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How to Get More Done: A Guide to Productivity Hacks & Tricks for 2022

The world is becoming increasingly more connected. This means that our attention is pulled in many different directions, and we find it difficult to stay focused on any one task for too long.

Mudassir Mustafa
Mudassir Mustafa
7 min read
How to Get More Done: A Guide to Productivity Hacks & Tricks for 2022
Photo by Matt Ragland / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Productivity has never been more important than it is now. We need to be more productive than ever before if we want to stay on top of the game and keep up with the pace of our lives. There are many ways that you can become more productive and efficient at work, but there are also some things that you might not realize are affecting your productivity. I will abstain from discussing the tools in depth here but rather focus on the techniques that can foster lasting habits.

Pre-Requisite to becoming more productive - Changing the habits  

To get the best out of yourself you have to break the existing habits and get out of your comfort zone. Getting more productive is about how quickly can you get out of the current system and change it? Changing habits is the easiest way to form a new system and get better at your craft.

The productivity hacks that you will learn in this article are all associated with building habits, individually or with your team, breaking the existing system, being open-minded, and getting out of your comfort zone.

So, let's dive in.

A single goal for a day

It's easy to get overwhelmed with all the news, tasks, and everything that our digital world is pushing towards us. The cognitive drain is real and if you try to focus on a lot of things, chances are you are not going to get a whole lot done. This is why it's important to focus and control. So, how to go about it?

Start by listing down the items that you have to do in a single day. The old pen and notebook would get the job done, perfectly. Once you do have a list of the items, start force ranking them on priority. The most important goal will come out on top and you can review if you run out of time or have an emergency is this the only thing you would do to call your day productive or not? If the answer is, I might have something better, you need to prioritize that.  

A photo of my Filofax Original Nude in personal size for my Instagram page. Planning, in order to be productive, is very important to me and I find that it would be important for most professionals to use a similar system in order to free up headspace, to be more calm and less busy.
Photo by Renáta-Adrienn / Unsplash

What is my goal today?

I need to get a post published and sent to all paid members of the newsletter

Truth Bombs! - Revue
I help entrepreneurs and business leaders launch their products and reduce the chaos by building high-performance teams and using proven product management techniques.

One personal recommendation is to stop looking for a perfect piece of software for everything because perfect software was never created. Whatever you have is good enough to start. Get going first. Then get good.  

Multitasking is not what you think it is

It's a well-documented truth now that multitasking doesn't exist. It's a very common mistake by a lot of people where they try to hop on from one job or task to another and try to get a lot more done. In reality, you are just switching tasks and burning through your cognitive resources.

In his book Deep Work, Cal Newport argues that jumping from one task to another breaks your momentum and there is always a residue left by each task that slows you down and takes time to re-focus on the previous task.

Multitasking, it turns out, does not make us faster or more efficient. It actually slows us down. In a Stanford University study of college students, self-proclaimed chronic multitaskers made more mistakes and remembered less than those who considered themselves infrequent multitaskers. Another Stanford study found evidence to suggest that chronic multitaskers were worse at analytical reasoning as well.
- Simon Sinek Leaders Eat Last

Using the same list that you created at the start of your day while setting up a goal, try going through the list now that it's prioritized. Try to get a task done before moving on to the next task.  

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Sprints, not marathons.

Why does the software industry work in sprints? The sprints allow for better productivity because the team is given a set amount of time to work on a project and by limiting their time, they are more focused and therefore more productive. the human mind has stress limitations. It can only perform to the highest order for a certain amount of time.

Thats why you do time blocking, squeeze your meetings, etc. The most popular productivity technique is Porodmoro Technique which teaches to work for 25 mins followed by 5 mins break. In those 25 mins, you try to block out all noise and do deep work. You can start doing that by simply selecting Focus Mode and automatically turning all the meetings/notifications off through your google calendar.  

Select Focus Time and Check Automatically Delicne Meetings

Cancel the Noise

Again taking notes from Cal Newports where he says that for many people, one of their greatest distractions is social media. Social media and much of the internet, in general, are designed to get you addicted to its content and it can easily derail you from meeting your true goal. Social media also has a lot of impact on your mental wellbeing - says Research.

According to another research, an average digital worker (having the access to the internet while working) can't go more than 6 mins without checking their instant messages or email.  

There are a ton of app that allows you to block certain websites and apps so you can do deep work without getting distracted. But, the easiest one to get going is your Focus Mode on iPhone which also syncs up nicely with your mac computer and apple watch. You can turn off notifications from WhatsApp, messages, Twitter, Slack, etc., and focus on our work.

Focus mode on iOS 15
Focus mode synced through all your devices

Zone Out

Remember when traditional writers used to go off the grid in seclusion to write the book? You don't have to go into the woods and grow your hair and bread to crazy lengths to do the same now. But, the principle is still the same. You need to find or create an environment that allows you to zone out and focus on the task at hand like athletes. Before the games, you can see them walking down the tunnel of the arena and listening to some music (this will vary from person to person) and getting into the flow where they have completely focused on the game ahead and are not worried a tiny bit about what is going on in the world.

In Atomic Habits, James Clear discusses the power of using environmental cues to trigger desirable behaviors. Having a designated workspace is one type of environmental cue, but you can set up more—for example, lighting a specific candle or starting a certain playlist each time you start working. Over time, your brain will associate these cues with deep work and you’ll more easily ease into focus.)

You need to find or create such an environment for yourself. Some people put their noise cancellation headphones on and don't play anything but that sense of calmness and silence helps them get in the zone. Some have a special playlist that they turn on when they need to focus. If you are working from home, chances are you very well are, design your office, keep things on your desk that you like, and create your environment- the one that gives you positive vibes.

man with a box over his head
Photo by Ante Hamersmit / Unsplash

Choose the right Tech Stack

The option that you will get today for anything is mindblowing. Just look up notes taking app and my goodness it will blow your mind away. There are tons of those apps out there that do the same thing, more or less. I personally use Notion for taking notes, planning out my product roadmap, and discussing the marketing strategy and whatnot. I use Readwise to save the highlights, Instapaper to save all kinds of articles, videos, weblinks, etc., and Shortform to read the summary of the books that I have read to remind myself. On top of all that I fancy using a Kindle to read more books. Now, that's a very comprehensive tech stack I am using. To you, it might be overkill. So, maybe just using Apple Notes is your best option. I use all of these because I have a good understanding of what I want to get out of each product. Using more than what you need will drain your cognitive resources and that obviously decreases your productivity.  

Photo by Jon Tyson / Unsplash
In Switch, Chip and Dan Heath explore why advance planning helps keep us on task. They explain that humans are predisposed to decision paralysis—when you have too many options of what you could work on, you’re likely to default to whatever feels easiest. On the other hand, having a clear plan of what needs to get done removes your options and the need to make a decision.

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If you look closely, all these hacks are actually habits that you need to form over a period of time. You won't see a crazy amount of productivity the next day but on a yearly comparison, the results will blow your mind away. Not sure where to get started? Let's hop on a call, have a cup of latte, and figure it out together.

Productivity

Mudassir Mustafa Twitter

I help entrepreneurs and business leaders launch their products and reduce the chaos through building high performance teams and proven product management techniques.