How would it feel to always get your tasks done on time?
My guess is:
So, what can you do?
Use this productivity guide to become more productive in your work and life.
Want to learn more? Let’s dive right in.
Productivity hacks that will help you get more done
These are hacks that will help you get started on your tasks, stay focused, and finish them on time.
The Pomodoro technique
Our first productivity hack is the Pomodoro technique.
Here’s how it works:
Use an egg timer (here’s one you can use online) or your phone. Set the timer on 25 minutes.
When the time is up, take a 5-minute break.
And when your break comes to an end, sit down again for 25 minutes.
Repeat this cycle eight times a day. That’s roughly the amount you can spend on focused work.
Remember to take longer breaks as well to really stretch your legs and rest your mind.
Then, use the rest of the day to do work that doesn’t require as much thinking. So: tasks like administrative work and meetings.
But wait a minute… Now you might be asking yourself:
“WHY should I use the Pomodoro technique? What’s so special about it?”
The Pomodoro technique gives a time limit to all your tasks. And constraints help you focus and be more creative.
The 5-minute rule
Have a hard time actually sitting down and getting started?
Here’s what to do instead:
Tell yourself you’ll work for five minutes. You don’t have to work for more than that, just five minutes.
Soon enough, you’ll find yourself happily working on your task.
Procrastination is tied to our quest for instant gratification.
Obviously, watching a funny clip or reading an interesting article are much more gratifying things to do than getting down to work.
That’s why you can’t tell yourself:
“Now I’m going to work on this boring project for the next 8 hours…”
Instead, frame it as:
“Now I’m going to work on this task for five minutes. If I don’t want to continue, no worries.”
Here’s the catch:
You don’t feel much resistance at this point. After all, you give yourself permission to do whatever you want if you’re still bored in five minutes.
Once you’ve started working on your tasks, you’ll soon notice that you don’t want to stop working.
That’s because your brain needs to finish what it starts.
So if you’ve finished part of your task, you need to get it all done.
What you need to do is getting started…
…And that’s what you do with the 5-minute rule.
You know how to start working on a task and stay productive…
…But how do you ensure you work on your priorities? After all, it’s too easy to start working on tasks that feel important, but that aren’t a priority for you.
Here you go:
Schedule your tasks.
Yes, schedule each and every task you want to get done in your calendar. That includes your breaks.
Ideally, you’ll schedule your tasks down to five minutes. But if that’s not possible, schedule every 15 minutes, 30 minutes or 1 hour.
But why should you schedule your tasks?
If you don’t, you rely on your daily mood and motivation. Do you think you’ll be able to muster the willpower to always work on those priority tasks?
Instead, you’ll choose easy and fun tasks, even if those tasks aren’t particularly important.
You know, in the same way that, all of a sudden, replying to a couple of old emails or cleaning your house seems like a good idea when you should be working.
Take breaks (and time them right)
We tend to think that working hard is the same as being productive.
Of course, that’s not true.
Your brain needs rest, just like the rest of your body.
People who take breaks are the most productive people.
And from the section on the Pomodoro Technique, you might remember:
You’re supposed to take breaks, too.
But, now you might be wondering:
“If I’m supposed to take a 20-minute break every 90 minutes, how can I ensure that I’m effective during my work sessions?”
Good question. Here’s what you need to know:
Remember how we talked about the 5-minute rule? Then you remember that we talked about your need to finish what you started.
That’s something you can use to your advantage again.
You see, before you take your break, you strategically stop working when you’re in the middle of a task.
After your break, you’ll be keen to getting back to your task so you can finish it.
There’s another question we need to answer before we move on to the next section.
And that is:
What are you supposed to do during your breaks, anyway?
The thing is, your breaks are essential for your productivity.
These breaks are there to help you rest your mind.
No mindless social media scrolling!
During your shorter, 5-minute breaks, drink a glass of water and stretch.
During your longer breaks, read a book, meditate, go for a walk, or something else that’s both relaxing and refreshing.
Now you know how to improve your productivity with these productivity hacks…
…And that leads us to the next step:
Productivity tools that will improve your time management
Productivity tools can be extremely helpful for your time management.
Before you use them, though, use the productivity hacks we talked about above.
Without a productivity system, you won’t do much with a ton of productivity tools.
Before we dive in, there’s something you should know.
Many of these productivity tools aren’t tools you can use in your work. Instead, they help you become more productive in your everyday life.
So, why did we choose them for this productivity guide?
Because your work productivity depends on your habits. And that’s exactly what these tools help you with.
What’s interesting about the 5 Minute Journal is that it’s not a productivity tool.
It’s a journal.
It absolutely helps you keep productive.
Every morning and evening, you fill in your journal. Here, you record things you’re grateful for, your plans for the day, what you can improve, and so forth. You can even add a daily picture.
While this tool doesn’t track your time or enable you to create task lists, it’s as powerful as any productivity tool.
After all, you can come back and read through your entries anytime. You’ll soon start seeing a pattern. And, it immediately becomes easier to do something about your unproductive habits.
Headspace is, just like the 5 Minute Journal, not a productivity tool.
Instead, it’s a meditation tool.
You see, both you and I know how hard it is to focus.
And that’s exactly what Headspace helps you with.
Take 10 minutes every day to listen to a mindfulness session.
Soon enough, you’ll start noticing how focused you are.
You know how easy it is to get caught up in reading something interesting online…
Well, that’s what Pocket helps you avoid.
With this tool, you can save articles and archive them.
So, you just add them to your Pocket account. And then you read them when you have the time to spare- not in the middle of something important.
Ah… Suddenly, it’s so much easier to focus on your work!
Our own tool, Minute, makes your meetings productive.
Meetings are time-consuming… and managed poorly, they can be a real productivity killer.
That’s why we created this tool- to help you ensure your meetings don’t go to waste.
With Minute, you can share meeting information (your agenda, minutes, documents…) with other participants. All meeting participants collaborate in real time. And, you always ensure that everyone has the latest meeting documents.
You can also integrate it with a bunch of other tools. Microsoft Office, Evernote, Dropbox, and many more.
Both Asana and Trello are tools that help you manage projects and tasks.
Here, you create Kanban boards. So you have different columns in a board. For example: “To do”, “Working on”, and “Done”.
You create tasks in all columns and move them as you work through your to-do list.
Yup, Asana and Trello are powerful productivity tools that’ll help you finish and organize your tasks.
Conclusion: How to stay productive
Now you have a system to apply to all your work to get more done.
And one tip…
Use this productivity guide consistently. Remember- by applying these hacks every day, you soon create habits that stick.
Just one more thing:
What’s the first step you’ll take to implement this productivity guide? Write in the comments below.