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14 Awesome Hacks Shared By A Startup CEO That Will Super Boost Your Productivity

14 Awesome Hacks Shared By A Startup CEO That Will Super Boost Your Productivity

Want to super boost your productivity? Read on to find out what Matt DeCelles, the co-founder/partner of William Painter, has shared his favorite productivity hacks and tools in Quora.

First off, it’s a 2 step process – prioritization stage and execution stage.

Prioritization Stage

1. Prioritize the most important tasks

Prioritize the most important tasks you need to get done (often the one you are putting off). It is critical to set objectives before working. A great book on this topic is Eat That Frog.

2. Use Trello.com to map out all of the tasks of the company

This gives a macro view of what’s going on and allows you to delegate tasks that may better be completed by another person. AgileZen.comAsana.com and kanbanflow.com are other great Task Management options. Delegation can be one of your best productivity tools!

trello

    3. Delegate (LIKE A BOSS)

    When you enjoy what you do, you will find yourself being much more productive. If you really suck at doing something, chances are there is someone out there that can probably do it for less than $5/hr. Check out Fiverr.comUpwork and ODesk.com etc etc… Slow clap it out for globalization.

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      4. Use a whiteboard to list all of the tasks that are yours to accomplish

      After looking at Trello and delegating out tasks, I put mine on a white board. Usually this is 10-15 tasks.

      *You could also use Evernote or a notepad, but i prefer the whiteboard.

      whiteboard

        5. Use a post-it note to record the 3 most important things

        Use a post-it note to record the 3 most important things you can do on that particular day. The post-it note is beneficial because it has a size constraint.

        post it

          Okay now it comes the fun part.

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          Execution Stage

          6. Set iPhone in Do Not Disturb Mode

          It’s a new feature in iOS 6 that turns off vibrate and all sounds.

          iphone

            6.5 Set Mac in Do Not Disturb Mode (OSX Mountain Lion)

            Pull out the Notification Center on the Mac and scroll up. There is a hidden switch that allows you to shut off Alerts and Banners.

            *Notifications resume automatically the next day in case you forget to turn it back on.

            alert

              7. Remove temptations with Self Control

              SelfControl is a tool that blocks websites you have listed as distracting for a set period of time. Once you set it, there is no way to shut it off until the time expires…which makes you feel like an addict going through withdrawals.  As you notice distractions, be sure to add them to your blacklist.

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              selfcontrol1
                self control

                  8. Use Rescue Time to track your productivity

                  Install RescueTime on your computer and it measures how much time you spend doing particular activities. You then designate whether those activities are productive or not.  It also emails you with a productivity summary for the week.  This will show how much time you spend on Facebook or Youtube per week.

                  *This only needs to be installed once.

                  rescue time

                    9. Use Toggl to track individual task time

                    Start a task and start the timer. It’s shocking to look back on your day and see that it took 10 minutes to send one email etc.
                    *Note* I am not recommending using Toggl all day everyday as it requires too much work and dedication. Use it occasionally to get a picture of where your day goes, both online and offline. It will be eye opening…I promise.

                    toggl

                      10. Take a break when you are not being productive anymore

                      For me I have a really short attention span, and I notice a significant fall off in productivity after about an hour or so of work. Take a break. Go for a walk, do something else. etc…. then get back to work!

                      take a break

                        11. Listen to music

                        Not all music is the same when it comes to being productive. Try out different genres of music and see what works for you. *For me I like music with very few lyrics and has a repetitive beat that gets me almost in a productive trance.

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                        music

                          12. Use VIP Inbox on iOS 6

                          Set up your VIPs (be very selective) and only check those emails. Batch the rest.

                          mailbox

                            13. Batch Your Email (When people are unlikely to respond right away)

                            Email is one of the biggest time wasters. Stay away unless it is absolutely critical to your previously set objectives.

                            Remember that the more emails you send throughout the day, the more you receive. It’s a vicious cycle. 

                            *I batch emails at night or early in the morning when people are less likely to respond right away. It is amazing how fast you can blow through a few hundred emails when you are not replying to instant responses and can move on to other tasks.

                            cycle

                              14. Add “sent from my iPhone” to all email accounts signatures.

                              This way people don’t get upset with you for keeping your emails brief and getting right to the point.

                              sent from iphone

                                Featured photo credit: Businessman adjusting his tie – closeup shot via shutterstock.com

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                                Anna Chui

                                Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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                                Last Updated on December 9, 2019

                                7 Techniques to Stay Focused and Avoid Distractions

                                7 Techniques to Stay Focused and Avoid Distractions

                                The world has become a very distracting place, you don’t need me to tell you that. Where once we could walk out of our house or office and disappear into our own world with our own thoughts, we are now connected 24 hours a day to a network that’s sole purpose is to make us available to anyone and everyone at any time they choose to disturb us.

                                Of course, it is very easy to sit here and say all you have to do is turn off your electronic devices and just allow yourself several hours of quiet solitude; but the reality is far harder than that. There is an expectation that we are available for anyone whenever they want us.

                                However, if you do want to elevate yourself and perform at your best every day, to produce work of a higher quality than anyone expects and to regain control over what you do and when you will need to regain some control over your time, so you can focus on producing work that matters to you…

                                The good news: You do not have to become a recluse. All you need are a few simple strategies that will allow you enough flexibility in your day to stay focused to do the work that matters and still allow you to deal with other people’s crises and dramas.

                                Here are 7 ways you can stay focused and be less distracted.

                                1. Find out When You Are at Your Most Focused

                                According to research, brilliantly documented by Daniel Pink in his latest book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, our brains have a limited capacity to stay focused each day.[1]

                                From the moment we wake up to the time we turn in for the day, we are using up our brain’s limited energy resources and, depending on the time of day, we will be moving between strong concentration and low concentration.

                                This means that for most people, their optimum time for sustained concentration and focus will be soon after they wake up. For others, it could be later in the evening—a kind of second wind—but that is rare.

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                                Once you understand this, you can take time to learn when you are at your best and to protect that time on your calendar as much as possible. If you can, block it off and use that time for the work you need to do that requires the most concentration each day.

                                2. Get Comfortable Using ‘Do Not Disturb’ Mode

                                We have the ability to switch our electronic devices to do not disturb mode. Where all notifications are off and your phone or computer will not alert you to a new email or message.

                                Now after testing this function for a number of years, I can happily report that it does work.

                                When I sat down to write this article, I put all my electronic devices to do not disturb, closed down my email and began writing. I am safe in the knowledge that until this article is written, and I turn do not disturb off, there will be no interruptions or distractions.

                                Of course, it is not really about whether do not disturb works or not, it is whether you are willing to turn it on or not.

                                Most people believe they have to be constantly available for their boss or customers. This is not true at all. What has happened is because of your always available status, you have conditioned these people to turn to you first whenever they have a problem.

                                You are not actually helping them at all. You are preventing them from having to think for themselves and develop the skill of problem-solving. By not being so readily available, you help them a lot more.

                                What it comes down to is your boss and customers are going to be far more positive with you, if you deliver your work to the highest quality and on time than you being available 24/7. Trust me on that. I also tested that one.

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                                3. Schedule Focus Time Every Day

                                This technique is a lot easier than you may think.

                                First, you figure out when you are least likely to be disturbed. For me, that is between 6 and 9 am. for a lot of my clients, they find the first 90 minutes in the morning at their workplace is when they are not likely to be disturbed. This is important because you want to be building consistency.

                                Most people start their day by checking their email and other messages. While they are doing that, they are not going to be bothering you. Now there is no rule about when you should be checking your email. The chances are email is not going to be where you want to spend your most focused time, so you can decide to check your email at say 10:30 am.

                                Dedicate 30 minutes from 10:30 am to 11:00 am for email processing and use the first 90 minutes of your day for doing your most important work. You will surprise yourself by how much work you get done in that ninety minutes.

                                4. Plan Your Day the Night Before

                                One of the inevitabilities of life is there is always a plan for the day. The choice is whether the plan you have is a plan of your own making or not. If you don’t have a plan, then the day will take control of you. Other people’s priorities, urgencies and dramas will fill your day. As the late Jim Rohn said:

                                “Either you run the day or the day runs you.”

                                If you take control and make it a habit to plan out what you want to accomplish the next day before you go to bed, you will find yourself staying more focused on your work and be less likely disturbed.

                                Now when I say plan your day the night before, I do not mean you need to spend an hour or so planning and mapping out every minute of the day. Planning your day should only take you around 10 to 15 minutes and you only need to decide what 10 things you want to complete — 2 “must do” objective tasks and 8 “would like to do” tasks. What I call the 2+8 Prioritisation Technique:

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                                Do not be tempted to go beyond 10 tasks for the day. When you do that, you do not have enough flexibility in your day to handle crises and other unknown issues that will pop up throughout the day.

                                When you do not build in flexibility, you will soon stop planning your day. Only plan tasks that will have the biggest positive impact on your work and projects.

                                5. Learn to Say “No”

                                I am sure you’ve been told this before. We are wired to please and this results in us wanting to say yes to every opportunity that comes our way. The problem is we cannot do everything and every time you say “yes” to one opportunity, you are saying “no” to another opportunity. You cannot be in two places at the same time.

                                Jay Shetty shared an inspiring video on JOMO “Joy Of Missing Out”. Here’s the video:

                                Rather than allowing ourselves to be succumbed by FOMO (the Fear Of Missing Out), we should replace that ‘fear’ with the “joy” of missing out. Because of our need to please, we say yes to things we really don’t want to do; yet when we do that, we miss out on doing things that bring us joy—creating something special, spending time educating ourselves and just having some quiet alone time with ourselves.

                                Learn to say “no” every time you get a notification to your phone. Ignore it. Learn to say “no” to your colleagues when they want to gossip. Learn to say “no” to volunteering when the thing you are being asked to volunteer for does not excite you. Just learn to say “no”.

                                By saying “no” to opportunities, distractions and interruptions, you are saying yes to better and more meaningful things. Things you do want to focus your attention on.

                                6. Create a Distraction-Free Environment for Your Focused Time

                                This has been possibly the most powerful tip I learned when it comes to focusing on what is important. Have a place where you do only focused, high-concentration work.

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                                Now this place needs to be clean and only have the tools you need to do your work. If it is writing a report or preparing a presentation, then it needs a table and a computer, nothing more. Files, paper and other detritus that accumulates on and around people’s desks need to go. A clean, cool and well-lit environment is going to do a lot more for your focus and concentration than anything else.

                                The dining table in our home is where I go for undisturbed, focussed work. I take my laptop or iPad, and only have my writing app open. Everything is closed down and the computer is in “do not disturb” mode. There is nothing else on the dining table just my computer and my water tumbler.

                                Because that is my designated focus area, I only go there to work when I have something that needs total focus and concentration. I am there right now!

                                7. Be Intentional

                                The reality is, if you absolutely need to get something done then you need to be intentional. You have to have the intention of sitting down, focusing and doing the work.

                                There’s no magic tricks or apps that will miraculously do all your work for you. You need to intentionally set aside time for undisturbed focus work and do it. Without that intention, you can read as many of these articles as you like and you still will not get the work done.

                                It is only when you intentionally set yourself up to do the work, turn off all notifications and do whatever it takes to avoid distractions will the work get done.

                                The Bottom Line

                                The strategies and tips I shared in this post will go a long way to helping you become better at focusing on the important things in your life. No matter what they are, you are in control of your time and what you do with it and where you spend it, never give that control away to anyone else.

                                Protect it and it will be your servant. Give that control away and it will become your master and that is not a good place to be.

                                More About Staying Focused

                                Featured photo credit: Manny Pantoja via unsplash.com

                                Reference

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