Productivity Hacks

21 Aug, 2015 Productivity

Being more productive means getting more done in less time or with less effort. It doesn’t necessarily mean working more! Here are some productivity hacks to try.

Speech-to-Text Software

Wouldn’t it be great if you could write an article, or even an entire novel, without ever typing or writing a single word? Well, you can thanks to speech-to-text software like Nuance’s Dragon NaturallySpeaking.

Using this software, you simply speak into a microphone (usually a headset), and it identifies the words you are saying, translating them into text format.

Keep in mind, however, that speech-to-text has somewhat of a steep learning curve, as you must speak any punctuation as you dictate, e.g., “Mary paused comma not wanting to leave without saying goodbye period.”

Work During Your Commute & Other ‘Dead” Times

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average American spends just under half an hour commuting to work, which translates into nearly a full hour sitting behind the wheel each day! Rather than jamming out to the local radio, you should use this time to work.

You may not be able to complete all of your normal work tasks while commuting to and from the office, but there are certain tasks that you can do, such as speaking your next day’s to-do list into your phone’s voice memo feature, returning calls in which you don’t have to take notes, and other tasks that aren’t too distracting. Just remember NOT to text and drive, as this is both dangerous and even illegal in some jurisdictions.

Try Public Transportation

Or better yet, can you take public transportation, even if you have to drive a short distance to catch a bus or train? Not having to drive frees up your hands and your attention to type or jot down notes.

Take Advantage of Other “Dead” Time

If you’re waiting to pick up your kiddo from gymnastics or sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, try to use the time to knock a few minor things off your to-do list. Smartphones have enabled us to access email and even software programs we used to only be able to access from our desks, so take advantage of the technology or use the time to plan out your next day.

Finish Two-Minute Tasks Immediately

There’s an old productivity rule that many successful businessmen and women still follow: if a task can be completed in less than two minutes, then you should go ahead and finish it right away. If it’s an email you can fire off a quick response, do it as soon as you read it. Constantly putting off tasks, even small ones, will only cause them to stack up, hurting your productivity levels in the long run.

Plan for Next Week

Instead of heading out the door Friday afternoon, consider spending an extra 15 or 20 minutes planning for the following week. Or, set aside a bit of weekend time if that’s easier for you. Think about what you accomplished this week, and what’s spilling into next week.

Schedule tasks for specific days and leave some room for new things. Why? You’ll be prepared from the get-go on Monday morning, knowing right away what needs attention first and an added bonus is you’ll know by midweek how well you’re doing.

Keep a Positive Attitude

The right state of mind will go a long ways in boosting your productivity levels. If you start your day with a general sense of negativity, you’ll feel less motivated. On the other hand, if you arrive at work with a positive attitude, you’ll produce more and higher quality work.

There is a saying that goes something like “you can choose your attitude” — in other words, you can choose to start your day grouchy or with a smile. I’ll bet you can guess which one makes you feel better and helps you be more productive!

Know any other productivity hacks that you would like to share with our readers? Let us know in the comments section below!

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