With the innovation and evolution of technology we’ve seen the last few years, you’d think that we’d be more productive than ever. Yet technology, while often increasing productivity, has also increased distractions, therefore suppressing productivity. A recent study showed that multitasking, for example, can actually result in it taking 25% longer to complete the tasks you’re switching between.
However, there are some life hacks (both technology hacks and otherwise) that can boost your productivity. So today, I’m coming to you with eight productivity tips.
Turn Off Notifications and Schedule In Email Time
Email and social media have become some of the best, and most long-lasting, business tools we have. Yet they’re also some of the most distracting, especially if you always have your email up on your desktop and are receiving notifications. Increase your productivity then by only checking and responding to emails and social media at scheduled times daily. Alternatively, if you don’t need to be on email 24/7, then disable it on your mobile phone and only check and respond to emails on your computer.
Similarly, turn off notifications for email and social media. While you often may just be spending a few minutes here and there on email and social media, it can quickly turn into a couple hours. If you’re a commuter, use that time on the bus or train to do email and social media.
Use Website-Blocking Apps
For many people, however, checking email and social media is a matter of habit. Nonetheless, there are apps that can completely block certain websites, like social media websites, and can even do so during certain times of the day. One such app is a Google Chrome extension, StayFocused, which increases productivity by limiting (or completely blocking) your time on certain websites.
Download Productivity Apps
For organizing and managing your work, there are a ton of productivity apps available. This ranges from note-taking apps like Evernote to document storage apps like Google Drive and Dropbox to time-tracking apps like Toggl. Lifehacker is a good starting place for learning about the latest productivity apps and tools for laptops, tablets, phones, etc.
Make Calls Right Before Lunch or the End of the Day
This productivity hack I first heard from Randy Pausch, who wrote the book The Last Lecture. Pausch advocated for making any important business calls at 11:55, just before the person you’re calling is probably about to go to lunch. As Pausch says, “You may think you are interesting, but you are not more interesting than lunch.”
Schedule Networking Lunches
The networking lunch and networking happy hour is one of my favorite things to do. Everyone has to eat and drink, so why not do it while learning about a new business or meeting with your next potential business partner? Furthermore, look up local organizations in your city that often organize monthly lunches and happy hours, such as travel industry organizations like Millennials in Travel and Travel Massive.
Unsubscribe From Unnecessary Emails With Unroll.Me
Of all the apps I’ve discovered in the last few years, Unroll.Me is my favorite. The app is for just that, “unenrolling” you from a plethora of newsletter and mass email lists that you may have voluntarily (or involuntarily) subscribed to but no longer want. Furthermore, it organizes all of your subscriptions into a daily digest.
Exercise in the Morning
One way or another, even if it’s just a 30-minute walk, I’ll exercise daily. However, a number of studies and articles take daily exercise a step further by saying that exercise in the morning increases productivity and boosts metabolism. I find myself so much more clearheaded and productive on those days that I exercise earlier in the day, even if it means having to wake up earlier.
Partition Your Day Into Project Periods
This productivity hack comes from Tony Schwartz, among others, who advocates breaking your day up into various tasks and rituals. Some of the things he advocates for is doing the most important thing of your day first, and for no more than 90 minutes, as well as scheduling specific times for important activities. The result of this has brought increased productivity to both employees and employers.