You are in the right place if you are looking for ideas to improve your productivity, planning and organisation.
This is the second blog post in a series on the top 9 productivity hacks.
There are hundreds of productivity hacks out there. Most will work in one way or another, but will depend on what you are looking for. The ones we are interested in will work for all areas of your life, work or personal.
Only the ones that are quick and easy to implement and have proven great results have made it onto the list.
At the end of the series I’ll post them all together in an overview.
Productivity hack 2 – Declutter your online life
“The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t.”― Joshua Becker
How much time do you spend checking your email, reading blogs, watching youtube. The list could be endless but the time can certainly be better spent.
Spending time online is one of the biggest time drains that we encounter these days. We are so easily distracted by all of the fun and interesting things online.
Here are some tips to try and keep you focused on what you were initially trying to do.
If you do nothing else, please take control of your notifications. Frequent pop-ups and alerts are distracting and are guaranteed to pull your attention away from the task at hand.
Do you really need to be informed when the latest celebrity has just posted a picture on instagram? Or is it so important find out someone you knew 5 years ago has just had a great meal out and posted on Facebook?
Yes it’s interesting to scroll through Instagram and Facebook, but think how much time could be better spent on other things.
The fact you are reading this means that you are tying to find the time to do more impotant things. One of the most constructive things you can do is switch off these notifications.
While completely shutting down your online life isn’t practical, managing your notifications is.
Block yourself from sites
If you find that you are easily distracted by particular sites and they are a drain on your precious time, why not try blocking them.
SelfControl is a free app for Mac owners that lets you block your own access to distracting websites, your mail servers, or anything else on the Internet. Just set a period of time to block for, add sites to your blacklist, and click “Start.” Until that timer expires, you will be unable to access those sites—even if you restart your computer or delete the application.
Windows users can try similar applications, like StayFocusd for Chrome or Cold Turkey for additional controls.
Outsource and automate
In today’s technological world, there are many options for automating processes, such as emails.
If there is a task you can automate, look into it. It can shrink your to-do list significantly.
A simple trick you can use to reduce the number of emails you need to look through is to set up re-direction rules for frequent emails. You can then choose to look at these when you want to rather than being distracted by them throughout the day.
I recently created a set of email re-direction rules that helped me take control of my inbox.
Over the course of a week all the emails that arrived, and I still wanted to recieve, I added to one of the new rules. Emails that turned up and I no longer found much value in I unsubscribed.
I still had my favourite shops, and all their discounts, safely tucked away in a folder. I wasn’t distract to go browse so easily. So not only did I save time, I also saved money too!!
This has resulted in me gaining back hours a day that I used to spend going through email. And has made it easier to accomplisdh the next point.
Don’t check your email
Email notifications are another great distractor.
It’s easy to waste time sifting through dozens of emails.
All it takes is one email notification and, before you know it, you’ve wasted 30 minutes organising and responding to multiple emails.
Don’t let email take over your day.
Why not try scheduling time for checking email. Decide on a certain time of the day that you are going to check and deal with email and stick to it.
Allow yourself a specific block of time and try not to exceed it.
Unless you are waiting something critical to come in, you will find that most emails can wait a day before responding to them. Sometimes if you don’t respond straight away, others have responded in place of you saving you the bother. Bonus!!
Timothy Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, strongly advocates this approach. He has even gone to the extent of only checking emails once a week. Experiment with this idea and see what works best for you.