Productivity Hacks. I bet you are already thinking meditation, ruthless morning routines and living your life according to rigid plans formatted in excel.
Think again. As a person with a genuine love for sleeping in and a special talent for procrastinating, I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite hacks for still being considered an efficient and productive person – even in these times where coffee is considered a serious health transgression.
1. Procrastination’s Biggest Enemy
Oh my! If they dealt medals in procrastination, I’m pretty sure I would at least make it to the finals. It somehow seems that we humans are hardwired into pushing the hard tasks and the ones that aren’t easily accomplished ahead of us, focusing instead of the ones that are small-impact and easy to fix. The issue with that is that we waste our good working hours and time on not-important tasks, neglecting the ones that are crucial. I did it all the time – that is, until I discovered this simple matrix:This baby was the first productivity hack I started using and is also known as [the Eisenhower matrix.](https://www.eisenhower.me/eisenhower-matrix/) Basically, you divide your tasks into the four boxes, the trick is to construct a list that you can work from starting with the tasks in the upper left corner. This way you are forced to be honest with yourself with regards to what you must work on, and the excuses for working on something not-so-important suddenly diminishes.
2. Get Down to Listing
Continuing the point above. When you have figured out what you need to do, according to the matrix. It’s time to start listing them – and who doesn’t love a good list?! A few points. Before you start the day agree with yourself about what you need to accomplish before you leave; and stick to it. Be clear and concise in your points. Make sure that you don’t pack 10 tasks at one point, rather write them out. Divide big tasks into smaller bits; remember, it’s easier to skip a stone than climb a mountain.
Finally, many of us enjoy making lists more than actually following them (I’m looking at myself here). Make sure that when you have made a list you also stick to it.
3. Hit that Snooze Button
I’m sure you’ve seen those posts on 10 Morning Habits of Highly Successful People That Make Them Extraordinary. I barely have the energy to make my own coffee in the morning, how am I supposed to make any sensible reflections on the question “If today was the last day of your life, would you still want to do what you’re about to do today?” before 7 am?
As anything but a morning person, even the sight of such titles causes stress perspiration to occur in my palms. Sure, routines can be a great, but research (as well as personal experience) points to the fact that we are not all built to peak in the early morning hours.
Instead, start leveraging your individual peak hours, by mapping out when you feel most energetic during a day. Why not try a three-week experiment where you use a 10-point scale to rate your energy, focus, and motivation at the end of every hour? This way you can start structuring tasks that need laser-focus accordingly.
4. Play that Funky Music
In the era of open space offices, music offers a great way to escape Carol’s story of her boy’s soccer game. Moreover, research has found music to make repetitive tasks more enjoyable, keeping up motivation, helping you get the creative juices flowing.
While familiarity with the music is found be especially great, you should hold on before you press play on that Michael Jackson essentials playlist. Unless you are doing physical or very repetitive tasks, music with lyrics can avert your focus. Instead, put on some classical or electronic music for maximum effect and save that Michael Jackson gem for the ride home – I’m sure the other commuters will appreciate you singing along.
5. Don’t Invent the Wheel
You know that feeling when you are stuck with a problem, you simply can’t crack? I think we’ve all been there and it’s super frustrating, causing motivational levels to drop and Facebook to magically open. Instead of sweating over the problem yourself, reach out to your colleagues for help.
If you are looking for new ideas for a project, don’t invent the wheel yourself. Reach out to your team and the rest of the organization to crowdsource the best ideas. How you might ask…
With Ideanote of course, a digital platform for teams to share new ideas and best practices in a structured and easy way – allowing you to keep track of everything that comes in, while you comment, rate and act on the ideas, together. This way, you can stand on the shoulders of others, instead of having to build everything anew.
6. Cut Yourself Some Slack
Even though we would love to be on top of our game all the time. This is simply not possible. Some days we are experiencing more fatigue than others – it might be that we had a bad night’s sleep, that we are starting to catch the flu or whatever – the important thing is not to beat yourself up over it.
On these days, make sure you take breaks. And no, I don’t mean Instagram or email-checking breaks – I mean real breaks. Go for a walk around the office or the building. Chat with some colleagues or go get some coffee. The important thing is that you give your brain some time to rewind and relax, away from screens and your work.
So there you have it, a humane and effective list of productivity hacks that you would actually like to try out. Did we miss your favorite productivity hack? We would love to hear it! Shoot a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment on the post.
Meanwhile, if you would like to try Ideanote for free – we would love you too, just head over here to start collecting and implementing your team’s brightest ideas.