The average workweek is 47 hours long—much higher than the perceived 40 hours on your timestamp. Unless you want to spend (even) more time at the office, it’s vital to work smarter, not harder. You can improve your productivity by getting more sleep, or follow the ‘two minute rule’, but I wanted to share a handful of my favorite timesaving hacks:
- Don’t drink your morning coffee until you arrive at work
Listen, I love working at Zerocater, I really do, but I’m NOT a morning person. I find it easier to drag myself out of bed if I know a great cup of coffee is coming soon. Delaying that first cup of joe until you arrive at work helps make you incredibly pumped to make that morning commute.
- Take frequent breaks
When we get wired in, we often forget to get up and move around. Our recent visit from Habit’s @ Work encouraged us to break this routine in our Zerocater Chicago office. Each hour a timer goes off, and every employee is reminded to stand up and get the blood flowing. I genuinely believe this gets our entire team working much more efficiently on a daily (and hourly!) basis.
- Organize your inbox
There is no rule that says emails should be treated as a first come, first serve basis. Emails from your boss should come in marked as such, and be listed towards the top of your inbox. Emails for receipts and newsletters should have their own folders, and be stored for later reading. I organize my incoming emails inside Google Apps For Business with a combination of labels, filters, and importance ranking.
- Set calendar reminders and alerts
There’s no reason to ever be late on an assignment, forget to send an email, or follow up on an action item—particularly when you have a personal assistant in your pocket. Utilize personal and professional calendars, setting reminders, alerts, and deadlines. Take it a step further by using project-managing solutions like Trello, or Zerocater’s favorite, Asana.
- Apps, extensions, programs, oh my!
I wanted to end with a handful of pieces of software I use on a daily basis to make life easy at work. Most are available as Chrome extensions or on a variety of other platforms.
- uBlock Origin: My top choice for blocking unwanted (and distracting) ads.
- Disconnect: Stop letting so many cookies and advertising platforms track you around the net. Browse faster and privately with Disconnect.
- LastPass: One password, for everything—LastPass manages your logins so you don’t have to remember every single one.
- Pocket: See an article you want to read later on your mobile device? Click one button inside Chrome, and it’ll sync the article to your phone.
Clearly: Reading an article on a hideous page? Click the Clearly icon to make it pretty, and very readable. Clearly is sadly no longer available, but try Mercury Reader.
- Mouse Gestures: There are hundreds of applications that help you use mouse gestures, but I’ve linked the one I use. The concept is simple: simultaneously move your mouse and hold down the right click to close tabs, move forward in browsers, or close out.
- TeamViewer: I’m often on more than one computer during the course of the day. I can access files from a home computer, or even hop on remote coworkers’ workstations while I’m away.
- Skitch: Need to quickly grab a screenshot from your monitor? Use Skitch to add text, draw an arrow, or even upload the image for quick sharing.
- PushBullet: This app helps you push a document from your PC over to mobile quickly, or vice versa.
- IFTTT: Want a text every time it’s going to rain? Want your Fitbit activity logged in a Google Sheet? Want your phone to log how long you’re at work daily? For (almost) all your needs, “If This, Then That” is the service for you.
There is an endless supply of tips when it comes to increasing productivity. I make sure to follow Reddit’s lifeprotips and productivity feeds to keep in touch with the latest hacks. Do you have a tip you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments!