There are a few things we can actually control in our life; sadly, time isn’t one of them. But we can control how productively we use it. Certainly we need to: Most of us have been in situations where we wished there were “more hours in the day” to get things done.
However, a recent Stanford study throws water on that notion, suggesting that simply devoting more time to getting things done isn’t as helpful as it would seem.
The study revealed that productivity falls off dramatically after a 50-hour work week, and that those working 70 hours accomplish little more with those additional 20 hours. So, the issue isn’t about having more time to get things done, it’s about using the time you already have more wisely. Consider these five productivity hacks to optimize your daily hustle.
1. Start your morning right.
How you start your morning sets the tone for the entire day.
Waking up earlier and getting into full activity mode can help you get more done the entire day. You should also start your day on a positive note. While most people tend to focus on what they’ve not been able to accomplish the previous day, resetting your priorities and attacking the new day’s goals is key to making the best use of your time.
Keep the phone and emails aside and start with some mind-stimulating exercises such as lifting weights and doing yoga. The workouts will get your blood flowing and pump you up for work, while yoga will help you clear your mind.
2. Employ the Ivy Lee productivity method.
This an old productivity strategy recommends that you close each day by writing down a list of six important things you want to do the next day. Each task is listed according to its level of importance. The most important one comes first, the least important, last.
Your aim is not to clear your tasks as soon as possible but to focus only on completing the first task. Move on to the next task only once you’ve completed the first one. Do this until everything is done.
James Clear, productivity expert and author, explains in a blog post how in 1918 Ivy Lee, a productivity consultant, counseled Charles Schwab, then the president of Bethlehem Steel, to adopt this plan for his employees. Schwab did just that, saw productivity soar and presented the consultant with a $25,000 check — a princely sum back in those days.
3. Try polyphasic sleep.
According to research reported in the New York Times Magazine, sleep deprivation costs businesses in America more than $63 billion annually. While it’s in our nature to sleep only at nights — which for most people is insufficient — taking short naps or siestas during the day may be just what you need to keep your productivity high.
Polyphasic sleep is a sleep hack that aims to boost productivity by disrupting the normal straight seven-hour sleep (monophasic sleep). With polyphasic sleep, you sleep only 30 minutes every six hours. This approach gives you roughly five hours’ extra sleep in a day, while your body still gets the rewards of a normal six-to-seven-hour sleep.
4. Always wear a cheerful outlook.
Our productivity seems to be connected to our mood. That statement seems obvious, but now there’s proof: A University of Warwick study found that happy employees work harder. The study established that by working alongside cheerful people, employees studied were 12 percent more productive.
If you yourself aim to see increased productivity at your business, stick with employees who are cheerful and happy and stay away from those who tend to share negative stuff. You can also contribute to the productivity levels of others by staying happy yourself — which is great for everybody.
5. Drink coffee.
Hey, all you java fans, multiple studies show that drinking coffee can boost our productivity levels. Jeff Bickley, founder of Gayo Kopi, an exclusive coffee brand, validates this in a chat.
“Coffee can play a powerful role in boosting our productivity,” he says. “Throughout the day, a compound known as adenosine is produced, as neurons in the brain are fired. We end up feeling tired and worn down as a result of its continuous production.
Coffee helps combat this by impersonating the A1 receptor, which helps block adenosine.”
So bring on that mocha latte.