to-do list during the day gives me a deadline and helps light my butt on fire to complete the tasks.  I find that sometimes I am still ‘delayed’ with my task list but at least it helps initiate me to do complete the tasks.

Life hack recommends keeping a timetable for your tasks.  For example, your to do list could involve doing laundry, cleaning the bathroom, writing a blog post, reviewing your investment portfolio and reviewing asset allocation, and working out.

To schedule your to do list, you would just provide time increments:

  • 0900-1000- doing laundry and folding laundry
  • 1000-1030- cleaning the bathroom
  • 10-30-1130- write a blog post
  • 1130-1200- lunch
  • 1200-1300- review investment portfolio and asset allocation
  • 1300-1345- Workout

checking your email only twice a day

This is difficult to do but a definite time saver.  I learned this from reading The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss.  I cut out Facebook which was a huge time suck for me but I still found that I was refreshing my email while I was in the elevator, or sometimes while I was walking, and also when I woke up and pretty much very frequently.  Now I do it a little bit with Twitter but am trying to curb that.

According to Psychology Today, we are all addicted to checking texts, email, and Twitter because when we see an email that we want, it releases dopamine, and creates a type of Pavlovian response (the key to the dopamine rush is the unpredictability of the email, WILL you get a good email or will you NOT?).

Now I try to just check email twice a day, at 10am and again at 4pm, and avoid checking first thing in the morning (though it’s still hard to follow through with not checking the morning one).

It prioritizes your brain and helps you focus so you don’t check your email and then think- okay I need to deal with that soon.  Check your email when you are able to deal with the email, otherwise it’s just clogging up your brain space.

Hopefully these tips help you increase your productivity and efficiency with your day, so you become a lean, mean, successful machine!

Readers, do you have any productivity hacks or tips that you swear by?

Productivity Hacks to Increase Your Efficiency

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About genymoney

GYM is a 30 something millennial interested in achieving financial freedom through disciplined saving, investing, and living a minimalist lifestyle.

14 comments on “4 Productivity Hacks to Increase your Efficiency

  1. I am not sure if what I do is efficient or effective, but I often do the tasks that motivates me most. This will give me momentum to go and do other tasks. I find that having the motivation to do some of the tasks like (laundry, cleaning the house or planning a meal) are not very motivating. I need some tasks to get the ball rolling.
    Leo T. Ly recently posted…Personal Finance Horror StoriesMy Profile

    • @Leo T. Ly- That makes sense, so you pick the ‘easiest’ one of the list to do? I think I do that too, either that or I tackle the one that I least want to do.

  2. I need to cut down on checking my email because I check it so frequently. It is the first thing I do when I wake up every morning and check it whenever I get an email notification throughout the day. It’s so tough to try to cut down on doing this because I can get eager on what type of email I get and if it’s really important. But this may be a reminder that I limit my email check ups. Thanks for this GYM!!
    Kris recently posted…If You Are Not Investing in the Stock Market, Do It Now Not LaterMy Profile

    • @Kris- I was SOO good and checking email at 10 AM and again at 4PM and then I had baby GYM and now I check it so frequently again. It’s the dopamine release, hard to break this habit! Even if it’s junk mail I get excited because then I can delete it. Lol. I’ll try again as well at not checking it so often.

  3. I am old school and still write out a to do list. Unfortunately every time my phone pings I do check my email. I should probably work on that. Great post.

    • @Steve- I have a to do list too! (I’m old school too, and I have a daily planner that’s not in the “Cloud”) I write it on post its now and then cross them out.

    • @Caroline- I have the same problem. Then I consolidate my list into one and then I feel better temporarily. Good luck with the email checking- I’ll try not to check too!

  4. I do need to be better about not checking email so often, both at work and in my personal life. Email really does side-track you from whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. I’ve had really great success with Pomodoro timers. I also track all of my to-dos in a daily paper planner.
    Mrs. Picky Pincher recently posted…What A Frugal Week At FinCon!My Profile

  5. Less so now but when working, I always broke my to do list into 5 minute chunks so that I had the satisfaction of ticking off 5-10 items every hour. It did mean that my first hour at work every day was making a to do list that was extensive but it meant I was organized and focused the rest of the day.
    Steve recently posted…It’s Health Insurance Week – Part 2My Profile

    • @Steve- I like that! I read somewhere that making your ‘to do’ list the day before is even better, because you’ll get started on the right foot. I like the 5 minute chunk idea, it’s sort of like a sped up Comodoro technique. Thanks for sharing Steve!

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