Most of us aspire to conquer more and more work in less and less time, but since none of us can cram more hours into the day (despite our best efforts), increasing our productivity is the best we can do.
As we embark on a new year of resolutions and self-improvement, try one or more of these productivity hacks–which you can execute and experiment with immediately:
- Pause your email inbox and turn off your phone. Go airplane mode. If you want to actually get things done, it’s imperative to shut everything down and focus on the tasks at hand… interruption-free.
- Clear your desk. A messy workspace can make you feel disorganized, unfocused, or even downright panicked as you look at all the papers and junk around you. Spend a few minutes to clear your desk, in order to un-clutter your mind.
- Prepare for tomorrow today. This will help your productivity in two ways: first, you’ll help your future self by setting a prioritized list of items in advance; and second, you’ll be clearing your mind of tasks you don’t need to worry about today.
- Break in the middle of a task. Breaks are important. Taking 10 minutes to clear your mind after an hour of steady work can give you enough of a mental boost to save 15 minutes of eventual effort overall.
- Replace a meeting with a bulleted email. Some meetings are genuinely productive. Most meetings are not. Find an unnecessary meeting to skip–possibly an internal one–and replace it with a bulleted email that contains a list of objectives, a list of deliverables, and a list of questions (if applicable). It will keep everyone organized and on track without wasting time in circular or redundant discussion.