Credit: Arbron at Flickr Creative Commons

Hacking your productivity to improve your life.

We all want to get as much done in as little time as possible with no more than the required amount of effort. A tough formula, but this is absolutely achievable with the right mindset and a little help from these hacks!

1. Destroy the hardest, most uncomfortable task first

Look at your to-do list and so long as it is a relevant task to your success hit the toughest thing first — make this the priority over everything else. By doing so, you can guarantee feeling absolutely great after knocking it out of the park and you can go into all your other tasks knowing that the one which normally hangs over you all day is done with.

2. Get up early

This doesn’t mean get out of bed early simply to stick your nose against the grindstone. It wouldn’t be a good hack it that’s what it was! Instead, get up 30 minutes before you normally would and get yourself ready for the day without rushing. Have a good breakfast and maybe even do a quick bodyweight exercise circuit to get the blood pumping.

Once this is done, get to the office slightly earlier, grab a coffee and hit the day full on. You’ll feel all the better for it!

3. Plan your day, the evening before

This simple change to the way you work will help you sleep better and ensure that your time outside of work is spent without worrying about any baggage left at the office.

As you go through your day, look to delegate less important tasks to tomorrow if you need to. At the end of the day, go through these tasks and add in everything else you need to achieve the next day. Be lean and make sure only the relevant work makes the cut. Once you’ve done this, quickly add up the amount of time each task will take and work out how quickly you can get everything done if you are focussed.

By planning your day out at this point, you can go home in the knowledge that nothing is left to chance and you significantly reduce the chance of any nasty surprises popping out to take apart your day! You’ll sleep better with fewer worries and importantly, you will come into work the next day and hit the ground running without having to work out what you have to do that day.

4. De-clutter

My mother always said ‘tidy desk, tidy mind’ and she was right. For years I let paperwork build up on my desk and left dozens of windows open on my desktop. This was not a good time for me!

Firstly, if your desk sounds like mine used to, then after you have done your to-do list for tomorrow, spend 30 minutes going through everything on your desk and eliminating everything you don’t need. Be ruthless! Scan in documents you need and recycle the surplus paper. Once you have done this, spend 5 minutes or so a day making sure you maintain this, I normally do it at the end of every day so I come into a clean workspace the next morning.

Now this is done, you can simply focus on getting done and making mincemeat of your workload!

5. Meetings are evil, avoid them

I have some book reviews coming up, including some that have changed my perceptions forever. One of the biggest things I’ve learnt is that meetings are evil. I will have a post coming up that focusses specifically on this, but in short; meetings tend to be disorganised, badly thought out and ultimately counter-productive. Most of all, they lead to an arbitrary series of actions there to make people feel important.

Try and get out of these wherever possible. Tell people you have a project that needs to take priority (chances are you probably do). Ask if you can be copied in on any notes that come out of it so you are in the loop. Feign interest, but get out if you can!

If you can’t, then speak to the person who has set up the meeting and ensure that the agenda is watertight and you have an agreed time limit on the meeting. This should reduce its impact on your day.

Let me know how you get on with these hacks, my productivity went through the roof since I added these to my day. I’d love to hear how they help manage your time so please comment.