How to get more from your task list with layout hacks

5 simple hacks for maximizing efficiency and productivity at work.

How to get more from your task list with layout hacks

How to get more from your task list with layout hacks

If you’re being pulled in a million directions during the 9 to 5 daily grind, you’re not alone. A study by Microsoft found that people in today’s dizzying digital world have attention spans of just 8 seconds.

Here’s the good news: You can stay on track in spite of the distractions around you. Here are 5 simple time management and productivity hacks that can help you produce better quality work, faster.

Get into the habit of planning the week ahead on the Friday before. Even a 20-minute investment here will pay off as you hit the ground running with a sense of clarity on Monday. Start by consolidating all your tasks and ranking them based on urgency, value and effort required. Try to limit your priority task list to a maximum of 3.

Uncertain of how high the stakes are for a particular job? This makes for a good conversation piece with your teammates or managers — demonstrating that you are proactive and committed to focusing your efforts where they are truly needed.

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Completing even the tiny tasks can be incredibly satisfying, so leave those for the shorter blocks of time when you need a mental break or when energy levels are waning. A once-a-day block for writing or replying to emails is sufficient, with experts suggesting a late afternoon time slot works best.

Leaving a buffer time in between tasks will help to create flexibility and room for responding to uncertainty. Also, remember to schedule pockets of time for career enriching activities like networking, catching up on the latest market trends or brushing up on a particular skill.

According to University of California research, it takes an average of 25 minutes to refocus after an interruption. Visualize your current workspace and you likely see multiple screens, e-mail notification pop-ups and teammates coming by with a “quick question”. Couple the down time triggered by each distraction with your 8 second attention span and you have a recipe for disaster.

How to get more from your task list with layout hacks

The key is to design your physical and digital space to help you get in (and stay in) the zone.

Create focus blocks between 30 minutes to an hour and experiment with moving your workspace to an optimal environment — perhaps a cafe with headphones on, or a private meeting room. Also,try to keep Gmail and Slack notifications at bay during this time and set your mobile devices to airplane mode. With a calmer, goal-driven approach, you’ll find innovative ideas and quality work flowing in a fraction of the time.

As your time management action plan kicks into action, get suggestions, buy-in and support from those around you. Using visual tools can also be helpful for others to identify and respect your quiet time. For example, hanging a sign on your chair to “Please come back in 30 minutes — I’m concentrating!” reassures others that their needs will be met while maximizing your attention reserves.

With so many unique, customized time management systems among work groups, starting a conversation about productivity will provide you with inspiration for creating your ideal workday plan. Take the next step of visualizing it on shared calendars which will create transparency for others to know what the best time to get your attention is. Digital calendars are also a great resource for keeping your tasks, appointments and reminders running like clockwork.

It’s important to create a personalized schedule configuration that works for you. Be mindful of what your energy levels are like throughout the day and play around with work hours, making sure you’ve scheduled high priority tasks for when you feel in your prime.

How to get more from your task list with layout hacks

Being constantly busy creates the illusion of productivity, but also means sacrificing self-awareness and strategic thinking. The best a-ha moments typically happen when you are doing “nothing” — taking a shower or walking the dog. Astronauts in space, for example, reported a cognitive shift of heightened awareness and a life-altering perspective that psychologists termed the overview effect.

“Be a bum. Do nothing. Enjoy yourself. It’s okay.” — Marty Rubin

Healthy 15-minute openings in your daily calendar to recharge and think about the big picture will create a calmer headspace and room for fresh insights. Use this time to embrace your overview effect — thinking long term, attaching meaning and significance to your work and coming back with a reinvigorated sense of purpose.

Highly competitive work spaces, anxiety over failure and imposter syndrome can leave you feeling drained and defeated. Socially prescribed ideas of excellence being a prerequisite to success can start to creep into our daily activities with detrimental effects on productivity.

For instance, take this familiar scenario: a difficult project lands on your desk with a tight deadline and a big budget on the line. Your manager needs a project plan in the next 24 hours. The clock is ticking as you feel increasingly paralyzed, not knowing where to start. The obvious solution? Reply to emails and scroll through Twitter until the final moments, frantically producing something far from your best work.

To avoid this cycle of procrastination and disappointment, Organizational Psychologist, Laura Hamill, suggests the following pro tips. Break up complicated projects into a series of smaller, achievable tasks. Practice creating something within a set timeframe, trying not to get overly caught up in details and accuracy.

How to get more from your task list with layout hacks

The Pomodoro technique can help with this: choose a task and set a timer for 25 minutes. Focus on the goal of completing the task before the timer goes off and repeat with the rest of your task load, making sure to take breaks in between.

In a typical work day, time flies whether or not you’re having fun. Regain control by creating a balanced time management plan that’s tailored to your goals and work habits. Be conscious that less is actually more when it comes to fostering creativity and innovation. With an open mind, you’ll establish an energizing routine where you’re no longer spinning wheels, but zooming ahead.

Productivity Boosts for Remote and On-Site Work

How to get more from your task list with layout hacks

In these particularly stressful times, when many people are stretched between virtual work and monitoring virtual schooling, it’s a good time to be as efficient with work as possible. These working smarter hacks might be just what you need.

I’m no productivity expert, but I’ve gleaned lots of tips from productivity books, podcasts and personal experimentation. You can also get my list of free or low-cost apps that help you stay focused and get more productive.

Productivity isn’t about becoming an automaton. It’s about focusing when it’s time to focus, getting work done and having time for the rest of your life.

1. Know Where You Spend Your Time

Does it seem like the day just disappears before you’ve completed the priority tasks that need to get done? You may think that you are focused on work for hours a day, when you are really spending more time than you realize on social media, news or shopping sites.

Why not find out exactly how you spend your time so that you can adjust your habits? Knowledge is power. RescueTime and ProcrastiTracker run in the background and will automatically track your time with no data entry needed.

2. Block Distracting Websites

If you’ve tracked your time using one of the apps above and are not happy with the results, you may need to lock up distracting websites. People often look for distractions when the thinking gets tough. Stepping outside for a short walk might help you solve a problem. Engaging in distracting tasks probably won’t. If you have trouble staying away from distracting websites, you’re not alone. That’s why there are many apps that will block social media or any sites that you specify for a specific amount of time.

WasteNoTime is a browser extension that has a time quota feature to block selected websites for a preset amount of time each day. StayFocusd is a Chrome extension that limits the time you spend on distracting websites. If you use these apps, don’t forget that you’ll have to put your phone in a drawer too.

3. Really Use Your Task Manager

Chances are you have a digital task manager for to-do lists, but you forget to enter tasks or you forget to check it. To free up mind space, it’s important to use your task manager. You need one of these in addition to a project management tool (for large projects) and paper and pencil (for small daily lists you can cross off). Look for one that is simple to use, reliable and syncs across devices so you can have that list with you while on the go. There seem to be scores of task manager or to-do list organizers so try out a few. One that is getting a lot of press lately is Todoist. Others include: Things (IOS only) and Remember the Milk. Although Trello is another alternative, it seems to be best for projects rather than simple tasks.

4. List To-Do Tasks At End of The Day

This is one of the simplest productivity boosters I know and yet it can have a big impact on your work. At the end of every day, decide on what to do the next day and write it down. People tend to waste time in the morning trying to prioritize their tasks for the day and trying to remember where they left off. But at the end of the day, it’s easy to remember what you need to do next. Make tomorrow easier by making a to-do list the evening before.

5. Batch Two-Minute Tasks

Do you have a buildup of small two-minute tasks that you move from one list to another because they will never become your highest priority? Eventually, they may drop off your list.

Knowing you need to complete those small tasks can become a small mental burden when you add them up. So, do a brain dump into a note-taking tool. Then batch those tasks together and get them all done. Easy.

6. An Alternate Two-Minute Rule

There’s another two-minute rule floating around that you might prefer. If something takes less than two-minutes, do it in the moment that the task arises and you won’t even have to write it down.

7. Capture notes in one place

It was hard to remove the sticky notes I’d had pasted all over my office, monitor and sometimes on myself, but a few years ago I started using Evernote. It is a real time saver to have your notes in one place.

It took me awhile to understand the Evernote hierarchy: stacks are made from notebooks and notebooks contain notes. Now I am addicted to Evernote for every and anything, including notes, tags, clip to read later, sharing documents, etc. I pay for their affordable premium option to get the maximum convenience.

Some alternative note taking apps include: Microsoft One Note, Workflowy and Google Keep.

8. Listen to Brain Energizing Music

Brain music? The publishers of these services advertise that their music can help you focus and be more productive. I’m just beginning to experiment with Brain.fm and so far I like the results. Using headphones or ear buds is a must. And although it sounds like pure hype, the music seems to increase in intensity and helps you get into a zone that makes you more productive. You can try out several sessions for free. Similar sites include: [email protected] and focusmusic.fm (free).

9. Declutter Your Desk

A cluttered desk is a sign of creativity, right? Maybe not. I’ve seen many people in creative fields with spotless desks because clutter may not be the best environment for innovation. In fact, some productivity experts say that every bit of clutter takes up a little mind space. So, try decluttering your desk at the end of every day for one week. See if it makes a difference in your level of clarity.

10. Create Processes

When you find yourself doing repeatable but complex tasks, turn them into processes. Document each process so you don’t waste time trying to figure out how to do it next time. Then use your documentation as performance support. Any cognitive aid you can use during your busy day is one less thing you have to remember or reinvent.

As a simple example, suppose you occasionally batch process graphics to make them a consistent size and format. But you don’t perform this task frequently enough to remember how the software works. If you document the process you can use your cheat sheet every time and increase your efficiency.

Get my List of 12 Free and Low-Cost Productivity Tools plus the latest articles, resources and freebies once a month.

How to get more from your task list with layout hacks

In today’s busy world, we’re constantly juggling endless personal and work obligations. There are tons of productivity hacks out there that promise to help you get more done in less time. Some of these tips might help you manage your to-do list, but not all of them work as prescribed.

To help you steer clear of ineffective productivity advice, we asked a group of entrepreneurs to share some popular hacks that aren’t necessarily as useful as people say. Here are some “helpful” strategies you can safely ignore and what to do instead if you truly want to make more progress.

Multitasking on important tasks

Some productivity experts say multitasking should never happen, while others concede it can be helpful in certain circumstances. Abeer Raza, co-founder of TekRevol, is in the latter camp — but notes that trying to do two important projects at once is detrimental.

“Multitasking is an important skill and helps in increasing the frequency at which work is completed, but it can compromise on quality,” says Raza. “It’s OK to multitask with major focus on important work and less focus on secondary work, but multitasking two important tasks can disrupt focus and thought processes.”

Getting to ‘inbox zero’

Some professionals try to clear out their entire email inbox each day to feel like they’re on top of their task list. Aaron Schwartz, co-founder and president of Passport, believes it’s important to prioritize the messages you get: Answering emails from strangers that won’t ultimately help your business shouldn’t get in the way of more pressing tasks just because you’re trying to empty your inbox.

“Spend your time working on the projects that will actually move the needle on your business, and don’t let third parties dictate your effort,” Schwartz adds.

Taking frequent breaks

Productivity experts often tout the idea of working in short bursts and taking “micro-breaks” in between, instead of a full break. David Henzel, CEO of LTVplus, says this approach can actually make you less productive overall.

“It breaks up the workflow and forces our minds to readjust after shifting our attention away for a few minutes,” he says.

Using productivity apps

Stephanie Wells, founder of Formidable Forms, notes that some apps that are meant to help improve your productivity can sometimes make you more distracted.

“It’s fun to get on the app and lay out your tasks and set goals, but if you get too into planning, that’s a waste of time,” Wells explains. “A simple calendar or to-do list is best to quickly plan out your schedule and get things done.”

Getting a head start on Sundays

If you spend your Sundays trying to “get ahead” for Monday morning, you might be doing the opposite, says Blair Thomas, co-founder of eMerchantBroker.

“Checking emails and looking at your schedule on Sundays gets you sucked in, likely disrupts the sleep you’ll have that night and creates anxiety,” he says.

Thomas adds that spending your Sundays relaxing will ultimately make you more productive than trying to get a head start.

Doing your hardest task first

You’ve likely heard that doing your hardest task first is the best way to ensure a productive day. However, Solomon Thimothy, president of OneIMS, points out that the hardest task is not always the most important one.

“By focusing on something that drains your resources and doesn’t help you move further with your goal, you only get less productive,” says Thimothy.

Waking up early

Getting up early and tackling tasks before the rest of the world is awake only makes sense if you’re already a morning person, says Bryce Welker, CEO of Beat The CPA

“Not everyone is like this and they shouldn’t try and force themselves into working this way,” he says. “Additionally, early risers will experience diminishing returns if they wake up too early, so don’t go overboard!”

Overpreparing for your day

Reuben Yonatan, founder and CEO of GetVoIP, says a lot of productivity hacks advise people to spend time each morning writing down their goals and purpose for the day. This may be helpful for some, he says, but it can easily become a time-wasting distraction.

“A great morning routine is key, but it should be simple,” adds Yonatan. “Planning can go from productive to overwhelming very quickly.”

How to get more from your task list with layout hacks

Jan 12, 2018 · 10 min read

How to get more from your task list with layout hacks

OneNote is a digital notebook that automatically backs up to Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud. Microsoft has developed apps for every device including Windows PC, Mac,iPhone, Android. OneNote notebooks can be shared with colleagues for real-time collaboration.

OneNote allows you to capture just about anything. Type notes, r e cord audio, create a quick sketch, add pictures, videos, and any other document. Then organize everything into notebooks, sections, and pages. OneNote can be as structured or as unstructured as you want it to be. And because all your notes are in the cloud, OneNote lets you switch devices and pick up right where you left off.

Last but certainly not least, integration! You can take note in OneNote while on a phone call, quickly add check-boxes turning the notes into a to-do list. Then, add an Outlook flag to remind you to follow up later. Or link an Outlook calendar appointment to a OneNote page and share the notes to everyone in the meeting. The possibilities are endless.

How often does this happen? You’re out to lunch and remember you need to call a customer and follow up on your last meeting. Quick notes are perfect for capturing a thought on one device, such as your phone then retrieving it from another device, such as your computer when you’re in the office.

Use Quick Notes to jot down any thoughts and ideas, just like sticky notes. Each Quick Note is instantly saved as a page in the Unfiled Notes section of the Quick Notes notebook.

Quick Notes are the electronic equivalent of little yellow sticky notes. When you create a Quick Note, it’s saved immediately as a section in Notebook. OneNote uses both the Quick Notes and Notebook to sync your notes to OneDrive. For this reason, don’t rename the Notebook or the Quick Notes section.

How to create a quick note on smartphones

The following instructions are for an Android smartphone but are similar on the iPhone. If you have any difficulty with your iPhone please let me know if the comments and I’ll write up instructions.

Once you download the OneNote Android app and log in to your Office 365 account you can begin using OneNote on your smartphone anytime, anywhere. OneNote for Android has widgets for creating a new text note, audio note, and picture note. To use any of these widgets, simply tap and drag them to your phone’s home screen.

From your Android home screen, tap and hold until the management view appears. Click WIDGETS.

How to get more from your task list with layout hacks

Scroll down until you find the OneNote app. Scroll through the different widgets and add them to your home screen!

How to get more from your task list with layout hacks

In today’s busy world, we’re constantly juggling endless personal and work obligations. There are tons of productivity hacks out there that promise to help you get more done in less time. Some of these tips might help you manage your to-do list, but not all of them work as prescribed.

To help you steer clear of ineffective productivity advice, we asked a group of entrepreneurs to share some popular hacks that aren’t necessarily as useful as people say. Here are some “helpful” strategies you can safely ignore and what to do instead if you truly want to make more progress.

Multitasking on important tasks

Some productivity experts say multitasking should never happen, while others concede it can be helpful in certain circumstances. Abeer Raza, co-founder of TekRevol, is in the latter camp — but notes that trying to do two important projects at once is detrimental.

“Multitasking is an important skill and helps in increasing the frequency at which work is completed, but it can compromise on quality,” says Raza. “It’s OK to multitask with major focus on important work and less focus on secondary work, but multitasking two important tasks can disrupt focus and thought processes.”

Getting to ‘inbox zero’

Some professionals try to clear out their entire email inbox each day to feel like they’re on top of their task list. Aaron Schwartz, co-founder and president of Passport, believes it’s important to prioritize the messages you get: Answering emails from strangers that won’t ultimately help your business shouldn’t get in the way of more pressing tasks just because you’re trying to empty your inbox.

“Spend your time working on the projects that will actually move the needle on your business, and don’t let third parties dictate your effort,” Schwartz adds.

Taking frequent breaks

Productivity experts often tout the idea of working in short bursts and taking “micro-breaks” in between, instead of a full break. David Henzel, CEO of LTVplus, says this approach can actually make you less productive overall.

“It breaks up the workflow and forces our minds to readjust after shifting our attention away for a few minutes,” he says.

Using productivity apps

Stephanie Wells, founder of Formidable Forms, notes that some apps that are meant to help improve your productivity can sometimes make you more distracted.

“It’s fun to get on the app and lay out your tasks and set goals, but if you get too into planning, that’s a waste of time,” Wells explains. “A simple calendar or to-do list is best to quickly plan out your schedule and get things done.”

Getting a head start on Sundays

If you spend your Sundays trying to “get ahead” for Monday morning, you might be doing the opposite, says Blair Thomas, co-founder of eMerchantBroker.

“Checking emails and looking at your schedule on Sundays gets you sucked in, likely disrupts the sleep you’ll have that night and creates anxiety,” he says.

Thomas adds that spending your Sundays relaxing will ultimately make you more productive than trying to get a head start.

Doing your hardest task first

You’ve likely heard that doing your hardest task first is the best way to ensure a productive day. However, Solomon Thimothy, president of OneIMS, points out that the hardest task is not always the most important one.

“By focusing on something that drains your resources and doesn’t help you move further with your goal, you only get less productive,” says Thimothy.

Waking up early

Getting up early and tackling tasks before the rest of the world is awake only makes sense if you’re already a morning person, says Bryce Welker, CEO of Beat The CPA

“Not everyone is like this and they shouldn’t try and force themselves into working this way,” he says. “Additionally, early risers will experience diminishing returns if they wake up too early, so don’t go overboard!”

Overpreparing for your day

Reuben Yonatan, founder and CEO of GetVoIP, says a lot of productivity hacks advise people to spend time each morning writing down their goals and purpose for the day. This may be helpful for some, he says, but it can easily become a time-wasting distraction.

“A great morning routine is key, but it should be simple,” adds Yonatan. “Planning can go from productive to overwhelming very quickly.”

If you want to accomplish a lot in life, you have to find a way to boost your productivity. Whether you want to succeed at work in business or you have a project you wish to complete from scratch paper online, it is time to maximize your productivity. It is the best way to accomplish your life goals, grow your business, life a fulfilling life, avoid burnout and enjoy time with family among other things.

Here are some simple but effective life hacks that will boost your productivity. Take a look:

  1. Start your day early: It is the simplest rule in life but most people still struggle to utilize it. For most people, mornings move past like a blur and nothing much gets done. This is because they get up late and rush to do everything. By starting your day early, you can do much more by the end of day.
  2. Use the two-minute rule: If a task can take less than two minutes to accomplish, then go ahead and do it. Don’t procrastinate with planning because that takes more of your precious time. It is all about prioritizing responsibilities based on the time they will take.

How to Stop Procrastinating and Stick to Good Habits by Using the “2-Minute Rule”

How to Build Productivity Through Rewards and Recognition

  • Engage in self-care.: To get the best out of your body and mind you need to take care of yourself. Devote more time to yourself for exercising and other activities to nurture body and mind. Balance sleep, exercise, eat well, avoid mood-altering drugs and treat illnesses as part of self-care.
  • Avoid multitasking: Most people talk about multi-tasking as if it is a good thing but research shows it negatively affects productivity. The idea is to focus on the task at hand and only move on when done. Full focus and concentration guarantees you give more to the task and get great results.
  • These simple life hacks will maximize your productivity and help you reach your goals. If you need help with a research paper or you just searched “what is thesis writing”, find the best thesis writer online for assistance.

    By Andy Sowards

    Im a professional Freelancer specializing in Web Developer, Design, Programming web applications. Im an Avid member of the Design/Development community and a Serial Blogger. follow me on Twitter @AndySowards

    If you want to accomplish a lot in life, you have to find a way to boost your productivity. Whether you want to succeed at work in business or you have a project you wish to complete from scratch paper online, it is time to maximize your productivity. It is the best way to accomplish your life goals, grow your business, life a fulfilling life, avoid burnout and enjoy time with family among other things.

    Here are some simple but effective life hacks that will boost your productivity. Take a look:

    1. Start your day early: It is the simplest rule in life but most people still struggle to utilize it. For most people, mornings move past like a blur and nothing much gets done. This is because they get up late and rush to do everything. By starting your day early, you can do much more by the end of day.
    2. Use the two-minute rule: If a task can take less than two minutes to accomplish, then go ahead and do it. Don’t procrastinate with planning because that takes more of your precious time. It is all about prioritizing responsibilities based on the time they will take.

    How to Stop Procrastinating and Stick to Good Habits by Using the “2-Minute Rule”

    How to Build Productivity Through Rewards and Recognition

  • Engage in self-care.: To get the best out of your body and mind you need to take care of yourself. Devote more time to yourself for exercising and other activities to nurture body and mind. Balance sleep, exercise, eat well, avoid mood-altering drugs and treat illnesses as part of self-care.
  • Avoid multitasking: Most people talk about multi-tasking as if it is a good thing but research shows it negatively affects productivity. The idea is to focus on the task at hand and only move on when done. Full focus and concentration guarantees you give more to the task and get great results.
  • These simple life hacks will maximize your productivity and help you reach your goals. If you need help with a research paper or you just searched “what is thesis writing”, find the best thesis writer online for assistance.

    By Andy Sowards

    Im a professional Freelancer specializing in Web Developer, Design, Programming web applications. Im an Avid member of the Design/Development community and a Serial Blogger. follow me on Twitter @AndySowards

    How to get more from your task list with layout hacks

    Let’s be real: Who couldn’t use a few more hours in their day? Between your numerous obligations and your never-ending to-do list, learning how to be more productive—so you can get more done in less time—is a crucial life skill. Especially now that so many of us are working at home.

    Yet, if you keep repeatedly finding yourself behind despite regularly keeping up with your calendar or writing a well-intentioned to-do list for the coming week, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you become more efficient.

    Beyond helping you establish better time management skills, these five smart productivity hacks will help you focus your efforts on what’s most important so all your efforts start yielding real, tangible results.

    The Pomodoro Technique

    The Pomodoro Technique, developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 20th century, can help you be more productive by clearly defining periods of focus and periods of rest for a given task. By carving out time for regular breaks and building periods of rest into your schedule, the Pomodoro Technique can help you cut out distractions and increase your overall efficiency.

    To try this productivity hack at home: Pick a task to focus on. Then, set a timer for 25 minutes. Work—without any interruptions or distractions—until the timer goes off. Take a 3-5 minute break and repeat the process from the beginning up to three more times. Once you’ve been working for four Pomodoro cycles (about an hour), take a longer 15-30 minute break before restarting the Pomodoro Technique over again for another hour, or until the task is complete.

    The Top 3 Rule

    There will always be something else that comes along and demands a bit of your attention. But rather than using all your energy to put out those little “fires” that seem to crop up throughout the day, make your effort count by using the Top 3 Rule for productivity. Essentially, it helps you prioritize your top 3 to-do’s for a given day, so the stuff that really matters doesn’t get pushed to the back burner.

    To try this productivity hack at home: The night before, write down your top three priorities for the day, in order of importance. Think of these as your “must do’s” for the day. Then, first thing in the morning, revisit your list and attempt to bang out all three of your priorities before 10 A.M.

    The Pareto Principle

    According to the Pareto Principle (also known as the 80/20 Rule), just 20 percent of our efforts result in 80 percent of our overall success and progress, meaning that a vast majority of the energy you expend isn’t working as hard for you as it should be. Knowing this, you can use Pareto’s Principle to inspire your actions and create even more productivity in your life. Think of it as working smarter, not harder.

    To try this productivity hack at home: In order to put this principle into action, you need to first identify what actions yield the highest overall impact in your life. Then, over time, you need to slowly start re-allocating more of your time toward the result-yielding activities and less off it elsewhere. A practical example might be your exercise routine: Let’s say you exercise four days a week, but your Tuesday kickboxing class is the only one that’s really outside of your current fitness comfort zone. To help you reach your fitness target faster using the Pareto Principle, consider dropping one of your easier workouts to make room for a second kickboxing class in your weekly schedule. This applies to work, chores and other areas of daily life, as well.

    Time Boxing

    Time boxing is exactly what it sounds like—a time management technique where you block off set periods of time on your calendar in which to complete specific tasks. It works in two ways: First, it creates mini-deadlines throughout your day that limit the amount of time you dedicate to any one task, helping you work more efficiently. Second, it holds you accountable for where your time is actually going.

    To try this productivity hack at home: Consolidate a list of all the tasks you need to complete tomorrow. Then, lay out a schedule for your day—by the hour or by the 15 minute mark, depending on your needs—allocating a specific time block for when you’ll tackle each task on your list. Consider setting timers for yourself at the end of each time box period to help yourself stay accountable.

    Saying “No”

    There are 24 hours in a day—that’s it! Which means you simply can’t accomplish everything, no matter how hard you try. As Oprah famously said, “You can have it all. Just not all at once,” and this sentiment rings true for your productivity levels, too. We have limited amounts of time, energy and attention each day, so no matter how productive you are and how many of these efficiency tips you master, you’ll have to learn to turn down invites and opportunities if they aren’t important enough or don’t serve you. You might even decide that your to-do list item, “Digitize grandma’s photo albums” will never actually get done and cross it off your list, rather than keeping it on and letting it stress you out.

    To try this productivity hack at home: While it can be tricky to start executing at first (after all, turning someone down or letting an opportunity pass you by is never easy), just remember that saying “no” will get easier with practice. For example, try saying no to social obligations that you’d only go to out of a sense of guilt. Ask yourself: Is it really worth my time and money to attend an old roommate’s wedding, considering we haven’t spoken in the past 5 years? If you decide to say no, it doesn’t make you a bad person. What it means is that you’re consciously choosing to reserve enough time in your day for the people and things that matter to you most—and that’s perfectly okay.

    How to get more from your task list with layout hacks

    With all the many to-dos that come with social media management, it’s key to identify productivity hacks so that you can get maximum results with your limited time.

    From setting up Facebook Messenger chatbots to avoiding multitasking, here are 9 productivity tips that will help you work more efficiently.

    1. Batch Similar Tasks

    As the name suggests, batching is all about doing similar tasks in a single batch.

    Batching, rather than switching from one task to another, will helps you maintain focus.

    Case in point: Let’s say you’re scheduling the social media posts for the week or creating images to accompany those posts.

    By doing those all at once, at least you have them out of the way and you can proceed with other tasks afterwards with equal focus.

    You can also combine this with other productivity hacks, like the Pomodoro technique (where you alternate between 25 minutes of work and 5-minute breaks) or working during your own peak hours.

    2. Install a Chatbot

    Having to respond to every single message on the business’ social media pages can be incredibly time-consuming.

    Solution: automate your messages with a Facebook Messenger chatbot.

    Facebook Messenger chatbots can be created in minutes (without using any code) and can deftly handle many inquiries.

    Plus, if the query is advanced, an actual person can take over the chat at any time.

    Using automated chatbot technology will save you tons of time.

    Facebook Messenger chatbots are so helpful and such a great productivity hack that last year I launched MobileMonkey, a popular Facebook Messenger chatbot building platform, so that everyone can create and use them easily.

    3. Use Post Scheduling Tools

    Tools like Buffer, Hootsuite, and Edgar are great for scheduling multiple posts on multiple social platforms.

    They’re intuitive, with easy-to-use interfaces that let you plan out your posts efficiently from a single dashboard.

    4. Recycle Social Posts Strategically

    Most of your social media content will focus on new content, but it’s good to resurface evergreen content and give it a boost on social, as well!

    As you schedule out posts, make sure re-promote content that is still relevant and/or performs well historically.

    Pro tip: there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. If you’re resurfacing old content, you can also resurface old social media posts.

    Rather than whipping up new posts from scratch, you can tweak ones you shared in the past.

    5. Use Smart Automation

    Automating repetitive tasks is always a good idea, especially for social media managers with a lot on their plate. Smart automation tools like IFTTT (If This Then That) and Zapier can help you with a variety of busy work.

    IFTTT can do things like automatically reshare posts from one social network to another, or send you custom emails when you’re asked questions on Twitter. There are hundreds of tasks you can assign to IFTTT.

    Zapier can automate tasks between different platforms.

    For example, you can use Zapier to send out a tweet from your Twitter account whenever you publish a new blog post or YouTube video.

    6. Don’t Multitask

    You might feel like you’re getting more done when you’re writing an article, texting a colleague and waiting on hold with your doctor’s office all at once, but the truth your concentration and effectiveness are diminished in this state.

    There’s a cognitive cost for multitasking: studies have shown that your IQ drops and your stress hormones increase when multitasking.

    Doing one task at a time, wholeheartedly, allows you to think critically and work faster than attempting to do multiple things at once.

    7. Pay Attention to Social Metrics

    Every month, review your social media performance to assess what’s working and what’s not.

    There’s no point in doing the same old thing if it’s not yielding results — that’s why it’s important to review analytics to study performance and trends, and then adjust accordingly.

    8. Track Your Time

    Performance isn’t the only thing you should track.

    You should also track how you spend your time.

    You can better determine the ROI of a social media project if you know how much time it took to create and run.

    Tracking your time will also help you anticipate how much time future projects and tasks will take and allow you to budget your time accordingly.

    It’s easy to track your time with free apps like Toggl.

    9. Learn to Say No

    Of course you always want to say yes.

    But sometimes the best thing to say is no.

    It’s all about prioritizing and then acting accordingly.

    Maintain your focus on social media marketing priorities, and if a request comes along that’s outside those priorities, sometimes it’s best to say no.

    With these productivity hacks, you’ll find yourself getting more done in less time! Work smarter, not harder.

    How to get more from your task list with layout hacks

    • Share
    • Pin it
    • Tweet
    • Share
    • Email

    Believe it or not, the mind actually has unlimited capacity when it comes to what it can remember. The multi-store memory model explains this further but in short, provided you keep the information well rehearsed you can keep it in your memory indefinitely. There are also different ways the mind can learn and pick up information so here are 5 proven memory hacks to learn and remember everything:

    1. Repetition

    The most commonly used method but most people never use this efficiently. Repetition works because you start to transfer the information from your short-term memory (which has limited capacity and duration) into your long-term memory (which has unlimited duration and capacity). Repetition is normally done by writing something over and over until it begins to stick however did you know that a more effective way is to also speak it out loud? Or even by trying to explain what you’re learning to yourself in front of a mirror.

    Information is stored in your long-term memory when it has been processed “deep” enough and writing something repeatedly is a very linear way of learning as it creates only a single pathway to the memory. When you combine this with speaking it out loud or having to try and explain what you’re learning too, you begin to form multiple pathways to the formed memory rather than a single one.

    Explaining something begins to cement the information into your semantic memory (used for understanding meaning) while speaking it out loud also helps store memory in an auditory store (this is how we recall and remember music in our heads). More pathways to the memory make it easier to recall.

    2. Mnemonics

    Mnemonics are incredibly effective for remembering list forms of information. You can effectively remember hundreds of pieces of information this way if you were determined enough. Mnemonics are a form of “chunking” (which is another memory technique but sufficiently different enough) and work by using a phrase to act as trigger words to remember more information as each word has further meaning within it.

    For example: If you wanted to remember all 9 pla,nets in our solar system as well as their order from closest to the sun, trying to remember this information can be difficult however mnemonics make this so simple you can learn it in 20 minutes. Simply remembering the phrase “My Very Easy Method Just Shows Us Nine Planets” can be all it takes as the first letter of each word represents the planets.

    M = Mars, V = Venus, E = Earth M = Mercury, J = Jupiter, S = Saturn, U = Uranus, N = Neptune, P = Pluto

    Now apply this type of memory technique to any information you need to learn and try to turn it into a memorable phrase. They key bit is to make the phrase memorable and roll off the tongue easily. Anything deemed too hard to say will also be difficult to remember otherwise.

    3. Method Of Loci

    Popularised originally by ancient Greeks and Romans, the method of loci is great for visual learners as it involves the use of your imagination and spatial memory which is a separate form of memory. This method involves you imagining a room or layout of somewhere familiar such as a street. You then assign meaning to each familiar object you pass and whatever it is you wish to learn.

    As you walk through your mental version of this layout and see these objects, they then trigger your memory for what they stand for helping you recall the information. This concept was famously used by Darren Brown and also by Sherlock Holmes who refers to this as his “mind palace”. If you have a vivid imagination (think artists, painters or people with a creative streak) but struggle with remembering words, this one is for you.

    4. Chunking

    I mentioned this briefly above but what exactly is chunking? This is the process of grouping large pieces of information into smaller pieces and then remembering these small pieces (rather than everything at once). You have a long string of information or essay to remember, what do you do? Simple, break them down into smaller chunks and remember these individual pieces instead.

    For example if you needed to remember this string of letters: ACATJUMPEDOVERTHEHILL. You break down this string into chunks as follows and remember each individual piece one at a time rather than all of them at once: ACAT-JUMPED-OVER-THE-HILL

    Why does this work? This works because the short-term memory store on average can only hold approximately 5-9 pieces of information at once. Trying to learn more than this and transfer it into the long-term memory store will usually see your average person struggle. Therefore breaking it down into more manageable chunks that fit within the short-term memory store means you can grasp it all and learn it without feeling overwhelmed.

    5. Mind Maps

    Mind maps work because just like the mind, they think in every direction. You normally put what you’re trying to remember (or the question) in the middle and then draw branches coming out of it for all the different aspects of your answer. This is more visually easy to do than write paragraphs because if you find it easier to remember pictures rather than words, mind maps are for you.

    In short; It’s easier to remember a picture than hundreds of words in your mind and mind maps help translate those words into a visual format and back again into words when you need to write them.