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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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    fiverr

      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 February 21, 2019

                                How to Stop Information Overload

                                How to Stop Information Overload

                                Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

                                This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

                                As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

                                But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

                                How Serious Is Information Overload?

                                The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem.

                                This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

                                When we see some half-baked blog posts we don’t even consider reading, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it.

                                We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

                                No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on.

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                                The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

                                That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

                                Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control.

                                Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it.

                                But first, admit that information overload is really bad for you.

                                Why Information Overload Is Bad for You

                                Information overload stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here.

                                When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

                                Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

                                The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

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                                You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work or enjoy your passion.

                                How to Stop Information Overload (And Start to Achieve More)

                                So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with setting goals.

                                1. Set Your Goals

                                If you don’t have your goals put in place, you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

                                Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

                                Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

                                Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

                                2. Know What to Skip When Facing New Information

                                Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks, you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

                                First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans, then skip it. You don’t need it.

                                If it does, then ask yourself these questions:

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                                • Will you be able to put this information into action immediately?
                                • Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks?
                                • Is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away?

                                If the information is not actionable in a day or two, then skip it.

                                (You’ll forget about it anyway.)

                                And that’s basically it. Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

                                You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant.

                                Self-control comes handy too. It’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future, then SKIP IT.

                                3. Be Aware of the Minimal Effective Dose

                                There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour BodyTim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs.

                                Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose, no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

                                Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life.

                                Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

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                                4. Don’t Procrastinate by Consuming More Information

                                Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article, we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

                                This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

                                Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

                                The focus of this article is not on how to stop procrastinating, but if you’re having such issue, I recommend you read this:

                                Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

                                Summing It Up

                                As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance.

                                I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over.

                                I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

                                More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

                                Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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