May 24, 2021

4 Top Productivity Hacks to Keep Your Projects on Track

Whatever way you look at it, both your environment and daily routine can significantly influence your output.

Although small distractions may seem innocuous, they can quickly start to add up, consuming significant chunks of your time at the expense of important deadlines.

So how can you get on top of your task load and give procrastination the cold shoulder?

Here are 4 productivity hacks that can help you minimise disruptions, maximise your time and power through your to-do list…

Productivity Hack No. 1: Invest in Task Management Systems

For most of us, prioritising daily tasks can feel like an uphill battle! Whether we are attempting to manage our workflows or report on the progress of projects, the incessant demands on our time can make us feel overwhelmed. Rather than relying on post-it notes, the latest task management systems help you manage multiple work-streams and collaborate effectively on tasks with team members across the globe. If you are working on large-scale projects, the sub-item feature of both Asana and Monday is particularly useful, enabling you to set progressive milestones en route to achieving shared goals. The visibility of these virtual boards creates a reassuring sense of transparency, inspiring accountability for meeting deliverables and honouring team objectives. If you have existing apps, such as Slack, the majority of task management tools facilitate easy integrations, enabling you to streamline your communications.

Productivity Hack No. 2: Leverage Apps to Your Advantage

From an endless stream of IMs to the Pavlovian ping of notifications, technology ensures we remain connected across geographic and time divides. Although hyper-connectivity has its plus points (pub quiz Zoom calls and Deliveroo anyone?!), it also comes a cost, with the expectations of instant replies causing a “scattergun” approach to projects. While most apps are designed to distract us, there are several innovations on the market that we can leverage to our advantage, helping us recalibrate and focus our attention to meet impending deadlines. Both FocusMe and Focus Booster are ideal in this respect, with the latter harnessing the Pomodoro technique to help you achieve a state of flow. The timer option on Focus Booster enables you to work in short sharp bursts with brief pauses and rest breaks to maximise productivity. In addition to improving your focus, the apps offer a detailed overview of how you currently manage your time and offer suggestions for improvement. This enables you to optimise your schedule effectively whilst measuring your progress with projects.

Productivity Hack No. 3: Create an Optimal Work Environment (Sans PJs)

When you work from home, the envisaged “Zen-like” environment often fails to materialise. As most of us have found to our chagrin, creating the optimal home office set-up requires significant planning and forethought. Factors, such as noise and temperature, can compromise concentration, impacting not only your overall comfort but your productivity levels as well. As such, it is imperative to invest in equipment that supports your health and wellbeing. If you work long hours at your desk, a comfortable ergonomic chair will alleviate strain on your spine, reducing the risk of long-term back pain that takes its toll on your ability to work. Colour-coded annual calendars should also form part of your toolkit; as you complete each daily task, highlighting it in a luminous green marker can provide a strong sense of accomplishment-especially if your current to-do list is rivalling the Magna Carta! Other tools, such as noise-cancelling headphones, are also invaluable. By drowning out background sounds, you can confidently talk to clients without fear of interruptions.

Productivity Hack No. 4: Retain Your Routines, Maintain Momentum

Whether you’re a regular early riser or most productive during the hours of dusk, working remotely from home offers an opportunity to flex your schedule. While this provides a modicum of freedom, it can be alarmingly easy to procrastinate – especially if your work routine is a relatively haphazard affair! Yet without some semblance of structure, your productivity and progress with projects will likely prove sub-par, making it easy to fall behind schedule to the detriment of project deliverables. In this respect, consistency is key; regular, daily habits can maintain a sense of momentum, while inspiring the discipline required to meet important milestones. Before starting your day, it is worth establishing some rituals that shift your mind into “work mode.” Creating a to-do list, drinking coffee, walking the dog – whatever works for you, do it daily, and make it a habit. Through honouring these rituals, you’ll subconsciously train your mindset to approach your tasks with confidence and embrace challenges head-on!