Don’t have time to invest in learning a new productivity system? Not ready to change your habits but want to get more out of your working day?
1. Check Your Email at Pre-defined Times
I’ve written in detail about how to organise your email but if you want to take one thing from productivity gurus more knowledgeable than me, it’s this: check your email at set times each day.
Constantly checking your inbox is a surefire way to keep from your work and stay distracted.
2. Keep a To Do List
If it’s in your head, it’s taking up mental bandwidth. Even if your To Do list is a system of stickies, it’s better to have something you can refer and review, rather than spending time thinking about what you need to do.
Keeping things in your head will distract you from your current task, reduce productivity and even keep you up at night.
3. Turn Off Push Notifications
In case you haven’t heard, notifications are evil. They distract you and take you away from what you’re working on.
Turn off as many of them as possible so that when you do receive an email reminder, alarm, message or notification it’s worth acting on (see below).
4. If It Takes Less Than Two Minutes…
… do it right away. The two-minute rule is a simple way to stop backlog and is straight from the pages of David Allen’s book.
Once you identify a task, ask how long it will take to complete. If it takes less than two minutes. Do it immediately.
You will be surprised by how much you can accomplish in 120 seconds.
5. Write Things Down
Invariably the solution to problems appears once you’re in traffic, in the shower or doing something else. You may be convinced you’ll remember but do you really want to take that chance?
Write things down as soon as you can.
Use your smartphone or a pen and paper to capture thoughts about your projects and tasks. Keep a notepad beside your bed and or use a digital note capturing tool.
6. Learn Keyboard Shortcuts for Your Most Used Apps
Learning keyboard shortcuts for apps you use everyday will save you hours of repetition and speed up your workflow in a pinch.
Here are the most important ones:
- CNTRL + A = select all
- CNTRL + C = copy
- CNTRL + X = cut
- CNTRL + T = open a new browser tab
- CNTRL + Shift + T = reopen a closed browser tab
It’s command instead of control if you are on a Mac.
Please let me know about your favourite productivity secrets in the comments section below.