I’m not into “productivity hacking” and tend to think you just need to crack on with the task at hand.
That said, the following help identify where my time is going, keep me focused during working hours, and keep moving.
Monitor Where Your Time Is Going
I use Rescue Time (free version) to see where my time is going. I don’t check it daily but look at the automated weekly report to see where I spent my time that week.
Sometimes the results aren’t what I expect. Shifting priorities, unplanned incidents, and anything else that runs on my laptop or mobile phone is detailed here.
Try it, you might be surprised to see the results. You can download it here.
Manage Time Using a Pomodoro Timer
If you’re not familiar with the Pomodoro technique, you work for a defined amount of time usually 25 minutes then take a 5-minute break. Rinse and repeat.
The five-minute breaks are also a good reminder to stretch and move around a little. I’ve not been bothered with back or neck pain since.
(bonus: get the professional version of the 5×5 stronglift app)
I’ve tried a handful of apps but in the end, it became a distraction flicking between my current task and checking how much time I had left.
I decided to buy a physical timer (weird I know) that you wind to a defined interval. It ticks then rings when complete.
The ticking creates a sense of urgency. Strange I know but it works for me.
This is useful for work that you have already planned out just need to attack. I don’t find this so useful when you have to do more creative work though.
I got this one here.
We’re bombarded with interruptions throughout the day. I use the ultimate productivity app on my phone – airplane mode.
I do my best to try and only check e-mail a few times a day.
On days with little to no calls, I close Outlook and any instant messaging clients.
Turn on the Music
I listen to a lot of house and techno DJ sets. Occasionally the odd Hans Zimmer movie soundtrack. YouTube Premium is great for this -and no ads.
A combination of the above make it so easier for me to blaze through the workday and hit those flow states regularly.