8 Productivity Hacks You Can Do in 30 Minutes

8 Productivity Hacks You Can Do in 30 Minutes

If you're like me, your days are often filled with tasks that require a lot of attention. You might have to write emails, answer the phone and meet with clients all in one afternoon—and somehow fit it all in before dinner time. But if you find yourself wishing you could get more done during the day, there may be a way to squeeze some extra productivity out of each hour: by setting aside 30 minutes for yourself. That's right—30 minutes is about how long it takes for your mind to wander from one task to another when you're trying on deadline. With these productivity hacks in mind, though, you'll be able to get more done without having those thoughts about what else needs doing (or needing snacks).

Declutter your workspace.

Declutter your workspace.

  • Remove any unnecessary items from your desk, including those papers that have been sitting there for months (or years).
  • Clean up the space and organize it, so you can find things when you need them. It’s also helpful to set up a filing system so that incoming emails don’t pile up or distract you with their uselessness.
  • Make sure the space is comfortable: It should be well lit, quiet enough to focus on work without distractions (like colleagues chatting nearby), and safe from falling objects or hazards like hot coffee mugs or sharp scissors.

Revise your to-do list.

If you want to do more in less time, you’re going to need a good plan.  Write down the tasks you need to get done and prioritize the most important ones. Then list them in order of importance (the first task should be your top priority). Set a time limit for each task based on its level of importance. Finally, write down any other tasks that aren't part of this list but still need attention—your second- or third-tier priorities may require some additional attention at some point during the week or month if they're not already being handled.

This process can seem tedious at first, but once it becomes routine, it will free up mental space for creative thinking about how best to achieve your goals and dreams!

Take a brisk walk around the block.

Take a brisk walk around the block.

It's called "walking meditation," and it's an effective way to help you focus on your daily tasks. The best part is that you don't even need an app to do it, so there's no excuse not to give this productivity hack a try. Simply put on some good headphones, open up your favorite podcast or music playlist (we recommend "songs with lyrics" because they're great for singing along), set out on your journey, and start moving! While walking around the block or neighborhood park is good enough exercise by itself, if you want something more challenging or interesting try doing exercises like squats and lunges while also walking at a brisk pace—you'll be surprised at how much better this makes you feel!

Start a gratitude journal.

A gratitude journal is simply a collection of things you’re grateful for at the end of each day. It can be as informal as writing down five things you were grateful for that day, or it could be more formal and creative if you want it to be. For example, maybe you want to include pictures or artwork in your gratitude journal. Or maybe some people like to write letters to friends who inspire them with their gratitude, which then becomes an activity both parties enjoy sharing in at the end of every month (or other period).

Whatever format works best for you is fine! And don’t forget: keeping a gratitude journal doesn’t have to take up all 30 minutes on this list; just 5 minutes per day will do wonders.

Schedule the most important items on your to-do list for the next day.

Schedule the most important items on your to-do list for the next day.

If you don't schedule it, it won't get done. If you don't schedule it, you won't be able to prioritize it.

Set a timer for 30 minutes, and commit to working on one task uninterrupted during that time.

Set a timer for 30 minutes, and commit to working on one task uninterrupted during that time.

If you're having difficulty focusing, try doing one thing at a time (just like when you were a kid). Dedicate the next half hour to just one task. If you can't focus on something for more than five minutes without getting distracted, then don't do it at all! It's too easy to lose track of time when we're distracted by other tasks or work—and that's why it's crucial to avoid multitasking. If a project requires more than 30 minutes worth of concentration, break it up into smaller chunks so that each portion is easier for your brain to take in.

Declutter your inbox.

One of the biggest productivity killers is a cluttered inbox. A messy inbox results in missed opportunities, increased stress and anxiety, lost sleep, and many other negative side effects. Here are some easy ways you can declutter your inbox today:

  • Create folders for each project you’re working on.
  • Create a folder for all personal emails (i.e., ones that aren’t related to work or school).
  • Move newsletters into their own folder if they don’t require action or response from you (my newsletter folder sits right next door to my “personal email” folder).
  • Keep notifications separate from actual work emails so you can see what needs immediate attention and what doesn't need an immediate response (I use Swipes to automatically categorize messages into specific folders based on criteria like sender/recipient name).

Commit to spending 30 minutes at work just talking with your coworkers.

You’ve probably heard the popular saying “no man is an island.”  But, how often do we actually take that to heart?

It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind of work and forget about building relationships with coworkers. And while it may seem like a waste of time at first glance, spending 30 minutes talking with them can make all the difference when it comes to getting things done.

As a manager or leader, talking with your team members on a regular basis will help you understand their goals and priorities so you can support them in achieving those things. Plus, they could have some great ideas that could help make your company more successful—and who knows? In return for sharing these thoughts with them (and potentially getting feedback), they might be willing to give you some helpful advice too!

It's easy to get more done in less time if you're willing to make small changes in how you get things done.

  • Do the things that are important to you.
  • Get rid of distractions.
  • Use tools that help you be more productive, like Google Calendar and Evernote, which can help organize your tasks and ideas so they're accessible whenever they're needed
  • Make small changes in how you get things done—for example, use a timer or alter your work environment so it's quieter or more comfortable
  • Keep track of what's getting done and when (don't forget about the Pomodoro Technique!)
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Conclusion

I hope these productivity hacks have given you some ideas for how to make the most of your time. If you're looking for more ways to take control of your day and increase productivity, check out our blog for more tips and tricks!