Five Productivity Hacks
Chances are there has come a time in your professional and/or personal life where you have found yourself googling something along the lines of: "How to become more productive." Lucky for you, we are living in a time of hyper awareness to the ways many humans desire an increase in their productivity. Of course, you will also find a plethora of product placement around productivity - buyer beware - but if you are looking for true productivity hacks, here are our top five.
1) Decrease distractions
You know yourself best - what gets in your way of getting things done? Is it your pesky phone? Put it in the other room and turn those alerts off. Email? Set specific times of days (8am, noon, 5pm for instance) where you check email plus limit the time spent responding using prioritization methods (below). Decrease known distractions to increase productive abilities.
If it was good enough for President Eisenhower, then perhaps it could be good enough for you: this matrix is a handy tool to sort your tasks into importance and urgency. The tasks that are both important and urgent? Start there.
3) Make SMART Goals
Take a look at both your short-term and big picture goals. If they aren't already, make sure they are following the principles of SMART goals: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound.
4) Focus on one thing at a time
Research (see here and here) over the past few decades has come out with a big plot twist: when we think we are multitasking, we are deluding ourselves. We are more likely switching quickly between a few things, causing each task to be done less effectively. Your best bet for increasing productivity is to give focus to one task at a time. Switch your attention to a new task only when you have crossed the last item off the list.
5) Say no & delegate
The well-intentioned ideas of "being a team player" has morphed into something that is unfortunately challenging the need for healthy boundaries at the workplace. Exercising "no" and delegating tasks when they are not related to your important deliverables (see above) can be hugely impactful in increasing your productivity. Say "yes" when you have the bandwidth to say yes and/or when it supports your professional growth. However, if too much "yes" is getting in the way of your wellbeing, know that a respectful "no" can be your best ally.