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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Productivity

5 Surprising Ways to Increase Your Productivity in the Next 5 Minutes

We all know the basic productivity tricks out there: Create a to-do list, eat healthy, exercise, get enough sleep, and wake up early. But what if you’re doing all that and you’re still feeling like you could use an extra boost? Or, you just know yourself and have accepted the fact you’ll never be able to get up early?

Well, good news for you!

A group of Quora users recently talked about productivity and shared a bunch of suggestions. And, unlike most of the suggestions you read out there, these go against everything you’ve ever been told.

The cool thing? Their ideas totally work.

1. Do Your Most Important Task Second

Often people make the mistake of putting everything into a priority list and doing the most important thing first, but the first thing is kind of hard to get started with for whatever reason and they end up getting stalled. Instead, do the most appealing task first. This will help you gain momentum and once you go, you can more easily get started on the high priority tasks.

Yishan Wong

Have you ever noticed that the more important a task is, the harder it is to get started? Seriously, you’ll do everything besides the one thing you need to do. Next time you feel that happening, start with a “fun” task, get in the zone, and then take on the big, hairy to-do item that needs your attention.

Hey, getting started is half the battle.

2. Stop Using All Your Productivity Apps

Productivity is an attitude and lifestyle, not a set of magic tools. Being partial to a specific app is dangerous because you’ll rely way more on it than you should.

George Xing

Apps can be a great way to enhance your productivity, but even your favorite one isn’t a magical, eternal cure. Sure, you can have your favorites, but be open to new apps and—gasp!—new analog methods that come from your fellow co-workers.

3. Log Out of Your Inbox

No email between an hour of going to bed and an hour of waking up. My personal policy is no email between 10 PM and 10 AM. This allows me to go to bed with peace of mind and wake up thinking about my own priorities for the day rather than other people’s agenda list for me.

Ben Davidow

You might be tempted to open your inbox the second you wake up, but in reality, most emails can wait that extra hour. By taking time for yourself at the beginning and at the end of each day to relax and go through your routines, you’ll be more focused when you actually have to spend time in your inbox.

4. Take Items Off Your To-Do List

If a task does not really need to be done, or you can say if its deadline is far, far away, you may get rid of it altogether. Tossing it away would provide you with extra time to finish [off] the more important jobs.

Shambhavi Tripathi

Ever created a ridiculously long to-do list, only to realize that half of the items on it aren’t that urgent? Instead of having them sit there to taunt you, just take them off the list for now. There’s no reason for you to be worrying about a simple expense report due in a month when you have other, more important tasks due today.

5. Do it Now

When a task arises that you know you can complete in two minutes or less, do it immediately.

Prateek Keshari

Sometimes it’s better to sacrifice organization for efficiency. In the time it takes you to write a two-minute task down on a to-do list, you could already have it done. It’s better just to finish something right this second than to put it on a never-ending list of things that need to be completed.

What other productivity tricks work for you? Let me know on Twitter!

Photo of man working courtesy of Shutterstock.