I have been a student of productivity. Getting more done and enjoying getting it done is usually the sole focus of every aspirant. There are rules, frameworks, thoughts, opinions, and hacks.
In this article, I talk about all the productivity hacks that I have ever come across. Be it blogs, books, forums, or just videos assembled all of it for you. If you are looking to add a few daily behavioral changes in your productivity arsenal, you are going to love this article. Let us dive in.
The human brain is a goal-seeking organism, the goals of the subconscious mind are always achieved. Malcolm Gladwell talks states that 10 000 hours of deliberate practice could make you a genius in any field. If you split those 10, 000 hours. In simple terms, it is roughly about 3.5 hours every day for about 300 days of a year, for ten years. Excellence develops over a decade, not in days. If you genuinely want to be good at something, think in terms of a decade or two of practice, or put in simple terms, create lifelong goals.
Binge snacking with Netflix and heated dinner table discussions are usually what we go through. But paying attention to what, when, why, and how you eat is mindful eating. Simple steps of listening to the body’s need for food, focusing on chewing the food properly, and being attentive while eating itself a meditation.
Have you ever set yourself a new year resolution? Well, that happens to be not just one of the dates, author Daniel’ Pink has identified 86 such days: 52 Mondays, 12 first dates of every month, and four first dates of every season. Not limited to this, there are festival days, birthdays, and anniversaries.
Beethoven would begin his day after a breakfast of coffee made with exactly sixty beans. Doing the same thing to minutest detail excites the body and mind in a particular pattern. Creating rituals around your morning will have a productive effect on how your day starts.
Hours of the day when you feel most alert and active is your BPT. Scheduling difficult tasks in your BPT can help you get more done. Scheduling your tasks around BPT could have immediate productivity rewards.
While meditation is not a productivity pill that you can pop and start being more productive. There is no other solution to achieve a long-term focus, concentration, and a state of emotional stability than meditation.
Lithuanian psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik observed the effect of interruption on memory processing in 1927. Her research found that participants in her research remember incomplete tasks more vividly than the complete ones. This behavior can be leveraged to serve your memory. If you intend to remember something, leave it at a point of closure and let it remain alive in your mind until you have no issues recalling it.
While so much is written and talked about giving regular exercise to the body, brain muscles also need their fair share. There’s a saying about the brain, “the less you use it, the more you lose it.” Crosswords, Sudoku, or apps like Lumosity and Peak provide a decent exercise to the brain and boost memory, logic, and verbal skills.
A walk in nature boosts your mood, enhances reasoning, and reduces Stress. A quick stroll in the green is always a performance booster.
At any given time, there are dozens of thoughts, ideas, todos running in our mind. Write down all thoughts that are disturbing or running in your head to clear the entire system. Pick the ones that are necessary and delete everything else.
Studies have shown that getting some sunlight in the morning can help stabilize the circadian cycle, and provide an immediate boost to how you are feeling. People who experience sunlight in the morning are less prone to fatigue, anxiety, and depression.
They say, “Sitting is the new Smoking”. While standing provides the much needed change from long our of monotonous sitting, research has found that standing meetings are more to the point, shorter and hence more productive. People are more alert, creative, and collaborative in a standing meeting.
While it may sound self-inflicted torture, research has shown that ice-cold showers improve immunity and boost metabolism. An ice-cold shower in the morning can wake you up and put you on a performance treadmill.
A new habit takes around 21 days to form. Jerry Seinfield used to mark an ‘X’ on the calendar for every day that he wrote a joke. All habits require consistency, get a new app, or start marking your diary or calendar to build new and better habits.
If you start having your breakfast at 8 AM every day, do you naturally start feeling hungry at 7 AM? That is how the body gets conditioned. Once you get used to doing a thing at a particular time, your mind and body naturally starts gravitating to do that thing, and it will take less effort from your end.
Research has shown that napping can mitigate the risk for sleep deprivation, Stress, and add to alertness when you get back to work. A thirty to ninety-minute nap depending upon your schedule will act as another productivity booster.
Hydrating the body first thing in the morning can make you feel alert, other than that it improves immunity by flushing out toxins, stimulates metabolism, and helps maintain weight. During long hours of sleep, the body gets dehydrated, drinking water the first thing in the morning could be the most natural change to boost productivity.
On a busy day, when all you are involved in is fire-fighting, what can keep you awake and calm is one single, mindful breath. This breath makes you comfortable, quietens your mind, and brings you back to the present moment creating enough space for you so that you can focus on the things at hand.
Does it sound nauseating? Mark Twain once said if the first thing you do in the morning is to eat a live frog in the morning, the worst thing is already behind you. Frog serves as an analogy to the task which you have been putting off for a while. For ideal profitability, finish the most significant responsibility in the morning. Having finished the problematic job gives a sense of accomplishment and creates motivation for completing the rest of your todo list.
The brain keeps growing as long as we keep using it. Picking a new language can be one of the best skills for your brain. It builds new neurotic connections in the brain and adds new ways for you to communicate. Studies have shown that picking up a new language can reduce the effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
When it comes down to executing what we have planned, we always tend to fail. However, if we make a public announcement of what we intend to achieve, it creates positive peer pressure. We tend to act with more responsibility and see the fruitful results.
When in business or at work, we always have to give feedbacks; these feedbacks can be positive or negative for the receiver. Research has shown that if we offer the bad news, first leaves room for walking away with a happy ending. Delivering bad news at the end leaves the receiver dejected and spoils his day.
Author Mel Robbins states that if there is a task that it usually takes about 5 seconds for Procrastination to take over. So if you have an instinct to do a task, get on to it in the first 5 seconds to avoid a tussle with Procrastination.
Coaches are not just meant for beginners but for folks at all stages in their careers. The keen and watchful eye of an expert trainer provides real-time feedback on what you are doing right vs. what you are doing wrong. The coach will brainstorm with you, offers new insights, help you observe your patterns in third-person, which will lead to a journey of continuous improvement. Find a coach and see your progress curve compared to when you go alone.
Jotting down the List of things accomplished during the day and wrapping up your workday is something you may not pay much attention to. However, it can play an essential role in improving your productivity. Apart from clearing out your inbox and organizing your desk, one of the critical tasks that you can include in your routine
Yes, Einstien did have a messy desk. But have you ever wasted time looking for things and always struggled to find it? Surrounded by clutter can become exhaustive and reduce productivity. Clear your workspace, clear your time, and get more work done efficiently.
Have you ever struggled to concentrate in the afternoon, it happens with many people. Willpower is a finite resource, and after a hectic morning meeting, calls, and eating the frog, you might feel exhausted. Studies cite that risk-reward centers of the brain are less optimal during the afternoon, which might prevent you from arriving at crucial conclusions and wise decisions.
Ever tried learning a new musical instrument? Remember the first few hours? You are forced to pay much attention, feel uncomfortable, forced to think, and experience vulnerability. As we get older, we tend to drift back to a state where we are comfortable with what is around. Finding new activities keeps the mind young and sharp as you struggle your way through the challenges.
While we have heard heaps of praises for doing it yourself, another mantra would be doing it now. If a task takes less than two minutes of work, consider finishing it first or do it now. While completing the microtask does give a minor feeling of accomplishment, the primary goal of Do it Now is to build new habits. If your goal is to get fit, try to Do It Now for just wearing your shoes. If your goal is to be a writer, try to Do It Now for writing the first sentence, and before long, you will have cultivated a great habit.
Research has shown that taking frequent small breaks is much more important than large breaks after a long interval. The Pomodoro technique mentions that you set a timer for say 45 minutes and focus on a given task blocking all your phone calls social media notifications, and emails, and once the task is accomplished, take a short 10-minute break and reward yourself.
It’s said that hindsight is always 20/20 but offers no means to correct things. Many executives practice sitting aside to analyze the course of a project, the obstacles that may come, the roadblocks that you may face. Once they are analyzed, do an exercise to shortlist the strategies which can help you address the potential challenges. It enables you to save time, money, and maybe failure.
When you get up in the morning for a meeting with yourself, the subconscious minds are more prepared for your productivity. There are various methods to prime your brain. Read something that inspires you, maintain a generosity journal, visualize reaching your goals, let go of what is holding you back. All of these exercises can help you prime your mind.
Author Daniel Pink recommends having a cup of coffee before you sleep. Caffeine takes about twenty minutes to enter your bloodstream, so before you doze off, set the alarm for twenty minutes and get up refreshed.
The body and psyche need incidental breaks, and an ideal way to go about it is to travel to new places, unseen lands, and unchartered territories. Getting yourself familiarised with a new culture and societal norms expand the horizons in which you can think. This brings in out of box thinking and leads you to a mental state where you can accomplish more.
While birds of the same feather flock together, tasks of a similar nature can as well be handled together. The day can be structured in blocks where you can tackle each task type of job. This prevents context switching and hence adds to productivity.
Author Julia Cameron, in her book The Artist’s way, recommends writing three pages of whatever comes to your mind. This is primarily for yourself, and so you can let the uninhibited thought flow. The goal is to unblock your mind, release your thoughts, ask questions, contemplate. Writing these three pages every day can change your life.
Reading has benefits for the mind. It builds vocabulary, helps you visualize, and adds to your verbal ability. Exploring new genres will always keep your mind active while following the repetitive styles at times can become boring. This will also improve your creativity and imagination skills.
Researchers and academicians had always found an answer to something they found intriguing before they slept. The goal is try an experiment to sleep over a problem and wake up with the solution or an inspiration that could lead to it.
Back rubs aren’t only an extravagance for seashore excursions or for competitors who experience the ill effects of a throbbing painfulness. One of the immediate benefits of massage is a feeling of deep relaxation and calm. Massage helps the release of endorphins, which produce feelings of wellbeing. It helps in reducing muscle tension, improved circulation, stimulates the lymphatic system, reduces stress hormones, improves skin tone, leads you to a state of mental alertness.
What if your todo list were just three tasks, won’t it be easy to accomplish this, than juggle around dozens of empty tasks?It is always important to prioritize the most important task, have them on the top of your todo list and devote all your efforts to accomplish them.
Have you ever felt frustrated that you could not use your time wisely in the most productive way? We have all been there with scary Sundays and mindless Mondays. There is anxiety and dread, which goes on when you don’t plan a week properly. Pick a Friday evening to analyze the week and list your todos for the next week. You will find that planning your week makes planning your days much more comfortable.
What do you do when you don’t know which is right, you avoid that which is wrong. Similarly, when you have things that you definitely don’t want to do clearly stated and noted, it saves you a lot of time. The things that drain you out of energy and time can save you a lot of Stress. The todon’t List can help you narrow and focus on things that are important to you.