Our blog, Bloggers Passion, made $106,000 in 2018, so we know how much hard it is to take a blog from 0 to making several thousand dollars a year.
Your inbox is filled with a lot of junk and hundreds of unread emails. You spend countless hours working every single day and still don’t feel like finishing your to-do list.
We get it. We are all consuming a ton of information both online and offline. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. But only few people get more things done in a day what others can’t finish even in a week.
So what’s the secret? Here are few top productivity hacks you must know and master to get more things done in less time.
1. Use The Pomodoro Technique
Want to boost your productivity? Use the pomodoro technique.
Here’s how it works.
Choose a task to be accomplished (it can be anything from creating a video to doing a podcast) and set the Pomodoro to 25 minutes (you can use a Pomodoro timer or app).
Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings, then take a short break (5 minutes break).
For every 4 Pomodoros, take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes. That’s how you can stay focused while working online.
The average focused attention for modern humans is around 10 minutes. We’re living in the digital world where we’re bombarded with so much of information.
So it’s easier to get distracted especially when you’re working online. That’s why Pomodoro technique works like a charm which helps you focus on finishing your tasks without distractions.
Quick note: Pomodoro technique can frustrate especially when you’re starting out. So take longer breaks and reward yourself with something whenever you finish a pomodoro.
If you’re still finding it hard to focus on one particular task for 25 minutes, you can start small.
Here’s how you can do it.
Put your phone on Do Not Disturb, block social media (you can use an extension like Time Warp. Now set your timer to 15 minutes and start.
You’ll still get distracted. If the distraction pulls you away from the task, reset the timer back to 15 and start again.
Once you get used to it, you can start giving a try to Pomodoro technique where you will be working on a task for 25 minutes non-stop.
2. Implement Parkinson’s Law
Parkinson’s law says that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”.
In simple words, the longer period of time you give yourself to finish a task, the more difficult it becomes. When you give yourself too much time to complete a task or project, you are creating room for unwanted complexity.
The key to implement Parkinson’s law is to set deadlines.
Instead of waiting for a perfect day to start your most important task or project, set a deadline. Make sure to divide your tasks into multiple small chunks so you can finish them within your deadline.
3. Cultivate The Habit of “Inbox Zero”
One of the biggest mistakes most people make is they open their email first thing in the morning which is a surefire way to waste your time.
Avoid checking email first thing in the morning. It is too easy to get sidetracked by responding to messages.
Cultivate the habit of “Inbox zero”. It means, you should take your Inbox to zero. Whenever an email comes in, either read or respond or delete the same day. Don’t let your emails sit in your Inbox forever.
Seeing thousands of unread emails in your Inbox won’t help you in any way.
Here are few simple yet most powerful ways to handle your email Inbox to save more time in a day.
- Open your email Inbox only twice a day. Once in the morning and late at night (or once you’re done finishing your tasks for the day).
- Remove all the clutter. Unsubscribe from the majority of the email newsletters that you don’t read often.
- Use a tool like Inbox Pause to keep emails from showing up in your Inbox until you’re ready for them.
4. Block “Time Consuming” Websites
Use a tracker like Rescue Time or Toggl to keep an eye on what you’re doing throughout the day. These time tracker apps help you easily find which sites you’re mostly visiting and how much time you’re spending on such sites so you can easily figure out your “time sucking” sites.
Once you’re done with it, use tools like StayFocusd to block all the sites which are distracting and wasting most of your time.
Quick tip: If you’re looking for an easy tutorial on starting a blog, check out this post how to launch a blog from scratch.
5. Create 3 MITs for The Day
Most people create daily to-do lists. A to-do list allows you to finish your tasks for the day. Most of the times, we never finish all the tasks we put in our to-do lists. We often delegate the tasks for the next day or week.
There’s another better productivity hack you can use to get more things done in less time which is practicing MITs (Most Important Tasks).
Every day, create a list of just 2 to 3 MITs, and focus on getting them done as soon as possible. Keep this list separate from your general to-do list.
6. Say No More Often
When Bill Gates first met Warren Buffett, their host, Gates’ mother, asked everyone around the table to share the single most important factor to their success. Gates and Buffett both gave the same one-word answer: “Focus.”
The billionaire investor and one of the world’s richest persons Warren Buffett says no to almost everything. He also follows the 5-Hour Rule and spends 80% of his time reading and thinking.
That said, here’s how Buffett deals with distractions via his personal pilot, Michael Flint. Buffett once walked Flint through his 3 step strategy for prioritization which you too can consider implementing for better results.
- First, Buffett had Flint write his top 25 goals on a piece of paper. Write your goals down now.
- Next, he had him circle the top 5. So far, nothing special.
- Finally, he had Flint take the 20 goals he did NOT circle and put them on an “avoid-at-all-cost” list.
Then, Buffett advised Flint: “No matter what, these things get no attention from you until you’ve succeeded with your top 5.”
As they say 80% of your outcome comes from 20% of your inputs. Focusing on your most important tasks and saying no the rest of the stuff can dramatically boost your productivity.
This similar strategy helped our site Bloggers Passion to earn over $106,000 in just one year and also implementing the same strategy for our other blog as well i.e. Hosting Monks.
7. Stop Multitasking At All Costs
If you chase two rabbits, you catch none.
Working on multiple things at once doesn’t make you productive. In fact, you take a longer time if you are trying to finish multiple tasks at once. It also reduces the quality of your tasks by multitasking.
The biggest productivity hack is “monotasking”. It means, find just ONE thing to focus on. Work on it until you finish it. Then, move on to the next one thing. That’s how you get more things done in a day.
8. Your First Waking Hour Matters A Lot
Did you know that most successful people wake up early?
Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey wakes up at 5:30 to meditate and go for a six-mile jog. He kept up that routine during a period where he shuttled back and forth between Square and Twitter, spending around 8 hours a day at both companies.
How you spend your first waking hour determines the rest of your day. In fact, your first hour makes or breaks your day. So spending your first waking hour productively can give you outstanding results
Here are few ideas to spend your first hour productively.
- Write 10 ideas a day. James Altucher says writing 10 ideas a day for 6 months can change your life completely.
- Write 3 things you’re grateful for.
- Mediate for 5 to 10 minutes. You can even use sites like Calm.com to practice meditation for few minutes. It works like a charm.
9. Deal Your Distractions Like A Pro
Surfing websites is a lot of fun. But it often kills your productivity. Here are few ways to deal your distractions like a pro.
If you find something interesting to read online, you can use tools like Pocket to save them for later (you can read all such interesting articles saved in Pocket whenever you’ve free time). That way you won’t get distracted while working on your most important tasks for the day.
Turn off email and mobile notifications
As discussed above, email is a big time waster. There’s no point of enabling your email notifications when you’re working on something really important. Turn off your email notifications and process your Inbox only once or twice a day.
Similarly, turn off your mobile notifications such as frequently checking out your WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram notifications as they kill your productivity. It’s better to turn off your phone’s Wifi and keep it in silent mode while working on most important tasks.
10. Reward Yourself
Incentives work like a charm. Don’t underestimate the power of incentives. If you reward yourself with something nice each time you finish a task, you’ll feel rejuvenated. It helps you finish even more tasks.
Here are few ideas to reward yourself after a long productive day at work.
- Go to a coffee shop. Or go on a dinner date. You can have that crazy delicious candy if you’ve accomplished the most daunting tasks for the day or week.
- Go online and surf your favorite websites. Watch Netflix. Go check out those TV shows.
- You can try travel rewards like horse riding, star gazing, mini-vacations etc or you can also consider shopping rewards like plea market, buy a new book, a new app, new outfit or anything that you’re waiting to buy for a long time.
- Try gardening. Gardening is one of the best ways to ignite your productivity and creativity. If you haven’t yet, you can consider giving a try to home gardening.
- Just relax. If nothing works, just relax, stay calm. Practice meditation (tip: use Calm.com). Rewind your goals. Find out how you’re dealing every day at work and life. Retrospection helps.
Final thoughts about top 10 productivity hacks
Getting more things done in less time is a skill. Always remember “how you start your day is how you end your day”.
You should first change your daily routine if you want to get more done in a day. Find out your time wasters, eliminate and say no most of the things. Your day starts by creating a daily routine, so make it as much productive as possible.
So what are your thoughts? Did you find the above productivity hacks useful?
Anil Agarwal blogs at Bloggers Passion where he is writing about topics related to blogging, SEO, affiliate marketing and email marketing.