Genie’s finally out of the bag and we bring some out-of-the-box tips, just for you.
Use them to improve your productivity, induce artificial urgency and gamify your workflow to execute real fast and achieve hard results.
As simple as it sounds, put a clock in front of you and get into a race with it!
You may allot 5 minutes for each task / subtask / chunk.
Now when you complete the first chunk, look at the clock. Did you take less than 5 minutes? Great. Rejoice and take up the second chunk.
Did you take more than 5 minutes? Gear up and complete the next one sooner!
This way, you aim at beating the clock rather than being productive (which becomes an objective automatically achieved).
2. Rate Your Days
At the end of each day, recount how productive you were. Compare it with what you think you could have achieved and rate it.
5 = Highest achievement / productivity within a day
0 = Nothing achieved during the day / the day went waste
Now keep rating your days in a diary. After a month, it should look like this:
Total out all the lines and you will get your monthly score. In the above image, it comes out to be 72 (out of a max of 5*31 = 155). This further gives out your monthly productivity percentage to be equal to 46.45% (= 72/155).
Prior to the start of each month, take a resolve to improve your productivity percentage. Try and maximize your target score each day. You should notice a steady increase in your concentration while you work and ultimately, a marked increase in productivity and a faster pace of daily task execution as days and months pass by.
Bet with your friends in matters of achievement. Tell them you will achieve x by the end of this week. Put real money at stake. Use social betting apps.
Betting pushes you to achievement due to a social and monetary pressure that’s created artificially.
4. Laptop Charger Trick
Some people work faster when laptop charger is plugged in.
For some, it’s the reverse. They tend to work faster when laptop charger is out. Something like ‘Let me finish this before the battery goes out’.
See if this suits you. If yes, put it to use and boost your speed.
5. Reward Setting
Set up rewards for achievements.
I will go on a trip to X if I make this work.
Pro Tip: Make these rewards time bound. For example, I’ll get $1000 to splurge if I finish this in one month, $400 if I do it in 2 months and $100 if I do it in 3.
ProPro Tip: Add punishments on non-achievement to double up the pressure.
6. Social Sharing
Build up an artificial social pressure. Use social media to update your friends of a resolve you take.
Share Facebook statuses of things you need to do in x time. Share your new year resolutions on Whatsapp. Keep talking about your resolves with your friends.
7. Mark as ‘Done’
Manage your tasks in a Task Management tool and mark them as ‘Done’ when they are completed so that they disappear from your to-do. This has been a hook for a lot of task management apps.
People get a sense of accomplishment when they ‘mark tasks as done’ and are actually pushed to complete more and more tasks. Use this to your advantage.
Pro-Tip: Use Comtify, which has an in-built task management tool.
8. Form a Daily Habit
One who has formed an habit of working fast catapults himself in a different league altogether. Such people don’t force themselves but are only productive due to a habit they have consciously formed.
Best is to induct your work in your routine so that it’s not an extra effort you have to make while you execute. Rare, but accomplished by a few.
‘I swear to God that I’ll complete this within the present week’. Get the power of swearing?
Swearing is a powerful tool that links your faith with your resolve, giving you an extraordinary power over your senses.
But this is to be used with caution as it might have real negative effect when swears are not kept.
10. Forced Timeboxing
This is about setting targets for 10 things, where 1 hour is allocated for each thing.
This sets up forced deadlines which are short so that you don’t have time for procrastination. As work expands to fill up the available time, this sure works for some.
11. Halving Deadlines
If something is due in 1 month, assume it to be due in 15 days. If something is due in 24 hours, assume it to be due in 12 hours.
Then stick by the new deadline.
12. List Down Everything at Start
Right when a task is created, list down all detailing and action points within that task.
For example, when I start on new blog topics, I make a list of things and points to be included in that blog. This brings down the wall and becomes easy for me next time I take it up, as now just those points need to be elaborated.
13. Use Browser Tabs
Open everything you have to work on as tabs on your browser.
Now more the number of opened tabs, more is the RAM usage and your PC might become sluggish. So by default, you would want to close those tabs to make your PC faster, working on each tab as you go about doing that.
14. Long-form Monotasking
Physics for this day, Chemistry tomorrow and Maths the day after that. Or, Physics this week, Chemistry the next.
It might also go like blog writing for today, blog promotion for tomorrow and link building the day after. Got the drift?
Prolonging one type of work to occupy one timebox (a day or a week) actually reduces distractions and sets a goal to be achieved within that timebox.
15. Equal Alarms
This is somewhat different than Point 1. Set alarm to ring at each minute.
If it rings and you are lost in your thoughts when it does, you have to snooze it and get back to work. If it rings and you are still working, pat your back and snooze it.
Alarm keeps ringing minute after minute.
What this basically does is that the alarm gives you a chance to get your awareness back to the work at hand. You can take that chance to come out of your thoughts and get your focus back.
Some folks might find this distracting, but this technique does work for a few.
16. Dollarize Time
Set a dollar value on your time.
For instance, if your hourly billing rate is $15 and you just spent 3 hours on Facebook, what did you lose?
Quantification gives you an actual number. The same number you can use to compare with other times and scenarios, which sets up an artificial admonishment mechanism for you.
Do you already use any such method? Do let us know in comments and we’ll add it to the list.