5 Simple and Effective Productivity Hacks
Have you ever ended your day with a feeling that you could have done more?
Perhaps completed more tasks, read more pages, written more words or made more calls?
Well, I have been through that and it sucks.
I’ll be honest with you. Neither am I a productivity “guru” nor do I believe in making false claims.
I don’t preach anything that I don’t practice. I have been using these hacks for almost 7 months now. I won’t say that I have become extremely productive but I sure have entered the 1% group that makes the most of every day.
If I were to compare my current productivity levels to where they were back then, a 400% increase wouldn’t be a false claim.
This is how you too can achieve that:
1. Pomodoro technique
You probably already know about it. It’s a simple technique named after a Pomodoro (tomato) timer.
- You set a timer for 25 minutes and focus on your task until the time’s up.
- Then you take a 5-minute break. That’s one Pomodoro.
- After 3 or 4 Pomodoros or when your task is over, you take a longer break, usually 30 minutes.
But it may not work for everyone because not everyone can concentrate for 25 minutes straight up.
So, start with 10 minutes instead. Set a 10-minute timer and work with a laser-sharp focus. Try to achieve as much as you can in those 10 minutes.
Gradually build your way up to 25/30/45/60 minutes and within a few months, you’ll realize you can focus better and for longer periods.
Why does the Pomodoro technique work?
Pareto’s 80/20 principle.
In layman language, it states that 80% of your results come form 20% of your efforts. I totally agree with that and probably you will too.
When you spend 60 minutes on a task, you only create value in the initial 10–20 minutes. The rest are almost wasted or less productive.
Here’s a graph supporting that,
Pomodoro technique works because it only focuses on the initial 10–20 minutes when your productivity levels are at their peak.
So instead of working on something for 60 minutes straight, break it down into 3–15-minute Pomodoros each followed by a 5-minute break.
You’ll be amazed by the results.
2. No Notification No Problem
I don’t believe in going cold turkey. Sometimes it works, often it doesn’t. I also don’t recommend shutting down your social media accounts or uninstalling applications. That’s not going to help you focus more.
The problem isn’t that you are on social media, the problem is that the applications don’t want you to do anything else. They want you to stick to the screen and scroll through all the crap until your fingers go numb. That’s how they make money.
But what you can do is, turn off the notifications.
It’s better than switching off your phone, uninstalling an application or shutting down your account.
Just go to Settings (iPhone) < Scroll down < Go to the app that distracts you the most < Notifications < Turn off.
And the best part?
It’s always so much fun checking out the applications after you have finished your tasks. And as you have not received any notifications, it almost feels like a surprise.
3. Tidy Your Workplace
Just freaking clean your room or office. It works!
Get rid of any distractions and organize anything that’s not organized, like books, clothes, files, documents, etc.
A clean and organized workplace has been proved in reducing stress, boosting creativity and happiness, and improving focus.
Just like a sound mind lives in a sound body, you produce more when you work in a clean and organized place.
4. Take a nap
A nap is the most underrated productivity hack that’s actually very powerful. When you take a nap, you are not wasting your time, but instead, you are sharpening your axe!
Leonardo Da Vinci
John F. Kennedy
They all were well aware of the power of naps!
Winston Churchill once said,
“Nature has not intended mankind to work from eight in the morning until midnight without that refreshment of blessed oblivion which, even if it only lasts 20 minutes, is sufficient to renew all the vital forces.”
5. Plan your tomorrow
Planning your next day is very important. It’s important because it does not let your mind drift away. You know exactly what you got to do.
But make sure you don’t set a very strict schedule and by that I mean, don’t allocate “time” to your tasks. That’s the fastest route to procrastination. You fail to finish one task on time and then bam! You feel like a sloth for the whole day.
Instead, try to do it my way. I divide my day into Morning, Afternoon, Evening and Before Bed and then I allocate tasks to each.
1. I don’t feel any kind of pressure or sense of urgency.
2. I can take my time and finish my tasks at my own pace.
3. If I finish my Morning tasks before time, I get to enjoy some free time before starting working on my Afternoon tasks. It always feels like a little reward. Like a recess in schooldays!
That’s a screenshot from my Evernote Account. That’s how I plan my tomorrows and track my tasks.
This screenshot only shows a small part of my Journaling template. I have been journaling for more than 150 days. I have created a template that helps me not only track my day but my goals (short-term/long-term), emotions, progress and everything else that could help me be a better version of myself. Comment and let me know if you guys want me to write about it.
I believe in working smarter not harder and more than that I make sure I am enjoying whatever I do. And if there’s anything that kills you physically or mentally, get rid of it. You don’t need expensive programs, strict schedules or mobile applications to be more productive. All you need is a bit of a this and a bit of a that.
- Use the Pomodoro technique — shorten the time if you must.
- Instead of deleting, turn off notifications for applications that distract you.
- Keep your room tidy.
- Take a nap.
- Plan your tomorrow before you go to bed.
And if once in a while you still procrastinate, it’s totally fine! Whatever your dreams are, you’ll get there pal, you’ll get there.