30 Lightning-Fast Productivity Hacks To Help You Work Better

They say Leonardo da Vinci was a lot of things – a painter, sculptor, mathematician, inventor, cartographer, and writer, to name a few. Without a doubt, he was a great man – but I’m certain even he had unproductive days.

We’re all human, which means we all suck at getting things done at times – especially when we’ve got freedom to work how we want. Productivity-killing demons constantly lurk on our shoulders: distractions, boredom, decision fatigue, etc.

Luckily, there are ways we can improve our productivity and banish those demons. Today I’m dropping a pile of 30 productivity hacks on your lap, and I’m going through them at lightning speed.

Try to implement just one of these today, and see how your work sessions improve. Let’s go!

1. Have a reason for working faster. 

Whether it’s wanting more time with friends, a hobby you’re passionate about, or anything else, find something that you’re passionate about that gives you a reason to work harder. Don’t work harder just so you can work more.

2. Use the Pomodoro Technique.

If you’re stuck in a rut and can’t decide what to work on, use the Pomodoro Technique. Set a timer for 25 minutes and work on one thing as hard as you can, with no distractions. You’ll likely trick yourself into working for even longer.

3. Try out the 30-30 Method.

This is all about working in chunks. Work for 30 minutes, then take a break and do something fun for 30 minutes. I’ll often read a book or just play a video game during these breaks. Going outside is good as well. Of course, you can experiment with the time blocks to find what works best for you. Read More…

Freedom Casts A Killing Curse On Your Productivity

There is a curse you have to bear when you’re an entrepreneur. I would say it affects students strongly as well, though not quite as much.

It manifests itself in a variety of ways: dark circles under the eyes, frustrated outbursts decrying personal under-achievement, refusals to hang out with friends on a Saturday night because, “I just need to get this thing done.”

The curse is this:

As an entrepreneur, virtually everything is my life is left up to me. This means that everything I do requires that I make a decision to do it.

This was not really a thing when I was a child; my mom made the decisions. I didn’t have this freedom in school, either. Nor in any of my time spent employed by others (though my level of autonomy grew with each successive job), nor in the ROTC fitness class I forced myself to take during my sophomore year.

And you know what? I kind of miss those times.

Many of you are probably occupying specific bodies, which are tied to ID cards, which have their information mirrored in databases, which are read by other bodies – all caught up in a web of information that leads to one simple, inescapable conclusion: you’ve gotta be somewhere and do something today at a set time. 

And someone’s gonna kick your ass if you don’t. Read More…

Hack Your Task Management with Trello

Back in March, I left my old friend, Wunderlist, for someone else. This someone went on to help me organize my 26+ Wunderlist lists with the greatest of ease and make my life much more manageable.

This someone was Trello – a task management system available free for web browsers, iOS, Android, and Windows 8. You can also install Trello on your MacBook as a Fluid app.

Being an avid fan of both Wunderlist and Wunderkit during its short life, I was hesitant about yet again transferring all of my tasks over to a new system – after all, spending all of your time planning out how to spend all of your time simply doesn’t make any sense.

Luckily for me, the move was worth it. I quickly fell in love with Trello and saw the temptress that is organized productivity in a new light.

Tom already sang praises for Wunderlist in one of his giant collections of college tips for what it can do to help you organize your life. So what exactly does Trello have to offer, and why did I choose it over Wunderlist?

Let’s find out.
Read More…

Turbo-Charge Your Reading Speed With Spreeder

A while back, my friend Stefan Knapen published a post called, “The Ultimate Guide to Speedreading“. This article is a fantastic introduction to speedreading and provides a lot of tips for getting better at it.

For those of you in the dark, speedreading is a technique for reading content faster than normal. It’s especially useful for reading content you need to learn in order to pass a class, such as a history textbook.

The goal with speedreading is to increase the amount of words you can read in a certain time while still retaining (or even increasing) comprehension and learning. To do this, you employ many techniques, including:

  • “Chunking” words together – ignoring individual letters and words, and instead working to comprehend multiple words at a time
  • Using a finger to quickly guide your eyes over the text
  • Working to eliminate “inner vocalization” – that voice in your brain that “reads” the words aloud to you and slows you down

With practice, you can learn to read at 3-4 times your normal rate and still retain comprehension. Read More…

How To Take Notes With A Smartphone And Gain Zen Master-Level Focus

Classes are back, and they’re bringing with them a slew of information that you may be accustomed to keeping in the form of notes. You may even, if you’re generally awesome at things, be keeping these notes in Evernote, taking advantage of the many beauties of searchable data.

Perhaps, though, you’re not. Why is this? Maybe:

  • You don’t have a laptop
  • You’re not comfortable taking your precious laptop to class
  • You’re already carrying around 5,000 books and don’t want to destroy your spine

I happen to fall under the last two. I use my laptop to record my music, and risking my ability to record music every day isn’t exactly enticing. It’s also extra weight I certainly don’t need on my back, with the amount of coursework I’m taking this semester.

Luckily, there is an easier solution for note-taking that adds almost no weight, is much more replaceable, and brings a few other benefits your laptop wouldn’t have. 

Your smartphone. Read More…

Hack Your Willpower By Building Unbreakable Habits

Habits are something I think about a lot. One thing I know better than a lot of people is that we as humans have a set amount of willpower. It isn’t unlimited.

Because of this, it can sometimes be hard to get everything we want to get done, done. You may wake up in the morning and create a long list of awesome things you want to do during the day, but end up getting tired after a few of them and ditching the rest for a marathon of The Office. The willpower you used at lunch to avoid eating three cookies is now unavailable to help you get through the workout you promised yourself you’d do after class.

I’ve found that we can get over this willpower limit by forming good habits. Read More…

Radically Simplify Online Articles With Evernote Clearly

Productivity-minded students know that distractions are the primary culprit of poor study habits. “Suggested friends,” fancy sidebars, and ads promising you multiple iPad 2’s all have a certain way of distracting students from a task at hand. Face it, how many times have you went online to read an article, only to find yourself browsing through five completely unrelated websites an hour later? Distractions can be pesky things indeed.

Read More…

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