The title of this article is pretty self-explanatory.
Here I will give you the 5 most recent productivity hacks I’ve been using, that have helped me out IMMENSELY.
I’m always looking for ways to be more efficient.
Ways to go about my day in the most optimal way possible. You could say it’s something I ”nerd out” on a lot.
You’d be right too.
I stumbled into these 5 techniques after I moved abroad to Eastern Europe last August.
As I’ve mentioned before in previous articles, the routine I’d become accustomed to, which I also happen to talk about in some detail in this article too, had gotten turned completely upside down.
I’d developed a routine that I’d repeated, pretty much every day, for 4-5 years.
Of course, there was no way this wasn’t going to happen. I don’t care who you are, anytime you do something as drastic as move overseas, your life is going to change. The whole overarching goal is that it changes for the better.
While I do believe my life has changed for the better, it still was a major adjustment and took a lot of time to get used to.
I’m still not even completely used to it yet.
The biggest difference I’d say, was that all the sudden I had to learn how to work from home all day every day.
Again, as I previously mentioned, many of you experienced something similar thanks to COVID-19, which has many more people now working from home. So (most of you) didn’t even have to move overseas like I did, to go through this same life change…
This is main reason I think this article will be helpful for you.
Let’s dive right in…
1) Method 1: Set a timer, work in 52-minute time chunks, rest for 10 minutes, repeat all day until your work that day is done.
When I started doing this, I didn’t even realize that it actually had a name: ”The Pomodoro Technique”.
”The Pomodoro Technique” is where you work in 25-minute chunks, rest for 5 minutes, and repeat again all day until you’ve completed 10 Pomodoro’s (4 hours of deep work).
So while what I do isn’t the exact way to do it, it’s only a slightly modified version of it.
If working in 25 minute time chunks works better for you personally though, then that’s what you should do.
For me, I find that 25 minutes isn’t quite long enough for me to get into a deep work trance.
That said: I just doubled the 25 minutes to 50, added 2 minutes, and doubled the break time from 5 minutes to 10 minutes. Since I do longer sessions, naturally instead of doing 10 Pomodoro’s a day, I do 5 (which still comes out to slightly over 4 hours).
This has been working wonders for me and I’ve gotten A LOT more done one day to the next, one week to the next, etc.
The best way to do this, is to plan out how many Pomodoro’s you’re going to do each week on Sunday. My sweet spot is 60 Pomodoro’s a week.
2) Method 2: Stop Multi-tasking, work on ONLY ONE thing at a time.
Multi-tasking is the worst way to work.
You end up doing too many different things, and you don’t do any of them well.
Of all the points in this article, this is the one I’ve known about now the longest.
I actually would be a little surprised if by this point, you hadn’t heard of this, but who knows, maybe corporate America still fills your head with nonsense.
I’m assuming most of you guys still work in corporate America.
If you do, and you didn’t know multi-tasking was a waste of time then don’t feel bad, I didn’t either back when I worked for them.
There are a lot of counter-productive lies that society propagates, and that’s one of them.
One of many.
That may have even been advice that came from my University, I can’t remember.
You’ll fair MUCH better, to work on one thing at a time.
Put every ounce of energy, focus, thought, creativity, and action you have, into that one thing you’re working on.
This is also true of businesses too. If you want multiple streams of income, that’s good, but make sure you master one source of income before you move onto a 2nd or 3rd one.
Otherwise, you’ll just overwhelm and overburden yourself. Splitting your focus and attention across too many different things is a form of self-sabotage.
How so? This tweet says it all right here:
3) Method 3:Use a Trello Board as a way to check things off your to-do list (google: Trello Board).
I started this several months ago, and it’s been an absolute game-changer.
I highly recommend it.
Now a Trello Board can be both a blessing and a curse. I want to go ahead and just warn you now.
What do I mean? Well, I should say that for me, the Trello Board started off as a blessing, became a brief curse, then went back to being a blessing.
The reason was because (if you’re an ambitious guy like me) you’ll have a lot of things on your ”To-Do List” you’re trying to accomplish.
Both in terms of a weekly basis, and even a monthly/quarterly basis.
What will start to happen is over time is your ”To-Do” list will get shuffled around, as you do your best to navigate the hours of each day and week.
You’ll quickly realize that before using Trello, you previously had a horrible sense of time.
It isn’t until you start using a Trello Board on a daily and weekly basis, that you truly develop an accurate sense of time. You may think right now you truly get what it means to have 24 hours a day to do things, but until you’re actually tracking your to-do list each day (down to the hour), you really have no idea what you’re up against…
Things take longer to do than you think they do.
It can be frustrating at times because you’ll find yourself having to push certain things back day after day, even week after week. It may seem like you’re procrastinating when in reality: it’s just that hard to get things done that aren’t your top priorities.
You don’t have as much time as you think you do.
The good news, is although the Trello Board may slightly stress you out a bit at first, at least you’ll now be navigating your life under the lens of reality and not under the lens of illusion.
This is a very important skill for men to have in the current world we live in.
Reality is not pleasant, but what’s more unpleasant in the long term, is going through life thinking things are one way, when they’re really another way.
As a man in the year 2021 and beyond, you need to have a SOLID understanding of how much time you have each day and week. It isn’t until this happens, that you can truly start setting realistic and attainable goals for yourself.
The longer you go having an unclear grasp of your time, the longer it’s going to take you to hit your targets. To achieve your mission. The reason being is you’ll keep miscalibrating how long a project will really take you.
You’ll constantly be stuck in the ”planning/organizing” phase.
Life as a man will be a series of different projects and missions. You’ll want your sense of, and feel for time needs to DIALED THE HELL IN.
All in all, the Trello Board has helped me tremendously. Though it can be a bitter red pill to swallow at times, like all red pills: they suck in the short-term, but pay off in the long-term.
4) Method 4: When making your to-do list each day, make your list the day or night BEFORE, not the morning of.
I’ve found that when I go to sleep, already knowing what my to-do list is for the next day, my next day always goes A LOT better.
While this may be the most subtle point on this list, I promise you it will make a difference.
I haven’t even fully figured out yet why this is, but I believe it has something to do with the psychological process that happens in your head when you ”map out” what you’re going to do.
What I mean by that is:
After you put together up plans, your brain thinks what you’re saying you’re going to do, has already been accomplished.
This is why you should never tell people what your most important plans are.
Just keep them to yourself.
It may sound crazy, but I’m really not kidding here: there is literally a psychological process that happens in your brain when you write out or tell people your immediate, short-term plans.
Chemicals get released in your brain that makes you think you’ve already accomplished them.
So by writing them out the day before, this process may still happen, but it won’t matter because then you’ll go to sleep, wake up to a new day, do your morning routine, and be able to jump right into your workday without even having to think.
You’ll be on auto-pilot, or ”set it and forget it” mode.
By not having to think about it that same morning, you won’t have to expend any extra mental energy that day.
You can preserve all of it for your work that day instead.
Then after that day’s work has been completed, you can spend 10-15 minutes and write out your plans for the next day.
Basically: you give your brain time to marinate on the plans. They settle into your subconscious mind, so when you sit down to work the next day, you fly right into the 1st work item on your agenda.
Like I said: subtle detail, BIG difference.
This may sound a little strange, but give it a try.
If it works the same for you that it did for me, this little adjustment will compound your ability to jump into work swiftly and smoothly.
When I made this change my productivity started skyrocketing.
5) Method 5: Read the book ”The 12 Week Year” (by Brian P. Moran), & implement the advice…
I’ve found that breaking your year down into 12-week time-frames, is MUCH more effective towards accomplishing your goals.
Think about it: when your deadlines are set too far out in the future, there is never any urgency behind what you’re doing…
The first time I heard about this concept was from Tim Ferris in his famous book ”The 4 Hour Workweek”.
Your time will expand to fill the container you give yourself. Or that someone else gives you.
If you give yourself 9 months to complete a project, then it will most likely take you the full 9 months to complete it. You will procrastinate on what needs to get done until you finally feel the fire underneath your ass.
I got very annoyed at myself when I realized I was VERY prone to this problem, maybe even worse than most people are.
There’s no telling where this originated from, maybe it’s part of human nature (most likely in my opinion), or maybe it’s just because we developed this skill in school being forced to complete projects we didn’t give a shit about growing up.
Either way: it’s very real and it’s dangerous to men who are chasing excellence. Men that have a mission with a deadline.
The big takeaway here: don’t set your deadlines too far out.
The shorter your deadlines, the better.
Understandably, some of your bigger, overarching projects will take a few months. Fine, if you just follow the advice laid out in the book ”The 12 Week Year”, then you’ll never have more than 90 days (12 weeks) to complete even your biggest of goals.
Here’s a quick video review breakdown of the book:
Thanks for reading.
I hope you found this article helpful, let me know some strategies you’ve used that have helped you personally.