Another week is over, and once again you’re assessing your wins and losses.
And once again, you’re unhappy with your overall performance. Results just weren’t good enough. What you achieved? It wasn’t enough.
The primary reason comes down to productivity — or lack of it.
As you’re probably aware, there is a LOT of productivity hacks. But what happens when we find that these so-called amazing hacks that supposedly work for other people aren’t working for us? Is the hack itself a lie, a gimmick?
Or are we the problem? Are we not executing it properly?
It’s probably the latter. In this article, I’m going to show you how to make productivity hacks work for you and not against you.
Check your emails at specific times
I remember reading Tim Ferris’s book The 4 Hour Work Week and being shocked at how much time he used to waste on emails. The guy’s inbox was literally clogged with emails and checking them was slowing him down.
If emails are slowing you down too, it’s time to check them at specific times only.
However, there is a right and a wrong time to check them. First thing in the morning is the wrong time because an email from an irked client who has bad news is going to put you into the wrong frame of mind before the day has even got started.
Checking your emails just before bed is the wrong time, too. The last thing you want is to go to bed with work on your mind.
The best times, then, to check your emails are:
- Lunch (when your day is in full swing and you’ve built momentum)
- At the end of the working day (make sure this is not just before bed)
Say “No” to people
A lot of people get this one twisted because, of course, you can’t take it as gospel to the point where you’re saying no to everyone.
The thing is that saying no to people doesn’t have to mean you literally say “No! Go away!” all the time. Instead, to make this awesome productivity hack work for you, look at it like this:
Let’s say you’ve had a busy day and that the rest of your week is looking insanely busy, too. A friend then gets in touch and asks if you can help with their spreadsheet. Normally, you would oblige and say yes — even if you don’t really want to. But now that you’re saying no to people, you tell them straight that you can’t help them.
They become upset with you and things get tense.
Instead of flat-out saying “No”, try saying this instead:
“Sorry, I’m a bit busy right now. I’ll let you know later if I can help, okay?”
Saying no to people is a matter of asserting yourself and setting up boundaries. To make this productivity hack work for you, it’s also about knowing what your priorities are. What should you be saying no to and what would it benefit you to say yes to?
Grant Cardone writes in his book The 10X Rule that he always says yes to people until he has to say no. However, that is hardly good for productivity.
Hire a virtual assistant
A virtual assistant can rocket your productivity like nothing else. The VA will take care of all the small and mundane tasks that were eating into your time, while you’re free to focus on the aspects of your business and life that will really allow you to grow.
Like the other productivity hacks in this article, though, hiring a VA can work against you. Before long, they could be calling you up and sending you emails every five minutes.
To make hiring a virtual assistant work for you, here are some tips:
1) Communicate — without proper communication, this is going to get messy and misunderstandings will slow things down. Arrange it so that you check in via phone once per day, at least to start with.
2) Share your expectations — What is it you want from your VA? How many hours per week do you need them for?
3) Build rapport — Be their friend who gets along with them.
4) Correct them ASAP — If they make mistakes or do things different to how you want them to be done, correct them as soon as possible so that you can keep moving forwards.
Batch your tasks
One of the problems with productivity hacks is that there are so many of them.
We’re told to blast our favourite music in the morning to get us in the zone.
We’re told to work out to give us more energy and make us fitter so that we can work more.
We’re told to cook with fresh vegetables so that our mind is clearer and we’re more mentally alert.
However, can you imagine implementing all these productivity hacks each day? There would be no time left to do actual work!
This is where batching comes in handy. For example, why not Skype a client and lift weights at the same time? Why not cook and listen to pumping music at the same time?
And when it comes to work stuff, why not group similar things — such as social tasks and emails — together?
Make a list of important and non-important stuff
I like the idea of writing down all the tasks I need to complete, before crossing out all the non-important ones that add no perceivable value to my life. It works for me and a lot of other people.
However, to make sure this hack works for you and not against you, it’s important to add a fun activity into the mix so that you avoid burnout. A to-do list that is literally work and no play — no matter how valuable the work is — will suck over time as you grow to realize that you’re having zero fun. Pretty soon, you will dread having to write that list.
All in all, productivity hacks are meant to work for you — the clue is in the name. Sometimes, you just have to be a bit smart about how to make them work for you. Good luck!
Looking forward to hear your views and experiences. Lets walk along!
About the author: Aljaz Fajmut is a digital marketer, internet entrepreneur, and the founder of RankTrackr and Nightwatch — search visibility tools of the next generation. Check out Nightwatch blog and follow him on Twitter: @aljazfajmut and with his agreement, we had shared his learning for our community. If you feel that any content posted here is a violation of your copyright, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will take essential steps.