This week, we’re talking about improving productivity. I am a little bit of a freak about productivity. I’ve heard a lot of tips and hacks over the past few years about how to improve the way we get work done so we can do more in less time and, ultimately, maintain work/life balance. A lot of tips out there recommend increasing the number of apps and tools you use to manage your workflow. While I do think there are some tools (I’m a fan of the Tomato Timer and paper to-do lists) that can increase your ability to focus and get work done, for the most part, I think productivity can be improved through self-management.
Sometimes it can be as simple as setting boundaries for yourself (will the world stop if you don’t check your email after hours?) and changing the way you think about work. Check out these two unique productivity hacks that might change the way you work:
START OUT YOUR DAY WITH THE MOST IMPORTANT OR DIFFICULT TASK ON YOUR LIST
I heard this tip recently and realized that I was often using the opposite approach — starting with easy things I knew I could knock out early in the morning and leaving the whales on my to-do list for the afternoon. That was leading to some pretty daunting afternoons and distracted mornings thinking about how I was going to accomplish the most important tasks on my list.
Mark Twain once said, “If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” Amen, Mark.
If you tackle the most important and difficult items on your list early in the morning, your day can look a lot less discouraging. Beyond that, you can make room for emergencies throughout the day if the rest of your day is pretty flexible in terms of priorities and weight of your tasks. I highly recommend starting this practice — it’s changed the way I think about work within the past few weeks.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO LEAVE TASKS INCOMPLETE AND COME BACK TO THEM LATER
In a recent Forbes article, some advice from Wharton School Professor and author Adam Grant suggested instead of trying to get a task to a logical stopping point, leave your task at an incomplete point. Grant said that research reveals we have “a better memory for incomplete, rather than complete tasks. Complex tasks are often better handled in the back of our mind.”
Grant also said, “If I finish a paragraph [when I’m writing], it takes a while to get back to where I left it three days earlier. But if I left a sentence unfinished, more often than not, I can literally dive right back into where I was.” You can read more productivity hacks from Grant in the Forbes article here.
Do you have any unique productivity hacks to suggest? Leave us a comment or send us a tweet @StarrConspiracy to let us know!