Productivity, and the difficulties surrounding it, is something we all have to deal with. You have a finite amount of time to work, and you want to maximize your output — we all do.
If you're thinking about starting your own website, or your own business, productivity is the number one issue you will have to deal with.Being productive is somewhat easy when you have a boos looking over your shoulders, giving you deadlines, but it's a lot harder when you're your own boss.
For me, the main reason for going the self-employment route wasn't to necessarily make more money, and obviously not for job security. It was for the freedom of managing my own time and not working for someone else.
When you manage your own time, you want to maximize this time, so you can spend time on the stuff you really like — which for me is travel, working on myself, and my family of course.
These productivity hacks will steer you in the right direction, increase your productivity, make you more money and free up your time. I call it: the art of getting shit done.
Table of Contents
Keep your work space clean
Working in a filthy messy office space is horrible. Like Victor Pride put it in one of his many articles on productivity: “A dirty office space is like a dirty kitchen. When it’s time to cook dinner but the kitchen is too damn dirty, that’s when you get on the horn to the local pizza place and order an extra-large pepperoni for delivery. Now you’re out $20 and you’re fatter.”
It's nearly impossible to stay productive and organized, when your workings space promotes neither.
Sleep, sleep, sleep
Trying to save time by sleeping less is a false economy. If you sleep two hours less, you'll save two hours — but it will screw up your productivity. You will end up getting less done, even with two hours more.
It's a really bad trade-off.
The key is to go to bed early, and rise early. Get up at 5, and you'll have done an entire workday before noon. Wake up at noon, and you've wasted an entire day of work, and you have to play catch up the rest of the day.
How to improve your sleep at night?
What most people are struggling with is how to fall asleep early enough to get up early. In the beginning it can be really challenging, but what I recommend is to set up a schedule where you always rise at the same time. Set your alarm at 5, 6 or 7, and get up at that time no matter when you go to bed.
So: No matter if you go to bed at 10PM or 4AM — get up at 6.
If your sleeping schedule is really off, and your used to sleeping until noon, do a gradual adjustment where you set your alarm one hour earlier every day.
Make sure you stick with your new schedule. One of my problems is that I'll start to drift back into old habits if I don't stay focused on getting up early.
Research has shown that bringing your laptop, phone or tablet to bed will make your sleep worse.
I'm not a big fan of power naps, but I know many people are, so you'll have to see how they work for you. Personally, I always wake up feeling more drowsy than before the nap — so I don't see the point really.
Get an accountability partner
Cheating on yourself is easy, but sticking to your plan becomes harder when you get an accountability partner.
Join a group of like-minded people
Find someone with the same mindset or business as you. Get together, bounce ideas and experiences. This will skyrocket your success and the time it takes to achieve it.
If you live in a bigger city, you should be able to find a master-mind group for your business. Do a search online for your ‘city/area + mastermind'. If you can't find something that appeals to you, do a search for online mastermind groups
Write things down
Before you write down something, it's not tangible. Writing down your goals, your to-dos and even keeping a diary, will take them out of your head and make them real.
Use a Pomodoro
A pomodoro, italian for tomato, is basically a kitchen timer — and a work system designed to increase your productivity and save you time. A timer like this let's you split up your workday in 25 minute intervals — a pomodoro — with 5 minutes between each.
Depending on how you structure your day, you can do 4 pomodoros, then take a longer break, and continue this way.
Fasting — not eating for a period of time — has been proven to increase your concentration and focus. Personally I fast until 2 PM, have my pre-workout meal, work out, and 1 hour later I'll have a larger post-workout meal. After this I fast.
For me, fasting has made it easier to get up in the morning, increased my concentration and overall made me more productive. Instead of having the post-lunch slump where everyone in the office wants nothing but sleep, you can stay productive throughout the workday.
You'll also don't waste time snacking or eating lunch.
Feed your brain
Your mind needs proper nutrition, just like your body. Nootropics are mind-drugs, designed to increase your cognition, memory, focus and concentration. Have you ever seen the movie Limitless with the mysterious NZT-48 drug?
There you can see what nootropics can do with your life. All though NZT-48 as they call it in the movie is a fictional drug, there are many supplements that can do the same for you.
Use to-do lists — long term and short term
I write down all my goals. Long term and short term.
I have to-do lists for the next month, the next year, the next five years … and the next five hours. I like to keep these in a my notebooks — simple pen and paper. Some of you may prefer to use Evernote or similar tools — and that's perfectly fine too.
Do what you do best — outsource the rest
Today, you can outsource all your mundane boring tasks to virtual assistants (VAs). From setting up your website, proff reading, translating, filtering or answering your email … the list goes on. You can hire people for a few dollars per hour, and you can focus on your core operations — the things that actually make you money.
Photo by Dennis Hammilton, CC