GTD Productivity 411: Happiness Hacks for Every Area of Your Life
Do you put yourself on a daily ‘productivity plan,’ or a procrastination program? There’s nothing like an efficient life—after all, it’s what allows you to spend more time with those you love, project an attitude of success and have the confidence to endure even the toughest of tasks (even on a lazy Sunday afternoon!) Friday doesn’t arrive without hurdles to overcome. But, the key is cultivating and maintaining momentum to pursue and persevere. Here are some amazing hacks for your career, home life and beyond so that you can do more in a days’ time (without it feeling like extra work!)
Apply the 52/17 Rule (and Achieve More in Less Time!)
Have you ever had a cubicle buddy, or a workout partner at the gym that just seems to get more done and accomplish more in one week that you can do in two? According to research done on productivity, there may be a method to their madness. When you work under long stretches of time, you become distracted, and lose focus. After all, you aren’t a robot. You’re a human. That being said, your body needs to refuel and recharge. You can’t maintain a maximum level of creativity and concentration for hours on end. When it comes to increasing your productivity on the job (or at home, during your workout, etc.) apply the 52/17 rule, and see amazing results!
The 52/17 rule works like this: focus on your task at hand for 52 minutes. When the 52 minutes are up, take a 17 minute break. There are a few rules you need to follow, though: during your time of rest, you have to completely rest. That means, no checking Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Your mind may race, and think: “I’ve got to see if that email came in!” but don’t. Resist the urge, which will be challenging to do at first (we are creatures of instant gratification and seekers of distraction, after all.)
When you give your body a rest for 17 minutes, you’ll come back to your next 52 minute work session with a focused mind and an intentional method of getting the job done. Work intentionally and give your day more purpose, direction and efficiency as a result!
Stash Superfoods in Your Desk, Purse, and Briefcase
What makes some foods, super? As it turns out, not all food is created equal. While you may love to think that a turkey burger gives off the same nutritional ‘fuel’ for your body that a salmon salad does, there are some foods that explode with rich nutrients you need to thrive.
Super foods include: shrimp, cranberries, almonds, raspberries, blueberries, apples, beans, chia seeds, salmon, eggs, garlic, flax seeds and sweet potatoes. Superfoods provide the essential ‘fuel’ your body and mind needs to thrive at work and beyond. They boost your mood, fight off fatigue, enhance vision, promote strong teeth and bones, and work to fight off disease (and even cancer!)
Fight Off Fatigue With Lemons and Eucalyptus
Do you get a case of the 3pm blues? No matter what your day consists of—last minute deadlines, doing load after load of laundry or completing spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations, it’s hard to escape the mid-afternoon energy slump. It can be a frustrating thing to deal with, when you have so much to accomplish by the day’s end but not enough energy to keep you focused, motivated and physically energized.
Here’ the good news: where’s there’s a will (to beat afternoon fatigue) there’s a way (with lemons and eucalyptus!)
Lemons have a natural, invigorating effect on the mind and body, and eucalyptus has a calming one. Keep fresh lemons in your desk at work when you’re feeling the sluggish or distracted. Keep eucalyptus essential oil in your briefcase or purse when you need to improve your alertness and drive.
Power Walk During Your Lunch Hour
Does anyone really want to sit down at their desk all day, or be inside of their home for an eight hour stretch without so much as absorbing some old fashioned vitamin D from the gorgeous sunshine? Of course not. So, while you type, manage and analytically work the morning away, treat yourself to much needed ‘outdoors time’ during your lunch hour (checking your email from your mobile phone outdoors doesn’t count.)
Whether you have 20 minutes to spare (or a full hour) doesn’t matter. All that counts is that you make the most of it by moving, observing and getting a real change of pace from florescent lighting and the dinging of your cell phone! If you want to burn some calories and boost your energy level, take a power walk for twenty minutes. Do you need to de-stress? Take notice of the planted flowers nearby—the color green has been shown to produce a calming effect on the body. Are you feeling a little bit under the weather, and need to be acutely focused on an important project all afternoon? Rake in the sunlight—vitamin D has the ability to boost your immune system, and prevent inflammation.
Do Tasks in Pairs (Read All About It!)
Collaboration is key—after all, who said you have to do everything on your own? When you develop a team building mentality—one in which you each contribute your greatest strengths which collectively, serve for the greater good—then, everyone wins. The company you work for wins, you win, and your co-worker (or spouse, child, or neighbor) wins too.
To establish a ‘team player’ mentality, don’t limit it to your work environment. Extend yourself in every area of your life by contributing what you can offer (that others can’t contribute in the same way that you can.) Are you skilled at conceptualizing and brainstorming ideas that are different and beyond the norm? Do you like to interact with people, and naturally make them feel comfortable and at ease in your presence? When you start asking yourself, “What can I do to help?” you’ll get in the flow, and project a lifestyle of productivity, focus and creativity that others will reciprocate.
The One Home Hack You Can’t Live Without
If you ever work from home (or are simply a homebody that loves to stay in on the weekends), then you know what the biggest temptation of all is: distraction from your most urgent task. When you have a ‘to-do’ list a mile long, it’s easy to get side tracked. The phone rings two minutes after you begin folding your laundry. Your favorite TV show comes on when you need to focus on paying your bills. Your phone ‘dings,’ alerting you to an urgent email from your mother—when you need to finish a project that requires your full attention.
Being more productive at home is one of the places in your life that requires the most will power, and require the largest amount of focus. Cut through the distractions (trust us, they can wait!) by committing to the most urgent and time sensitive task first. If you need to plow through multiple loads of laundry (which will take you a few hours to wash, dry, fold and put away), resist spreading yourself thin with phone calls, emails, and running errands. Devote your attention to one thing and one thing only. When you complete tasks with intention and purpose, you’ll get more done in less time. And, the more successful you become on one task, the more confident and inspired you’ll become to succeed with the next one.
Apply the ‘Give More Gratitude’ Hack (and Attract More Love to You)
Feeling a ‘lack’ of love, money, or opportunity in your life, which is making it difficult to achieve more of the stuff you want—such as a sense of purpose, completion and satisfaction? A negative mindset can be one of the biggest deterrents to productivity. If you’re not accomplishing more and procrastinating way too often and too much, ask yourself: “Where’s my head at?” When you come up against an obstacle (a glitch you’ve run into with a client or feeling like you can’t possibly endure another 20 minutes on the treadmill), do you fight, or flee the scene? Do you focus on how far you have to go before you can achieve your goals, or focus on finding a solution with the problem at hand?
Achieve a ‘gratitude attitude’ instead, and discover the greatest productivity ‘hack’ of all!
By focusing on the things you already have—a roof above your head, a strong body, good friends, and a unique set of attributes that make you a killer co-worker and employee, you can successfully redirect your negative thoughts towards the good. Gratitude isn’t a magic potion for an efficient, productive life—but it is an essential ingredient for making the most of the time you’ve got (so you don’t waste a second!)
When you feel stuck in a rut at work, or you’re not fulfilling your personal goals as fast and steadily as you’d like to, go with gratitude. When you feel stagnant, restless or in procrastination mode, go with gratitude. Here’s how to do it, and in just five three minutes a day: kick start each morning (especially those mornings that you have multiple deadlines and projects due) by running through a list of everything you have to feel fortunate about. No matter what you are fortunate to have in your life (a great roommate, loving children, a car that gets you from point ‘A’ to ‘B’, etc.), a mental gratitude ‘checklist’ will allow you to stay motivated, energetic and hopeful for what’s to come. In short, it will give you the perseverance to go ‘full steam ahead’—no matter how many things you have lined up on your agenda!
Get Smarter With Your Schedule (So You Can Spend More Time With Those You Love)
If there was one ‘golden rule’ to get things done, it would be this: tune up your time management skills! If you tell yourself all day long, “There just isn’t enough hours in the day!” will it change a thing? Of course not. Since you can’t change time, change how you use the time you’ve got!
Learn to rethink how you perceive time to be, because when you focus on the days, hours, minutes and seconds that you have left before your project is due, or how long until your novel needs to be submitted, you’ll react as most human beings do—you’ll freeze, procrastinate or become distracted by thoughts of fear.
Instead of reacting negatively about your looming deadlines, respond with intention and initiation.
Start to record your thoughts, actions and conversations during the course of just one day. Keep a log of when you start a project, take a break, and start again. In addition, keep tracks of the daily ‘distractions’ that pull you away from your project at hand: the phone ringing, emails, running an errand or two, or talking to a co-worker who asks for your help with their pressing matter. When you become knowledgeable about how you spend your time, you can readjust the way in which you spend it!
Listen to Your Body’s Messages (a Health Hack you Can’t Live Without)
Can you really expect to get more things done if you aren’t taking care of your most basic physical and mental needs? How can you produce good work—creative, thoughtful and insightful work—if you aren’t supplying your body with energy, balance and nutrients? Consistent exercise and a healthy diet are no brainers when it comes to a thriving body and mind, but what about those other—and equally as important—stress management needs?
When you’re unable to utilize your time effectively, your stress builds. When you get ‘stuck’ with a project, or become to fixated on the deadline, you stop being ‘in the flow’ of a creative mind. And, when you are that stressed and overwhelmed with the work on your plate, your body can manifest many physical symptoms: stomach aches, migraines, insomnia, and a decrease or increase in appetite.
Listen to your body. Often times, it can help you reconfigure new ways to be successful at home and on the job. If you’re not reaching your potential, your body is one of the most immediate ways you can tap into the notion of ‘doing it better, and getting more done.’ Consider it your guiding light to achieve a more productive you!
An efficient life is a life of intention, meaning and purpose. Set goals for yourself, and hold yourself accountable to them by eating foods rich in nutrients, collaborating with others, and working during your ‘peak performance’ times! When you do, improved performance won’t be far behind.