25 votes

What are your productivity hacks?

What are your techniques/tricks for being more productive day to day?

20 comments

  1. [3]
    nacho
    Link
    Just start. Got something due in two weeks? Just start today, not tomorrow, today. Just start. Do 15 minutes on it. Want to work out more often? Put on your work-out gear and just step outside the...

    Just start.

    Got something due in two weeks? Just start today, not tomorrow, today. Just start. Do 15 minutes on it.

    Want to work out more often? Put on your work-out gear and just step outside the door, close the door and go back inside again. Do this three times a week.


    The trick is that you'll never just do 15 minutes worth. You'll never just turn around once you've got everything ready to do and have walked outside the house whether that's to paint a fence or go to the store, whatever.

    Starting is a job half done. When I started doing this in every part of my life, a lot of things you just finish within those 15 minutes of not procrastinating.

    22 votes
    1. adventurer
      Link Parent
      Great tip! I've found this especially useful for tasks I'm really dreading that I know will take awhile (taxes, budgeting, gift shopping, etc.). If I just tell myself I'll start and put 15 minutes...

      Great tip! I've found this especially useful for tasks I'm really dreading that I know will take awhile (taxes, budgeting, gift shopping, etc.). If I just tell myself I'll start and put 15 minutes in, I usually end up realizing it's not so bad and spending more time on it, and worst case scenario, I've gotten a start on whatever it is and am ready to put another 15 minutes in later.

      Thanks for sharing!

      6 votes
    2. [2]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. adventurer
        Link Parent
        Damn, this hits close to home. My ~/Developer/projects probably has about 50 abandoned ideas in it. Good luck sticking with the course and then bringing your idea to reality!!!

        Damn, this hits close to home. My ~/Developer/projects probably has about 50 abandoned ideas in it. Good luck sticking with the course and then bringing your idea to reality!!!

        2 votes
  2. [4]
    adventurer
    Link
    Some of my own: Go to bed early, wake up early: My friend told me about this concept of decision fatigue where by the end of the day, it's a lot more difficult to make good, productive decisions...

    Some of my own:

    • Go to bed early, wake up early: My friend told me about this concept of decision fatigue where by the end of the day, it's a lot more difficult to make good, productive decisions (i.e. should I clean my room or watch youtube videos? Should I work on this side project or browse Reddit?). By shifting my sleep schedule to have more time in the morning, I'm able to do things like clean, work on side projects, and tackle my todoist while I still have lots of mental energy, before I go to work.
    • Have an accountability partner (or several): Find someone who wants to form the same habit as you (getting up early, journaling daily, eating healthy, limiting social media, etc.), and set up a deal with them that every day, if one of you doesn't do the habit, you owe the other person something. Could be a few dollars, could be a cup of coffee, could be something else. For me, at first I didn't love the idea of using money as an incentive to improve myself, but once I tried it, I found that it's actually incredibly motivating. I think it's important that both people are involved in forming a habit though, or else it's easy to fall off and stop paying for failures. Having someone else helps because if you fail to do the thing, you not only are losing money, but it's slightly embarrassing too, especially if it happens repeatedly.
    • Use the Pomodoro technique, and tell someone how many pomos you plan to get done at the beginning of the day: The pomodoro technique essentially boils down to working distraction-free for 25 minutes, taking a 5 minute break, then repeating. I find the if I have a goal for how many of these "pomos" I will get done, I'm way more likely to view my day in terms of them, instead of getting caught up in long distractions (we've all had the experience of suddenly realizing you spent an hour researching something completely useless!).
    12 votes
    1. [3]
      trojanhorse
      Link Parent
      I have always wanted an accountability partner. If anyone on here wants one - I'll police you if you police me. We can make it fun. I really like that Pomodoro technique idea. I kind of do...

      I have always wanted an accountability partner. If anyone on here wants one - I'll police you if you police me. We can make it fun.

      I really like that Pomodoro technique idea. I kind of do something like it with my job and it seems to work. Need to research into it more I guess.

      3 votes
      1. nacho
        Link Parent
        For me the Pomodoro technique is sometimes amazing, other times it just breaks workflow or long trains of thought too often that it actively becomes a detriment. But for things like reading, or...

        For me the Pomodoro technique is sometimes amazing, other times it just breaks workflow or long trains of thought too often that it actively becomes a detriment.

        But for things like reading, or responding to email, or whatever else that you can start and stop, it's so good. More often than not I don't end up taking the full 5 minute break, but just spending 2 minutes to get up, walk down the corridor and back can really speed things up. Itching to finish whatever off once I get back to the desk.

        2 votes
      2. adventurer
        Link Parent
        I recommend the app Forest for tracking your pomos. You "grow trees" by staying focused for the whole 25 minutes (or however long you choose) and then at the end of the day you can see how your...

        I recommend the app Forest for tracking your pomos. You "grow trees" by staying focused for the whole 25 minutes (or however long you choose) and then at the end of the day you can see how your little forest of trees for the day. It also will kill your tree if you leave the app in the middle of growing a tree, so it help avoid phone-related distractions. If you're skeptical, I'd say still just give it a try for a couple days... It's free so there's nothing to lose!

        And I'd be down to be your accountability partner! Shoot me a pm and we can figure it out :)

        1 vote
  3. kfwyre
    Link
    My tip isn't so much about increasing productivity but about reducing burnout. When I have periods during which I am very productive or efficient, I take a moment to give myself a mental high-five...

    My tip isn't so much about increasing productivity but about reducing burnout. When I have periods during which I am very productive or efficient, I take a moment to give myself a mental high-five or pat on the back. It's juvenile, but I almost always tell myself this exact phrase: "I am kicking ass today." With my job, it is quite impossible to ever be on top of or ahead of my work. As such, I used to spend a lot of time fretting about the things I wasn't able to get done rather than the huge amounts of work I was actually doing, and that is perfect fuel for burnout.

    Taking regular moments during my week to acknowledge my successes has helped me stave off disillusionment in a demanding job. I think the burnout will eventually win, as I can only fight the tide for so long, but for now I'm able to manage things partially due to positive self-talk and acknowledging my wins.

    6 votes
  4. [2]
    Akir
    Link
    The Pomodoro technique is the most effective cult productivity system I have tried. The secret is that it's basically all other productivity systems combined into one. It takes things that other...

    The Pomodoro technique is the most effective cult productivity system I have tried.

    The secret is that it's basically all other productivity systems combined into one. It takes things that other systems ask you to do but you never want to do (like time tracking), and makes it more gratifying. And since you are thinking in time blocks instead of absolute units of time, it's more flexible and less discouraging if you miss the deadline you set.

    3 votes
    1. cfabbro
      Link Parent
      For the curious: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomodoro_Technique

      For the curious:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomodoro_Technique

      1. Decide on the task to be done.
      2. Set the pomodoro timer (traditionally to 25 minutes).
      3. Work on the task.
      4. End work when the timer rings and put a checkmark on a piece of paper.
      5. If you have fewer than four checkmarks, take a short break (3–5 minutes), then go to step 2.
      6. After four pomodoros, take a longer break (15–30 minutes), reset your checkmark count to zero, then go to step 1.
      3 votes
  5. [4]
    EscReality
    Link
    I started "time tracking" using Toggl a while ago. I originally heard about it on "Cortex" last year, downloaded it but never really messed around with it until recently. I don't always do it, but...

    I started "time tracking" using Toggl a while ago. I originally heard about it on "Cortex" last year, downloaded it but never really messed around with it until recently.

    I don't always do it, but I have been trying to do it more and more. It's really interesting seeing where you spend your time and allows yourself to be more productive.

    The podcast I linked can explain its benefits better than I can. It's been an interesting experience.

    4 votes
    1. [3]
      adventurer
      Link Parent
      Thanks for the link! Would you recommend listening to the whole podcast? An hour and a half seems kind of long but if it's one of those podcasts that really changes how you think, then I'll...

      Thanks for the link! Would you recommend listening to the whole podcast? An hour and a half seems kind of long but if it's one of those podcasts that really changes how you think, then I'll totally listen!

      1. PetitPrince
        Link Parent
        I would certainly recommend it. Stolen from another of my comment:

        I would certainly recommend it. Stolen from another of my comment:

        [T]he show's scope evolved from "let's see Grey's crazy productivity work setup" to "let's have a bimonthly-ish meeting to discuss about stuff around our respective work (and record it for the public while we're at it)".
        It was even noticed by the show hosts in one of the earlier episodes, and they decided to keep the format because it helped them to ask the right questions about how they work.
        I think it's still valuable because of as a listener I can ask the same question as they do to my work (with the caveat that they are both independant media producers) , and because I have a glimpse on a practical example on a person that lives by the system he has out in place (Grey robot persona is certainly earned). And also because they are quite entertaining.

        3 votes
      2. EscReality
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        If you have the time and are interested in the topic, I would listen to it. They do a great job explaining how they use timetracking and the benefits they get from it. But, they do like to ramble...

        If you have the time and are interested in the topic, I would listen to it. They do a great job explaining how they use timetracking and the benefits they get from it. But, they do like to ramble on a bit (hence the length).

        1 vote
  6. [3]
    AllMight
    Link
    I've tried all kinds of timers and techniques to become more productive but the biggest gain was just keeping tracking of what I need to do next. I use 'Day One' and update my todo list everyday a...

    I've tried all kinds of timers and techniques to become more productive but the biggest gain was just keeping tracking of what I need to do next.

    I use 'Day One' and update my todo list everyday a couple times a day. I keep track of what I'm doing now and the next 2 - 3 things that I need to get done. If something gets blocked I move on to the next thing.

    The second biggest gain I got was something I call the Work Organization Template. I realized the biggest source of procrastination was when I didn't know what to do and getting more organized helped with that.

    Here's my template

    Work Organizational Template

    What am I doing ?

    What do I know?

    What do I have?

    How do I test this?

    How do I know it's safe for prod?

    How do I declare success?

    Which Means I need to ?

    Design

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      666
      Link Parent
      This is my biggest issue. Thanks so much for your template, I'm going to copy it to my notebook.

      I realized the biggest source of procrastination was when I didn't know what to do and getting more organized helped with that.

      This is my biggest issue. Thanks so much for your template, I'm going to copy it to my notebook.

      2 votes
      1. AllMight
        Link Parent
        I'm glad it can help someone. Productivity as a topic is so wide open, because there are so many things that can hamper productivity. I used to work in an environment that was very carefully...

        I'm glad it can help someone. Productivity as a topic is so wide open, because there are so many things that can hamper productivity. I used to work in an environment that was very carefully planned and designed, it was something I never had to think about. When I moved to my current job I had a really big culture shock because very little was planned and each individual as responsible for figuring this stuff out. It took me a really long to figure out why I wasn't getting the performance and productivity I wanted.

        1 vote
  7. [2]
    trojanhorse
    Link
    I just remind myself how disappointed I'll be with myself. I have a fairly large property for living in the city and when the sun is up and the weather is nice - if I don't get out and take care...

    I just remind myself how disappointed I'll be with myself. I have a fairly large property for living in the city and when the sun is up and the weather is nice - if I don't get out and take care of stuff I get so down when the sun goes down. And I get onto myself for "wasting" the daylight and weather. It's much easier to be motivated on the weekends, but certain weeks I need to do stuff during the week to get a head start on what I want to complete that weekend. So I just kind of nag myself, "Look you're gonna be mad at yourself later. It's not even that much. Just the pre work."

    Another big part of it is just getting to it. Get home, walk in door, have work clothes sitting on dryer right there by door, change, and get right outside. I change and get outside within 3 minutes of getting home.

    But it helps I like working outside. I just need that kick in the pants to get me going. I think that is the biggest thing that works for me. Just making myself get right to it. If I am sitting down and I know I need to do something and if I ever say to myself - Ten minutes and I'll do it. I just make myself get right up. Because I know if I say ten minutes, it will turn into an hour. Same with my job. I'll just take a quick 5 minute break and check Tildes or the news. Five more minutes. As soon as I say that to myself I know it's time to get to work.

    3 votes
    1. adventurer
      Link Parent
      I so relate to this!! I've done something slightly similar to help me get up and out quickly in the morning - I pack my backpack, lay out my workout clothes, set my helmet, untied shoes, and...

      I so relate to this!! I've done something slightly similar to help me get up and out quickly in the morning - I pack my backpack, lay out my workout clothes, set my helmet, untied shoes, and backpack by the door, and put my headphones in the pocket of my workout shorts so that as little energy is required as possible in the morning.

      I think I need to take your last comment to heart - any time you think "I'll just spend five minutes on Tildes/Reddit/Insta," forcing yourself to go do whatever you're procrastinating. Thanks for sharing!!

      2 votes
  8. Grendel
    Link
    This is more of a tool than a hack, but I find using software designed for tracking tasks is very helpful. Personally I use a tool called Org-Mode. Its great, but it's kind of archaic has a steep...

    This is more of a tool than a hack, but I find using software designed for tracking tasks is very helpful. Personally I use a tool called Org-Mode. Its great, but it's kind of archaic has a steep learning curve. Any Kan Ban style board can also be helpful. Just google it, you can even set it up with sticky notes and a white board.

    The biggest key is to write something down then stop thinking about it until you work on it. Thinking about task B while trying to work on task A makes you less efficient.

    3 votes