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Jan 13, 2022

Work smarter, not harder - 8 of the best productivity hacks to level up in both your personal and professional life

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Get more done without actually working harder. Try Lumin's new templates to keep track of your goals and productivity.

Every new day brings with it a new set of goals to attain, a new set of challenges to face, and the desire to be better than the day before. You want to maximize your efforts to maximize your growth, regardless of the industry you work in.

This article will outline eight productivity hacks that you can use both at work and in your everyday life to get the most of every day. So start working smarter, not harder!

Our top 8 productivity hacks

Becoming productive and well-organized doesn’t happen overnight. Forming good habits takes time and can be challenging at times; however, by slowly implementing small changes, you will feel less overwhelmed, and the positive changes are more likely to last long-term.

Here are our top eight hacks for becoming more productive:

1. Organize your day

A productive day starts with a plan, there is no better feeling that ticking off your to-do list at the end of the day.

A great way to effectively organize your day is to use a daily planner. We recommend using this one from Lumin. Not only will it help you block out time for specific tasks, which will help you focus on one thing at a time, but it will also help you stay on top of deadlines and remain accountable.

Believe it or not, but using a daily planner will also help you manage stress. When things are written down and time is blocked off, we’re able to move more freely from one responsibility to the next. When we don't have to worry about forgetting things, we feel less stress.

Daily planner template PDF and Study planner template PDF

2. The 25 minute Pomodoro technique

For those unfamiliar with the Pomodoro Technique, let us explain. This strategy’s work vs. reward model is based on a 25-minute timer. You work for 25 minutes and rest for 5.

The technique follows 6 steps:

1. Decide which task needs to be done
2. Set the timer for 25 minutes
3. Work on your task
4. Stop working when the timer rings and rest for 5 minutes
5. If you have fewer than three Pomodoros (intervals), go back to Step 2 and repeat until you go through all three Pomodoros
6. After three Pomodoros are done, take the fourth Pomodoro and then a long break, around 20 to 30 minutes.

You should repeat this process throughout the day. It's also a good idea to put an "X" next to your progress when you finish a Pomodoro. You will want to keep track of how often you wanted to procrastinate or do something else. Go through it again at the end of the day to look back on all the things you’ve accomplished. Try this Pomodoro timer here

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3. Set goals

Setting goals is one of the most effective strategies to improve overall effectiveness in the workplace, from team communication to better manager-employee relationships and improved productivity. Goals also aid in the development of a sense of accountability and allow individuals to track their progress. Setting better goals is the first step towards increased efficiency at work.

This is where SMART goals come in. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Let’s break them down.

  1. Specific - In order for a goal to be effective, it needs to be specific.
  2. Measurable - Making your goals measurable makes progress easier to track.
  3. Achievable - Think about how to accomplish the goal and if you have the tools and skills needed. If you don’t currently possess those tools or skills, consider what it would take to attain them.
  4. Relevant - Here’s where you need to think about the big picture. Why are you setting this goal in the first place?
  5. Time-bound - Think about deadlines. When do you need to have a task done for your goal to be reached?

If, however, you want to start small and work your way up to using SMART goals, Lumin has a great goal planner template for you to use!

Goal setting template 2022, productivity template


4. Do the easiest task first

There is much debate around this topic, but we suggest you start the day off with a sense of accomplishment by getting the simplest task out of the way first!

Some argue that starting with the easiest tasks first is a way of procrastinating and avoiding getting around to the more difficult tasks but we disagree.

For most people, getting started is usually the hardest part of any task. By completing the simplest task first, you’ll feel productive and inspired to keep going. It will also make the difficult task seem easier.

Additionally, getting some quick wins boosts your mood. According to research, “Your brain releases dopamine when you achieve goals. Since dopamine improves attention, memory, and motivation, even achieving a small goal can result in a positive feedback loop that makes you more motivated to work harder going forward”.

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5. Take regular breaks

If you follow the Pomodoro technique outlined above, you will already be taking short breaks between tasks. However, even if you don’t follow the Pomodoro method, it is crucial to take breaks while you work, as it gives your mind some time to recover from intense focus.

Here are the top benefits of taking regular breaks from work:

  1. It helps you reevaluate goals,
  2. Increases productivity and helps the mind refocus,
  3. Lessens injuries, body aches, and pains,
  4. Improves creativity,
  5. Reduces stress,
  6. Boosts employee engagement,
  7. Improves mental health.

To truly get the most out of each break, don’t just mindlessly scroll through social media or watch YouTube videos. Instead, what you should do is something that does not require much thinking or any decision-making. Get up, go for a walk, do some yoga or meditation. 

A bonus tip is to not eat lunch at your desk! Separate work from rest. The goal is to not only have a mental break but also to give yourself a physical break from sitting at your desk.

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6. Get rid of distractions

To power past distractions and commit yourself to uninterrupted, intense work, you'll need laser-like focus. However, merely turning off all of your notifications will not improve your focus. It's a balance of internal and environmental factors like effective time management, good sleep habits, and a well-designed workspace, all of which can help you focus on one task at a time.

According to RescueTime, the average employee can’t go more than 6 minutes without checking their email or instant messages. We are continuously checking for messages due to the digital nature of our work and social life, and this continual distraction negatively affects our ability to focus on activities for even short periods of time.

The best way to overcome this is by blocking certain websites and apps that are not work-related. There are plenty of tools on the market that can help with this. Decide which apps and websites distract you the most during work and add them to your list. Some tools will even prevent notifications from coming through during work hours and will be sent to you once you finish your session. This will help you work without being tempted or interrupted by distractions!
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7. Implement the 2-minute rule

Productivity consultant David Allen developed a very simple rule for getting things done - “If it takes less than two minutes, then do it now.”

This is such a powerful strategy because once you’ve started doing something, it is much easier to keep going. This ties in with starting with the easiest task first. Getting started is usually the hardest part, so by starting off with a task that takes 2 minutes to complete, you will gain a sense of accomplishment that will motivate you to keep going with the more difficult tasks.

Once you implement the 2-minute rule into your daily work, the first 2 minutes will become the gateway into the beginning of a productive daily routine. 

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8. Use a project management system

Finally, our last productivity hack is using a project or task management system to keep track of your tasks and goals. Task management systems are a great way of staying organized and keeping track of your project’s pipeline. Tasks like allocating resources, identifying dependencies, setting deadlines, and creating project deliverables may be accomplished quickly and easily with these tools.

Another significant benefit of project management software is that it streamlines your decision-making process and boosts workplace efficiency. You can also make informed decisions in a shorter time because all of the crucial data is in one place.

At Lumin, our favorites are Notion and Asana. We use them to look back on our project evolution, track KPIs, communicate with our team, and strategically schedule our days.

Productivity templates PDF , goal setting , daily planner , habit tracker

Conclusion

Productivity varies from person to person; what works for you might not work for someone else. Remember, becoming a more productive person takes time, commitment, and good organization skills. 

Whether you adopt all of the tips we’ve outlined above or a combination of a couple of them, track your progress with Lumin’s habit tracking template and see what works for you! It can be saved to your desktop app or phone app so you can easily access it on the go.

View and try out all of our new productivity templates now and get started at making 2022 your best year yet.


Even if you only use one of these suggestions, you will become more productive and happier at work, at home, and in your personal life. Keep in mind that every minute you save is a minute you gain!

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