While applying for a virtual assistant job, I was asked many questions, but there was one question that stood out.
“What is your favorite productivity hack?”
Now, I am a very organized person and I never thought of anything that I did as being a “hack.” I just went about my day knowing that I found a way to make things run smoother. Honestly, I couldn’t put a specific name to what I did, so I had to Google “productivity hacks.” I was surprised when I found that the things I did daily were given names.
For this particular job I could only pick one, but here is a list of one’s that I love to use:
- Turning off alerts: This was a real “DUH” moment for me. I am the queen of turning off every notification on every device (computer, tablet, and phone).
- Ignore the news: I’m not a big fan of the news, but once I get into it, I’m in. I all together leave it alone while I’m working or brainstorming. If my fiance is in the living room, I make him turn it off.
- Morning Workout: While attending school online, I used to wake up at the wee hours of the morning to work out, take a shower, and work on assignments. It made the rest of the day so much better….Especially while the kids we at school and I needed a break.
- Drink water: I can take down more than a gallon of water per day. Think of it as a forced break and a detox combined.
- Take a break: I never and when I say never…. I mean never took breaks. When there was a lot of work to do, I worked until the work was done and crashed afterward. I learned that taking breaks is not a distraction, but a recharge. It helps put a fresh set of eyes to the task at hand.
- Get a pet: Not just a dog, any pet. If you don’t have a pet get one. When I work at my desk, my dog lays at my feet and it’s relaxing. It’s nice to have someone in the room that’s quiet. If you have a fish, talk to it.
- Use your down time: When I drive, I find someone to talk to on the phone. Tell someone about your day. Listen to music that expresses how you feel at the moment or how you want to feel once you reach your destination. I’m not promoting talking on the phone while you drive, but we all do it. Make sure you have an auxiliary cord or your phone connects with Bluetooth.
- To do lists: This is not for everyone. Sometimes it’s not for me. If I don’t have a day that can be put into a simple to do list, I create something more detailed. Most things we do have subtasks and missing one subtasks can ruin everything….well we tend to think I ruins everything.
- Task batching: This goes along with making a to do list. If I had tasks that made the next task or tasks easier, I put them together to avoid doubling back. How does it go? “Measure twice, cut once.”
- Create a timetable: This can be a pain, but if you get carried away working on one thing, take advantage of this. It’s best to do this when you have multiple projects that don’t have to be done in one day or even that week. Pace yourself.
- Schedule your chores: At one point I did it, another time I over did it, and then I came to the conclusion that my “neat freakness” was making this hard. When scheduling chores, do one room plus a room that you must clean every day. For example, I feel it is a must that I clean my kitchen everyday since I work from there also. I add one room to that (Monday: kitchen + bathroom; Tuesday: kitchen + living room).
- A clean work area: There is nothing more mind-numbing than walking into your office and looking at a desk full of clutter. Treat your desk like your kitchen.
- Redecorate or rearrange your work area: I’ve always said, “Rearranging keeps the mind fresh!”
- Apps: I research apps when I have free time to see what may work for me or a friend. Check your recommendations list and see what it brings you. There are many free and paid apps that work wonders.
- Breakfast: It’s the most important meal of the day. Not only that, take a multivitamin.
- Set realistic goals: Don’t set an impossible goal. I consider this a form of procrastination.
- Stay positive: What more can I say about this one? Stay positive. Don’t beat yourself up.