Productivity September 7, 2020

What productivity tips have worked for you?

Hieu Nguyen (Jack) @hieunc

Can you share one or more productivity tricks that worked for you?

Here is what our members shared:

  • Valerie: Always eat tasty food
  • Marie: Plan thing the night before, keep focus time short (i.e 5 mins)
  • Harlan: when the momentum ran out, switch between tasks (designs, programming, walk, meditate, etc.)
  • almavi: plan my days, making a to-do list, sleeping well
  • Michael: do the most difficult task first
  • Arnaud: Weekly 3 key objectives, to-do, and notes with post-it, dedicated time for slack/email, if a task takes less than 2 mins, do things right away.
  • Volkan: Make your bed, meditation, walk, diet
  • Kasper: keeping a bullet journal, try Pomodoro when focusing gets hard, drink less coffee
  • saaschic: timebox your day
  • David: Sleep well
  • Tim: keep a todo or notes for blogging, use it when having free time (avoid wander Twitter for hours)
  • Federick: Use 1 monitor, no podcast while coding, no multi-task, only check notification when work is done
  • Andrew: built a device to avoid touching the phone
  • Mick: Listen to pink noise, ditch email
    1. 2

      😁 Brutally honest

      1. 2

        To be even more honest: probably my fault! :D

        1. 1

          One of those days when nothing works, right? 😅
          Hope things get better for you, or maybe you don't even need it!

          1. 1

            Thanks!
            I just meant that those tips usually don't work for me, but I wouldn't dare saying that don't work at all.

            Now that I am reading other people's replies I guess I understood the question in a very narrow way. I do find useful some things like planning my days, making a to-do list or sleeping well but I didn't see those as productivity tips. More like organization and healthy habits? I don't know I need a coffee (wait! another one? :D)

            1. 1

              hahaha :))

              When ambition is high, it's easy to do anything. Otherwise, I find many productivity tips work but only sometimes.

              Most of the time, I just try to push it through, stay healthy, sleep well. And yeah, coffee in the morning 😅

  1. 6

    Sleep as much as possible. This is where you build your highest-value reasonings.

  2. 4

    Here's what worked for me today:

    • Being strict with Pomodoro,
    • Weekly 3 key objectives
    • Daily task set-up
    • Notepad notetaking with post-it for To-Do, pending, TBD, ideas & backlog.
    • Drink water
    • Mute notification
    • Dedicated time to check slack & mails
    • 2-min rule (if it takes less than 2 min do it straight away or mark it as a task)

    Hope it can be useful.

    1. 2

      So true re pomodoro. My shiny bright crisp tomato of deep work usually became a saggy salsa of emailing and distraction, without a clear definition to stick to. And someone to keep me accountable to it.

  3. 4

    Timeboxing your day.

    1. 2

      Redefines “workday” to “8-hour timebox”

      Jokes aside, timeboxing is great, but mainly because it puts an upper limit on how much time you can waste 😅

  4. 4
    • Morning routine no matter how short or long. Can be as simple as make your bed.
    • Meditation.
    • Walks.
    • Diet

    I dont get a benefit from exercise and i sleep well anyways.

    1. 1

      i sleep well anyways

      You're lucky, sleeping was hard for me!

      Thanks for sharing the tips

      1. 1

        Do you drink loads of coffee? I’ve found sleeping much easier since I limited myself to only one cup per day, in the morning.

        1. 2

          I used to drink 2-3 cups a day, it was too much for me. I tried to have 1 cup a day now, which does help

          1. 1

            I drank 2-3 pots. It really wasn't sustainable 🤣

  5. 3

    Most productivity hacks start out great, and have a big effect while they’re new, but most of the time they taper off or stop working. I’ve found (as a sole founder, and as an indie hacker) that the “hack” of external accountability makes the real difference. Pic related, I built a hardware device (?!) to make it easy to get that accountability from a mate: https://youtu.be/HEWm_D1YZzM

    1. 2

      Andrew, this is serious stuff. Awesome man!
      Did you join Startmate?

      1. 2

        Thankyou mate! I'm an alumni, my last startup was in Startmate :) You're in Sydney. it's a small indie world! Would love to have a chat with you and trade feedback on Inverr and Deep Work Mate. I'll figure out how to DM you.

        1. 2

          That's awesome, I applied to Startmate but didn't get in.

          I went back to Vietnam a year ago so not in Sydney at the moment. I'd love to connect if you're on twitter or my email

  6. 3
    • keeping a bullet journal
    • starting a pomodoro when focusing gets hard
    • drinking less coffee
    1. 2

      I do agree with drink less coffee (for me), for 2 reasons:

      • Coffee only stops me from going to sleep. When I'm tired, not focusing, coffee doesn't help
      • I'll sleep late if I have coffee after 2 PM
    2. 1

      Could you elaborate on less coffee?

      1. 1

        I used to drink a looot of coffee, and looking back, it made me really jittery and distracted.

        1. 1

          Thanks for sharing, I think I might have that issue lol. Makes me scatter brained and too willing to context switch. Still hard to cut back :(.

          1. 1

            I found it really easy. It used be hard for me too, but an event in my life got Me motivated.

              1. 1

                I experienced a serious bout of stress, which forced me to either take sick-leave or change how I lived my life.

                I chose to take more control over the things I could exert control over. My coffee consumption was one of those things.

  7. 2

    Tons. I have written a few related articles and done a presentation or two on the topic if you want more.

    • Noise-cancelling over-ear headphones, Brain.fm.
    • Organize your desk. Visual disarray negatively affects attention.
    • Do not disturb mode on devices.
    • Close any apps and tabs you aren't using right now. OneTab is a great Chrome extension.
    • Make sure people know not to talk to you while your headphones are on.
    • Pomodoro timers work great for some.
    • Post-it note on your monitor saying what you're currently working on. It'll keep you from going off onto other tasks.
    • When you cross off a task, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths and soak it in before switching to the next one.
  8. 2

    I write a to do list for the next day, just before going to bed. It helps get the thoughts out of my head so I can sleep better.

    Also, waking up early. I’m a developer/programmer and there’s nothing that I like more than coding in peace whilst everyone else is still in bed!

  9. 2
    1. Don't keep ideas and TODOs in your head. Write everything down immediately.
    2. Deep focus.
    3. Intermittent fasting.
      1. 2

        no joking - hot delivered pizza always gives me tons of ideas :)

        1. 1

          A hot pizza and a coke will make me forget everything around 🤪

  10. 2

    When I feel like my focus and momentum is being lost on what I'm currently doing, I switch to something else that is productive and engaging.

    For me, this looks like switching between types of tasks every few hours. For startups it's easy because you need to wear so many hats, I switch between design, copywriting, backend, frontend and marketing. This is great because it gives your subconscious brain time to think over some of the harder problems you're working through. Just make sure you keep your focus on 1 task at a time and getting things finished

    Getting some exercise, going for a walk, reading, meditating are great tasks to switch to if you need some time away from the computer and they will help you think clearer.

    1. 2

      Totally agree! Switching between tasks (design, programming, writing, etc) does make me feel re-engaging.

      Thanks for sharing Harlan!

  11. 2
    • timeboxing
    • starting with very small focus periods eg 5 min
    • planning out the first few tasks the night before!
    1. 2

      I think keeping small focus periods is every effective, especially when focusing get hard. A similar technique called pomodoro mentioned by @undreren, @ArnaudGrowth

      Thanks for sharing Marie!

  12. 2

    Whenever I am not working, I set reminders of task to do and add notes whenever I have ideas for new features or blog posts. These tips help to keep my focussed so I don't just wander twitter for hours. I always have a few tasks to do and can check them off when done.

  13. 2

    Focus hacking.
    Down sized to 1 monitor (2 if doing office work).
    No more podcasts while coding.
    No multi tasking.
    Mute anything that alerts or notifies... and check it after the majority of work is done

    1. 2

      I'm glad that I'm not the one who prefers 1 monitor rather than 2. Because I feel my eyes travel too much 😅

      I use other points too

      1. 2

        We used to have 3-5 monitors at a previous job. Ouch! In hind sight I was so distracted. Now I try to stick to 1 monitor and I can focus solely on a piece of code, or letter, etc...

  14. 2

    Pink noise in AirPods.

    1. 1

      I heard about pink noise for the first time, quite surprise.
      I can't stand it but will listen to the sound of the rain today and see how it goes

      Thanks for sharing Mick!

  15. 2

    Well,..

    Normally I do the most difficult/time taking tasks first, then easy and quick lasts.

    For, example. When I write tue newsletter I take advantage and do it while I commute, walking. It takes an hour.. and I can curate it. Looking for resources, contact makers, and so on...

    1. 1

      Michael,

      That's a great tip, leave easier tasks for later :D. It's great that you can multi-tasking, I'll get distracted if I do.

      Thanks for sharing :D

      1. 2

        Oh, the Island where I live is very basic, there's not much to be distracted from...

        You welcome!

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