Do you feel like you’re not getting the things you need to do on time? Or, are you overwhelmed by the amount of work you need to do but can’t find the strength to start?
You probably wish you could get more things done every day. Well, you can. By increasing your efficiency, you increase your productivity.
Easier said than done. Right?
Well, yes. But you can take small, incremental actions to help you increase productivity at work. So, in this post, we will share with you some of the best productivity hacks you can do in under 10 minutes that will significantly change the way your work.
1. Learn the Pomodoro Technique.
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management philosophy. And I am a big fan of it.You know it’s not easy juggling work and graduate school. So, I needed to figure out how to maximize focus and time. I find this technique helpful. Here’s how it works:
For every task or project throughout the day, budget your time into short increments. Then, take breaks periodically. How long should these increments be? Twenty-five minutes. After 25 minutes, take a five-minute break.
FYI, each 25-minute increment is called a “pomodoro” (the Italian word for “tomato”). The pioneering practitioner of this time management technique, Francesco Cirillo, used a tomato-shaped kitchen timer as his personal timer, hence the name of the method.
After four “pomodoros” have passed, (100 minutes of work time with 15 minutes of break time) you then take a 15-20 minute break.
Every time you finish a pomodoro, you mark your progress with an “X”, and note the number of times you had the impulse to procrastinate or switch gears to work on another task for each 25-minute chunk of time.
2. Learn how to improve your average.
Most of us are too obsessed improving our peak performance that most of the time we don’t have any idea of what our average performance is. We are too preoccupied thinking about a day in our life when we did really great and crossed-out a lot of items in the to-do list.
And then we contemplate and think of ways to replicate that one great day in our life. We never really pay attention to our daily average. And experts say we must.
Dr. Stan Beecham says we must focus our time improving our average instead of devoting all our time improving our greatest performance because improving our average can have a much more dramatic effect on overall progress.
Take five minutes to look up Dr. Stan Beecham’s philosophy on elite minds, and then take the remaining five minutes to commit to improving your average.
3. Learn how to plan ahead.
Have you been in a situation when merely thinking about the things you need to get done freak you out? And then you become tired freaking out even before you actually started on your tasks?
We all have been in a situation like that. And you know what helps? Writing them down, and planning your week with them as your primary considerations. Never underestimate the benefits planning ahead can give you. So, plan your week, or your day at the very least, ahead. Stick to your appointments so as to give your priorities the amount of attention they require. Planning ahead and writing everything down gives you the control over your own emotions and the tasks before you because keeping them just in your head adds to your mental fatigue. After all, we tend to exaggerate our thoughts, especially when we are mentally exhausted.
Planning ahead also helps to establish routines. Entrepreneur writer Kevin Kruse from Forbes pointed out, ” Establishing routines around the way you carry out regular tasks makes you more efficient and productive.”
For example, you may create email rules to automate checking email, respond to routine requests and archive emails. You may create a similar routine for opening, reading, and filing physical documents. In the same way, stick to set routines for starting and completing new projects or delegating tasks to others.
4. Learn how to meditate.
Meditation helps calm your mind, ease stress, and bring clarity to your everyday life. And in just 10 short minutes you could easily learn a meditation practice that you can take with you the rest of your life.
The easiest meditation technique is the breathing meditation. You just have to find a peaceful place, close your eyes, and listen to your breathing as you slowly inhale and exhale. Just focus on your breathing and to nothing else. You can also check other meditation techniques and methods online.
5. Learn memorization techniques.
Think of your brain as a computer hard drive. To organize files, you make folders, a set of it. If you think of your brain this way, you can see that forgetting is not really possible. If you forget something, it’s either it wasn’t saved to begin with, or you placed it somewhere hard to retrieve.
“Concentration and recall are what makes memories,” says Cody McLain of Support Ninja. “Focus in order to concentrate, and test yourself in order to recall. “Backspace” new info by using a pencil and eraser.”
6. Learn to make routine tasks fun.
A mundane task will most likely bore most of us. And when a task is boring, we tend to put it aside and procrastinate instead. But those mundane tasks need to get done.
In order to make routine tasks fun, you can try to alter the environment you are working in. Try to play some music while doing it, or if you are a team leader, maybe you can have your team meeting in a park, or during lunch, for example, instead of the usual conference room. Experiment. But do so without the bounds of your office rules.
7. Learn to do a daily brain dump.
Every heard of “popcorn brain”–the incessant popping of ideas and to-dos into your thoughts? It is highly suggested that you dump them. You do this by emptying the contents of your brain by writing down all the myriad thoughts, ideas, and errands that pop up. Just focus on getting them all out and then connect the dots later.
8. Learn to batch together similar tasks.
The brain also learns and executes complex tasks by lumping together similar items. Leverage this ability by scheduling similar tasks back-to-back. For example, you may make all of your phone calls one after another, or draft and send emails at one time.
9. Learn shoulder, wrist, and arm stretches.
Sitting at your desk and typing in your computer for long hours is bound to lead health problems if you don’t take necessary precautions. Ever heard of carpal tunnel syndrome? That’s the number one work-related surgery conducted in the United States. It is acquired when the median nerve in the arms are constantly stressed and then get’s swollen.
Simple exercises to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome and back pain take less than 10 minutes to learn but save you hundreds of hours you might have lost otherwise. Just five to 10 minutes a day is a good start to protecting your health and productivity.
10. Learn how to say “No.”
How many commitments have you made that don’t really need to be kept at all? Have you taken on tasks that don’t actually matter to you or anybody else? Is your calendar cluttered with meetings that don’t accomplish anything for organizations that you no longer care about? Has your day been hijacked by somebody else’s priorities? If your calendar is jammed, if your to-do list is miles long, take ten minutes or so to look at each item with a careful eye. Can any of those appointments or tasks simply be crossed off to create some reasonable margin in your life?
When someone calls or appears at your door with a request for your participation in some activity, take a breath and consider whether it fits into your own priorities (which priorities, of course, might legitimately include keeping your boss or spouse happy). If the answer is no, then just say no. Practice it ahead of time: “Thank you for inviting me, but no.” “Thank you for asking, but no.” “Thank you for thinking of me, but no.”
As a wise person once said, ““No” is a complete sentence. No explanation necessary. Just no.”