If we’re all given the same 24-hours in a day, why do some people seem to accomplish so much more than others? Here’s what I do to ensure I am one of those people.
Sleep Less – If you were given three extra hours in a day, how would you use them? That’s a question I ask myself every morning when I wake up after five hours of sleep. Thomas Edison regarded sleep as “a heritage from our cave days (he only slept three to four hours a night). Other notable figures who run on little shuteye: Marissa Mayer, Jack Dorsey, Ryan Seacrest, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Martha Stewart, Herb Kelleher and Kelly Ripa – all who average four to five hours of sleep a night.
Special Tip: No naps. Naps are for babies and the elderly.
Power Apps – The key to more productivity is to not only work harder, but work smarter. The ability work double time is in the palm of your hand, literally. We all have our favorite apps. Here are some that allow me to do more, with less time:
- Buffer: With Buffer I created a custom posting schedule to Twitter. As I find stories I want to share, I add them to my posting que and Buffer will send them out at the times I pre-set. I can even take this one step further with another favorite app IFTTT. Anytime articles are filtered through a specific feed on my Feedly account, it automatically gets pushed to my Buffer. Without lifting a finger, top stories are added to my que to post throughout the day on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.
- IFTTT: If This Then That is a remarkable tool for people who need to maximize results with automated ease. As it sounds, IFTTT is an engine that uses certain actions to trigger others, called recipes. Automatically download photos you’re tagged in to Dropbox, or Flickr. Send emails to Evernote by simply starring them in Gmail. If the weather calls for rain, you get a text message reminding you to bring an umbrella. The options are truly endless.
- Audible: I haven’t read a physical book since the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine, but that doesn’t stop me from staying on top of the NY Times Best Sellers List. Three times a week, at a time when I would be listening to music, I listen to an audio book instead. Taking advantage of this time allows me to polish off a book a month utilizing the otherwise down time of my morning commute or dog walk.
- Tempo: I would be lost without my Calendar, and unfortunately the standard calendar apps just don’t cut it for me. Tempo combines the powers of a personal assistant with a smart schedule allowing me to be more prepared in less time. Tempo automatically organizes everything I need for each meeting, including contacts, locations, and related emails and documents.
A Better Half – One of the keys to my production is in the fact that I married a fellow work-a-holic. Our drive and work ethic is matched, so neither of us feels bad or holds animosity towards the other for working late into the evening. Not only is this key to increased productivity, it’s key for a successful marriage. I think. Talk to me in a few years.
I Talk – Thanks to increased technology and decreasing social skills the art of talking has quickly deteriorated. The back and forth of email can quickly add up and what takes you 10 minutes to say in a well-crafted email could take just 2 minutes in a phone call. I love email, and I never want to avoid it completely, but there are certain times where a phone call can save you a lot of time – the key is to recognize when, and capitalize.
Special Tip: Only take calls when in the car or walking from one place to another – places that allow you to take advantage of otherwise down time.
Closed Door Policy – When my office door closes for the day, so too does that mini-chapter in my life. Unless special circumstances apply, I establish a leaving time for myself each and every day. I never add time on to the end of my work day, only the beginning. This guarantees a better work life balance and ensures I get home or to the next event when I say I will. Any work unfinished by that cut-off time will wait until the morning, and no one’s losing a life because of it.
I Don’t Talk – I have three potential answers when my wife asks me how my day was: Good, fine or sucked. Unless unordinary circumstances apply, none of those answers are followed up with supporting detail. No need to relive my hard day’s work. I was there. I know what happened. This time saver is more mental than anything. Knowing I am 100% present when I walk through my front door means I can devote my energy to other things, like being a good husband and stuff.
What are your productivity secrets? Do you take full advantage of all 24-hours?
This blog first appear on MattPrince.com. Matt Prince founded a creative agency, launched three successful blogs read in over 100 countries, led the communications department for one of the most influential business organizations in California, and was tapped as executive speech writer and eventually social media manager for one of the biggest brands in the world – all by age 27. At the ripe age of 30, he currently manages brand integration and public relations for the Taco Bell.