10 Tips (and Tools) for Increasing Productivity

Winter is settling deep into our bones, which is why you should kick yourself into overdrive before you Netflix and chill. Here are ten strategies to ensure you meet those resolutions instead of sliding back into your 2015 habits.

1.  Automate

With my MacBook, iPad and iPhone synced via iCloud, I can automate – or at least automate reminders for – important tasks that I would otherwise forget. Car payments, weekly classes and recurring meetings are set to ping on all of my Apple devices. If you’re as forgetful as I am, you’ll appreciate the constant coordination among devices.

2.  Delegate

I often set myself up for failure by not delegating tedious tasks that could be performed by other members of my team. Pyrus Workflow on iOS helps coordinate various processes and tasks among team members, making it simple to delegate work in a group. Plus it’s free for the first 12 team members.

3.  Motivate

Setting goals is great, but what do you get when you cross the finish line? Rewards like video game time, healthy indulgences or new gadgets give me the extra push that I need to get things done.

4.  Unplug

With the constant availability of Facebook, Twitter and other platforms at all hours, separating work life from personal life has never been more difficult. Give yourself time to unplug and focus on one task at a time. After all, multi-tasking is just another way of saying “distracted.”

5.  Differentiate

Each person has his or her own pace and learning methods. The concept of multiple intelligences means that you should allocate more time for tasks that you know will be more difficult and reserve your most productive time of day for such tasks. Don’t compare your efficiency to other people’s; work at the pace and time of day that’s best for you.

6.  Aggregate

How are you spending your time at work? Apps like RescueTime let you see where you’re actually expending your efforts. Begin smartly aggregating tasks by measuring the time it takes to complete them – and discover how much time you waste reading Wikipedia entries.

7.  Hibernate

Quality sleep is critical to being productive; all-nighters are lethal to your mental focus. If you hate waking up in the mornings, invest in a Phillips Wake-Up Light. It’s a bit pricy, but it’s a game-changer for getting out of bed in the mornings.

8.  Operate

While it may be a pain to temporarily put your MacBook offline, updating your operating system is crucial. Speed typically increases with each update, and it only takes one security flaw to bring down your most important files.

9.  Anticipate

Those little daily tasks can be a major time suck. Use Sundays to anticipate what you’ll need during the week – dry cleaning, laundry and food.

And spending precious morning rush hour time waiting in line at Starbucks can start your day on the wrong foot. I take advantage of the new Starbucks ordering app to skip the latte line.

10.  Celebrate

It’s easy to fly from one to-do list to the next without stopping to take a breath. Remember to take time to celebrate your accomplishments and give yourself a sense of pride in what you’ve already done.

Sometimes I even reward myself with a new device; a faster iPad or MacBook Air makes hard work that much easier.


Image courtesy of Wikimedia.