10 Simple Productivity Hacks, All Backed by Science

(Last Updated On: March 7, 2017)

It’s 3 pm and you’ve hit the afternoon slump. It’s too late for coffee, but you have hours of work ahead of you. What is a productive solopreneur supposed to do? Well, you might want to take a nap.

That’s right, I said take a nap. (Hurray!)

Researchers who study productivity have made some AWESOME discoveries, including the discovery that short naps can actually increase your productivity. Check out 9 more productivity hacks, all backed by science, below. And enjoy your nap. 😉

Grab a copy of my 10 favorite (and FREE) productivity tools here:

Learn how to be more productive with these tips, plus download a free guide to 10 FREE productivity tools. Pin now and read later!

Do

Work 40 hours a week or less.

Don’t

Work overtime.

Research shows that in just about every industry working overtime makes you less productive. As a solopreneur, it can be tempting to work all the time, but you’ll actually get more done by setting limits and working less.

Do

Focus on one task at a time.

Don’t

Multitask.

We may glorify multitasking, but it’s actually one of the worst threats to productivity.

Stanford researchers found that students who multitasked struggled to pay attention, remember things, and filter out irrelevant information compared to mono-focused peers. In fact, the researchers found no advantages to multitasking and many theorize that the human brain can only process one string of information at a time.

So, close those extra browser tabs, batch your routine tasks, and don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re the one exception to the multitasking rule.

Do

Prioritize your most important tasks.

Don’t

Say yes to everything.

Focus and prioritization are two of the key tenets of productivity. If you want to get things done, you need to focus solely on just a few tasks. Saying yes to every project or opportunity that comes your way dilutes your focus, making it harder to get everything done.

Do

Be good enough.

Don’t

Be a perfectionist.

Perfectionists tend to procrastinate, which is one reason why being a perfectionist can hurt your productivity.

To let go of perfectionist, first separate your self-worth from your project outcomes. Then, give yourself permission to be good enough. You’ll be more productive if you focus on getting things done and not getting them done perfectly.

RELATED:  22 Pro Bloggers Show You How to Overcome Blogger Overwhelm

Do

Take a short nap.

Don’t

Ban naps.

I’m not gonna lie, I emailed this research straight to my husband. I’m always looking for an excuse to nap. 🙂

Napping can make you more alert, reducing your chances of making mistakes in your work. The psychological boost of a nap, which can feel like a luxurious break, can also rejuvenate you, increasing your productivity and your motivation.

Just be sure to keep your nap short, as long naps can make it more difficult to sleep well at night.

Do

Take breaks.

Don’t

Power through fatigue or burnout.

Researchers have found that when you focus on a task for a long period of time, you start to lose focus and your performance suffers. Even a small break can rejuvenate you.

So, if you’ve got a big task ahead of you, force yourself to take periodic breaks. You’ll likely get the work done faster and do a better job when your brain has some time to rest.

productivity hacks

Do

Work out.

Don’t

Spend all day on the couch.

We all know how important exercise is for your health. It turns out exercise can also help you get things done.

In addition to increasing blood flow and sending more oxygen to your brain, exercise can improve your creativity. Researchers found that people are more creative both immediately and several hours after exercising. Hop on that treadmill and see what genius ideas come to you later in the day.

Do

Put some plants on your desk.

Don’t

Keep a plain desk.

A study done in actual offices the UK and the Netherlands found that adding plants to the office increased worker productivity by up to 15%.

Researchers theorize that having plants in the office makes people more satisfied and engaged in their work. Studies done in lab settings back up this finding. They show that plants lower people’s stress and increase their attention spans.

RELATED:  7 Time Management Tips for Work At Home Moms

Get yourself some cute houseplants (succulents are my fave!) and make your desk pretty and productive!

Do

Make a plan.

Don’t

Wing it.

If you want to get things done, then you need to make your intentions clear, even if it’s just to yourself. Researchers in Germany found that people are more likely to pursue their goals if their intentions are clear.

The easiest way to set goals and follow through is to make a schedule for yourself. Write everything down and plan your schedule in advance so that interruptions and emergencies won’t derail you.

Do

Get rid of distractions

Don’t

Check your email and social media every 15 minutes.

A recent study done at tech companies in the U.S. found that the average knowledge worker is interrupted once every 10.5 minutes. Many of these “interruptions” are self-induced. People navigate away from fixing a programming bug to look for flights on expedia or stop editing a document to check social media.

Not only do the interruptions take up valuable time, switching between various tasks also decreases  productivity. The researchers found that it can take up to 23 minutes to adjust to a new task after an interruption.

Grab a copy of my 10 favorite (and FREE) productivity tools here:

The Takeaway

You don’t need to invest in new productivity tools or experiment with different productivity systems. Use these science-backed tips to make the most of every day.

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