I’m a bit of a productivity addict so I’m always looking for ways to make my day more productive without adding more time. My productivity starts the moment I wake up and includes some new tech and some old-tech.
Sleep Cycle – Wake up Early & Rested
Nobody likes the abrupt, annoying buzzing of an alarm clock yelling at you to start your day. I’m not going to say that Sleep Cycle will help you jump out of bed with a spring in your step, but it certainly makes it much less painful.
I wake up at 6:30 every day (yes, even on the weekends) and I use the time from 6:30-7 to take care of odds and ends around the house (bills, workout, reading). As a working mom, it’s important for me to take a little time to organize mstiy thoughts in silence.
Sleep Cycle monitors your movements while you sleep and wakes you when you are in the lightest sleep phase so that you aren’t quite so jolted. It also wakes you with a lovely harp sound that sounds like angels are hovering over your head, rather than the sound of a jackhammer.
Step 1 accomplished: you are now awake.
Lift – Maintain Healthy Habits
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Whether you are trying to create an exercise routine or get through a big project at work, Lift helps you track your daily tasks. It is brilliant in its simplicity. You enter the activities that you would like to track daily and each day you check them off. Lift tracks the number of days that you have marked your task as completed.
Stitcher – Love Your Commute
I have a twenty minute commute that I look forward to every day (yes, you read that right). Using bluetooth, I listen to podcasts on the Stitcher app to and from work. By the time I get into work I usually have at least one new idea in my head. There is no reason for your commute to be a drag. By adding in podcasts or audio books, you can turn your commute into one of the most productive parts of your day. You may even find yourself wanting to stay in the car a little bit longer.
Fitbit and Cal – My personal coaches
I love my fitbit, just as many people do. There is one feature, however, that isn’t often discussed or used: the silent alarms. I have my fitbit set to vibrate at 10:30am, 3:30pm and 10:00pm. The first two are reminders to get up and walk around. It’s very easy to sit down in your chair and stay there all day. When I do that, I tend to feel awful by about 6:00. My 10:30 and 3:30 silent fitbit alarms are a little nudge to get up and walk around for 10 minutes. On a nice day, it’s the perfect pick me up.
The 10:00pm silent alarm is my reminder to wrap things up and get to bed so that I don’t stay up all night, like I tend to do.
I also use the Any.do Cal app. I have three alarms set throughout the day to remind me to do a quick check-in with myself to see if I’m being productive. It’s easy to get distracted throughout the day and start spending much more time on something than is necessary. These three alarms remind me to evaluate if what I am doing at that exact moment is moving the business forward or just accomplishing busywork.
Kindle – Turn Dead Time into Learning Time
My kindle goes with me everywhere. During lunch or while waiting in line, I will usually be reading a book rather than killing time on my phone. I set a goal for myself to read 48 books in 2014. In Q1, I read 19 by filling these blank spaces in life with good books.
Feedly & Pocket – A Match Made in Heaven
I use Feedly to aggregate all of the blogs that I read. Each night before bed, I will skim through my feedly and save articles that interest me to Pocket. Feedly aggregates everything and Pocket stores the best articles for later reference. You can add tags to the articles you save in Pocket so that you can easily find them at a later date.
We are living in an extraordinary time where there is an abundance of information all around us. You can choose to be overwhelmed by it, you can choose to ignore it entirely or you can choose to maximize it.
We are all given 24 hours a day, with about 8 of them being dedicated to sleep (don’t skimp on sleep). What you do with the remaining sixteen hours can change the trajectory of your career and your work.
What are some of your favorite productivity hacks?
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