Today we are talking about super simple productivity hacks that you can use to keep yourself organized and on track with all those little things you need to get done every day.
I think most of us have had the frustrating experience of being overwhelmed with a big “to do” list that just never seems to actually get done. And it’s a stressful thing, isn’t it? When you’ve got things that you need to do and it feels like more stuff is getting added, but nothing seems to get crossed off that list?
And that’s where the idea of simple productivity hacks comes in. Little, easy-to-use tricks to help us get a handle on all that stuff, without adding to our stress load.
4 Productivity Hacks to Get Things Done
So with that in mind I’ve got five of my favourite tips to share with you today to help you get organized and stay productive when you’ve got lots of stuff that you need to get done, but can’t seem to get anywhere with it.
#1: Use the KISS principle.
KISS, of course, stands for “Keep it Simple, Stupid!” or “Keep it Simple, Silly!” (pick whichever one you like best). One of the things that always amuses me about human beings is that we are so good at overcomplicating things. We have this bizarre tendency to take the simplest little things and turn them into crazy-complicated, over-analysed, tangled messes.
Take something as simple as a list of stuff to do. We’ve got apps for that now. Software that you have to install, then figure out how to use before you even get to the list items you need to accomplish. By the time you figure the app out, you’ve usually forgotten half of what you wanted to get done, anyway!Tip 1: Don’t overcomplicate your life with fancy tools you don’t really need. #KISS #productivity Click To Tweet
So why not just go retro and use a good old-fashioned pen and paper? If nothing else, at least you know you still have access to your “to do” list when your phone battery dies. In other words, why bother with fancy tools you don’t really need when something simpler would work just as well or even better?
#2: Keep an Eye on the Horizon.
What I mean by this is that it’s always a good idea to know, in general terms, what you want to get done over the coming weeks, months, and years. It doesn’t have to be super-specific, because life happens and technology changes, and all of that affects that distant vision – but you want to know where you’re going and have a good idea of what you intend to do in order to get yourself there.
And this is where a long-term “to do” list comes in handy. It’s a place to jot down all those things you want to get done, but which you aren’t going to concentrate on right now or in the immediate future. This could be a list of books you intend to write or read, courses you want to take, big goals you want to achieve, or whatever.
You could also create specific vision boards and goal statements for this long-term plan or long-term view that you want to take. Basically, keeping an eye on the horizon means keeping a fix on where your internal compass is pointing you. It’s the direction you are heading in, and your guiding star to keep you on track with where you eventually want to be.
#3: Stay Focused.
Having just told you to keep an eye on the horizon, I’m now going to tell you to stay focused – to narrow your energy and actions into ONE element at a time. And this may sound a little counter-intuitive but when you’re struggling with productivity, multi-tasking is the kiss of death; you’ll never get anything done if you’re scrambling to do everything.
So pick one thing to focus on at a time, put your head down and plow through it. Channel your energy into one thing – and one thing alone – until you get it done. Then, and only then, will you move on to the next thing.Tip 3: Be the magnifying glass: focus your energy on one task at a time. #ProductivityHacks Click To Tweet
Think of this like the sun’s energy – if you go outside on a sunny day it’s hot, but not otherwise remarkable – the energy is too diffuse. But if you use a magnifying glass and focus the sun’s energy into one small, specific spot, you can actually start a fire – that’s the power of focusing your energy and efforts. You’re lighting a fire that gets you results!
#4: Batch Process Stuff.
As a corollary to the previous hack, I want you to give some thought to the benefit of batch processing stuff. You can get an awful lot done in a short amount of time if you group the things you need to do together into batches, and this is because there’s a distraction factor that happens when you flit about from one task to the next all the time.
Focus changes = lost time
It takes time for your brain to re-familiarize and re-focus itself each time a new task comes up. It’s not such a big deal if you only switch your focus a few times over the course of a day, but when you’re switching between different tasks all the time that distraction factor really does add up. And it has the effect of significantly eating into your daily productive time.
So, for example, if you have blog articles to write, and graphics to design, and client calls to make, and filing to do, and all sorts of different types of tasks… when you bounce around between all those different tasks — so, maybe you spend half an hour working on an article, then do ten minutes of filing, then make a call, then go back to that blog article for another ten minutes, then check your email, then do some graphic design work, then go back to the blog article – when you bounce around like that, you lose a lot of productive time when you have to get your head back into the “space” of each different kind of task. And the more switching you do, the more time you end up losing.
Batch processing maximises productive time
But if you batch process things, you have less lost time to that refamiliarization process that has to happen whenever you switch gears. So if you do all the blog articles together, one after another, in one big batch, and then, when they’re done, switch over to filing and do all the filing until it’s done, and then move on to the next thing, you keep yourself in that headspace of what you’re doing, and lose less productive time to the switching.Overwhelmed with a big ‘to do’ list? Give these #productivity hacks a try! Click To Tweet
Batch processing also helps you to use inertia on your own behalf – when you’re working on one type of thing you get in the flow of that, so it’s easier to get more done!
How to break up your time
You can batch process stuff within a day, but you can also batch process in larger blocks of time, too. So – and this is a personal example – when I really want to get working on my next book, but I still need to keep the blog going, what I try and do is batch process a bunch of blog articles over a few days.
I focus entirely on writing enough articles to get through a week or two, so that I can then dedicate big chunks of time to working on the next book without getting distracted, stressed, or guilty about neglecting the ongoing blog content.
Summing it Up
So there you have it – four super-simple productivity hacks to keep you organized, focused, and on track to achieving your goals. Let’s recap them:
- Use the KISS principle – keep things simple and don’t overcomplicate your life by using fancy tools you don’t need when something simpler will do;
- Keep your eye on the horizon, and always have a good general idea about where you’re going and when;
- Stay focused – so, even though you’ve got your eye on the horizon, stay laser focused in your implementation and only work on one thing at a time – avoid multitasking; and
- Batch process stuff – take advantage of inertia and do the same types of tasks together in dedicated time-chunks while you’re immersed in the mindset of what you’re doing.
Next time you’ve got lots of stuff you need to get done, give these productivity hacks a try! And if you’ve got a tip that I haven’t covered in today’s episode, please share it in the comments section below the show notes at vibeshifting.com!
photo credit: pixabay.com cc (modified by me)