32 Productivity tips to more done in less time
Our brains are like phone batteries (picture). If we have too many applications open at the same time, the battery uncharges fast! When there is too much stuff in our minds, our energy level fall fast. And the brains needs time to recharge!
Productivity is the ability to:
- Stay focused on one task at the time
- To do the task as fast as possible
- Understand when how to recharge one’s batteries before they go dead! Here’s the guide to productivity
A peaceful Mind
#1 Write stuff you have on your mind down
Momento is an iPhone app so that you can keep a diary on the go. Personally, I have a pen and paper available to draw and write stuff down all the time!
#2 Review the stuff you’ve written
Once written stuff down, you have to go through your notes. Have a fixed day or hour where you go through all of your notes.
#3 Organize everything into lists
If you haven’t read “Getting things done”, read it! It will change your life. I also have a short resume of the book. You’ll learn to put everything in your calendar as well as next action, project, and reference list that you review daily and weekly. This approach gives you a tremendous sense of control and harmony in your life.
#4 Know where everything is at all time
We spend several hours every week just searching for stuff (keys, glasses, papers, articles). Having systems for putting everything keeps you in control, and saves you hours every week. If you spend to hours every week searching for stuff, you lose 104 hours or 4 1/2 days every year!
#5 Always get enough sleep
Whether it is 6,7,8 or 9 hours of sleep you need, make sure to sleep enough.
#6 Have Adblock installed
You’ll block 300+ Ads every day. That’s 2100 or 109200 ads every year. It will reduce your cognitive overload
#7 Have as few tabs open as possible
#8 Learn to say no
To feel good with others, you need to feel good about yourself. Unless you know your limits, don’t say yes!
#9 Keep your home and your office clean
A clean mind starts with a clean surrounding.
Improve work productivity
#10 Always plan your day
It gives a tremendous sense of achievement. Therefore, when you sit down at your desk, ask yourself: The day is over, and I am leaving the office with a tremendous sense of accomplishment. What have I achieved?
You can use the one minute to do list:
- 1st 20 seconds: write down 5 items that are essential being done for the day.
- 2nd 20 sec: write 10 “keep in sight” kind of tasks (tasks due for the next 2-3 days).
- Last 20 sec: “Over the horizon” which you review every week or so.
#11 Start with the hardest/ creative/ biggest tasks first
Many people start their days by reading emails and checking voice-mails. If you think of your mind as a battery, you’ll understand that your using energy on the easy stuff. The brain is not an ordinary battery. You need to recharge it a lot before it works well!
#12 If you need to, check emails quickly
Quickly go over email, read the subject line, and only open them if they look important. Ignore the rest for now.
#13 Break all of your tasks into smaller tasks
When you have composed a big task into small chunks of specific actions, that task is already solved. E.g Friday’s presentation: Collect sales figures; find 5 relevant articles; Read the articles; draft slides, incorporate images, get Andrea to go over.
#14 Let your work become a game
Break stuff into small, actionable 10 minutes tasks. Do three 10 minutes tasks and then take a 10 minutes pause. You can also combine this with 25 minutes tasks where you take a 5-minute breaks to recharge your battery. You’re always more focused, and you work faster with deadlines. To assure that you play the game, use a stopwatch.
#15 Be open, direct and tell people what’s on your mind
Being honest and to the point is a great way to accomplish things quicker. Meeting can last forever when people are afraid of saying things like they are. Of course this is a difficult one, but it might save you lots of time…
#16 Do one thing at the time
Don’t multi-task if it is creative work that is required.
#17 Delegate (outsource)
Don’t waste time on tasks that others can do better and faster. Find a colleague, a friend or outsource to freelancers or virtual assistants. You can use Fiverr, Elance or virtual assistant companies to do this for you.
#18 Be goal focused
Always ask yourself: What is my goal? What is my next action? It makes you focused!
#19 Always organize your work into batches
It takes energy to change from one type of task to another. Set off a time in which you: reply to emails; make your daily phone calls; have your meetings; read the articles you want; pay your bills; run your errands; schedule your posts on Social Media… Tools you can use:
- Use Get Pocket to save articles you want to read later
- Use Feedly to get updated on the latest news from your favorite blogs
- Buffer to schedule your social media postings
- Zapier and IFTTT allows you to automize Social Media, Social interaction, email replies and so much more…
- Automatic billing solutions
#20 Stop the need to organize everything into folders on your computer
If you use relevant keywords to save your documents, references and emails, you can quickly use the search function to find the stuff you need.
- Gmail and Outlook: You can do a quick search in your archive (make sure to delete unnecessary emails)
- Mac: With Finder, you’ll find your files super quickly. (Picture)
- Google Docs: Docs are quickly searchable (Google Docs are also saved automatically).
#21 Use the startup tools for fast internal planning and communication
- Trello: For keeping track of projects and deadlines within teams
- Asana: For team project management and internal communication
- Slack: Fast internal communication and allows you to search quickly for previous conversations.
#22 Improving email efficiency:
- Canned responses or emails (pre-written templates)
- Use email filters- get all newsletter into one folder.
- Organize email folders by actions or date. By action:
- I delete the stuff I don’t need.
- I archive stuff that I just want to keep.
- Emails, that take me less than 2 minutes to answer, I answer. If not I add them to @actions folder (to be answered in batch)
- Sometimes I have to wait for other’s work to answer. In this case, I put it into @waiting folder.
- If you have tons of mail per day, organize per date. Read section “Setting up a tickler file” page 174-175 to get the idea.
#23 Have shortcuts for everything
With Quicksilver (for Mac) or AutoHotkey (for Pc). Quicksilver for Mac users, Autohotkey for PCs. Allows you to shortcuts to open documents, programs, folders, websites…
Techniques that will multiply your daily efficiency
#24 Speed Reading
When you read, if you avoid using your internal voice, you can read your reading speed by 2 to 10 times. One technique you can test out is to read one word and jump the 3 next ones (similar effect to speed reading). You can also just focus on reading the keywords in a text. With this technique, you’ll read only 20%, but get 100% of the meaning. More techniques.
#25 Learn to type faster
Write your emails at your thinking speed can multiply your daily efficiency
#26 Watch videos faster Youtube
The brain is such an adaptive organ that you’ll quickly be able to follow normally what’s being said even in twice the speed.
#27 Audible: Listen to audible books faster
#28 Spitzlet- Read e-books and online articles faster
Read all your articles faster on your computer and check out how to get the application for ebook readers, Andoid and Iphone.
There is no point whatsoever to work when your batteries are down
The following tips will help you you recharge your batteries.
#29 Eat fruits whenever you’re down
In the US, researches tested the effect on fatigue on court judges decisions for prisoners presenting their cases for early parole. They found that if prisoners presented their cases in the morning or right after lunch (when judges were more refreshed), the probability of early parole was 65% compared to close to 0% when the judges were tired. It shows that even the “elite” is affected by decision fatigue.
When you have low blood sugar levels, your decision capacity is largely reduced. Therefore make sure to regularly eat fruits.
Going for a run or doing a sport regenerates your mental energy. With physical fatigue, you have fewer thoughts in your mind, and it recharges your batteries.
#31 Take lots of breaks
People that take smoking breaks are usually more efficient for these reasons! With the 10 minutes tasks method, you can finish 3 10 minute task and then take a break…
#32 If you can, take a nap
If you manage to fall into light sleep, you stop your conscious thinking process. When you sleep, solutions to problems tend to come by themselves. Some places already have rooms reserved for napping.
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Love this post. I use proofhub to manage my task as well as teams. This tool has increased my productivity by four folds.
Thanks for all those amazing tips Paal.