So many productivity hacks, so little time! We’re always looking to be more efficient and get more done. But sometimes, it feels like we are being overwhelmed with endless lists and bits of advice about how to make some aspect of our work or life more efficient. Rather than bury you with a catalog of 50, 100, (or more) hacks, here are three productivity tips worth exploring and putting into action today.
1. Music Provides an Ideal Backdrop
This first tip is the easiest. Playing music in the background helps you concentrate on the task at hand. Research confirms that listening to music helps you innovate and generate better ideas, focus, and finish tasks more quickly. Don’t play the Top 40 or your favorite Indie band. That will only distract you and make things worse. Listen to classical music, various genres of jazz, and other instrumental pieces — this blog is being written with smooth jazz playing in the background. Even ambient sounds and white noise help.
2. Employ the Two-Minute Rule
If you can complete a to-do in two minutes or less, just do it. Skip adding a new item on your to-do list, spending time mulling it over, or entering it into whatever project management system you use if it can be dealt with quickly. This saves time and builds work momentum — we tend to feel swamped when we have lots of little “things I have to do!” swimming around in our heads. Try setting aside 20 minutes once or twice a day to knock these off. From quick email replies and organizing files to updating your calendar, 20 minutes will get 10 of these micro tasks done! This requires practice, but you can put this into action immediately.
3. Put Your Phone and Tablets Out of Sight (With the Sound Off)
Various research studies report that, on average, we check our smartphones between 150 and 225 times a day! That adds up to a remarkable amount of time spent diverted and distracted. According to a study conducted by the University of Southern Maine, even having your phone in sight — with its alerts, pings, and dings — reduced performance in tests. Put those devices away! Out of sight, out of mind. This requires more discipline — I fight an addiction to checking my weather app! — but if you clear you desk of your devices, you’ll be amazed at how calming your workspace becomes and how much your attention span will increase.
For some wellness-oriented tips read Arden Coaching’s blog, “5 Wellness Hacks for Work From Home (WFH).”
Now, Try It!
You may have heard some of these suggestions before. Have you tried them? Have you stuck with them to the point where you have developed some “muscle memory” and habit of use? If not, work on one at a time over the next several weeks and see which are most helpful for you.
To learn more about a purposeful, strategic approach to becoming more productive and developing stronger leadership skills, contact the executive coaches at Arden Coaching at firstname.lastname@example.org or 646.684.3777.