Being more productive at work is something to strive for. Use these work hacks throughout your work week to help you become super productive. By applying these work hacks it will help you to automate more tasks, feel healthier, and to work smarter nor harder. Who doesn’t want that?
1. Create a triggers list to make sure nothing gets skipped.
A triggers list is a one-page comprehensive list of the various tasks you accomplish in a week. These would be items such as calls to make, meetings to schedule, conversations to have, contracts to sign, or paperwork to complete, to name a few. I use a Google Sheet as my main triggers list. Everyone will have a slightly different list, but the list I use works well for me. I review my triggers list every Tuesday for about 10-15 minutes. If needed, I add or modify the list periodically. Just last week my triggers list prevented me from dropping an orientation piece for a new hire.
2. Download a water app for your browser.
I love this water work hack. I use Drink! and have it remind me every 30 minutes to drink water. You can change it to whatever time frame you want but I find 30 minutes to be about right. If you normally sit a lot in your job, it can serve as a great reminder to get up and walk around too. For me reaching the 8 X 8 rule from the Institute of Medicine is a bit challenging so any reminder helps. For you coffee and tea drinkers, coffee counts!
3. Use the SMS Google Calendar reminder to not miss meetings.
If your company uses Google Apps, you can have Google text you meeting reminders (or when someone accepts an invite). Most people have unlimited text messaging so there is no cost to this. Using this feature has saved me from being late or missing meetings several times. If you keep your personal items on your work calendar, you can use the work hack for your personal appointments as well. For some reason, Google isn’t offering the feature anymore on the non-paid accounts.
4. Find ways to automate.
I use Zapier (reviewed here) to automate a few different things. I have Zapier upload PDFs of certain searchable emails to my Google Drive. I’ve also connected it with my Wunderlist and Email accounts so that if I star an email it adds that email as a task to my to-do list. Using Zapier this way is great for emails I want to get out of my inbox but will need to tackle at some point soon.
I also use a free application called ClipMenu (reviewed here) to store multiple copied text items or images to my clipboard. Of all the ways I try to automate at work, ClipMenu is the one that gets the most use.
5. Create checklists for your repeated and complicated projects.
You can do this on paper or in an application. I use Wunderlist (reviewed here). Wunderlist is super helpful for my tasks and for when I share simple projects with someone. We track all our hires through it as well. I build all of my checklists into the program, so I don’t have to recreate checklists. It also allows me to tweak the lists as changes to procedures occur.
6. Become friends with the IT guys.
The obvious reason is your computer doesn’t always work. You may get priority when your computer decides to start acting up! I’ve also found IT guys know a lot of computer shortcuts that help me become more productive. A couple keyboard shortcuts include using spacebar to preview an image or document in a file (try it!), Command + Spacebar to do a quick search, and Command + Tab to switch quickly between applications you are using. For a more comprehensive list of Mac shortcuts, check out Cult of Macs Top 10 Keyboard Shortcuts.
7. Stand up. Walk around.
According to LifeHacker website they recommend to walk around for 5-10 minutes each hour. I try do this in my job. Our office printer is a couple hundred feet away. I walk to the printer for each job I print. Not letting the paper pile up and get some extra walking. Walking to people’s offices to talk with them rather than sending an email or text is another way I make sure to move around. Going to their offices also has the benefit of creating more clarity on the subject in question.
Take a couple minutes to stretch your shoulders, back, and legs. This one ties into the printer too. While I wait for print jobs to finish, I often do a couple of quick stretches. Yes, it looks funny, but it helps me feel better by the end of the day. I recommend doing shoulder stretches, pec stretches, hamstring, and quad stretches. It may look funny, but it will improve your posture and flexibility. Plus it gets you to stand up.
When you do the stretches, it is best to hold each for 30-seconds and to do it during your 5-minute break, so your body is a bit warmed up. The shoulder and pec stretches are great for the upper body to help with the constant sitting many of us do. The leg stretches are great to help loosen you back up after sitting for long periods of time. The next time you’re hunched over reading or typing, let that be a reminder to stretch your body. Ergo-Plus is a great resource for workplace health and safety, including stretching.
9. Bring healthy snacks to work.
Nutrition always matters. With most of us having sedentary jobs, it matters even more. Bring fruits, vegetables, nuts, yogurt, and other healthy snacks to work. Sometimes my office looks like a lunchroom, but I feel energized and clear headed because of it. When we are energized and clear headed we will be more productive.
10. Find a work buddy.
I try to connect with the guys at work for exercise or hanging out. Plus, there is the added benefit of office talk. Which is always therapeutic. I don’t waste time talking with my work buddy, but I know he will help me out with work and personal stuff too. He serves as a sort of person advisory board member (even if he doesn’t know it). Of course, I in turn provide a listening ear for him as well.