Small ways to make big changes!
In my eternal quest to find new ways to optimize my productivity, I ran across a website by Marc Lou. It has fifty productivity hacks that were chosen and voted on by the internet.
Each hack is upvoted or downvoted based on popularity, so that over time the cream rises to the top. Is the collective wisdom of the internet sound? Only you get to decide.
1. Shower in the Morning
This was the number one hack on the list. I’m uncertain if I would have thought of this one myself, but if the pandemic taught us anything, I think we can all put a lot of stock in this idea.
A hot (or cold) shower is a good way to start the day because it can be the start of your routine. Everything you do for the rest of the day starts with that first action.
Routines are good for your mental health. They are especially important if you are unemployed, self-employed, or work at home. A shower will not be the most significant thing you do that day, but it sets you up for everything that follows.
It’s a simple idea, but if it is something that resonates with you, make sure you read Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…and Maybe the World by Admiral William H. McRaven, (affiliate link).
2. Don’t Multitask
This is an oldie but a goodie. I won’t dwell on it for long, but if you haven’t heard it before, multitasking is a myth. Your brain is just not capable of concentrating on multiple things at the same time.
You might think you can multitask, but in reality, your brain is just switching back and forth between different tasks. This divides your attention. You will get much better results if you focus all your energy on one task at a time.
3. Remember to Exercise
The effect of exercise on our physical and mental health is well-documented. You don’t have to run for 30 minutes a day to get these benefits, but finding a way to work exercise into your daily routine will help you reap the rewards.
Go for a walk, take a short bike ride, get outside and breathe some fresh air. Make exercise a new habit, and you will thank yourself for it later in life. Three times a week is better than no times a week.
If you are like me, and you often forget to exercise, or skip it in favor of something else that seems more important, schedule it. Put it on your calendar. You are more likely to exercise if it is a planned part of your day.
4. Filter Inputs to Improve Outputs
Are you a doom scroller? If so, you’re not alone. But if you want to be your most productive self, you need to think about the type of content you are consuming. You are what you eat, or in this case, you are what you read and watch online.
Social media is hard to avoid, so make it work for you, not against you. If you have negative people in your feed, find a way to mute or remove them. Try to schedule times when to look at social media so that you are not distracted from the tasks you have to get done.
Think about the newsletters, websites and other services you subscribe to. Do they empower and lift you up? Do they make you energized and productive? If not, take some time to evaluate whether you still need them.
5. Do Something Every Day
Some days are more productive than others. That’s just the nature of the beast. But as long as you do something, you will at least have the satisfaction of being able to look back at some positive actions.
This is harder than you might think. Every so often, we get overwhelmed by the sheer number of things on our to-do list. When you don’t know where to start, it’s easier not to. That’s where this hack comes into play.
If you only do one thing, that’s better than nothing. Then, when you have one thing checked off your list, maybe you have time for one more task. Before you know it, you are back on track.
6. Eat the Frog
So, which task should you work on first? To avoid procrastinating, eat the frog. What does that mean? This is an idea that is frequently attributed to the author Samuel Clemens, but the true origin is a little hazy.
Nonetheless, the story states that if you eat a live frog every morning, there is nothing you will do for the rest of the day that will be even remotely as difficult. If you have to eat two, eat the biggest one first.
Nobody is really expecting you to eat a live frog, but think of it like a metaphor for your to-do list. Work on the toughest problem first. Once that is taken care of, the rest of your tasks will seem a lot more manageable.
7. Separate Work from Home
This productivity hack is all about browser profiles. If you set up a profile for work and a profile for home, you can switch between the two when you need them. Chrome, Edge, Firefox and Brave all include the ability to create separate profiles, so you should take advantage of that.
Each profile can have its own bookmarks and extensions. You can name one “Work” and the other “Home”. If you are tempted by social media at work, make sure those sites are on your personal profile. If you have a personal laptop at home, don’t add your work profile.
If you use profiles correctly, you won’t get distracted by work tasks in your personal time, and vice versa. It’s a great hack and one I was pleased to see in the top ten because this is something that I have been doing for years!
8. Standardize and Prioritize Sleep
Sleep is important. Humans don’t function well without it. If you want to be the most productive version of yourself, you need to prioritize a healthy sleeping habit.
Most doctors recommend getting about 8 hours of sleep each night. Some people need a little more, while some are fine with less. However, scientists have proven that sleeping for less than six hours can lead to cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome.
Listen to your body. Create a sleeping habit. Our bodies like routines. If you can go to bed at 10pm every night and wake up at 6am, your body will thank you for establishing a routine.
For more on the science of sleep, read, The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life One Night at a Time by Arianna Huffington, (affiliate link).
9. Stop Watching News
I thought this was an interesting hack to find in the top ten, but I can definitely see the merits of trying this. After all, the world is a troubled place. You can’t help but see that as you go about your daily business.
News programs amplify that. They report on the bad things you can see as well as the bad things you can’t see. Sure, they like to finish on a fun, light story to send you on your way, but the majority of the news is bad news.
If you are surrounded by bad news, it becomes increasingly challenging to keep a positive mental state. Without a positive mental state, your chances of being productive are much lower.
So, what can you do? Try to stop watching the news.
10. Capture Everything
I love this hack, and it is perhaps best summed up in the immortal words of David Allen. He said, “Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.” When your brain is not tasked with remembering things, it is freed up for more creative endeavors. This lets you focus on the things on your to-do list, instead of the tasks in your head.
It’s not east to capture everything, but with practice it can be done. However, you need a way to capture the ideas and inspiration you have each day. If you don’t have a system, you will lose these ideas forever.
You can use a paper notebook or a digital task manager, but whatever you decide to use, it has to be with you at all times. Everything goes on this list, no matter how small the task, and you will use this list as a basis for the things you need to get done.
See More Productivity Hacks
If you want to see the remaining forty hacks, or submit your own for the internet to vote on, visit https://50hacks.co.
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