All posts in Productivity


42 Productivity Hacks to Work Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

productivity hacks

Self-control is over-hyped, according to Kentaro Fujita, a psychologist who studies self-control at Ohio State University.

Research suggests that the popular idea of self-control as the ability to resist temptation with willpower is fundamentally flawed.

“Our prototypical model of self-control is angel on one side and devil on the other, and they battle it out. We tend to think of people with strong willpower as people who are able to fight this battle effectively. Actually, the people who are really good at self-control never have these battles in the first place.” – Kentaro Fujita, psychologist at Ohio State University

How does this tie in with productivity? If you ask anyone what is the biggest challenge they face in trying to be productive, a likely response will involve something about a “lack of willpower”, or perhaps a difficulty staying focused.

These kinds of responses represent the popular understanding of what it means to exercise self-control.

The most productive people don’t necessarily have the best self-control, they just know how to work smart.

They’ve also most likely built up a lot of good work habits for saving time and effort, allowing them to alleviate some of the stress or discomfort that is one of the root causes of unproductivity.

In this article, I’ll outline 42 productivity hacks to help you understand how to work smarter, improve the quality of your work life, and build habits that will save you time, energy, and mental strain in the long-term.

Here’s the complete list of productivity hacks:

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The 11 Efficiency Killers in Your Workplace That You Should Know About

efficiency-killers

The following is a guest post by Eric Lawton. Eric has been part of the Human Resources sector for most of his career. During this period, he has learnt how to create and tweak hiring strategies to choose specific industries and companies. These days, he prefers to share his experience and knowledge with other people in the business.

The main goal of any workplace is to be as efficient as possible. The more efficient employees are, the more productive they become. This, in the end, leads to greater profits.

Therefore, it stands to reason that you should eliminate any obstacles hindering this process. If you feel that this is easier said than done, though, you are not alone. Most employers have a tough time identifying what the real productivity killers are.

Fortunately, there is quite a lot of research conducted on this topic. As a result, this article contains the relevant statistics and details you need to be aware of. This will make it a lot easier for you to make some real changes in your own workplace.

So, without further ado, here are the efficiency destroyers that you must watch out for:

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How Having A To-Do List Can Potentially Sabotage Your Productivity (And Ways To Do It Right)

to-do-list-tips

The following is a guest post by Jay Lieu who runs Great Big Minds. In his blog, he shares life-changing inspirational content with the world. He lives to empower, inspire and motivate others to live life great and go after their passion. You can connect and learn more about him here.

We live in a hyper-connected digital world that glorifies multitasking – it’s the only way to get everything done when there are so many things to tick off our seemingly endless to-do-list. Keeping ourselves busy means we are being productive, right?

In many cases, the answer is a big, fat no.

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but keeping a to-do-list and focusing your sole effort in knocking as many items off that list can actually hold yourself back from achieving your bigger, more meaningful goals.

How so?

Let’s dig a little bit deeper, and provide you with some to-do list tips that will get you on the right track.

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Content Creation: What I’ve Learned From Writing 157 Articles This Year

Content Creation

We’ve all been baited into those lists of recycled tips where the author lists 10,000 excruciating content creation tips, all of which you’ve heard over and over again.

I’m pretty sick of it, so thought I’d compile something from my personal experience from a year of writing.

This is stuff I’ve had to learn pretty quick since I ‘fell into’ control of the Process Street blog. I think it’s time to give the marketing community something new that they can use and ditch the typical list post content we’ve all seen trotted out over and over.

Whichever part of the content creation process you’re at, there’s a nugget of wisdom for you here.

Let’s get started.

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How to Set your Favorite Webmail as a Default Mail Client

Set Default Mail Client

You click the ‘Contact Us’ page. Nothing happens. First, confusion, then familiar frustration. It was a mailto link. Your computer slows to a grinding halt as a huge, archaic desktop mail app rises from the depths of your hard drive. Checking that the date on your computer isn’t 15 years out, you wonder why mail integration isn’t standard… and what year is it exactly?

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How Playing Multiplayer Video Games Helped me Develop a Growth Mindset

can video games make you smarter

I read an interesting post the other day by Salman Khan, founder of Khan Academy about how he has been training his son to have a “growth­ mindset”.

Here is a quote from the post:

Researchers have known for some time that the brain is like a muscle; that the more you use it, the more it grows. They’ve found that neural connections form and deepen most when we make mistakes doing difficult tasks rather than repeatedly having success with easy ones.

What this means is that our intelligence is not fixed, and the best way that we can grow our intelligence is to embrace tasks where we might struggle and fail.

However, not everyone realizes this. Dr. Carol Dweck of Stanford University has been studying people’s mindsets towards learning for decades. She has found that most people adhere to one of two mindsets: fixed or growth. Fixed mindsets mistakenly believe that people are either smart or not, that intelligence is fixed by genes. People with growth mindsets correctly believe that capability and intelligence can be grown through effort, struggle and failure. Dweck found that those with a fixed mindset tended to focus their effort on tasks where they had a high likelihood of success and avoided tasks where they may have had to struggle, which limited their learning. People with a growth mindset, however, embraced challenges, and understood that tenacity and effort could change their learning outcomes. As you can imagine, this correlated with the latter group more actively pushing themselves and growing intellectually.

In short someone with a growth mindset will embrace challenges and be willing to fail multiple times before reaching their goal, whereas someone with a fixed mindset will not even try.

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Top 16 Outlook Extensions to Boost Your Productivity

Outlook Extensions

Love or hate Microsoft, if your company uses Outlook, you need it to check in with your team, communicate with customers, and coordinate events.

While it’s great to have your email and calendar automatically synced, you can’t rely on Outlook to automatically solve all your productivity woes. Instead, think of it as a platform you can customize and optimize to help simplify your workflow.

These add-ins let you set reminders, track whatever you send, and move important info to the right place sooner. They can even reduce the number of pointless emails you get.

Here are 16 Outlook add-ins, compiled by us here at Process Street, that will transform your inbox into an efficient machine.

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Prioritization Matrix 101: What, How & Why? (Free Template)

priority matrix

As humans, we tend to focus more on the things we need to do than the things we’ve already done. This so-called “Zeigarnik effect”, named after Russian psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik, means our minds are often swimming with all of the tasks, responsibilities, and mental notes that we think we should be focusing on.

All of these tasks and projects that need doing, this mental to-do list, without a clear hierarchy of importance can make it difficult for us to stay focused and actually get things done.

One way to combat all of this Zeigarnik noise is to note down everything. Make an actual to-do list. Studies have been done, and it has been shown that the very act of noting down tasks can quite simply “make you more effective”.

But, even with a to-do list, before you actually get anything done it’s necessary to have a clear idea of your priorities.

Sounds simple enough, right? Unfortunately, figuring out what to prioritize can be hard. It’s a complicated process that involves weighing up cost against value, effort against time, and for a lot of businesses, will likely involve many different stakeholders.

The solution is to work out a process for determining what to prioritize.

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Inbox Zero: How to Manage Your Inbox in Record Time

inbox zero

We’ve all been there. A letter icon on your phone has a five-digit number in the top corner and your apprehension at tackling it grows stronger every day.

You’re drowning in emails.

In 1993 I didn’t need a system for doing email… and yet, today, I feel like the only way you’re going to succeed at a job… is figuring out how to deal with a high volume of email.” – Merlin Mann, Inbox Zero Google Tech Talk

Lucky for you, there’s a handy method called inbox zero which you can use to blast through your messages and stay on top of your backlog.

Say goodbye to email hell; your easy (and free) solution has arrived.

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A Practical Guide to Increase Productivity with Process Mapping

process-mapping

Process mapping is a useful tool for what can be summed up as “seeing the big picture and little pictures at the same time”.

That may sound silly to you, but that’s really what it is.

The primary benefit achieved from mapping out your business processes is that you can accurately evaluate each of the steps needed to complete a certain workflow, while understanding exactly how each of them interacts with one another and contributes to the process as a whole.

This ability to evaluate all aspects of a process helps managers identify constraints, opportunities for improvement, and formulate strategies to implement changes without disrupting day-to-day work.

But how do you go about ensuring that the time and effort you put into constructing these maps translates into improved performance?

That’s the question we’ll be tackling in this post.

Before doing so, however, we must acknowledge that there is a huge range of complexity when it comes to methods for process mapping. If you are a small organization it can be as simple as drawing it out on a whiteboard, whereas enterprises use sophisticated mapping software tools like Appian and Lucidchart.

This point regarding complexity and different kinds of process maps leads us to another important sub-topic that needs to be addressed early on – the difference between process mapping and process modeling.

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