Hello there! It’s a brand new day and it’s a Monday :) Here are some productivity hacks that help me stay sane.
For some, this day marks the end of rest and for some it is a head start to making magic happen and for me its both. If you’re a leader like me, and the buck stops on you, Monday is when you press play on your plans you thought through over the weekend.
So, here are a few productivity hacks that help me stay super efficient and sane through the week. Hope they help you too.
1. Plan for the week on Sunday
Did you know that 70% of your anxiety for the week can be reduced by planning for the week on Sunday? Okay that data point has no source but this is such an easy hack to exponentially increase your effectiveness.
Planning for the week ahead on Sunday helps me realize that there is a huge gap in the quality of output when you plan under pressure and without pressure. Most Sundays, i plan goals i want the team to achieve for the week, goals i want to achieve for the week, meetings i need to attend, down to the clothes i need to wear. It generally helps me take a step back to see things clearly and plan appropriately. I encourage you to try this. This typically takes maximum 30 minutes of my time on Sunday evenings.
2. No Notifications (Before Bed and After You Wake up)
I’m addicted to my phone as most people are. Mostly because it keeps me connected to the world, to work, people etc. However, one thing i started and immensely helped me be more clear headed when i wake up and sleep is that i do not check notifications immediately after i wake up or immediately before i go to bed.
What i found out is that, reading emails right after waking up makes the first tone of the day one of chaos which essentially negatively affects the tone for the entire day. So what i do is, i typically personally pray/ think/ read a devotional for around 5 minutes before i get up. It doesn’t have to be faith based, Arianna Huffington for example, meditates and she speaks about it on this podcast here.
I found personally that the moment of quiet after waking up sets the tone for the day and i can be deliberate about it. This definitely improves my overall productivity.
3. Change Your Alarm Tune
What's your alarm tune? Harsh sounds that sound like someone is screaming or chaos? Do you know that your alarm tune affects your state of mind. I switched my alarm tune from the default buzz! buzz! that creates this frenzy, to one of calmer sounds that gradually increase in volume so i'm unable to ignore. Try it, see if it works for you? For me, its drastically improved the quality of my mornings, and in turn the whole day.
4. Scheduling Emails
When i’m on a roll, i schedule emails on Sunday to go out Monday morning. There’s an amazing tool called Boomerang. It allows you schedule emails, one feature i really like is it allows you schedule emails that will only be sent if the recipient doesn't respond. I find this very useful for follow up and generally keeping track of emails with no response.
5. A Notepad
Do not underestimate the importance of this. I personally have both, a physical notepad and also one on my phone. I find my phone very useful to write quick comments, thoughts, ideas that come to mind even though they may not apply in that moment. I get these ideas at random moments so it helps to be able to quickly jot them down and they leave so quickly too. If you don’t write them down it's easy to forget.
I typically use the laundry never ending list for new ideas to implement every week, things to remember and it also helps to help me set additional goals for the new week.
6. Video Conferencing
We have a heavy face to face culture here in Africa - but i think with traffic situation in most countries it’s safe to say Video Conferencing is a life saver. Before i have in person meetings, i like to first take a video call except if it's absolutely important to take the in person meeting. Zoom i found out is amazing for businesses. I particularly like it because your participants can either dial in, log in via a browser or download the app. So many options. I tried the others and they just don't work for me like Zoom does.
7. Getting Stuff Done On the Go
The average Lagosian spends around 3 hours in total in traffic every day. That’s a lot of time to spend in traffic, with 20 day work months, that’s around ~32 days in a year. A whole month every year is spent in traffic is a whole lot of time to waste.
This gap is very useful time to get things done. I realized that i am able to learn a lot during my commutes, by listening to podcasts and reading articles, also getting some work done by making calls, sending emails etc and sometimes just relaxing.
These seem pretty basic but they've literally made me much more productive. Do you have any hacks? Please share!