15 Productivity Hacks That Will Help You Get Shit Done
Wondering where all your time went? Stop screwing around and get shit done with these productivity hacks for bloggers and solopreneurs!
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1. Use separate accounts for work and play.
I have two different accounts set up on my computer–one for work and one for personal stuff. Keeping my work and personal life totally separate on my computer helps me stay focused and organized.
2. Handwrite your daily to-do list.
There’s something uniquely satisfying about manually crossing off a completed item on your to-do list. And at the end of the day, you can toss your list in the trash, rip it into a million pieces, or even burn it while laughing like a maniac.
It’s a good feeling, let me tell you. I like Knock Knock pads* for making lists.
3. Diffuse lemon essential oil.
The Takasago Corporation in Japan conducted a study on how smell affects typing accuracy. It found that 54% of workers made fewer errors when they could smell lemon.
4. Disable non-essential notifications on your mobile device.
Turn off notifications from your social media apps and any other apps that distract you throughout the day.
5. Turn on some ambient sounds or music.
Research suggests that playing background music while performing repetitive tasks can boost efficiency. I personally like Noisli for ambient sounds and Chanting Om - Meditation on the 7 Chakras* for background music.
6. Start your day by tackling challenging tasks first.
Don’t save the tough stuff for last. Add the most creatively challenging tasks to the top of your to-do list and get them done before the mid-afternoon lull hits.
7. Follow the two-minute rule.
There’s one exception to #6. If a task takes two minutes or less to perform, get it over with right away. It feels good to quickly knock things off your to-do list and it can give you momentum for the rest of the day.
8. Use a password manager.
Seriously, keeping track of passwords is a pain in the butt. I use LastPass to automatically create, store, and autofill passwords in Chrome.
9. Focus on one task at a time.
It should go without saying by now that multitasking is a recipe for poor quality work, but it’s actually worse than that. One study showed that multitasking can actually lower your IQ. Choosing not to multitask is harder than ever, especially for people who work online, but it’s absolutely imperative.
If you have a hard time focusing while working online, try using an app like SelfControl, which allows you to block your own access to distracting sites for any period of time you choose.
10. Use checklists for everyday tasks.
It takes a lot of mental labor to remember all the steps involved in certain everyday tasks and there’s always a constant sense of worry that you’ll forget something important. That’s why I love checklists. Make or find a checklist for tasks like writing, formatting, and promoting a blog post, routine website maintenance, and more.
11. Schedule rest and relaxation.
Overwork and sleep deprivation can seriously damage the quality of your work. That’s a tough pill to swallow if you’re a workaholic like me, but it’s so important. Set a time limit on your workday. Unplug completely on the weekends. Make self-care a priority. As the wise subtitle of the article I linked to in the footnotes puts it, “Working overtime doesn’t increase your output. It makes you stupid.”
12. Use templates whenever possible.
Stop wasting time on writing the same email over and over again or recreating your social media graphics from scratch each time you write a new blog post. Create a template and use it.
13. Switch to more efficient tools.
Your time management problem might not be your problem at all. It could be the tools you’re using. Consider switching to more efficient tools. If you’re on BoardBooster, switch to Tailwind*. If you use ActiveCampaign or MailerLite, move to ConvertKit*. If your Wordpress site is weighing you down, migrate over to Squarespace. (See my list of social media automation tools for every budget.)
If you’re hesitating because of the cost, consider this: time is money. The amount of time you spend wrangling difficult-to-use tools could be spent on other tasks that will actually make you money.
14. Create a functional workspace.
I love browsing through people’s home office design boards on Pinterest. And you know what? My home office doesn’t look anything like those luxurious spaces. My office isn’t all that photogenic but it is functional. I have storage space for all the essentials, a laptop stand to save my wrists, and plenty of quiet.
Create a workspace that’s functional for you. It could be a designated home office or a converted broom closet. It could be a nearby coffee shop or library. As long as you’re comfortable and can focus, you’re good.
15. Unsubscribe to unwanted emails.
A few months ago I looked at my email inbox and realized it was filled with newsletters I don’t read and don’t even remember subscribing to. Take the time periodically to go through your inbox and unsubscribe to newsletters you don’t read anymore.
(April 18, 2019 update: I used to recommend unroll.me for mass unsubscribing to unwanted emails. Unfortunately, serious privacy concerns have arisen with this service and I can no longer recommend it. Manually unsubscribing is a pain but for now it’s the only way I know to maintain your privacy and clean out your inbox. Fortunately, Mailbutler makes it easier to unsubscribe manually by moving the unsubscribe link in mass emails to the top, so you don’t have to go hunting for it.)
Have any productivity hacks you’d like to suggest? Drop a note in the comments below!