More, more, more. It seems everyone wants more these days. Putting more on your to-do list requires finding ways to be more productive that sync with everything else you’ve got on your plate.
Maximizing productivity is something almost everyone says they want to do. Making it happen is often a different story. Because of that, here are a few different productivity hacks that you can implement today that will make a difference in how much you get done.
1. The Pomodoro Technique
Don’t let the name scare you. And just because it’s named after it’s tomato-shaped timer doesn’t mean it isn’t incredibly valuable. Essentially, it’s about working in short intervals and taking breaks in between. The key is that you work as fast as you can while “on the clock”. When you use these short bursts to focus 100 percent on the task, you are highly likely to complete the task.
One Pomodoro is an increment of 25 minutes. It is followed by a short 5 minute or so break. After four Pomodoros, you take a more extended break of at least 15 minutes, up to a 30-minute break. The way it works is that you set your timer, do the work, and only the work during that time. When the timer sounds, turn it off and then mark a checkmark on a piece of paper so that you know you did one Pomodoro.
If you’re of the mindset that you can endure almost anything if it’s done in short bursts, then this technique is for you. This technique is great when you struggle with overwhelm from the bigger picture. The Pomodoro method is intended to be used with one task or a group of very similar tasks (tasks that require the same skills help you switch between tasks more easily).
If you prefer to “get in the zone” or take a little longer to get to that space we often refer to as “flow” (where you’re working efficiently and being productive and your creative brain is in alignment with your thinking brain), then this might not be your jam. It is not helpful with projects that involve longer focus or for people who have a hard time settling into a focused mindset.
You can modify this method by increasing the time from 25 minutes up to as much as 55 minutes. More than 55 minutes may be too long (you know how you work, however, so go with what works for you).
2. Say No
I’ve said it before, and I will keep saying it until I’m blue in the face, you simply cannot nor should not try to “do it all”.
Saying no more often and to the right things is the simplest way to be more productive. Everyone is probably always asking you to do more things. When you have too many things to do, you end up being overwhelmed. You then either do nothing or do everything haphazardly. When you value your time, your goals, that balance you long for, and yes, even money, saying no works wonders.
Perhaps that last point baffles you a bit. Let me explain. When you say yes to too many things, you don’t do any of it well. Including running your business and serving your customers. That impacts your bottom line. Learn to say no to those things that don’t serve your goals. You will find yourself increasing your productivity in those things that do matter.
3. Give it Ten Minutes
Have you ever felt that sense of dread around some item on your to-do list? We all have those things we just don’t like to do. Usually, they are things we are not that great at or they don’t light that passion fire in us (aka they are boring). But that doesn’t mean we can just skip these tasks altogether. Learning how to do them with less procrastination is your key to being more productive.
Anytime you really don’t want to do something on your to-do list, tell yourself you’ll just do it for ten minutes. Set your timer for ten minutes. If you are almost through and you can finish the task or feel you can stick it out another 10 minutes, stick with it. Reward yourself when you complete it.
Productivity hacks are like bras, there’s no one size fits all solution and you have to try them on for size to know if they really fit you. The key is that you have to give them a chance.
So try out these ideas and let me know in the comments if any of them helped you, or if you have other suggestions we can try?