The secret to productivity? It isn’t one secret, but a combination of simple changes that you can incorporate into your daily life that will make you more productive immediately.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur looking to run your business more efficiently or a stay-at-home parent trying to find time for yourself amidst the chaos, these simple productivity hacks will help you get it all done faster, better, and easier than ever before.
Who doesn’t want to be more productive? But who has the time? Productivity hacks can be simple, but you have to find the ones that work best for you and your daily life.
We all wish to get more done in less time, right? It’s always nice to be able to, but the demands of our daily lives seem to prevent it.
But, here’s the good news, “there are a number of ways you can become more productive right now, and they’re easier than you think” with proven productivity techniques.
There are several simple productivity hacks and techniques that can help keep you on track. These are the techniques we’ll look at today,
- The Pomodoro techniques
- The Delegating Techniques
- The Batching Techniques
- The 2-minute rule
- The 5-minute rule
- (Bonus) Time Blocking Techniques
By the end of the post, you will be able to learn these 5 simple, yet effective productivity techniques, and decide the one you want to start using from today.
Let’s dive in.
Technique Number 1: The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro technique is my number one recommendation and one of my favorite productivity hacks and an incredibly simple way to track time and stay focused.
The vibe here is that you want to work for 25 minutes and then have a five-minute break.
Work for 25-minutes and take a 5-minute break. Repeating 4–8times to achieve an important task
The pomodoro technique is an absolute classic that’s been used mostly by students as a way of motivating themselves to work. Of course, I use it too because it just works.
It’s a time management strategy developed by Francesco Cirillo in which you break down large projects into 25-minute intervals separated by short breaks (usually 5 minutes).
Each interval is known as a Pomodoro and has its own distinct task list—which means no switching from one task to another until each Pomodoro comes to an end.
If you’re just starting out with The Pomodoro Technique, try setting aside four Pomodoros per day (for a total of 1 hour) for five days per week—this will give you enough time to get used to how things work without feeling overwhelmed right away.
After about two weeks, you should feel comfortable increasing your daily Pomodoro count to six. As always, it’s important to keep in mind that working more doesn’t mean working better.
If you struggle with burnout or fatigue after following The Pomodoro Technique for a while, consider cutting back on how many times per day you use it and focusing on quality over quantity.
In other words, don’t use The Pomodoro Technique just because someone told you to; only use it if doing so actually helps make getting things done easier and more efficient.
Technique Number 2: The Delegating Concept
As a manager, it’s easy to get bogged down with all of your responsibilities. Doing so will only prevent you from completing your work in a timely manner.
Instead, delegate tasks to people who can more effectively complete them.
Tim Ferriss talks about this a lot in the four-hour workweek which is one book that’s most changed my life.
So the idea here is that you want to set an aspirational hourly rate.
Figuring out what our time is worth to us personally in like dollar amounts and then if there is stuff that we’re doing that we don’t enjoy then we can think about delegating it to someone else if it is cheaper than the amount that we set as our aspirational hourly rate
Looking from another perception of delegating, you’ll also be able to better use your time and help other employees learn and develop new skills.
So, to implement the delegating techniques, figure out from your to-do list the project that someone else can complete, either a freelancer or a friend, or an employee. Then focus on the task that required your full attention.
In my case (as a blogger), I would focus on building close relationships with my audience and my fellow bloggers and outsource tasks like website design and article writing to freelancers.
Technique Number 3: The Task Batching Technique
Here’s a little story of how the task batching technique came into use.
Decades ago, Henry Ford adopted a technique that would change manufacturing forever known as the assembly line method.
Taking a cue from meatpacking plants in places like Chicago and Cincinnati, Ford placed workers in stationary positions and then brought pieces of the car to them along a moving line, and the results were incredible.
When Ford applied this technique to the building of the chassis for the Model T, workers went from taking over 12 hours to assemble a single chassis down to just 93 minutes, allowing cars to not only be produced much more quickly but at a much lower cost as well.
And while Ford certainly didn’t invent the assembly line, he popularized it, and what he also did was give us a tangible nuts-and-bolts example of a technique that we can actually apply to virtually any kind of work.
What Ford’s assembly line really leveraged was task batching.
What is Task Batching?
Task batching means organizing your tasks into groups or batches so that you can work more efficiently and get more done in less time.
Batching similar tasks together saves you time first by bundling the startup and the cleanup costs associated with each task.
See, almost anything you do requires some kind of setup time, a startup cost.
- Get out the correct tools.
- Set up your workspace.
- Sometimes you even have to get yourself to the correct location.
The Benefit of Batching task
Batching also has a couple of less obvious benefits.
One is that when you batch similar tasks together, you deal with less cognitive switching.
Now, if you’ve seen any of my videos on how focus works, you probably know that when you switch tasks, you get this cognitive switching penalty where your brain takes a while to really sink into the next task and you’re a little bit less productive for at least a few minutes.
Another interesting benefit comes when you batch by time.
So say you decide to process your email at 9:00 AM every single day. By setting a time for that task, you’re also implicitly defining when you don’t check your email.
How do you batch your tasks?
The idea is this, if you have tons and tons of emails, instead of checking email throughout the day at different times you check email all at once at the same time.
Using myself as an example (when creating articles)
- First, I perform my keyword research (which covers a whole month of content creation)
- Then, I write my first draft (I also outsource some)
- Once they are complete, I publish them (on a weekly basis)
- And finally, I optimized each article day after day (adding images, links, and fillers)
If you want to use the batching method, you first need to define the contexts of your work.
By context, I mean different aspects of a task, and there are many contexts that we could use. But for now, I just wanna cover some of the most useful ones.
Some tasks require a huge amount of mental energy, while others are a bit more low energy. For me, writing is probably the highest-energy task that I do.
While something like doing my bookkeeping is a much lower energy task. And by batching my tasks by energy level, I can be a bit more efficient.
And batching tasks by their energy level is especially useful if you know your biological prime time, which is a term from Chris Bailey’s book “The Productivity Project.”
Like most people, you probably have a window of time during the day where you feel the most on, the most focused.
So if you can figure out what that window is, you can do your high-energy tasks then and save the low-energy tasks for later.
Another great context is location, where you have to do the task.
If I’m filming for YouTube, for example, I need to be right here on set to film these videos, while I can be almost anywhere where I can get an internet connection to research or write the scripts for them.
The tools required are like one.
For some tasks, I need a camera and lights like here on the set. For others, I need my computer, and for some, I might even need a power drill. And finally, I’m gonna mention social interaction.
When I am writing, I am almost always in total isolation but for other things like answering my emails or checking in with my team; I have to be in a more social frame of mind.
Remember that your environment is a huge factor in your ability to focus on your work.
So if you can batch your tasks and get rid of the worst influencing factor on your ability to focus, all the better.
And you can actually use these contexts by applying them as a label on each of your tasks.
An organization app like Todoist even lets you do this by default. You can organize your work, create labels, you can apply them to each task, and then you can view each label to see your task batches really easily.
Next, you wanna decide where you’re gonna take care of the tasks in each context.
One of my favorite tips for getting things done is to batch similar tasks together.
Batching can take a lot of forms, but at its core, it’s about eliminating distractions by blocking out chunks of time dedicated to specific tasks.
For example, you might only check email on your computer for an hour each morning and then only respond to messages that require over two sentences to answer.
Or you might create a series of buckets throughout your day: First thing in the morning is one bucket, then lunch break another bucket, and so on.
Then during those times, you are 100% focused on those activities. By doing fewer things at once, you get more done.
And with today’s technology (email notifications and chat), we have constant reminders of what we need to do next. It makes us feel busy even when we aren’t actually productive.
By scheduling blocks of time where we don’t allow ourselves to be distracted by anything other than what’s right in front of us, we actually become much more productive because we’re not constantly being pulled away from our work by outside forces (like emails).
Technique Number 4: The Two Minute Rule
An easy productivity hack to add to your life is called The Two Minute Rule.
Put simply, it’s a rule that says you should do whatever it takes, in terms of time and effort, to accomplish something in less than two minutes.
Not only does The Two Minute Rule give you a more practical way of breaking down large projects into bite-sized tasks, but it also trains you to focus on what can be done immediately instead of worrying about all that needs doing.
By following The Two Minute Rule, you’re effectively programming yourself for success because every task is approached with an urgency that makes getting things done fast (and with little thought) priority number one.
As any successful entrepreneur will tell you, being productive doesn’t require much—just follow The Two Minute Rule and watch as your productivity skyrockets.
Technique Number 5: The 15-Minute Rule
With it, you divide up larger tasks so they are completed within a 15-minute period. This works best when there are several similar or related activities or errands that you can batch together.
For example, if your home office paperwork isn’t current or sorted properly, take 15 minutes straight to sort through everything; another 15 minutes can be spent at another point during the week filing paperwork.
At first glance, these steps might seem tedious and counterproductive, but they’re quite effective at helping reduce procrastination while ensuring you complete needed work faster than ever before.
(Bonus) The Time Blocking Techniques
The single most effective way to boost your productivity is also one of the simplest: block out chunks of time dedicated to specific tasks.
Working from a school, office, or home office doesn’t matter at all. Every task has an optimum time for completion.
Note when these best times are and schedule your day accordingly. If you keep switching between tasks or working at different times, you won’t be able to reach your full potential.
Time blocking ensures that nothing gets missed—you get everything done in its optimal window. This helps you avoid distraction, which is another important part of getting things done quickly.
When you give yourself enough uninterrupted time to focus on a project, it helps eliminate distractions like e-mail and phone calls so that you can focus on completing your project with 100% of your attention.