Experts spend years coming up with all-encompassing productivity plans to help you get more done. However, there are plenty of productivity tricks that only take a few minutes—or even just a few seconds!
Here are several that you should consider putting into practice. They’re small, but they’ll give you substantial results.
1. Schedule Start Up/Shut Down for Your PC
Even the most modern computers usually take at least a minute to boot up. Then, you spend more time launching critical programs before starting to work. It’s simple to schedule your computer to turn on or off based on your workday.
For example, if your workday starts at 8am, you might set the computer to start up at 7:45am. Having it shut down 15 minutes or so after your day ends also saves time. In the latter case, you leave the office quicker, and your computer powers down without ongoing input.
2. Try the “Touch It Once” Principle
Many people procrastinate when deciding how to handle tasks. They might think “I’ll look at that later” when incoming emails arrive, for example. Consider the “touch it once” approach when doing things like cleaning, scheduling meetings, and managing your inbox.
This approach involves immediately choosing how you handle things. That may mean accomplishing them now, doing them later, or delegating them. Making that choice right away allows for better planning during the rest of the day. Without this principle, things to deal with start stacking up and cause stress.
3. Get Set for Your Next Task Before Taking a Break
Multiple productivity experts and research studies confirm the necessity of taking breaks. Before you do that, though, prepare your workspace for what’s next. Open essential browser tabs, grab written resources, and so on.
You can then immediately start working again after getting refueled by your break. Otherwise, you’ll waste too much time after the break getting ready instead of demonstrating more meaningful output.
4. Close All Unnecessary Tabs When Working on a Task
Despite their convenience, browser tabs also cause distractions. Having too many open at once slows you down while you’re looking for the one you need. Unneeded browser tabs pull your attention away from what you need to do as well.
Look at all the tabs across the top of your browser, and close tabs you don’t need. In other words, close the ones that disrupt your workflow more than helping it.
Browsers have menu features for accessing recently closed tabs. You can return to the content by going to the history section, too. It’s time to stop cluttering up the top of your browser with too many tabs.
5. Make Small Decisions in a Minute or Less
You make workplace apparel decisions and choose when to eat, among other things. Try to reach your ultimate conclusion about such things in 60 seconds or less. Then, move on from the matter—permanently.
Self-judgment and wondering if you made the right decision interferes with your focus levels for other tasks.
The quest to make better decisions also involves identifying what matters. Trust yourself to make the right call, and know it’s okay if you’re not perfect.
6. Let Sticky Notes Keep You Motivated
Create a sticky note that contains the task at hand before starting to work. For example, it might read “Find PowerPoint presentation templates.” Then, attach it to your computer monitor or another prominent place.
Look at the sticky note when people ask you to get involved in other things. The visual reminder should help you stay on track and firmly tell others you’re not available. It’ll also maintain your diligence when you feel tempted to multi-task.
Finally, put the sticky notes for all completed tasks in a pile. Reviewing them at the end of the day shows output and makes you feel accomplished about the day’s work.
7. Change Color Schemes for the Tools You Use
You can change the Start menu colors on a Windows 10 computer. Many apps also provide several theme choices. Spend a minute tweaking the colors when possible. Selecting colors you prefer should lead to more enjoyment from interface interactions.
Plus, Mariana Figueiro, a professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, found that saturated red hues boost alertness. Other researchers mention how bright colors cause better idea creation, and blues have calming effects. Specific colors could help you get more done by affecting your mood.
8. Tackle Tasks of 5 Minutes or Less Right Now
Integrating new tasks into your schedule interrupts your workflow. But in some cases, it lets you take an action-orientated approach to getting stuff done. Adopt a habit of immediately acting on tasks you can finish in five minutes or less. Then, you won’t have numerous short tasks to handle later.
Those short, unfinished tasks add up. Doing them right away prevents procrastination and improves your time management.
9. Fill Your Office With Pleasant Things
Feeling delighted makes people work harder. That’s the conclusion made by scientists at the University of Warwick. A series of four studies involving 700 participants revealed happy feelings boost productivity by approximately 12 percent.
People watched funny clips or ate treats like chocolate-covered strawberries while taking part in the investigation. Heading to YouTube to do the former activity could have a reverse effect on productivity.
However, think about stocking up on easy-to-eat, healthy snacks you love. Decorating your workspace with pictures and quotes that make you smile is useful, too.
10. Use Your Phone’s “Do Not Disturb” Setting
It is now well known that phone notifications are a major reason for distractions. Android and iOS phones allow silencing notifications through the Do Not Disturb feature. Using them could help maintain your focus, especially for the most mentally challenging activities, and get more work done in a day.
You can also make some applications override the Do Not Disturb setting on an Android. Similarly, the iOS operating system’s Do Not Disturb setting allows contact-based tweaks. It sends texts and calls through, but only from specified people.
There’s an option to activate Do Not Disturb for desired timeframes on both Android and iOS phones.
11. Work on Each Task Only Once
Some people prefer to spend several sessions working on tasks, especially when they’re extensive. That method could break your workflow and make you feel unsettled, especially if you don’t have a to-do list. Instead, attempt to complete a task before moving onto the next one.
12. Sit Near a Window When Possible
Many of today’s offices have artificial light sources. Some are extraordinarily high-tech and offer various lighting levels and excellent energy efficiency. Studies show, though, that natural light makes people more satisfied and productive.
Arrange your workspace so that it’s close to a window if possible. Alternatively, take a laptop outside and work on a picnic table or park bench.
Find out the window situation in hotel rooms when traveling for overnight business too. Most have exterior-facing windows, but some windows only face corridors.
13. Make Customized Microsoft Word Templates
Do you depend on Microsoft Word for client-based projects requiring reoccurring font types, text sizes, and colors? If so, set up individual Microsoft Word templates for them. It’s also possible to add templates to the Styles gallery at the top of an open document. Then, you merely click a template to set up the specifics as desired.
This approach reduces repetition when formatting documents. Moreover, it saves time usually spent proofreading to check formatting necessities. Name each template strategically, such as by task or client for quicker reference when needed.
How Do You Promote Better Productivity Levels?
This list proves it’s not difficult to make minor adjustments to work habits and expect significant gains. Trying some of these tips today could put you on a path to better long-term productivity. And there’s a lot of science behind some of these productivity tips!