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5 productivity hacks you can start using today

With the use of productivity tools and tips, most people can accomplish more.

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Only a few people on this planet seem to accomplish their goals daily, the rest merely procrastinate their days away. Ever wondered why? It is simple: they have mastered a few habits and techniques that helped them get more done.

People think it is a long-term process, but there are quick and easy ways to become productive. All it requires is determination, focus, and mindfulness.

Let’s dive in and learn more about a few such hacks:

1. Create a to-do list

Creating to-do lists will help prioritize your tasks better and ensure that you are focusing on the right areas. They are easy to create and manage.

Here are a few tips for getting more out of your to-do list:

Write it the night before: This will help start your day with more clarity and purpose.

Use actionable words: Ensure that every item in the to-do list is clear and actionable. Instead of just jotting down your tasks like ‘article, email, meeting etc’ phrase them better. Here is an example, ‘Proofread the article for XYZ publications today’.

Categorize your list: Have separate to-do lists for personal and work purposes. It will help avoid distractions and be present wherever you are.

Prioritize your list: Always focus on the time-sensitive tasks first, followed by the difficult ones. It will help avoid the risk of not completing them.

2. Work with a Zen mindset

Zen mindset is about finding mindful awareness of the present moment. Adopting it will help you stay balanced, calm, and relaxed. Beginners can start with setting a few daily routines and creating a peaceful space around you.

The first step to it is creating a solid morning routine. It will help set the tone for the rest of the day. Wake up early and do a little bit of physical activity like yoga, jogging or swimming. Furthermore, make sure you never skip your breakfast. Skipping it will make you feel low and cause brain fog. A combination of fiber, proteins and healthy carbohydrates like oatmeal, eggs, fruits is ideal.

Then, every day after reaching the office, spend 5 minutes to organize your workspace. A messy workspace can be very distracting. It keeps reminding you of the pending work. A tidy space on the other hand, will help you take better decisions and make you feel more productive.

Additionally, here are a few hacks that will help you stay active, aware, and sharp throughout the day:

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Natural light: Working in a space with exposure to the natural light will help improve your overall mood and well-being.

Find a calm place to work: It will improve your attention and focus. If it’s hard to find such a place, just plug in your headphones and use tools like Noisli. It plays ambient sounds which will help you focus better.

Drink more water: If your body is dehydrated, you will feel lethargic and weak.

Take breaks often: Work in sprints and take short breaks. It will help you stay refreshed and work better.

3. Get your inbox sorted

A cluttered email inbox can hinder your productivity. If left unmanaged, your inbox will get clogged easily with promotional emails, spam emails, and other unimportant emails. This will make it hard for you to locate and process important emails.

Most people think it is impossible to have a clutter-free inbox. That’s a wrong notion. All it requires is an effective inbox management tool supplemented by a few clever hacks.

Multitasking.

Creating a to-do-list helps minimize the clutter and prioritize the more important tasks. (Source)

There are many email management tools available that will help keep your inbox under control. They will help you organize your mailbox, schedule your email to be sent at a later time, track and monitor your emails, and more.

Here are a few ways to take charge your inbox without breaking a sweat:

Take immediate action: Whether you have to respond, delete, or move the email to the spam folder, do it right away. Being decisive will help keep your inbox under control.

Organize your inbox: Use labels and categories to segregate your emails. This way you will never miss out on any important conversations and avoid miscommunications.

Designate a specific time to check your emails: Make sure you limit your email check-ins to three per day. It will help you focus on other tasks and avoid distractions.

Unsubscribe: You can use tools like Unroll.me and Unsubscriber. If you no longer want to receive newsletters, promotional emails, and advertisements from specific senders.

4. Use Pomodoro technique

The Pomodoro technique will help improve your attention span and concentration. It is a  cyclical system wherein you work for shorter cycles. This ensures you are consistently productive. You also get to take breaks regularly. This will keep you motivated and improve your creativity.

This technique is very simple to use, all you need is a timer. Or, you can use web applications like Tomatoid and Strict Workflow.

Here is are few benefits of implementing this technique:

Reduces stress: Frequent breaks will keep your mind fresh.

Improves your focus: Working with fixed timings will immensely increase your focus and attention span.

Managing expectations: It will help accurately estimate how long it will take to complete a task. This will make it easier to set deadlines.

5. Try single-tasking

To do two things at once is to do neither. — Publilius Syrus

Most people think multitasking will make them more productive. But, in reality, it only disrupts your rhythm and thought process. It prevents us from channeling our focus and energy into one task.

Single-tasking on the other hand, as the name suggests, is all about doing one task at a time. It allows us to think deeper and work more creatively. As a matter of fact, your brain is not designed to do more than one thing at a time. So, ditch your multitasking habit today and start single-tasking.

It is not easy for multi-taskers to change their habits all of a sudden. The key here is to minimize the distractions around you. Here are a couple of ways to do that:

Minimize distractions: Close your email, turn off your phone, turn off notifications from the web apps.

Get rid of virtual clutter: Clean off your desktop files, close the browser, or all browser tabs except the one you need, block websites that are your top distractions.

Wrapping up

Everyone wants to get their job done faster with little or no headaches. But, they end up pushing themselves too hard, leading to burnout and fatigue.

Pushing yourself too hard is not the answer, instead learn how to stay focused and determined. That’s exactly what the above-mentioned hacks will help you do. So, go ahead and implement them today, and beat that procrastinator in you.

DISCLAIMER: This article expresses my own ideas and opinions. Any information I have shared are from sources that I believe to be reliable and accurate. I did not receive any financial compensation in writing this post, nor do I own any shares in any company I’ve mentioned. I encourage any reader to do their own diligent research first before making any investment decisions.

 

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Niraj is the founder of Hiver, a powerful email management and collaboration tool. When not working at Hiver on programming or customer support, Niraj likes to play guitar. Niraj can be reached on Twitter @nirajr.

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