I have no productivity issues.
Never had them. Never will.
But I have some productivity hacks I never thought of sharing until now.
I have lots of tips to help you enjoy being productive so I made them extra easy to skim through.
No fluff. No pain.
- Read some of those newsletters you’ve left unopened in your inbox. [P.S.: You can always check out my newsletter to save your content.]
- Take a short course. Skillshare has some of the best, on-point courses. Cooking, business, design, you name it.
- Stay active on Quora, keep in touch with your peers on Twitter, or jump into a discussion on LinkedIn or your favorite Slack group.
- Take care of the small tasks in your backlog. My ultimate productivity tip is to always start your day with the most difficult or lengthy task. 90% of the time this works for me. For the other days, handling small tasks or taking breaks often to take care of different duties helps you keep up with your workload.
- Say thank you! For a long time, I dealt with not knowing how to thank people who helped me with small tasks or referrals. The MyPostcard service makes it extra easy and cute to say thank you by sending postcards to your friends, clients, family members, and colleagues.
- Learn a new language. Start from Duolingo.
- Make a list of everything you want to get done. This seems to work for most people but I do things differently. I don’t even use a task management tool. 🤯 So what on Earth do I do? I keep everything I need to take care of as opened tabs in my browser. This helps me focus only on what I need to work on and see everything at a glance. This way, I only take care of fun stuff when I’m done with everything. There’s also small tasks that aren’t a big priority [e.g. updating my cover photo, creating a new YouTube tutorial]. I add these as ideas in my bookmarks and get to them when I have the time.
- Schedule at least large chunks of your day. You don’t need to write down everything you’re going to do. However, make sure you have an overview of the big tasks you should take care of so you don’t get caught up doing something else and postpone your important duties indefinitely.
- Keeping track of time. Ugh, I hate time tracking. But for someone who doesn’t know where their time is going, you can definitely start by tracking one month of your life at work. This will show you where your time goes and what’s distracting you. In the future, you should be able to better schedule your work and even block distractions. Whatever tool works as long as you keep it. 😉
- Go to sleep and wake up at the same time. You can sleep in every now and then, but it’s super important to go to sleep at around the same time. This helps you regain your energy so you’ll be able to maintain the same routine every day. If I were to wake up at 11 AM every day, I wouldn’t have time for my huge breakfast, morning workout, deep work time, and self-care.
- Make it a habit to learn one new thing every day. I regularly Google things like “Why are my berries sour?”, “How long should my workout last”, or “Is it ok to eat smoothies every day?”. I won’t deny sometimes I get to spend hours researching a topic but I know I’m contributing extra points to becoming wiser. My future goal is to also do one unique thing every day so I can have something memorable as part of my routine. This takes me to…
- Think about your ultimate life goal. If you’re stuck in an office job but fervently dream of running your own business, start making a change today. Small steps add up so as long as you’re doing something for your largest dream at least every other day, you’re making significant progress.
- Become a pro user for a tool you enjoy using. That’s how I learned the ins and outs of Canva even when I didn’t need it. Now I have my own Canva course and loads of videos teaching others how to perfect the “Canva skill”.
- Take productive breaks. Years into your career you’ll notice when you’re most productive and when you just can’t work anymore. In my case, I need a huge break between 1 PM AND 4-5 PM. But most of that time isn’t exactly idle time. Sure I take a walk and cook something different every day, but part of my productive schedule is to work out at least once every day. Taking care of your health can be one of those productive breaks that will help you feel like you’ve accomplished a lot during the day.
- Make mental health your #1 priority. As an advocate for mental health at work, I’ve researched this topic so often I regret it. There’s just too many issues you can bump into just because you’re losing yourself.
- Talk business [or not] with a friend. Sometimes the best ideas I get come out of random talks — even when they had nothing to do with my business.
- Secure your files in MediaFire. I’ve had a hard time recovering files in the past so now I save them in multiple places: my SSD, Google Drive, MediaFire, and a private Facebook group just for pics.
- When you’re tired, go outside. If you feel like you can’t focus anymore, don’t just lie on your couch. Go for a walk or fill up on groceries so you won’t be tempted to aimlessly scroll Instagram or switch TV channels.
- Postpone distractions. Distractions are in everyone’s life and I too bump into them literally every 5 minutes. But I’ve devised a small hack to save the day: I bookmark everything that can wait. Most often, I end up not even looking over that post/video/whatever because a week’s passed and I have no interest in the topic. Just saved hours!
- Scroll Airbnb for your next long-term stay. I do this quite often as a digital nomad who’s also passionate about real estate. Relaxing, yet productive.
- Automate what you can. I’m not a professional at this but definitely recommend turning to automation for tasks that don’t require your full attention or creativity.
- Add fake, earlier deadlines to your projects. Got something to deliver on the 20th of the month? Write it down as due a couple of days earlier. I have a slightly different process through which:
- I order my work by deadline.
- I estimate how long each task is going to take and schedule it mentally [you can write this down though]. So within one day, I could be working on: an article outline, finishing writing an article, a client meeting, LinkedIn networking.
- I then work on each task one by one until everything’s done. No procrastination. Just planned breaks.
Noticed how I didn’t recommend reading books, listening to podcasts, or watching documentaries/videos? These often take up a lot of time so a procrastinator will find them to be a trap.
The point is to think about what makes you lose focus. Is it scrolling social media and getting lost in the rabbit hole? Is it feeling overwhelmed by your workload so you’re just postponing everything? There’s a solution for everything. So instead of reading, turn to Shortform to get a summary of your must-read books.
If you’re still not sure how to handle your distractions, feel free to drop me a message on Twitter.
Has this helped you save hours of your day? Feel free to share these personal productivity tips with your peers!