25 Productivity Hacks to help you crush every single day.

After more than two decades in the business world, most of it as a small business owner, I have learned the hard way, through trial and error what works, and what doesn’t work to keep myself focused and the most productive.

I built a million-dollar+ company that never lost its growth momentum during the economic recession.

Now, I want to share these productivity tips with you.

That’s why I’ve put together 25 Productivity Hacks to help you crush every single day.

I hope you’ll steal these ideas.

Make them work for you.

Incorporate into your workflow.

If some don’t work, don’t do them.

But I hope they help you crush it every day!

4 proven ways to boost your productivity from your home office

After working from a home office for most of the past fifteen years, it would be extremely hard for me to go back to a traditional office environment. But it wasn’t always that way. For the uninitiated, a home office can be full of distractions. It can also make it hard to turn it on/off and set boundaries between your work and personal life.

I’ve learned through trial and error how to maximize the productivity of my home office. Here are four tried-and-true lessons I’ve learned: Continue reading “4 proven ways to boost your productivity from your home office”

The productivity hack that helps me win the day, every day

My clients and friends laugh about it. Sometimes they get pissed about it.

I’m talking about my penchant for not answering the phone during the work day.

It’s not that I’m ignoring their calls (most times).  It’s that I usually don’t even have my phone on or nearby while I’m working.

It’s a proactive productivity hack that keeps me focused and on track every single day.

I used to be that guy who answered phones and responded to emails as they came in throughout the day. And you know what? I got nothing done.

By responding to the real time fire hose of communications that came into me every minute, I found it almost impossible to start projects … or finish them.

After years of this madness, I decided enough was enough, and started batching the times at which I check my emails and my voicemails/calls.

Here’s why I did it.

Most Calls Were Non-Emergency

After analyzing my incoming calls, I found that most of them were either non-emergency “checking in” calls, or really non-emergency “chew the fat” calls. Further, when there was an actual emergency, the phone call was accompanied by an email and even a text message (which pops up in a notification on my laptop.)

I’d Rather be Prepared

For those calls for which my client or colleague had a question, I usually had to call them back once I investigated the answer.  That meant that two calls were necessary.  By allowing them to leave a voicemail first, I could listen to their question, investigate, and call them back (or email them — even better!) with an answer. It saves considerable time.

Workflow is Imperative

Much of my day is spent writing.  It’s hard to get a good flow if you have to keep starting and stopping to answer calls or emails. My clients want my best work, and they want it fast. My working to cut down on calls with them, it’s allowing me to serve them better by providing them a better product.

So, to all of you clients and colleagues who joke about me never answering the phone, or seem offended by it — I hope you understand.

This phone habit has stuck for the past several years, and it’s allowed me to get more done, be more productive, be happier and serve my clients better each day, every day.

30 Productivity Do’s and Dont’s

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If there was a productivity rulebook, what would it say? There are so many opinions these days on how to maximize your productivity and better manage your time. It’s hard to know which ones will actually work and which ones you’re just wasting your time on. If you’re looking for tried-and-true productivity tips that work (and ones that don’t), you’ve come to the right place. Here are 30 productivity do’s and don’ts you should live by.

DO

1. Make it a habit to wake up earlier. The early bird gets the worm.
2. Create your to-do list. Then make sure you actually use it.
3. Organize your inbox daily. Don’t let emails multiply and take over.
4. Take short breaks. Even 15 minutes away from your desk can help you refocus.
5. Get 8 hours of sleep. The mind works better when it’s well rested.
6. Keep your desk organized. Clutter creates a stressful environment.
7. Cut down on meetings. Spend your time actually doing work.
8. Exercise routinely. Your body needs to be in shape to be able to keep up.
9. Ask for help. No one expects you to know everything.
10. Turn off your phone. Social media and texts are a huge distraction.
11. Plan ahead. The more your schedule, the less time you waste.
12. Go digital. Use apps to help you organize your life.
13. Eat a healthy breakfast. It’s the most important meal of the day.
14. Automate as much as possible. Your goal is always efficiency.
15. Make time for yourself. Burnout is a serious issue, don’t let it happen to you.

DON’T

16. Waste time on the little things. Think about the big picture and the bottom line.
17. Stalk your inbox. Emails don’t need to be responded to the moment you get it.
18. Be afraid to say no. Your time is valuable too.
19. Drink too much coffee. A cup or two is fine but too much can make you jittery.
20. Sit at your desk all day. Get up and move around.
21. Multitask. Sometimes it’s OK but most of the time, it doesn’t help.
22. Be reactive. Be proactive.
23. Try to do it all yourself. Outsource what you can.
24. Answer your phone if you’re in the middle of something big. One small conversation can turn into a long one very easily.
25. Keep your eye on the clock. Just work.
26. Work harder, work smarter.
27. Check social media constantly. You don’t need to know what your friends are doing right this second.
28. Wait. Just do what you can right now.
29. Think negatively. The glass is half full, not empty.
30. Forget about the plan. At the end of the day, always work towards your goal.
What are you number 1 do’s and dont’s for productivity?

Why You Should Use Two Separate To-Do Lists to Achieve Max Productivity

To Do List

If you’re like me, you have a to-do list a mile long that seems to get even longer with each passing day.

At least, that’s the way I used to operate — until I started my process of using two separate to-do lists: A weekly list and a daily list.

Here’s how it works:

1) The Weekly To Do List

This is where I dump all the projects and to-do’s that pop into my head throughout the day. As soon as I think about them, I put them in my “long to do list” in Evernote. I make sure not to check this to-do list throughout the day, and I only glance it at quickly in the morning when I’m pulling off items to include on my daily to-do  list.  This longer, weekly to-do list serves as my mental inbox, and getting things out of my head and into this inbox serves as stress reliever.

2) The Daily To Do List

Each morning, glance at my big to-do list and pull off three or four (no more than four) project items to tackle that day.  It’s vital that you select no more than three or four items, which should only include one or two big items for the day.  I nail out these priority items first thing in the morning, before I’ve even checked my email.  This ensures that my important items for the day are hit early, leaving the rest of the day for the emergencies, unforeseen projects and client calls that are sure to come.

I find this dual-to-do-list strategy has really helped keep me on track.  It helps me focus each day on my priority items without jumping around aimlessly on my mile-long to-do list.

The key is really tackling the day’s priority to-do’s first thing in the morning before I open my email inbox.  If I finish my priority to-do’s early, and find myself ahead of the game, I also try hard not to jump ahead to the next day’s priorities.  Why?  Because it helps me keep an even-keel of consistency — and allows me to enjoy those days when I’m ahead of the game without piling on more work.

How do you manage your to-do lists?  We’d love to hear about your productivity tips in the comments section!