These are the best productivity hacks to start work after your holidays!

These are the best productivity hacks to start work after your holidays!

With the summer months coming to an end, it is time to get back to work with new energy. This also gives us the opportunity to rethink how we want to show up at work, so that we work smarter not harder. After all, it is still hot out there, isn’t it?

Below, I want to share a list of productivity hacks with you that I have implemented to make my life easier. If I have done it, you can surely do it too.

Why would you bother? Well, the benefits are obvious: more time, better sleep, improved self-confidence, improved reputation at work, better boundaries, better results, etc. I could go on and on.

Think of one big benefit of implementing even one of the below mentioned hacks. And now I want you to think of the extra hidden costs you pay, every time you don’t finish something due to distractions, procrastination and not being able to set your boundaries. Do you bring your work back home and work extra hours in your free time? Do you “steal” time from your family every time you open your laptop during the weekend? Or do you feel exhausted at the end of each day and dream of the weekend on Monday already?

So, here we go!

Productivity hack #1 - Single action focus

Most of us claim to be working at one thing at a time only. But is this really true? If you are working on a new presentation, a report or anything else for that matter, do you keep your telephone on silent mode, do you have your inbox switched off, but are your doors still always open for your colleagues to interrupt you constantly? If you have answered yes to that last question, you are not truly focused.

In essence, our brain is not made for multitasking; it is very tiring for our brain to be constantly switching from one activity to another. Additionally, tasks that you planned for yourself will take you much longer to complete, if other things keep coming in between.

So, if you want to become more productive, try to make a list of actions or tasks every day that you want to complete, assign time for it, and then put it in your agenda and keep distractions away.

Productivity hack #2 - Batching

Another great productivity hack is called batching. What do I mean by that? It's all about putting similar, smaller tasks together. Do you have a couple of emails to write or a couple of phone calls to make? Put them together and assign time.

For example, in the past I used to record one video per week, it took me a lot of time to set up the equipment etc. So, I started to record the videos for the given month in one day, so instead of doing one video every week, I made 12 in a day, for the upcoming three months.

The greatest advantage of batching is winning time, which you can spend by doing other things, like relaxing, reading books, playing with your kids, or simply staring at the sky.

Productivity hack #3 - Parkinson's Law

Parkinson’s Law says that the task will expand itself to fill the time available for its completion. Have you ever wondered why sometimes you manage to complete a task in an hour or two for which previously you needed a week? Or if you have an hour to prepare for an interview, you still manage to do it in 10 minutes as well, if this is all you got. It is not only the time you spend on extra work, but also the time you spend thinking about that presentation or interview and the extra stress it might give you.

What does this mean for your productivity? Well, be smart and be very specific when assessing the time you need to complete a task and stick to it.

Productivity hack #4 - The Pareto principle

The Pareto principle is one of my favourites and it can be used to point us in the direction of our main focus. The Pareto principle, also known as the 80 / 20 rule shows that 80 percent of consequences come from 20 percent of causes.

How do you interpret that?

  • 80 percent of our clients bring us 20 percent of the income
  • 20 percent of our clients bring us 80 percent of the income
  • 80 percent of our clothes we wear 20 percent of the time
  • 20 percent of our clothes we wear 80 percent of the time

And so on and so on. Think about which 20 percent of your clients, tasks, etc. benefit from 80 percent and prioritise accordingly.

Productivity hack #5 - Saying no

Last not least, as there are many more hacks out there, I wanted to mention one that has a huge impact in all aspects of our career and life and that is simply saying NO.

Imagine you have identified your main priorities, made a list of tasks, assigned time for them and put them in your agenda, switched off all the distractions and then colleagues come in asking for help. What do you do then? Do you drop everything and start helping your colleague immediately, as you are afraid that others might think you are not a team player?

Well, I hope you first assess the situation:

  • Is it urgent and important enough to deal with now?
  • Is it more urgent and important (from the team’s / company’s perspective) than the tasks you are dealing with now?
  • Are you the best person to deal with it?

Saying no, whenever necessary, is a sign of taking ownership of your own agenda and actions, not a sign of egoism.

I hope you have found the above productivity hacks useful. Let me know in the comments below, which is your favourite one and why! And don’t be afraid to share any others that I have not mentioned.

Dorota Klop-Sowinska


Dorota Klop-Sowinska

Official Member of Forbes Coaches Council. I specialize in international career and expat coaching. I am the author of the book Career Jump! How to Successfully Change Your Professional Path...

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