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!
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?