There will always be that day when you just don’t feel like doing anything. Well, maybe not like doing nothing at all – it’s more of not doing anything productive! At times like this, it’s just so hard to pick yourself up and say, ‘Hey! It’s time to quit Netflix and work!’. Ugh, the torture of getting up…
Well, I guess it’s really hard since we live in the modern world where everything is ‘faster’. This is the generation of the faster, better, smarter and more advanced — too advanced that there are things that people used to do in the past that doesn’t apply to the world we live in now. No wonder why life hacks are incredibly popular to people these days. Who wouldn’t enjoy knowing one, right? Here are some timeless fool-proof productivity hacks that will make you productive… not tomorrow, and surely, not the succeeding weeks or months, but now.
Use Your To-do Lists
To-do lists or MITS (Most Important Tasks) are important. They may sound like something that people usually overlook, but then again, I should emphasize that it is important to keep your lists. These lists are usually found everywhere, believe me. It can actually be found in that little device that you keep on looking at every, ugh, 2 minutes? Guess what, it’s your phone. Just look at that little piece of metal and use it at your advantage! All phones have to-do lists in them. You can also use the Note application to save some of your daily agenda.
Pretty accessible, huh? Not only that, but just by taking three to five minutes of your precious time to identify the things you need to accomplish for the day, can you greatly improve your overall productivity!
The principle behind it? You can never focus on your important work if you don’t know what’s important. Now get that phone and list what’s important to you. You will never know when it’s already too late… deadliest deadlines might kill you!
Think to Thrive, Not Just to Survive
So what does THAT exactly mean? Easy. I mentioned a while ago that everything that’s happening around us is more of in-a-fast-paced kind of life, and sometimes, we need something better than just go faster to keep up. We wake up, go to work, wait ‘till the moon comes up, and go back home — well, let’s admit it, we are investing more in our work not because we have to, but for the most part because we want more from it.
Beyond the work routine that you’ve been doing for the past years, you need to find the thing that matters. If you’re not sure why your ‘well’ has run dry, ask yourself. Have a little soul-searching and know who or what ‘waters’ your well. How good are you contributing, not just to the bottom line, but to your customers’ lives or even the world at large? You can start with this question as a part of self-improvement in your life. Knowing you have an impact can make a change. This will also help you be connected with your work and renew that relationship you have ever since you’ve applied to that job. It helps to have a little bit of self-check. This adjusts your perspective to a new frame of mind. I can say that it is essential because, hey! Without it, work overcomes your desire to keep paddling, and there, overwhelm ensues.
Let’s face it. Some people are really good at multi-tasking, while some suck. Although one can say that they’re good at it, doing more than two jobs at a time can be confusing and can oftentimes lead to error. Life isn’t a ‘multi-tab’ kind of thing. Even scientists say that none of us is truly a good multi-tasker. No, we’re not made to rush life. We are made to live life, even if everything around us is in fast-forward. Work on one thing at a time because this will make you faster and less apt to make mistakes.
You can do it like most people do, and it’s by prioritizing. If you follow our #1 work hack, you can incorporate this #3 principle and rank the things that you need to accomplish throughout the day. You can do the hardest task first then proceed to the easy ones or you can do the opposite. That simple!
To prove a point, check these out:
- Don’t Multitask: Your Brain Will Thank You
- 12 Reasons to Stop Multitasking Now!
- Why Multitasking Doesn’t Work
Be a Realistic Optimist
I got this quote on the internet and I can say that this instantly became my mantra. What does it mean to be a realistic optimist? It started from the idea that forcing yourself to only think positive does you disservice. It keeps the ‘optimist’ from acknowledging the risks and downsides, assuming that ‘it will all work out’ — even if it’s far from reality. With this, the realistic optimist is born. You can also say that a realistic optimist is a smart person who looks at the bright side of things while being realistically-inclined.
This idea was brought about by Oliver Burkeman in his book, “The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking” where he notes that “our constant efforts to eliminate the negative… is what causes us to feel so insecure, anxious, uncertain, or unhappy,”. Burkeman also advocates of embracing the ‘negative’ as an approach to happiness, thus, being realistic to the limitations that we have.
This may not be an inspiring work hack, but if you think about it, it does make sense. Having an idea of what your weaknesses and limitations will humble you down and will make you appreciate your strengths as a person. Knowing yourself can give a large impact in your skills and this will also give you an idea of what will work best in your life. If you want to be productive, you will — and that’s because you want it, and improving yourself is a goal.
For more of the realistic optimist:
- The Power of Being a Realistic Optimist
- Realistic Optimists May Have More Success and Happiness, Study Suggests
- Be an Optimist Without Being a Fool
Don’t Isolate Yourself
Does this sound like a work hack? When you first read this, it might not sound like one. But then again, there’s more to it. Let me explain. Isolation does not breed productivity. One good way to maintain a good and healthy pace is to stay connected with your team. This vital connection that often take for granted, particularly at times of stress, feeds our resilience. Your officemates are like your own set of ‘cooler’, and that is important especially if you’re the kind that works a lot. It’s not about the juicy gossiping and teasing of your co-workers, it’s about the sense of belonging that you get in your little community.
Just remember that a healthy environment, especially in the workplace, highly encourages good vibes and generates positive energy that increases productivity. The more you can encourage real and authentic relationship with the people you work with, the more power you give yourself and your team to cope with just about anything.
Do the Morning Routine
Do you know the morning routine? Well, that’s something that is popular in the movies. It’s when the main character wakes up and looks like he is the happiest man on earth! It sounds cliche, though this is proven to be true. For many people, defining and sticking to a routine can help. It doesn’t matter if you’re a morning or night person, as long as you wake up happy and tell yourself that it is going to be a good day — it will be.
When you wake up in the morning and you feel good about yourself, your whole day greatly improves its mood. Once you believe in yourself that you know how to operate at your best when you have exercised and had a good breakfast, making these things a priority will positively affect the rest of the day. Having a good mood and a positive outlook throughout the day will push you to do more and get tired less than those days when you have a bad mood! So always smile and be happy!
“I Can Do It” Instead of “I Must”
When you get to work and get your first salary, what do you do? If you’re like most people, you would probably spend it to buy something that you really, really like. There’s nothing bad about it, although external rewards can inspire productivity — only up to a point. There is a thin line between a fixation on doing everything to prove yourself to someone, and a real belief in your own abilities. The difference between the two is that the first is ego-driven (not to mention burnout); while the second is driven by self-improvement.
It just so happens that self-efficacy, or your ability to access resources and get the support you need to do needs doing, is the most empowering! When that is your goal, rather than perfection, life and work will be more sustainable. Self-empowering thoughts can always push you to do your best, and often times, our productivity depends on what we think about ourselves. Once we unlock this ability to choose a new perspective rather than join the bandwagon, greater rewards will come — rewards that will last.
Two Minute Rule
Some of you might already be familiar with this rule. The two-minute rule was popularized by David Allen, who is the author of ‘Getting Things Done’. Basically, it says that if the task will take you less than two minutes — just freakin’ do it! Don’t add it to your time anymore. It won’t help. And don’t even dare putting that in your to-do list if it only takes two minutes. Okay?
Drink More Water
Not only that this is good for you health, but it can also do a lot of good things in your body! Right after you wake up every morning, drink at least one glass of water. Since your body just went straight eight hours without any fluids, it is likely dehydrated, therefore; help yourself by drinking a glass! Hopefully your office has a bottleless water cooler or other water source to provide fresh water throughout the day as well.
In addition, water reacts with different body processes that will give you good results. It helps you think, acts as an appetite suppressant, helps your body flush out toxins, reduces the risk of having diseases, clears up your complexion, and the best part is — it helps you save money!
Eliminate, Automate, and Delegate
I sure do have a thing with rhymes, alright. These are three words that I hold most important when it comes to being a professional. This work hack will bring you to places and will sure be appreciated, not only by yourself, but also by your boss.
Eliminate. First is to eliminate anything you can from your To-do List in #1. This is one of the reasons why having a list is important. Knowing what to eliminate first will entirely depend on you, but for most people, they usually do the things they want to do the least. Why? Because prioritizing those items you are most likely to procrastinate will make your day go much smoothly. Eliminating them will be a big relief since they are no longer weighing in your mind.
Automate. Though it is better to work offline or take your work somewhere without an internet connection to force more focus in your work (only applicable if your job does not need an internet connection), tasks that can be automated with technology or templates will make your job easier. There are lots of applications and free programs out there that can easily alleviate what you’re doing! You just have to ask your seniors or even your friends, and you’ll be surprised!
Delegate. This is important. You might hate me for saying this, but, hey! You should already know the things that don’t need your personal attention! That’s right. I guess that explains it clearly.
To wrap it all up, these are the five work hacks that would help you be productive in your work! This might be something new to you, just remember: you don’t need a fancy system for productivity. A productive life is not something you just purchase in Ebay, it’s something you work for and the catch is — it offers you that sense of fulfillment and peace of mind. Just a few timeless habits will help you lead that productive life. It doesn’t matter if you’re a family-person, a single man or woman, or even a college student.
The thing is… you just have to believe in yourself that you can. To start something, you have to do it now.
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