10 Surprising Productivity Hacks That Will Blow Your Mind (and Help You)
As we move into spring and the weather finally starts to come around, it’s easy to get distracted from work. But before the slow summer hits, spring can be very busy for some businesses, which is why you need to rev up your productivity life hack search. Luckily, we looked far and wide for some of the most surprising productivity tips to help you keep up at work.
1. Keep making lists, but not in the same way. When you make a list, you probably go from top to bottom, or maybe you start sticking things at the top because you want to get them done first — wrong! Ben Schott, author of Schott’s Original Miscellany, a compendium of lists, told Real Simple: “Varying the format can make a list far more useful. Start in the center of a page and write items in spatial relation to one another, so that you create clouds of related tasks; draw a Venn diagram for party invitees so you can note how people will interact. During the 18th century, sailors in the British navy would sign petitions of grievance in a circle so that ringleaders could not be identified.”
2. Smell flowers when you get up. Don’t just look at your cereal bowl when you first wake up. You need some beautiful colors in those retinas. Research suggests that exposure to bright colors in the early morning lifts your spirits and energy.
3. Take a walk in a park. In 2009, University of Michigan researchers found that subjects who strolled through a nature setting saw a 20 percent improvement in attention and focus tests. Taking in the sights and sounds of nature appears to be especially beneficial for our minds. But people who don’t live in the middle of a nature preserve are not completely screwed, according to the researchers. A park or a slightly quieter street with a few trees can work, or even looking at potted plants may help your concentration.
4. Laugh a lot. A Robert Half International survey, for instance, found that 91 percent of executives believe a sense of humor is important for career advancement, while 84 percent feel that people with a good sense of humor do a better job. So break out the Louis C.K. YouTube videos and laugh a little.
5. Work at 4am. Okay, this one sounds a little weird, but some people swear by it. It’s really just the getting up part that’s hard, but once you’re up, you have a lot of peace and quiet while the rest of the world is sleeping. You may be surprised by how productive you can be. Hey, if the cast of The Today Show can do it, then you definitely can.
6. Buy one color of work socks or shoes. Try to limit the amount of time you spend on menial decisions, like choosing an outfit. Make it a little easier and give yourself fewer choices. You can also do this with meals. Yes, it’s a little boring, but if you find something you like to eat, stick with it.
7. Break up your day into periods of time focused on different tasks. Daniel J. Levitin of The New York Times suggests breaking up your day into projects if you want to be both productive and creative. He wrote, “If you want to be more productive and creative, and to have more energy, the science dictates that you should partition your day into project periods. Your social networking should be done during a designated time, not as constant interruptions to your day.
Email too should be done at designated times. An email that you know is sitting there, unread, may sap attentional resources as your brain keeps thinking about it, distracting you from what you’re doing. What might be in it? Who’s it from? Is it good news or bad news? It’s better to leave your email program off than to hear that constant ping and know that you’re ignoring messages.”
8. Turn up the heat. As we all know, the temperature in our office is never quite right. In the summer we’re too cold and in the winter we’re too warm. Well, it turns out being warmer is probably better when it comes to productivity. Studies find that when people feel physically cold, they feel more alone, and then perceive others to be less caring and generous (i.e. cold). But when we’re warmer, we feel we have more in common with others and act friendlier, which can in turn help our productivity.
9. Don’t answer all your emails. Super productive people don’t check their email every five minutes. They may only do it a few times a day. Many of them don’t even turn on notifications. Think how much work you could get done if you weren’t being interrupted by pings and buzzes every other second.
10. Use a notebook. Yes, there are about a million apps for making to do lists and writing or recording all your notes, but never forget about the simplicity and effectiveness of a simple notebook. Mogul Richard Branson takes one with him wherever he goes.
What’s your favorite productivity tip? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know!
This post was perviously published on Levo League by Meredith Lepore. Photos via Getty.
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Pocket doors are so delightful in and of themselves. They appear when you need them, get tucked away when you don't, and make it easy to define rooms while keeping an open floor plan. Add to the pocket door a joyful patterned wallpaper surprise, and you will be sent right into fits of visual jubilation! Or something ;) Today we're sharing two simple and impactful pocket door makeovers that zhuzh up your space in a jiffy.
Anjelika Temple here, co-founder of Brit + Co and proud owner of several pocket doors! When I moved into my first real grown-up house a couple years ago, I knew I wanted to incorporate wallpaper so reached out to our friends at Chasing Paper to see how we might collaborate. It felt like a total lightbulb moment when I realized I could create a surprise pop of pattern on a couple sets of pocket doors.
Not only is it a whimsical way to bring color into a space, but the doors double as picture-perfect backdrops for all your SFH (selfies from home, obvs).
A few pro tips about install:
- Removable wallpaper is miraculously forgiving! You can take it on and off multiple times without it losing integrity (or mucking up your surface).
- I ordered this adhesive wallpaper installation kit with a squeegee and xacto knife and it worked super well. I also recommend a sharp pair of scissors for cutting longer lines.
- This is a two-person job! Get a friend, put on a playlist, and get ready to bond.
- Wild, organic patterns like Tally are great because it's challenging to spot any imperfections in pattern alignment; keep pattern choice in mind if you've got a lot of corners to match up. More geometric patterns and larger shapes leave less room for error (but are awesome in their own right!).
BATHROOM POCKET DOORS
In our primary bathroom, we chose the wallpaper pattern Tally, designed by Kelly Ventura, in White and Navy. In our space, the navy reads as a soft black, which is perfect for the space. It's easy to combine an ever-rotating collection of linens with the Tally pattern.
I love how the white trim becomes the perfect frame around this pocket door piece of art.
My favorite moment in this space is the fact that you actually get a third pop of pattern thanks to our serendipitously placed mirror!
And yes, this one works pretty darn well as a backdrop too ;)
LIVING ROOM DOUBLE DOORS
This set of doors is definitely a focal point of our home. It separates our living room from our primary bedroom which opens onto our backyard. The doors are pretty much always open, but when they're closed we wanted to evoke a fun, nature-inspired vibe. With that in mind, we selected the Lines and Moons pattern by Thimblepress in Green and Brown.
Earth mama vibes up in here! I love how the shapes and colors echo the ferns you see through the windows and the acorn wood details throughout the house.
Love this pattern moment, and xacto-ing out the door handle is def on the oddly satisfying DIY list.
For a pattern lover like me, I love that now I have this instant photo backdrop!
Thanks to Chasing Paper for providing these rolls of pure pattern amazingness. Head to chasingpaper.com to find our own favorites and start adding patterns to your home!
(Wallpaper wingwoman: Kayla Haykin; Photography: Kurt Andre)