Productivity Hacks to Get Stuff Done

Best Practices, Workplace

A simple google search for ‘productivity tips ’ will bring up over 38 million results in less than a second, telling you how you can be more productive. That means there are hundreds of millions of solutions to a “productivity” problem that doesn’t even exist.

Spending time worrying about and trying to find solutions to nonexistent problems is a great way to be less productive. If you want to accomplish great things, your solution is simple. Figure out what you want to do, then do it. Don’t know where to start?

Below are 5 tips to help you stop thinking and start doing.

Flexibility

This is rule number one, and for good reason. This principle will apply not only to each of the sections in this article, but to every aspect of your life in general. No matter how productive you want to be, you will have to adapt and welcome change. Schedules are great, but they can distract you from the what’s actually important, which is getting sh-t done. Keep in mind the things that are important to you, but remain adaptable to the certainty of change. Here are some great places to help you learn how to GSD:

Getting Shit Done

The Pomodoro Method

The Quadrant

The 1-3-5 Method

Priorities

We can only accomplish so many things in a day, so we might as well make the most of this time. There is a difference between the things you need to get done and the multiple tasks you have running through your mind on any given day. If your organization skills need to be updated, here are a few ways to focus on what you need to get done and let go of the less important stuff:

  • #6Things – The team here at Red Branch knows a thing or two about getting sh-t done, and part of that is because of #6things. Each morning we create a list of things we plan to get done, listed in order of priority. If we don’t achieve our 6 things, we simply roll them over until the next day!
6things notebook
  • 1-3-5 – It’s obvious that paying your bills holds more weight than vacuuming your living room, so having a categorical list might work best for you. The way this works is each day you write down1 big thing, 3 medium things and 5 little things  you plan to get done that day.
  • Deadline-based – Let’s face it, you might be one of the many that skips something today if you can get away with doing it tomorrow. For those of you that struggle with deadlines, creating your list based around these is the easiest way to prioritize what you really need to get done. Try wunderlist to keep on track.
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Time-blocking

Sometimes even the best to do list can leave you feeling a bit overwhelmed. With everything from my awesome job at Red Branch to my packed-full semester in school, making a list can often end up leaving me with this amazing list of tasks that I don’t get finished.

Time-blocking is the principle of scheduling certain times of the day for certain activities. While this might not work for everything you have to get done, it will certainly help you crush those tasks you tend to fall behind on. You can do this with broad time blocks for things like “answering email” or “business development calls”, or you can narrow it down to spending half an hour on a specific assignment.

Work In Processes

The easiest way for me to not get something done is to focus on a project as this massive item I have to overcome. The perfect comparison that many people can relate to is exercise. So many of us can clearly see how we look now and how we want to look as an end result. The problem is that many people don’t see this as a never ending process that takes dedication and intense work.

‘Divide and conquer’ is a popular expression for a reason; it works. The next time you have a large project you have to complete, think of it as a process or system. By dissecting the project into smaller, digestible pieces you can spread these tasks out over a period of time and get more done in less time. Systems we use at Red Branch Media to get smarter about marketing efficiently:

SproutSocial. To manager multiple social accounts across all platforms and get stakeholder approval before posting social updates.

Buffer. To ensure we’re posting the right things at the right time and all blogs, landing pages and more get equal time across the organization.

Hemingway. To write better and edit on the fly.

Bitrix24. To build processes and workflows from start to finish and keep internal accountability.

Google Drive. To create editing capabilities and collaborate on documents and to build templates.

MixMax. To create email workflows, automations and templates, all from Gmail.

Self-Awareness

I had a hard time deciding whether or not flexibility was more important than self-awareness, and I’m still not entirely sure. Self-awareness is the consciousness knowledge of one’s own character and personality. To some degree, I think flexibility and self-awareness go hand in hand. In each, you have to figure out what tactics make you most successful and work hard to implement them. I’ve listed a few strategies below that you can use to increase your self-awareness.

  • Meditate – Meditation is the practice of improving your moment-by-moment  awareness. The simplest form of meditation (and one that I practice daily) is focusing on, appreciating and being aware of inhaling and exhaling.
  • Trusted friends – This one is usually most difficult because we don’t enjoy hearing or enacting criticism from the ones we love. The upside to this is that it will give you insights about who you are that you may not have ever noticed. The best way to achieve these results is by asking your friends to give you honest feedback about how they see you as a person— and then actually absorbing that information.
  • Employer feedback – To expand on the previous point, feedback from your colleagues is more important. You spend a large portion of your time with these people, and they know how you operate in a professional setting. I’m lucky enough to get this feedback guaranteed weekly at Red Branch thanks to the “proud-ofs” we do during Eatin’ Meetin’. This is where we discuss one thing we’re proud of accomplish during the week, and one thing we’re proud of someone else for conquering.

Productivity, like anything in the workplace, will be different for everyone. Whether you add reminders on your Google calendar, or swear by a daily walk, the way we experience a productive workday may be different for me than it will be for you. My boss, Maren Hogan, swears she cannot have two wildly productive days in a row. I tend to blaze through my week and start to fade on Fridays. My coworkers may give their most productive hours to the morning and save more tedious work until the end of day. The above ideas and methods are a starting point to help you find out how you can be the most productive you!

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