The 3 Best Productivity Hacks of 2017
Written by Professional Academy Management and Leadership Tutor, Kathryn Knights
With the end of another year on the horizon it feels like a good time to round up some of the best efficiency hacks. These particular hacks will cost you no money – only your time. If you invest in them I guarantee they will help you to be more efficient than ever before.
1) Physical housekeeping
The biggest mistake people make when trying to streamline their life is to buy into the latest piece of technology. Before you bring anything new into your life sort out what you have already. That might not sound as exciting as buying a new phone or downloading the latest app but it’s the first step in creating more efficiency in your life.
Fewer things means less maintenance and fewer storage requirements – allowing you to focus on the more important aspects of your life. Sort through everything you own. Once you have created your ‘throw’ pile, decide which items from that pile can be recycled, donated to charity or sold on eBay.
This hack will feel painful to start with but by the time you finish you will feel liberated. You will also be a far more discerning shopper in the future because you will understand the effort required to get rid of things far outweighs the effort to buy them
Top tip: to avoid creating clutter in the future, rather than buying, consider borrowing or renting instead.
2) Digital housekeeping
Now it’s time to clear your digital clutter. Phones and laptops are full of distractions. Every time a notification appears we feel compelled to look at it and by doing so we’re being stopped from doing the one task we set out to do.
The two most effective things you can do to increase your productivity are:
Firstly, clear up your social media feeds by unfollowing / hiding accounts that bring no value to you.
Secondly, turning off social media notifications – there is nothing urgent or important that will happen that can’t wait until the end of the day. Even your email app notification can be switched off. Instead, get into the habit of looking at your emails two to three times per day for 30 minutes at a time when you are in a position to be able to answer them. Then log out and get on with your day.
3) Know yourself
When you ask most people how they are they give the same reply: ‘yeah good thanks – busy’. Life isn’t about being busy it’s about being productive. There’s no point rushing around being busy if everything you’re doing brings little or no value.
Have you ever taken a serious chunk of time to think about what you spend your time on and whether what you do complements your fundamental values? Your values are a central part of who you are. They are the things that you believe are important in the way you live your life. They could be family, health or freedom.
Your values can change throughout your life. For example, when you start your career money might be a priority. After you have a family, work-life balance might become your priority.
When faced with making decisions, it's useful to use your values to point you in the right direction. For example, if you value your family will accepting a job offer that requires you to work 70 hours a week be the right choice for you, even if the salary is tempting?
I ask all my coaching clients to carry out the following exercise as a way of re-setting themselves and finding clarity in their life.
Write down the times you have felt the most happy, proud and fulfilled. What drove you to feel that way? What were you doing? What other factors contributed to your positive feelings?
Look at your answers and start to define your top five values. You might find it easier to create a top 10 list first and then edit it down to five. Feel free to write your values in your own words and try to identify whether any of them can be grouped together underneath one heading.
Wait a few days and then take some time to re-affirm your values. Does your list still resonate with you? Do your values make you feel good about yourself?
When you are happy with your values display them somewhere where you will be reminded of them every day so you can use them as your life guide.
These three hacks create the foundations needed for productivity to thrive. Take the opportunity to invest in them now and you’ll be in a great place when the clock rolls forward on New Year’s Eve.
If you need further advice, get in touch via My Website or LinkedIn.
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