We’ve all been there: left wondering where the day has gone, life overtaken by Sisyphean to-do lists. If your sense of productivity has gone awry, we've got you covered. Here is our list of 10 life hacks to get you back on track:
1. Try the '2 Minute Rule'
When you have a task to do that takes 2 minutes or less (like writing an email) - Do. It. Now. Don’t add it to an ever-growing list or risk forgetting about it all together.
2. Adopt the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management strategy that breaks down work into 25 minute intervals. You select a task, work on it for 25 minutes, and then take a 5 minute break. Lather, rinse, repeat.
3. Create a life admin day each week
Set aside one day a week to do things like laundry, cleaning, food shopping, paying bills etc. This will free up the rest of the week for more important tasks, and prevent you from having to do chores in your leisure time.
4. Ditch perfectionism
It’s often the case that we never even begin an important task because we feel reaching perfection is too hard - as the saying goes, ‘the perfect is the enemy of the good’. To be more productive, accept that nothing is ever perfect, at least not in the beginning. Strive for the work in progress and go from there.
5. Gamify daily tasks
If things start to become a chore, turn them into a game. Try out the Email Game, a free web app for Gmail that gamifies answering your emails.
6. Optimise your sleep routine
Getting enough sleep is vital to your well-being and productivity, increasing your concentration, creativity, decision-making skills and overall health. On the flip-side, if you’re sleep deprived, you’re more likely to be stressed, angry and impulsive, and engage in unhealthy habits like drinking and smoking.
For good quality sleep, limit your exposure to blue light before bed. Laptop and smartphone screens bombard us with a huge amount of blue light, significantly affecting our quality of sleep. To avoid this, download f.lux, which warms up your computer's display to create the right tone of light for the time of day, helping you sleep better.
7. Redefine your mindset
Being productive isn’t about how much time you spend working in a day, or even how many things you get done. Instead of a to-do list, try setting a list of outcomes you want to achieve in a given day or week. This can help give you a better understanding of what you’re ultimately work on and towards, and unlock your thinking to try approaches you might not have thought of with a task-based to-do list.
8. Take a nap
If you’re feeling your energy levels drop, take a short nap. Napping makes you more alert; improves learning and recall function; prevents burnout and reverses information overload; and heightens senses and creativity. It’s also good for your overall health and longevity!
9. Remove distractions
10. Practise positive thinking
Every day, think of three things you’re grateful for. People who practise gratitude tend to be happier, healthier and more fulfilled. It’s also scientifically proven to be a great stress-reliever!
Written by Grace Waters