1. If you find yourself working till late and then being unable to sleep, resulting in tiredness the next day then you should try Flux for night-time viewing. Flux is an app which automatically changes the light and colour on your monitor depending on the time of day. The light from your monitor is designed to look its best during the day and produces an effect on the eyes and brain like the effects of sun light. This is not a good thing while you’re working at 10pm right before bedtime. Flux adjusts the brightness of the screen, creating a warming glow which helps reduce the blinding light effect of a monitor at night.
2. Colour affects productivity. Colour is very important to our mood and influences our behaviour. Because of this we should really look at our place of work and how the ambient colours may be affecting our energy levels and moods during the day. Blue, for example, is a calming colour and also called the most productive shade to use in the office. Blue is also good for motivation.
Humans react very positively to natural elements in the office. Plants in the office, natural light, or garden views are all associated with higher levels of happiness, productivity and a reduction in levels of stress. Using green in the office can help mimic the effect of natural objects. Obviously this won’t replace the real effect of plants and natural light but adding green touches to the office is a step in the right direction.
Experiment with different colours to see which ones work best for you.
3. A clean, tidy desk is recommended for distraction free, high productivity work. This report from Harvard Business Review discusses a report that examined the effects of a cluttered environment on a workers persistence in completing a task. The report shows that cluttered environments lead to distractions and unfocused thought.
4. Make the 15-minute meeting rule the norm. Meetings are always too long. The fixed one-hour meeting is how old school companies have worked for a long time. The problem with this is that people will generally fill the time with non-productive talk till the hour is completed. 8 people in a meeting for 1 hour is an entire work-day of manpower. Set meetings for 15 minutes and if more time is needed then take an extra 5-10 minutes or reschedule for another time. Only include the most relevant people for the meeting as they can then convey important information to their colleagues if required. Try to stand in the meeting if possible. An even better option is to hold meetings in a room with only a high-table. This may appear a but strange but it keeps people alert, its better for your body, and will make sure that the meeting does not run over time.
6. Meditation can help you focus and be more productive in as little as 10 minutes a day. Meditation helps the mind de-clutter, helps you remove yourself from unimportant distractions, and gives you the mindset to see what’s important and what is trivial. If you’re new to meditation try an app like Headspace to get going. Try meditation in the morning or early afternoon. It could be one of the best things you do all year.
7. Completely block computer based distractions with an app like Freedom.This may appear to be an extreme measure to take but if you need to meet a deadline or are having trouble focusing on a task because of reminders, messages and other computer based distractions then this app may be what you need. It’s free to use so give it a try.
8. Trello is a project collaboration tool which can also be used as a type of super to-do list. We use Trello to organise tasks for the day, for the week, and for the month. We also use it to show uncompleted and completed tasks clearly. Its many features include collaboration for teams where members can view processes in their current stage and contribute in a very user-friendly and intuitive way.
9. Taking notes, copying information from the internet, scanning text from a paper document, recording voice memos, and journaling are just some of the tasks that one of our favourite apps, Evernote, can help you with.
Evernote is a free app (with upgrade features available) that you can use and keep in sync on your desktop and mobile devices. It’s a great way of collecting ideas and storing them categorically. If you’re reading a magazine on the train and need to scan a piece of text, add a voice note explanation to it, and then send this note to a colleague Evernote will take the pain out of the process.
10. If you are constantly repeating tasks throughout the day then it’s worth seeing if Zapier can help with automating these tasks. If, for example, you work with multiple calendars a Zap (automated action event) that you create can automatically copy events from one calendar to another. If you’re an Evernote user (see tip 9.) and you’d like to backup your notes on a regular basis there’s a Zap that works with Dropbox to do this automatically. Just set and forget! There are hundreds of Zaps to choose from that will surely take out some of the routine time-consuming tasks you perform daily.
Enjoyed this post? Check out the Productivity hacks part one blog post