Top 10 Productivity Hacks to Accomplish More in Less Time

Calm office worker Hindu woman sitting at her desk near laptop with fingers in mudra gesture. Resting at workplace with yoga to relieve neck and eye tension.

We all need a productivity boost now and then, sometimes throughout the day. We each want to be productive for very personal reasons—to accomplish more, to make more money, to get done earlier, to make more time for our personal lives, and to accomplish our goals. But whatever the reason, these productivity hacks will do the trick.

10 Productivity Hacks to Help You Accomplish More with More Ease

Here they are, in reverse order:

# 10: Take Care of the Most Important Things First

Your most important things for the day—the things you most need to accomplish that day—should take priority over everything else. However, we all know that fires come up throughout the day, interruptions through phone calls and emails and people dropping by, and new demands that will push the best-laid plans aside. If you put off your most important things until later in the day, you will not do them much of the time.

Try to get all three of your most important things done before moving on to anything else. If you can do that, the rest of the day is gravy!

Live longer and better by finding your purpose - handwriting on a napkin with a cup of coffee. Important Productivity hack.

# 9: Wake Up Early for Greater Productivity

Decide what you’d like to accomplish each morning, and build your morning routine around that. Like to exercise? Put that in there. Healthy breakfast? Go for it. Check email. Fine. The mornings are a fresh start, peaceful and free of ringing phones and constant email notifications. The rest of the day is just gravy if you get your most important things done in the morning

# 8: Simplify Information Streams, Crank Through Blogs and Email, Editing What You Need to Read and What You Don’t 

You will drastically reduce the time you spend reading. For everything else that begins to come in after your editing process, ask yourself if you need to get that information regularly. Most of the time, the answer is no. After this process, you should be left with less to read. Here’s the next step: crank through it all, only reading the interesting ones.

Editing and cranking through the information you receive can free up a lot of time for more important things, like achieving your goals.

Clean and uncluttered space orders the brain and increases productivity.

# 7: Declutter Your Workspace—Work on One Thing at a Time 

The decluttering-your-workspace part of it is simply to remove all extra distractions on your desk and on your computer. If you’ve got a clean, simplified workspace, you can better focus on the task at hand. 

Now, with distractions minimized, focus on the task at hand. Don’t check your email, don’t work on five projects at once, don’t check the stats on your blog, and don’t go to your feed reader. Work on that one task, and work on it with concentrated focus until you are done. Then celebrate your achievement!

# 6: Get to Work Early and Work Fewer Hours Productivity  Hack

My best days come when I get to work early and begin my work day in the quiet morning hours before the phones start ringing and the din of the office begins to crescendo to chaos. It is so peaceful, and I can work without interruption or losing focus. I often find that I get my most important things done before anyone comes in, and then the rest of the day deals with whatever comes up (or, even better, getting ahead for the next day).

Added bonus: you skip rush-hour traffic.

But just as productive is the second part of the tip: leave early and work fewer hours. It’s paradoxical, but you will be more focused if you work fewer hours and know that your time is limited. Then you have more hours to yourself! Everyone wins.

productivity at work and work life balance

# 5: Avoid Meetings, and When You Must Meet, Make it Effective

I find it best to say no to meetings up front. I say, “Sorry, I can’t make it. I’m tied up with a project right now.” And that’s always true. I’ve always got projects I’m working on that are more important than a meeting. Of course, you won’t always be able to avoid meetings but stay focused on the work at hand when you can.


# 4: Avoid Unnecessary Work

If we do any work that comes our way, we can be cranking out the tasks but not being productive. You’re only productive if you do work that moves you toward a goal. Eliminate non-essential tasks from your to-do lists, and start to say no to non-essential new requests.

If you do not take these steps, speak up, and say no, then you will be overloaded with work that you simply do not need to do. Cut out the non-essential tasks and focus on those that really matter.

# 3 Productivity Hack: Do the Tough Tasks First

You know what those tasks are. What have you been putting off that you know you need to do? Sometimes, when you put things off, they end up being things you don’t really need to do. But sometimes there are things you have to do. Those are your tough tasks.

Do them first thing in the day.

# 2: Work Offline as Much as Possible

Have scheduled times when you will check your email, and only let yourself check your blogs or surf the web when you’ve gotten a certain amount done. When you do go online, do it on a timer. When the timer goes off, unplug again until the next scheduled time.

You’ll be amazed at how much work you’ll get done.

Hand writing Do What You Love, Love What You Do with marker on transparent wipe board. Concept about the importance to find a job you love that fills you with happiness and passion thereby increasing productivity. Productivity hack.

# 1 Productivity Hack: Do Something You’re Passionate About

This might not seem like the normal productivity tip, but think: if you really want to do something, you’ll work like hell to get it done. You’ll work extra hard, work even more hours, and are less likely to procrastinate. It’s for work that you don’t really care about, and you procrastinate. 

Reprinted with permission from Leo Babauta/Zen Habits
Leo Babauta

Zen Habits is about finding simplicity and mindfulness in the daily chaos of our lives. It’s about clearing the clutter so we can focus on what’s important, create something amazing, find happiness. It has over a million readers.

My name is Leo Babauta. I live in Northern California with my wife and our two teenage kids (we have 4 adult kids, for a total of six!), where I eat vegan food, write, run, and read.

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