7 Simple Hacks to Increase Your Productivity

productivity Nov 01, 2022

Complexity is the gateway to procrastination.

The above quote is something I've not only been saying for a long time but also deeply believe in.

Complexity is the enemy of productivity.

Keep things as simple as you can.

Thus this list of seven SIMPLE hacks to increase your productivity.

1) Get up before the sun.

I've been getting up before the sun for so long that I can't remember the last time I didn't.

It's weird, but I feel like I'm cheating because I'm getting a head start on so many.

But getting up before the sun is not earth-shatteringly magical unless you do something productive. If you merely get up and endlessly (mindlessly?) scroll on social media or watch the news, you probably would've been better off staying asleep - at least your body could be resting (and healing itself).

If the thought of getting up before the sun intimidates you (because you've never done it or it's been a while), ease into it.

For example, if the sun "wakes up" at 7:15 am and you're used to getting up around 9 am, start waking up at 8:45, then 8:30, until you get to 6:45 (I recommend aiming for 30 minutes before the sunrise).

Once you achieve your goal, stay consistent, so it becomes a habit.

Yes, this means getting up before the sun every day!

2) Plan your tomorrow the night before.

Straight forward here.

At the end of every day, gift yourself five to 15 minutes to think about your tomorrow.

  • How many hours are you going to work?
  • What's already on your schedule?
  • How much time do you need to fill?
  • What needle-moving activities can you fit into the available time?

3) As much as possible, stay away from people and activities that are negative and energy-draining.

I've yet to come across someone who is negative 24/7 and who is productive. They're probably out there (and I'd be interested in having them on The Mark Struczewski Podcast), but they are definitely a rarity.

Tony Robbins talks A LOT about being in state.

You're always in some state.

The goal is to be in a productive state. Negativity won't get you there.

4) Reduce physical, emotional, and mental clutter.

Physical clutter is easy to understand: anything you don't need for the current task should be removed from your eyesight.

But reducing emotional and mental clutter is just as important.

Worry, stress, negativity (see number 3 above), anxiety, depression, and others affect your ability to focus and get things done.

5) Spend some time being quiet.

I get it: you've got a lot to do.

But to be productive, you've got to take breaks.

Whenever you begin to feel overwhelmed or stressed (not after you've reached a tipping point!):

  • Get up from where you're working.
  • Walk outside. If it's cold, grab a jacket. If it's raining, stand under shelter. If you have to take the elevator to the ground floor, do it. No excuses here.
  • Do not get on your phone.
  • Do not talk to anyone.
  • Refrain from thinking about what you worked on, are working on, or will work on (including upcoming meetings).
  • Just be quiet. Consider closing your eyes and taking several deep breaths.
  • Even better: take a short walk around the block or the parking lot. If there are some trees near you (or woods), walk over there and listen to the birds singing and the wind blowing through the trees.
  • Micro-breaks can take anywhere from a few minutes to 10 or 15 minutes. The length is not what matters but about taking a break and relaxing your brain.

6) Do what you love.

When you're doing what you love to do (preferably where you love to do it), it's much easier to be productive.

While not impossible to be productive doing stuff you don't like to do, it's more challenging.

If you're not doing what you love right now, gift yourself some time to think about this. Go somewhere quiet with a notebook, pen, and water, and freestyle write what you love to do. I promise you that something will jump off the page for you.

And when you have an idea, begin to implement it. Start!

7) Get plenty of consistent, quality sleep.

Aim for seven to nine hours every day that ends in "y." This means Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and on holidays and vacations.

When you're fully rested, you give your body the energy to help you get things done.

Bonus: combine number 1 and number 7 (it's what I do)! I wear an Apple Watch to bed to track my sleep, but in 6 out of 7 mornings, I'm awake before the Apple Watch alarm goes off.

Which of these seven things are you not doing now that you will begin starting today or tomorrow?

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