My 5 Favorite Productivity Tricks

I’m kind of a productivity/self-improvement/self-optimization nerd. I’m all about new productivity techniques, behavior modification, habit building, etc. I really enjoy reading about the topic and experimenting with different techniques. Some have worked better than others. Here are some that I’ve found most helpful for me:

  1. Waking up early. I love the mornings, I’m most productive (after a cup of tea) in the mornings, it’s quiet, peaceful, and the whole day is stretched out before me. When I get up at my target time I’m able to get everything I need and want to get done that day. I know that even if I fail for the rest of the day I’ll have accomplished enough in those first few hours to make the day worthwhile.
  2. Working out. Most of my life is spent sitting (or standing) in front of a monitor, or commuting, so getting a good workout in makes a big difference. I try to workout every morning during the work week. It sets a good tone for the day and I feel much better as I go about the rest of my sedentary day.
  3. Being prepared. I always try to have something to do during the lulls in my day. I save stuff I find online to read later, I save PDFs for offline reading, and various other apps and tools that allow me to capitalize on those little moments between events, like commuting to the office, or waiting in line for something.
  4. Pomodoros. This is a handy productivity technique (you basically set a timer for 25 minutes and work intensly on a task for that amount of time) that I’ve used off and on for awhile. I find that if I can get through just one of them, the momentum from that first Pomodoro is enough to keep me going. Not only does it provide all the benefits of keeping me productive, it also helps me keep an eye on how much time I’m spending on projects.
  5. Tracking my activity.¬†I use an app called RescueTime¬†that tracks all my activity on my computer. I can see how productive I’m being on their dashboard, and I also get a summary report every Sunday letting me know how productive I was the week before. Having a metric for how productive I am on the computer keeps me accountable. After all, what gets measured gets managed.

What are some of the techniques you use to keep moving forward in your life?

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