Imagine a work day where you can check everything off your to do list, accomplish tasks with minimal stress, and be out the door on time with a smile on your face. Sound far fetched? It’s possible with a well-thought-out productivity strategy!
But for those of us who weren’t born with the innate ability to be good at time management or work quickly, this can sometimes be a challenge. Here are 6 of our favorite productivity hacks that will enable you to get more done in the same period of time and increase your happiness while doing so.
Remember the rule of 52 and 17.
For every 52 minutes of work that you do, allow yourself a 17 minute break. Studies show that this is the optimal work schedule - 52 minutes allows you to work in your flow state without burning out, and 17 minutes is just enough time to recoup your brain without causing you to procrastinate. Set a timer for 52 minutes and push yourself to get done as much as you can in that time. Don’t stop working until that timer goes off! When that’s finished, set another timer for 17 minutes and give yourself a break. Grab a cup of coffee, step outside for a few minutes, or watch a funny video on YouTube. Whatever you do to recoup, make sure it’s something you enjoy. That way, you can come back to your next 52-minutes slot with a fresh brain, ready to tackle your next group of tasks.
Shut out distractions.
While you’re working in your 52 minute increment, you’ll want to cut out any form of distraction. When you only have 52 minutes to do something, you’ll need to avoid distractions at all costs! You can download a browser extension such as StayFocusd, that prevents you from going to certain websites (looking at you, Facebook) for a certain amount of time. There are also other apps for blocking email notifications, and settings in most mail inboxes to silent alerts for a period of time. Take it one step further and turn your phone off (or put it on “Do Not Disturb” mode) and don’t look at it until your next 17 minute break. By shutting out any unnecessary notifications, you’ll be able to devote your entire attention to the task at hand and get it done faster.
Don’t use a to do list.
Sounds like the opposite of good advice, right? But trust me on this one - when you have a lot to get done, a to do list is not your friend. Think about how many times you’ve added things to the bottom of your to do list, only to have that task be pushed to tomorrow… then the next day… then the next… until finally you get around to crossing it off two weeks from when you said you’d do it. If you’re trying to increase your productivity, having things hanging over your head certainly isn’t helping! Instead, schedule out time to complete each task. This will make you realistically think about how long it will take you to complete a task and you won’t feel overwhelmed. Take this one step further and schedule out which tasks you’ll do in each 52 minute block!
Equip yourself with the right tools.
While you can do plenty of things on your own, there are a few select apps that can make this even easier. Here are some of our favorite productivity tools and how we like to use them!
Get the monster task done first.
A monster task isn’t one that’s hiding in your closet or under your bed. A monster task is one that is either the hardest, the most time-consuming, or the least desireable. At the start of each day, figure out what your monster task is and get it done first. You’ll feel a lot better having that out of the way sooner rather than later, and it will give you the motivation you need to tackle the rest done. Plus, think about it this way - even if you don’t accomplish anything else for the rest of the day, you still have the most important thing done and you won’t fall behind.
Hire a virtual assistant.
If you just simply have way too much on your plate, you may want to consider hiring a virtual assistant to take care of some of it. They’re more budget-friendly than a personal assistant and can take care of a variety of different tasks. No matter what your needs, budget, and time constraint are, there’s sure to be a virtual assistant solution that suits you!
With a few simple tweaks to your routine, you can increase the amount of work you get done and decrease your stress levels. Try implementing one (or all) of these solutions and see for yourself how productive you can be with the right tools!
Curious about other ways to improve your efficiency and and work quality? Download the free guide!