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Ultimate Productivity Hacks You Need to Try

Ultimate Productivity Hacks You Need to Try
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We all work all day, and during all this chaos we have almost no free time for ourselves, and our families, but we always try to make some room. We all want to be extra-productive, and we try to multitask as much as we can, but sometimes, the more we try to do more things at once, we find ourselves failing almost everything, as we are unable to dedicate our full intention to a singular task. Organizational skills are extra important, and time management has never been more important—especially if you want to stay successful.

Due to all this, we all try to find more hacks and discover newer tips that will allow us to stay on top of your game. In an effort to organize all menial tasks, we use special techniques and tools simply not to waste time. The best advice that anyone can give you is to work smarter, not harder, and remember, time management isn’t about stuffing as many tasks as you can into any given day, but it is about creating a workflow that is simple, fast, and, most important, stress-free. So, we have prepared some of the most important productivity hacks that you can use in your workplace, not only to perform better, but also to feel better.

1. Clean your work desk

Cluttered desk

    Clutter on the desk will lead to the clutter in the mind, something which will lead you to become unfocused and stressed. Staying focussed is especially important if you handle a lot of papers, so it is essential to have a paper tray for incoming things that require your attention, and a special paper tray for outgoing things that are done, and can be sent away, or filed. Put frequently used items like markers, pens and pencils nearby, and feel free to keep less frequently used items in the drawer or somewhere where it won’t attract your attention.

    2. Organize your computer

    The same way you need to keep your desk clean and organized, you need to keep your computer sorted and running smoothly. You can do this by organizing all the files in their dedicated folders. The best tip is to create as many subfolders as you need in order to create a folder tree where you can find whatever you need. Use anti-virus software that will keep your computer operating without bugs. Keep all the latest updates installed, and the safest bet is to have all the updates automatically download and install, without you being aware.

    3. Check your emails in the morning

    If you your work description includes reading a lot of emails and responding to them, then you need to dedicate a whole part of your work time in order to do that, and the best thing is to simply finish it early in the morning. Make a cup of coffee, sit down, and then open up all the emails, respond to all those that you have to, and forward those that require further assistance. When you finish that, visit your inbox at frequent intervals, but do not have notifications turned on, as it can easily distract you from your other work.

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    4. Create an efficient inbox

    It’s common to have more than one email address. But there are many ways of trying to combine all those into a single inbox, where you can simply check all your emails, without having to log out and login into different accounts. Do this only if you can use third party software to connect to your corporate email. And ask whether that is allowed, as some companies do not allow this, and require you to only use your business email.

    5. Do not even open social sites

    Woman using her smartphone

      If you think that you will just be able to open Facebook for a quick glance and then return back to work, you are sadly mistaken, as opening one cute cat video will lead to a couple of more, and before you know it, half an hour has passed and you haven’t finished anything. Use simple add-ons that can block particular sites for a limited period of time, until you finish everything else.

      6. Create a schedule

      If you have a job that is highly erratic, or creative, you will need to create some order that will help you achieve as much as you can. For example, if you work from 8am, and you need to finish something by 4pm, remember to divide that task into simple tasks, and then create a smaller deadline so you finish the first part by 11am, then the second by 2pm and the third should be done around 4pm. This division of work should give you a clearer overview of your progress, and should keep your motivated.

      7. Get out of the rut

      If you feel that your job is too repetitive, you will need something that will give your brain a break. If you cannot turn your job into something more interesting, then at least try and organize your free time so you feel good about yourself. After a long day of work, we just want to go home and sleep, but it is exactly the time when you should call a friend and go and grab a cup of coffee.

      8. Get up early

      Try and get up at six, so you can shower, eat and prepare for work. If you have children, you will have enough time to prepare breakfast for them as well, or even greet your loved one with a cup of fresh coffee. But no matter how early you want to get up, remember to have at least 7-8 hours of sleep, as without sleep, everything else is pointless.

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      9. Learn to say no

      Say no

        It is normal that you want to be liked, and that you want to be thought of as a person who always helps out, but you need to know when to say no, and focus solely on your task. Some people will want to take advantage of you, and it is essential that you learn how to prioritize and help others only if you have free time, and you get due credit.

        10. Forget about multitasking

        Even though we all like the power of being able to do a couple of things simultaneously, you need to remember that our brains and our bodies are not created to properly multitask. We can be much better if we can dedicate our full attention to a single process, and then go on to another, than to try and do both of them at the same time and fail instantly.

        11. Write down all your ideas

        If you want, you can use your smartphone and create a memo every time you have a great idea, or if you’d like a physical reminder, carry a notepad with you at all times, where you can even use colored sticky notes to coordinate your reminders. Even if you are sure that you will remember something, it is better to write it down than to forget all about it.

        12. Don’t be afraid of technology

        There are so many programs, add-ons, and extensions which you can use to simplify smaller steps and things while you work. Google Drive and Dropbox are great way of eliminating USB memory drives, as your files will be available whenever you go with an internet connections. Trello is great at keeping track of projects and deadlines, while Hootsuite can organize and schedule your social media posts.

        13. Exercise properly

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        maria sharapova exercise

          If you are in good physical condition, then you will not only be healthy and satisfied to work extra diligently, but it will give you more energy to accomplish all your tasks. You can find simple exercises to use when at home, and it is best that you do them before work, early in the morning—it will give you that burst of energy needed to survive your morning.

          14. Keep your home tidy

          No one wants to return home after a day’s work and find a mess everywhere you turn, which is why it is essential that you constantly organize your home, and clean up after yourself. Create more storage space so that you can set aside all the things you don’t currently need, which will give your home a more elegant look, and remove all the clutter from your life.

          15. Coffee can help

          If you need a small energy boost, you can find it in a small cup of coffee. Coffee can not only be extremely healthy for your body, but people who drink it regularly will be less affected by stressful situations. But remember not to drink any coffee after 4pm, as that might keep you from sleeping well during the night. Avoid coffee bought from machines, and prepare your own brew. Not only will this taste better, but it will have less sugar and artificial sweeteners added.

          16. Use your commute wisely

          You need at least 30 minutes every day to get to work, and that time will quickly accumulate, so do something useful with it. Listen to audio books on your mobile device, or podcasts—it doesn’t matter if they are humorous or work related. You can even try and walk to work. This way you can turn a daily chore into light exercise, where you can clear your thought before work.

          17. Hire help

          maid cleaning the house

            If you work a lot, you do not have time to worry about things that will only occupy your mind. The best thing you could do is to hire some kind of help: someone that will do your shopping for you, or someone that will clean your home. This is an excellent way to outsource things that require a lot of time that you simply do not have. Once a week you can even have a professional cook come over and prepare meals in advance, so that you eat only hand-made high-quality food prepared specially for you.

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            18. Eat healthy

            Like we’ve said, having a meal prepared for you is a much better solution than fast-food, which is full of salts, sugars and fats—stuff which your body does not need in large quantities. If you avoid junk food, and replace it with balanced meals, you will feel much better, not to mention how much healthier you’ll be.

            19. Don’t forget about water

            No matter how tasty fizzy drinks are, they simply cannot replace water as a drink that is essential for our bodies to function properly. In a perfect world, people would drink two liters of water daily, in order to keep you hydrated, and your metabolism running perfectly—but any liquid will do, like tea or coffee. Just remember to avoid fizzy drinks or drink them in limited amounts, as they are full of sugars which will only lead to obesity.

            20. Have fun

            happy dog in a car

              Let’s face it, no one can truly be productive and efficient at a workplace if they are constantly sad, or bored. You need to find your own outlet, something that will keep you happy, and find time for that—if you like reading, read at least half an hour every day; go to the movies with your best friend; take out your beloved on a romantic dinner. All those things will remind your why life is worth living for, and it will give you more than enough energy and focus to try your best, and be a successful working professional.

              If you were looking for a magical solution that will solve all your productivity problems, tough luck. There is no such thing. You will need to change your whole life around, and develop your organizational skills in order to truly be successful and develop every aspect of your life. Have fun, spend time with your family and friends, create a goal and stick to your plan—and in no time, success will surely follow.

              Featured photo credit: morgue file via mrg.bz

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              More by this author

              Ivan Dimitrijevic

              Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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              Last Updated on July 21, 2021

              The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

              The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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              No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

              Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

              Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

              A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

              Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

              In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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              From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

              A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

              For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

              This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

              The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

              That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

              Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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              The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

              Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

              But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

              The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

              The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

              A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

              For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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              But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

              If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

              For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

              These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

              For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

              How to Make a Reminder Works for You

              Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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              Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

              Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

              My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

              Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

              I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

              More on Building Habits

              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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              Reference

              [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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