Definitive 100 Most Useful Productivity Hacks




Sounds like a no-brainer. We all know that proper planning helps us make better use of our time. So plan ahead. At the beginning of each week, work out the non-negotiables (meetings, deadlines, etc.) then schedule the remaining tasks around them. By creating a scheduled agenda of your activities (try an app like Spark Notebook) you will be more likely to follow through with each task and less likely to procrastinate. (View Highlight)review

Research proves that people who listen to music generally finish their tasks faster and are better at generating good ideas in comparison to those who don’t listen to music. However, pop music interferes with information processing and reading comprehension, so be selective with what you listen to while working, and save the top 40 chart bangers for non-working hours. Instead, try listening to white noise or ambient sounds, which have been proven to help with concentration. There are plenty of sound generators out there; try Noisli, a fantastic free background noise generator for both productivity and relaxation. Great when you need to block out a noisy environment. (View Highlight) Focus Music

When you need to engage in deep work, the most likely distraction is a visual one. So hide the phone, turn off pop-up alerts, and put some headphones on to signal to colleagues that you’re in your own zone. If there’s something else in your field of vision that might grab your attention (like a clock or a permanent news channel on a big monitor), remove it or reposition yourself so it’s not bothering you. (View Highlight)review

More often known as time-wasting, sleep-inducing group torture sessions, meetings are frequently badly run. It’s a lose-lose and a waste of everyone’s time. However, if run effectively, meetings can be a powerful tool for team motivation, morale and (you guessed it) productivity. Set a clear agenda for the meeting, and set goals at the end with clear assignments, so everyone knows what they need to do by the next meeting. You can also banish devices, send out important information in advance, be more selective about attendees, and merciless with timekeeping. (View Highlight)review

Malcolm Gladwell popularised the idea that it takes 10,000 hours of dedicated practise to master any skill. Following this principle should allow you to eliminate activities that you are not willing to devote this much time to. Think you want to learn to play the banjo? Willing to practise for 10,000 hours before you’re any good? If not, drop it, and move on to your top priorities. (View Highlight)review

Eric Schmidt, software developer and business powerhouse, created 9 rules for email. Here are his top 5 - See if any of these make you more efficient with your inbox: 1. Respond quickly. 2. When writing an email, every word matters, and useless prose doesn’t. Be crisp in your delivery. 3. Clean out your inbox constantly. 4. Handle email in LIFO (last in, first out) order. 5. Ask yourself, “What should I have forwarded, but didn’t?” (View Highlight)review

Wherever you can (while allowing for deadlines), prioritise the hardest tasks. It might be the opposite of what you want to do – it’s so satisfying powering through all the easy and enjoyable tasks to give us a false sense of accomplishment. But by chipping away at the hard and unpleasant ones first, you’ll get a greater sense of satisfaction in the long term and boost your spirits and self-confidence. This also leaves the nice things to do at the end of the day when your energy levels are probably lagging, and the last thing you want to do is face a horrible task. (View Highlight)review

The waiting-on list is for those tasks that are important to you but that someone else must do. Keep a log of such tasks as soon as you’ve delegated them, or if someone has volunteered to do it. This technique is further strengthened if you log the dates that the task was assigned and its agreed deadline. Avoid creating more admin for yourself by being picky about what is on your waiting-on list (not more than a dozen). A lighter version is to tag all actions for others with ‘WO’ so it is logged, and you can circle back and chase up periodically. (View Highlight)review

Much as we can try to control ourselves, there’s nothing like being held accountable by someone else to keep us on task. Try assigning a task deputy, such as a colleague or a friend. As long as it is someone whom you can trust to hold you mercilessly to account when you procrastinate or do not fulfill commitments. (View Highlight) Accountability. accountability partner