In 2018, I came across a meme that was going viral on the Internet. It read, “You have the same number of hours in the day as Beyoncé.” I doubt that anyone became more productive or achieved greater heights as a result of these words, but it made me wonder: Do high achievers approach their days and their work differently than most people? How do they become so efficient and productive?
To explore this question, I set out to interview a number of rock star authors, musicians, entertainers, entrepreneurs, and business leaders for my podcast, How I Work. I spoke to them about their routines, rituals, practices, and work hacks to understand how they get so much more done than your average person.
Four tips especially stood out.
1) Batch Your Meetings
Batch-checking emails has become a common productivity tip. The idea is that you only look at your inbox two to three times a day or pause notifications for a period of time so that you can focus on work without distractions.
Batching meetings, calls, or virtual events can be equally effective. Research from Ohio State University has shown that when we have a meeting coming up in the next hour or two, we get 22% less work done compared to when we have no upcoming meetings at all.
2) Avoid Using the Mouse
A study by Brainscape found that most people lose an average of two seconds per minute of work by using their mouse instead of keyboard shortcuts. That’s eight days a year! The benefits of learning keyboard shortcuts can be enormous for your productivity. Fortunately, most software shares the same shortcuts, meaning the more you learn, the faster you will become across the board.
3) Nudge Your Way to Better Behavior
If you’re trying to set better work habits, Matt Mullenweg, the co-founder of WordPress and Automattic, told me that small behavioral hacks can lead to the biggest payoffs. “If what is closest to my bed when I wake up is the Kindle and not the phone, I’m more likely to read,” said Mullenweg. “But if the phone’s on top of the Kindle I’m more likely to look at the phone.”
In other words, consider what habits you want to change and think about how you can alter your environment to influence those behaviors. For instance, you’ve probably heard that turning off your phone or putting it on airplane mode will help you stay more focused on work. In the same way, making small altercations to your surrounding can inspire you to act on things that you’ve been avoiding or don’t naturally want to do.
4) Read Your Work Out Loud
Whether you like it or not, we are all writers. Every day, our success at work or at school is in part determined by how well we can communicate our thoughts through email, reports, projects, and perhaps even articles or books. If you’re a student, for example, a big part of your success is defined by how you get work done, and by communicating clearly and precisely. That’s half the battle won.
Is Your Company Struggling To Develop and Sustain Employee Engagement? VITE will be surely helpful for you.
Being productive is not about doing more, but about doing things in an efficient manner. Starting now, invest time in these simple strategies and make small changes to get more out of your day.