6 powerful hacks that will massively increase your productivity
Do you often answer "busy", when people ask how you're doing? Are you overwhelmed by a never-ending to do list? Have you recently had a complete meltdown on your kitchen floor from all the shit you have to do and the lack of time you have to do it? (so been there)... Then this post is for you!
Over the past year, I've built 2 businesses from the ground up while working a day job, so I've learned a little thing or two about time management and productivity. So here we go... 6 powerful hacks that will massively increase your productivity (plus some of my favourite productivity apps)!
1. Time chunking
What is time chunking, you ask? It's a way of organizing your day in a way that helps avoid dreaded multi-tasking and requires less brain power. An example of time chunking would be dedicating your mornings to creative work, afternoons are booked off for important meetings, and evenings are for your workout, cooking a healthy meal, and reading a self-development book. You could also break it down into bigger hourly chunks or separate themes for each day. Time chunking allows for a more streamlined schedule and less overwhelm from all these different tasks (that often require you to be in different roles!). It organizes your schedule in a way that makes sense and gives you more brain power to focus.
2. Batch processing
Batch processing is similar to time chunking - if you normally sit down on a Tuesday morning to write a weekly article or send out a newsletter, take a chunk of time that morning and complete the next 5 articles or newsletters at the same time. Not only will you be totally prepared for the month ahead, you'll free up more time by becoming more efficient with your focus. It feels amazing to be prepared and not scrambling at the last minute to get something out there, doesn't it?
This is, in my opinion, ESSENTIAL if you want to have more freedom with your time and be more productive. I know it's difficult to let go of control, but I encourage you to try it and see how it goes! I hire housecleaners about once a month. It's something that would probably take me an entire day to do and drain my energy. Instead, I have housecleaners come and get the job done within a couple of hours, leaving the house sparkly clean, and I don't even have to scrub anything! Your environment directly affects how you feel, and I always notice my energy is more positive and I'm more productive when my space is clean and tidy. I know not everyone has the resources, but you can often find people who are willing to do a job that you hate (and honestly, might suck at) for far less than it's worth in your time. Take some time to research those tasks you might want to outsource and start small if you need to.
4. Turn off distractions (and quit multi-tasking!)
This one may seem obvious, but it's often overlooked. Having 30+ tabs open takes up so much mental energy (not to mention slows your computer down), and each time a "ding" or notification pops up, your focus is broken. Put your phone on airplane mode, turn off notification sounds, and unplug from the internet if you have to. If you haven't heard yet, multi-tasking is a waste of time. Yup, for all these years, we've been taught to believe multi-tasking = being more efficient, more productive, and getting more sh*t done. Turns out, it's quite the opposite. Multi-tasking is a major distraction. Practice single-pointed focus and watch your productivity massively increase.
5. Say NO (or prioritize)
Saying no can be hard, I get it. Most of us are natural people pleasers, so turning someone down or disappointing someone is hard for us, but the truth is - we can't do it all. We have our own priorities, goals, and dreams, and in the words of Gabby Bernstein, "sometimes no is the most loving response". This isn't to say that you should never do anything for other people anymore, but start practicing saying no to the things that you don't have the capacity to take on or that drain your energy. See if you can help someone in a different way, refer them to someone who would be more than happy to help, or simply say no (you don't need to explain yourself). When someone comes to you with a task, project, or idea, take some time to ask yourself whether it aligns with your priorities and values.
6. Take care of your body and mind
I'd put this as #1 for the most important productivity hack out there. Far too often I watch people hustling so hard, overworking themselves, never taking time to rest, and ending up sick, stressed, and completely overwhelmed. When you're taking care of yourself, you feel better, have more energy, a more positive mood, and are more productive. Stress is a killer and burn out is no fun, believe me. Make sure you take some time to yourself each day - whether it's a daily walk, a quick workout, a long run, reading a book, taking a bath, meditating, cooking, going to sleep early - whatever it is that makes your body, mind, and soul happy, schedule it in and don't think of it as "another thing on your to do list", but as essential for your productivity and making you feel healthy, happy, and grounded.
My favorite productivity tools...
Pomodoro Timer - There are several available online and on the App store, but you can also use a regular kitchen timer. Work in 25 minute chunks with a 5 minute break - great for giving yourself time to stretch and step away from the computer!
OneTab - Have a million tabs open and need to easily access them? OneTab saves them all in ONE single browser so you can work faster with less distractions.
Asana - This is my all-time favourite tool for organizing my business (and life!). I use Asana with clients for projects, to organize my blog posts and newsletters, brainstorm ideas, and keep my personal to do list out of my head.
Airplane Mode - I've started putting my phone on airplane mode in the evenings and keeping it off until I'm starting my work day. This helps avoid distractions and the mindless Instagram scrolling that often happens when you're tired and should really be in bed already.
Inbox Pause - Inbox Pause is fantastic for times when you need to access emails but keep getting distracted by incoming projects and demands (or maybe you have email addiction and just can't seem to get out of that inbox).
Boomerang - Boomerang allows you to write emails, but schedule them at a later date and time, so people don't think you're insane for sending work emails at 12 AM (and they also won't start expecting you to reply at crazy hours of the day, either). You can also set emails to come back if they aren't replied to and you need to follow up at a later date. I was using it so often that I opted for the paid version!
There you have it! 6 powerful hacks that will massively increase your productivity. I've also included a list of favourite resources I use to increase my productivity and organize my life. Now I'd love to hear from you! What are your top productivity hacks? Do you have favourite apps or tools you use to help you be more productive? Comment below or come share in the Facebook Community!