Advertising

3 Weird Productivity Tricks You Probably Haven’t Tried Yet

Advertising
3 Weird Productivity Tricks You Probably Haven’t Tried Yet

We all have to deal with the same 24 hours in a day, and we’re all looking for ways to squeeze more life and more results out of that time. These are three of the little “hacks” that have worked for me.

My weird productivity tricks are a little unconventional, but I urge you to give them a shot and see if they have any impact.

1. Use a treadmill desk

I begin each workday with a 3-4 mile walk, but instead of losing an hour for a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood, I’m getting things done right away.

With a treadmill desk, you walk at a slow enough pace (1-2mph) to not break a sweat or breathe heavily, but it has the effect of getting your blood flowing and your metabolism going first thing in the morning.

Advertising

Where the productivity element comes into play is in the physical and mental momentum you build by walking. The very nature of a treadmill forces you to consciously keep moving, and that inertia can be powerful. It takes a concerted effort to get off the belt, like a total change in direction.

You can cheaply build your own treadmill desk from parts on Craigslist (mine cost $250 to assemble), or go with one of the premade models which will obviously be a better aesthetic fit in a professional office. A top-selling model is the LifeSpan TR1200-DT5, available on Amazon.

2. Track your time

By tracking your time, I don’t mean messing around with egg timers or Pomodoro apps. Instead, keep track of how long you spend on each particular task.

This has the psychological effect of “game-ifying” your work time. Sometimes simply knowing that the clock is ticking is motivation enough to try and see how efficiently you can get something done.

Advertising

One of my favorite tools for this is a free (and premium) time-tracking app called Toggl. How it works is you type in the task you’re working on and hit the start button. Then stop the timer when you’re done.

It’s a glorified stopwatch, but comes with some interesting reporting features as well so you can see what tasks eat up the most of your day, how your performance improves over time, and maybe even opportunities for delegation.

Tom Morkes of Insurgent Publishing recently published a report on the Toggl blog reporting a 238% increase in productivity using this system.

3. Take cold showers

I promised you a weird list, right? Well, I haven’t had a warm shower in over four months and my friends and family definitely think I’ve gone off the deep end.

Advertising

But here’s the thing: there’s something about the mental challenge of having that cold water hit you that motivates you to seize the crap out of the rest of your day.

Oh, it’s uncomfortable, to be sure. You’ll shiver and swear (I know I did!), but you’ll feel alive. The cold water turns the shower from a place of mindless relaxation to a place of conscious awareness. Why am I doing this to myself? What other challenging things do I need to accomplish today? They’ll probably seem like a piece of cake after this.

Maybe it’s a placebo effect, but even so, if the results are a more motivated and productive self, isn’t it worth a shot?

Give it a try for week or take the 30 day cold shower challenge and let me know how you feel!

Advertising

Your turn!

Do you have any “out-of-the-box,” weird productivity tricks that work for you? Please share in the comments below.

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.imgix.net

More by this author

Running Out of Room in Dropbox? Here are 11 Dropbox Alternatives That Offer WAY More Free Cloud Storage 3 Weird Productivity Tricks You Probably Haven’t Tried Yet

Trending in Productivity

1 How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness 2 Are You Addicted to Productivity? 3 Is Avoiding Difficult Tasks And Doing Easy Tasks First Less Productive? 4 How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data) 5 10 Best Productivity Planners To Get More Done in 2021

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Advertising
How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

Advertising

Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

Advertising

Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

Advertising

3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

Advertising

7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

Advertising

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

Read Next