If you’re a true hustler in the modern world, you’re always figuring out how to be more productive, and probably already know all about mind hacks. Likewise, you’re occasionally figuring out how to feel more productive, whereas along with the expanded freedoms offered by technology, there comes a fleeting sense that every now and then you’re not getting enough work done.
Enter productivity mind hacks, i.e. simple techniques that allow you to save time, increase your output and feel a greater sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. With these pointers at your disposal, you’ll be waking up earlier and resting easier at night. Here are 12 Productivity Mind Hacks to optimise your mental balance and get every day started on the right foot.
This story is part of our Better You series.
Create a To-Do List For the Next Day Before You Go to Bed
Many studies show that stress and anxiety play a major role in terms of hindering sleep, which in turn hinders productivity. To help combat those night-time jitters, take five minutes before you go to bed to map out a to-do list for the following day. You’ll be surprised at how much structure and peace of mind you can achieve as a result.
Wake Up Early and Exercise
They say the early bird gets the worm, and that’s one idiom to live by. Indeed, many successful men will tell you that waking up before everyone else and maintaining a quality fitness routine is fundamental to their productivity. This is a mind hack that keeps your brain sharp and your energy high. Plus, it gives you more time to decompress in the morning before you have to actually get work done.
Take Breaks Throughout the Day
In the modern world, it’s all too easy to get stuck in what might be best described as a “work loop”. This is where you sit down for a number of projects and basically don’t get up until every single one is completed. Such an intense approach might help you get your work done, but it also increases your stress levels and turns you off to your job in the long run. Instead of plugging away like a drone, take a nice break every now and then. Go for a short walk, eat a snack, or take a nap. By remembering to take short breaks, you’re refreshing both your brain and body, and obtaining a more productive mindset in the long run. Naps in particular are well-known productivity boosters.
Set Deadlines for Yourself
More and more men are working for themselves these days, which definitely sounds like a dream come true. However, along with that newfound freedom comes an almost paradoxical sense of anxiety, where the lack of rigid structure has you feeling less motivated to complete your work. To ensure you stay productive, treat yourself like an employee. Set deadlines. Write your itineraries down. Don’t let assignments fall by the wayside.
Take Your Office to Go
For those working from home, another productivity mind hack is to complete your assignments at a separate location like a coffee house, cafe, or communal workspace. By taking your work to another location, you’re reinforcing an “office” like structure and thereby subconsciously forcing yourself to complete assignments in a timely manner. Plus, there’s never any harm in being surrounded by other human beings so that you don’t feel alienated from society.
Waste Time by Scoping Your Favourite Websites
Asking that you procrastinate or waste time might seem antithetical on a list of productivity mind hacks, but the truth is that your brain and mood can sometimes get overloaded with negativity. In the same vein as taking the occasional break, don’t forget to fool around online every now and then. Studies have shown that by visiting your favourite websites, or even doing some online shopping, your levels of happiness increase. Positivity and productivity go hand in hand.
Prioritise Your Tasks
One of the easiest ways to slip in terms of productivity is to treat all meetings and assignments as equals. In reality, some meetings are total dead ends, and some assignments are more important than others. Make it a goal in 2018 to prioritise your work.
Track Your Progress
Back in the day, the workforce was primarily driven by hard labour. That meant clocking in, performing a bunch of physical tasks, and clocking out. It was far easier to track one’s progress back in those days, whereas you had tangible results to show for your work. Today’s work environment can be far more abstract, and sometimes you can spend an entire day at your desk without feeling like you got anything done. To combat those abstract blues, you should maintain a log or journal of what you accomplished throughout the day. Seeing your output in writing helps reinforce productivity in the classic, physical sense of the word.
Don’t Agree to Meaningless Favours or Tasks
Are you the kind of person who never says “no” when your friends ask for a favour? Well, start saying “no” more often. You have work to do!
Listen to More Music
According to some studies, plants grow at better rates when listening to certain types of music, and plants don’t even have nervous systems. Truth be told, it remains undetermined whether music has a direct effect on productivity, but almost no one argues with the idea that good tunes can help improve your mood. Remember, a positive mood equals a positive (and more productive) mindset.
Limit Your Distractions
While it is indeed important to take breaks and waste time at work, you want to ensure you’re doing those things entirely on your terms. Hence this productivity mind hack: don’t put yourself in an environment where the distractions come to you. That can mean reducing the clutter in your workspace, turning your phone on silent, or keeping all your social media windows closed while you work. What’s important is that you get in the zone and then take breaks at your own designated times.
Eat Healthy Food
Has it been proven beyond a doubt that there are specific foods like fish and sesame seeds that can boost productivity? Probably not. But we’re still saying that maintaining a quality diet is a vital mind hack, because unhealthy food or a poor diet will inevitably bog you down. So the next time you go out for lunch, we say skip the double cheeseburger and get a tuna salad with avocado instead.
This story is part of our Better You series.