My friends always ask me a lot about my secret sauce or how I get so many things done in a day, week, and month 🙂 Here are my top 8 productivity hacks that save me energy, time, and help me stay on top of my game.
Keep everything organized
This includes my room, workspace, bathroom, desktop, closet, Dropbox files, and important documents, receipts, etc. Operating this way enables me to save so much time of my day and keep my willpower and brain juice for some more serious tasks. Watch this funny video about willpower and get motivated to try out this mode of functioning. I never have to lose precious time to find my passport, earplugs, or anything else for that matter. Furthermore, I have a zero inbox policy and immediately either reply, delete or if it is something I need to address more time, I just put it in a standby box that gets cleared every night. My morning routines include preparing my coffee and the moment I’m finished I wash it and put it back. I do all these things automatically without even thinking about it, so after some time, it becomes a habit. A very good one, for that matter.
I’ve been actively journaling from age five and I have a large collection of amazing notebooks, journals, sketchbooks where I expressed my thoughts, fears, and dreams. For me, it is the best way to clear your thoughts before bed or write down your plans in the morning. By writing I believe we realize things about ourselves and the world, we wouldn’t necessarily figure out by solely talking about it. You can read more about this routine in this great book.
I was an avid reader from a young age. My love for reading was especially demonstrated through my elementary school, where my favorite professor was actually our school librarian. In the beginning, she didn’t trust me that I really read all the books I borrowed. Once she realized that I was, in fact doing so, she would carefully prepare books for me to read on a weekly basis and we would afterward discuss it. I won many writing competitions in elementary school and several poetry ones as well. These competitions weren’t as important to me as the knowledge I gained from those books. I could understand so much more about subjects we were learning in school, but also I could engage in meaningful conversations with people much older than myself.
Moving a lot, I learned to appreciate being a minimalist. This movement I grew fond of was a life-changing experience for me once I started it. Now, I need 15 minutes to pack for a 1-year move to another country and I am so grateful I learned that skill. I never keep things I don’t wear, books I don’t plan to read again, makeup that I don’t use, or anything I don’t need for that matter. I really think I have an abundant life now, with much less stuff. If you are interested in learning about this globally popular movement, check out this TED talk by The Minimalists or this blog Zen Habits by Leo Batuta.
I go to bed at 10 PM no matter where I am in the world. I wake up at 6 AM and I am energetic, happy, and in a great mood. For the last few years, I’ve completely stopped going out after 6 PM. I do not enjoy clubbing, I hate smoke and I don’t drink alcohol so for me, clubbing is a waste of my time and energy. I’d much rather spend my night with friends planning our next vacation, learning something new, or listening to YouTube talks and podcasts. Arianna Huffington was a big inspiration for me when I started with this lifestyle a few years back. If you’d like to hear more about it check out her talk The Third Metric.
Honestly, I don’t know a successful person that doesn’t have a training routine. For me, for many years it was tennis, skiing, swimming, yoga, kickboxing, etc. I love to switch up my training routine from time to time and right now it is yoga and speed walking. Great people like Micael Pupin, Serbian scientist, and humanitarian always stressed the importance of physical activity in his life and he kept saying that a man who neglects his health and fitness for work won’t be truly successful in life.
Automate your processes
I am such an automation nerd. My friends say I’m extreme with this one, but heck as long as it works for me, who really cares. Basically, what I do is plan my meals, exercises, social activities, spare time to a crazy point, so that I don’t have to waste time during the week thinking about what I’ll be eating or wearing. To me, those things aren’t my life priorities. Nonetheless, I do want to look always suited up, elegant, and to eat the healthiest food for my body. So, how do I do this without obsessing over it on a daily level? I always eat the same breakfast at the same time for example and I always get my lunch from the same place. When I go shopping for clothes, I invest in the highest quality classical pieces I can afford that always look great on me and last for many years without looking cheap, washed out, and average. I don’t put my energy into dressing up well, I just buy high quality, customized clothes that fit perfectly and I invest in a great pair of shoes, bag, and watch and the look creates itself on a daily basis without me having to think what matches what. Here are three areas I believe you would really have immediate benefits automating: morning routine, meals, exercises.
Don’t postpone anything ever
People get quite surprised when they see how much I really stick to this. When I tell someone I’ll send them a link or something, I do it immediately when I reach my laptop, always that same day. For me, that shows a level of respect that person’s and my time as well. When you want to do something later, keep in mind: Later becomes never!
I really hope this helped you become a more productive person!