Productivity takes personal investment and self-discipline, which can take a long time to achieve.
But sometimes, all you need is a quick hack to get the productivity boost that’ll have you checking off your entire to-do list.
So read on for some of the best tricks that are sure to put you in position to succeed – and the apps that can make things go even more smoothly.
1. Try the Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro technique works by having you set a timer (25 minutes is the traditional amount), during which time you work on one specific thing, and only that thing.
When the timer’s up, you take a 5-minute break. It’s that simple.
It helps you take large blocks of time and turn them into manageable, bite-sized chunks.
Pair it with: Forest
Forest is one of many Pomodoro-inspired apps, and it works by planting a virtual tree for every block of productive time– with the tree dying if you get distracted.
Once you’ve used it for a bit, you can look back at all the trees you planted – giving you motivation to make Pomodoro a habit.
2. Know thyself – and set specific times for distracting tasks
It’s always a good idea to get a concrete mental picture of what’s keeping you from your work.
Social media sites like Facebook and Reddit are major time sinks, of course – but there are plenty of less obvious ones.
For example, if you go to your inbox every time you get a new email, you might want to rethink that habit.
It’s hard to drop these distractions and menial tasks entirely, but setting specific times for them lets you keep them under control.
Pair it with: RescueTime
Sometimes a mental picture of your distractions isn’t enough – and that’s where RescueTime comes in.
Essentially a productivity audit, RescueTime runs in the background on your computer or mobile device, letting you know how much time you’re spending on productive applications… and how often you’re perusing Reddit or trawling your inbox.
3. Write it all down
Ambiguity and indecision kill productivity, so if you never write out a to-do list, that alone can make you more successful.
But it’s more than just tasks – whatever comes to your attention, put it somewhere immediately to save mental real estate.
Consider doing this in a handwritten work diary, too – this can help you remember things better and gives you a sense of accomplishment every time you can cross something off.
Pair it with: Todoist
For the to-do list side of things, Todoist is your new best friend.
This is a minimalist to-do app that works across platforms and allows you to prioritise and break larger projects and tasks into manageable chunks.
4. Identify your most important tasks
Writing out your tasks is one thing, but prioritising is another – and having a huge list of things to do can be just as daunting as having no list at all.
How do you resolve that paradox? Pick out a handful of things (think 2-3) to focus on for the day.
These could be singular (but important) tasks or entire projects – whatever works for you.
Once you’ve finished them, everything else is gravy.
Pair it with: Momentum
Momentum operates by the same principle: Pick a task to be the main focus for the day, and the extension reminds you of what you’re meant to be working on whenever you open a new tab.
And for a bonus: Momentum syncs with list apps – like Todoist.
Bonus: Switch up your workspace
Sometimes your workspace becomes unproductive and you have to change things up.
Whether you’ve gotten into time-wasting habits or everything feels drab, packing up and working from a caféor other public space can be a great move.
Alternately, swapping out items in your office for more nature-oriented pieces can do wonders for your productivity. If your working at the comfort of your abode, a healthy and functional home office designs and layout could boost your productivity.
Whichever you try, just the effort of changing things up can motivate you to work more.
Productivity is a lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean you have to rearrange your whole life to achieve it.
Like most things, it’s a matter of figuring out what’s right for you – and with this list, you’re bound to find something to get yourself in gear.