DEV Community

loading...
Cover image for 16 Simple Tips to Boost Your Productivity x10

16 Simple Tips to Boost Your Productivity x10

mcsee profile image Maxi Contieri Originally published at maximilianocontieri.com Updated on ・4 min read

These easy-to-follow tips will improve your output dramatically.

1. Remove Notifications 🔔

  • Check your phone after a couple of hours.
  • Keep an eye on the app with the most notifications.
  • Block them.
  • Don't fear FOMO.
  • Choose your shots.
  • You are going to lose some content around.
  • Deal with it.
  • Watch The Social Dilemma.

2. Slice your time 🍕

  • Use blocks of time without interruptions (timeboxing).
  • My favorite is Pomodoro Technique.
  • If you come across new tasks write them down.
  • Don't multitask.
  • You cannot switch until time is up.
  • 20 minutes it's a good slice.

3. Inbox0 📥

  • Keep your inbox ALWAYS empty.
  • Unsubscribe to all irrelevant mails (most of the time is a just-one-click).
  • Create filtering rules - out of the inbox.
  • If you need to action on mails: (keep the list out, create a special folder).
  • Inbox is not a To-do list.

4. Find your Flow 🕯️

  • Creative work happens on [flow state](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology).
  • Takes some time to enter flow (about 15 mins).
  • Takes one second to leave it and go to the queue again.
  • Remove all external flow interruptions, notifications, noise
  • Control all internal stimulus.

5. Use Zenware 💭

  • Use simple software.
  • Minimalistic tasks editors like writemonkey and simple managing software like Trello
  • If you blog on @dev.to you will find its markup editor very convenient.
  • Don't procrastinate gold plating your articles.

6. Close Your Browser Tabs 🔓

  • Manage to-do lists and items.
  • Do not open multiple tabs.
  • No operating system or web browser handles them very well. Neither you.
  • Don't multitask.
  • If something takes less than two minutes do it. Else add it to To-Do list.
  • Web tabs are not to-do lists.

7. Find Homes for everything 🏠

  • Every object (real or virtual) should have a home.
  • We can keep inboxes (or incoming places) for things a couple of days.
  • We need brief processes to empty those inboxes.
  • When emptying those inboxes we should define new 'homes' if necessary.

8. Keep a Daily Agenda 📅

  • Start each day with a short daily agenda.
  • You can mix personal and work items or keep them in two separate lists.
  • Plan for unplanned work.
  • Revisit hourly to keep up.
  • And close it at night.
  • Never reuse it for the next day. Start from scratch.

9. Automate Repetitive Tasks 🤖

  • Find repeatable shortcuts.
  • Automate repetitive tasks.
  • It is a two sharp blade. Never automate when DOING a task.
  • Automating is more enjoyable than doing (Procrastination).
  • Automate only tasks made on daily basis.
  • Don't automate infrequent things.

10. Avoid Unproductive Meetings 🤝

  • Schedule meetings for 25 or 50 minutes.
  • So you can have time to switch.
  • Meetings without agenda are useless.
  • Avoid meetings with more than three people.
  • The outcome of the meeting should be action items.

Commitments must include:

  • who / what / when

11. Avoid Multitasking 👨‍💼

  • Don’t multitask.
  • Work on one task at a time.
  • Multitasking is a myth, and trying to do it only splits your focus.
  • Human Brain is monotask.
  • Context Switching for neurons is too expensive, so you are thrashing most of the time.

Focus -> Flow.

12. Avoid Voice Calls 📞

  • Voice Calls are interruptions.
  • Interruptions are our worst enemy.
  • Avoid unscheduled voice calls.
  • If it is not urgent you can talk via messaging in an asynchronous way.
  • If it is urgent, double check it is urgent
  • If you wanna talk, schedule!

13. Eat the Frog Early in the Morning 🌤️

  • Do the annoying tasks early in the morning.
  • Plan for the day.
  • Review everything accomplished the day before.

14. Don't reuse daily to-do lists ✔️

  • Start each day with a different one.
  • With this method there's no carry over.
  • Daily check yesterday's unfinished goals and evaluate if they deserve being on the new list.
  • It is YOUR list. Be honest with yourself.

15. Measure Objectives 📈

  • Set long term, middle term and short term goals.
  • They should not be fuzzy.
  • Set a realistic and measurable metric.
  • If it is not measurable with exit condition it is not a goal.
  • Keep track on them on a weekly basis.
  • Change it if need it.

16. Don't Save for Later 🍓

  • Save for later is a myth.
  • There are excellent apps like Pocket, Inoreader, Evernote or even dev.to like in this article!
  • But unless you consume the list often this will grow forever.
  • Don't save content, consume it.
  • Don't Hoard.

[UPDATE] Part II


I'm sure there are plenty of Productivity advices around. Which one does work for you?

Please leave me a comment.

Discussion (22)

pic
Editor guide
Collapse
darkwiiplayer profile image
DarkWiiPlayer

For me personally, I've found that environment changes everything. Just changing from weekend clothes to what I normally wear at work can completely change my mindset from watch youtube to I should probably write some code. This is also one of the reasons why I prefer working in an office than remote from home.

Applying this to the digital world, I do most of my "lazy" hobbies in the browser and most of the creative/productive stuff in the terminal. Tools like vim or task warrior are a huge help with this. I even have a separate browser (luakit) for when I need to open a website in my terminal context.

How much this can apply to others, I don't know, but for me, the change of UI and having my hands on the keyboard instead of the mouse most of the time helps me switch context between productive and unproductive activities.

Collapse
bruechler profile image
Dominik Brüchler

Great article! Sums up a lot of advises that are actually pretty easy to implement and will help being and staying productive. Bookmarked it right away to save it for later... oh, wait. What?

Collapse
mcsee profile image
Collapse
dakujem profile image
Andrej Rypo

This post has more bookmarks than other reactions 😆

Collapse
mcsee profile image
Maxi Contieri Author

haha ! Hopefully these people will get to point 16!

I should add a clickbait like "don't bookmark this post before reading 16" :)

Collapse
ollytrolly profile image
Oliver Stevenson • Edited

A suggestion for those who can get inbox build-up/hoarding like me:

At a suitable interval such as the start of the month, just delete everything older than a certain date. Obviously this isn't okay for everyone to do, but for me at least, if something is older than a couple of weeks and no one has screamed, there's a good chance it no longer matters or isn't high enough priority to be worth the build up. If it is important and when it becomes a priority, I'm sure people will let you know with more than an email.

This may also be part of my secret plan to encourage people to contact me via a more conversational, transparent means (slack, teams) or an actual work ticket on the kanban. Email is often a terrible way of communicating I find - should be limited to one-to-many announcements or medium sized chunks of information that may be hard to represent in a chat client. Curious what others think.

Collapse
mcsee profile image
Maxi Contieri Author

Great tip

I’d change delete to archive

Collapse
ollytrolly profile image
Oliver Stevenson • Edited

Ah yes, I should've been clearer. The way I have it set in my email program (because my work uses outlook) is that only unread messages appear in my main inbox, and I have to explicitly mark them as read - so a little like archiving in modern web email clients. Except it eliminates this idea that the read state matters if you haven't dealt with it and it's still kicking around your inbox.

If space is a problem you can always delete big attachments before you start deleting emails.

Thread Thread
mcsee profile image
Maxi Contieri Author

We are in 2020. If space is a problem get another provider :)

I used to send mails in the early 90s and then space WAS indeed a problem on local servers with 10 MB HD. Not anymore!

Thread Thread
ollytrolly profile image
Oliver Stevenson

Haha, I'll make sure to forward your comment to our IT department ;).

Collapse
destynova profile image
Oisín

"Don't automate infrequent things."

I still like to automate even infrequent things for a few reasons:

  1. The program won't get tired of the task and make mistakes like I will.
  2. I'll learn from the process of automating the task.
  3. Even if I don't need to do the task again soon, I can share my program with others who may benefit from it.
  4. It's fun. :)
Collapse
mccurcio profile image
Matt Curcio • Edited

Hi Maxi,
Bravo! Love the lists. I feel these are all things we intuitively know but don't enact or we tend to forget their importance.

Myself, I have not found a good software tool for task management. So, I tend to revert to paper calendars. Something about using my hand & arm links it more tightly to my brain. ;))

Collapse
akselsoft profile image
Andrew MacNeill • Edited

LOVE this list - I would bookmark it but I read #16.

This may sound dumb but what do you mean by "gold plating your articles"? I read that to mean "don't wait to publish" but I wanted to clarification first.

I went to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold_plating... - but this makes "publish daily" task pretty much take your entire day.

Thanks

Collapse
borisnekezov profile image
Boris Nekezov

Thank you very much for that great and usefull article!

Collapse
amazing__ak profile image
Collapse
isarisariver profile image
Marian

These are actually great tips. Thanks for sharing 😃

Collapse
jirois profile image
Omas Ajiri

A very practical piece! Many thanks for sharing.

Collapse
canro91 profile image
Cesar Aguirre

Totally agree on "Don't save for later". I prefer to write a short note with what I like from what I read and my reactions.

Collapse
mhasansoft profile image
Mahmudul Hasan

Love your post, will be help me a lot 💙

Collapse
webjoyable profile image
semperlabs

Raindrop is the only tool you'll ever need for bookmarking

Collapse
luispinheiro profile image
Collapse
iammurali19 profile image
muralidharan

great!