4 Simple Hacks To Increase Work Productivity Without Jeopardizing Your Wellbeing
Working flexitime and managing your own hours are becoming the norm for many professionals today. Whether you have a home office or the company you work has less rigid office hours, you’ll know how important it is that things get done. Flexible hours give you the freedom to decide when and where you work but this often leads to working more hours than you would in a fixed-hours job. This, along with the added stress of always being on someone else’s clock can make for an unhealthy work/life balance. The more effective you are with your time, the more you will be able to enjoy hours outside of work. Remember, there is a big difference between being busy and being productive; the following hacks will help you on the way to a productive and balanced work day.
Get a Digital Reality Check
Nowadays there is an app for everything: you probably are already aware which of these apps hijack your attention and completely slow down your productivity. Despite this awareness, the truth is that our phones are such a huge part of our lives that at times we use them unconsciously. Amazingly, there is an app to help! “Moment” is an app which monitors your phone usage over a period of time (make sure you use your phone as you normally whilst this is happening). The app will record how much time you spend on your phone and analyse which apps you spent the most time on. Get ready for a serious digital reality check!
Declutter your phone, tablet and computer
They say a tidy desk equals a tidy mind but how does this apply in today’s tech-filled world? We download several apps and documents on a regular basis but only a few of these will actually end up being used more than a couple of times. How many forgotten PDFs do you have sitting in your computer drive? Probably too many to count. Perform a regular de-cluttering of your digital surfaces, for example, every Sunday, then start the week with squeaky-clean desktops and home screens. Delete apps which you haven’t used for weeks and get rid of the screenshots you took but haven’t looked at since. Tidy digital surfaces will help you to feel more in control of your life and ready to take action.
Temporarily lock the time thieves away
If you are working against the clock for a deadline and can’t afford to lose focus, SelfControl is the app for you. Simply install the app on your computer and enter the sites which you think you will “check” but actually end up spending an hour browsing. You can choose to block them for a short period of time or for the entire day. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and all those shopping sites will now have to wait until your work is done.
Orange is the new…
We all know now that in order to get a quality sleep, we should be avoiding artificial light, particularly screens with blue wave light (laptops, phones, tablets etc.) for at least an hour before bed. Sleep is imperative to our concentration and the brain’s capacity to perform cognitively. In the same way that we charge our phones during the night to be ready for the next day, our brains also charge up during sleep. Despite doing our very best to practice good habits before bed, the reality is that we can’t always have a peaceful hour to unwind before sleep due to urgent work deadlines or other factors that are beyond our control. To make the transition from screen to good quality shut-eye as smooth as possible for the brain, there is a trick to reduce exposure to the blue light that hampers with your sleep quality. Installing the f.lux app on your computer means that the light settings can be adjusted on your screen to change from blue to orange at a fixed time. So, for example, f.lux can be set to start turning the screen orange at 9pm and the later it gets, the more orange the screen will become. Most smartphones also have a “Night Shift” mode in their Settings so that the backlight can be adjusted from blue to orange at a fixed time each day.
It sounds like a clicheé but I have tried and tested these hacks and apps during stressful exam periods and later, crunch times at work. I have come to swear by them. I am currently running my own business as a speaker and consultant which means I haven’t got a team to delegate to. If I’m not time efficient and productive, things will pile up (suffice to say, there will always be a pile!) and if I don’t work on the pile then the money pile isn’t going to get any bigger. It’s important to remember that while getting things done is satisfying and gives a sense of accomplishment, we simply cannot and should not live to work. These 4 tricks have helped me stay sane through challenging times, keeping my mind fresh and focused to tackle anything that comes my way.
[Please feel free to share your thoughts and reflections in the comments section]