We all have to deal with the same 24 hours in a day, and we’re all looking for ways to squeeze more life and more results out of that time. Below, Nick Loper of Lifeack shares three of the little “hacks” that have worked for him.
His weird productivity tricks are a little unconventional, but give them a shot and see if they have any impact.
1. Use a treadmill desk
I begin each workday with a 3-4 mile walk, but instead of losing an hour for a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood, I’m getting things done right away.
With a treadmill desk, you walk at a slow enough pace (1-2mph) to not break a sweat or breathe heavily, but it has the effect of getting your blood flowing and your metabolism going first thing in the morning.
Where the productivity element comes into play is in the physical and mental momentum you build by walking. The very nature of a treadmill forces you to consciously keep moving, and that inertia can be powerful. It takes a concerted effort to get off the belt, like a total change in direction.
You can cheaply build your own treadmill desk from parts on Craigslist (mine cost $ 250 to assemble), or go with one of the premade models which will obviously be a better aesthetic fit in a professional office. A top-selling model is the LifeSpan TR1200-DT5, available on Amazon.
2. Track your time
By tracking your time, I don’t mean messing around with egg timers or Pomodoro apps. Instead, keep track of how long you spend on each particular task.
This has the psychological effect of “game-ifying” your work time. Sometimes simply knowing that the clock is ticking is motivation enough to try and see how efficiently you can get something done.
One of my favorite tools for this is a free (and premium) time-tracking app called Toggl. How it works is you type in the task you’re working on and hit the start button. Then stop the timer when you’re done.
It’s a glorified stopwatch, but comes with some interesting reporting features as well so you can see what tasks eat up the most of your day, how your performance improves over time, and maybe even opportunities for delegation.
Tom Morkes of Insurgent Publishing recently published a report on the Toggl blog reporting a 238% increase in productivity using this system.
3. Take cold showers
I promised you a weird list, right? Well, I haven’t had a warm shower in over four months and my friends and family definitely think I’ve gone off the deep end.
But here’s the thing: there’s something about the mental challenge of having that cold water hit you that motivates you to seize the crap out of the rest of your day.
Oh, it’s uncomfortable, to be sure. You’ll shiver and swear (I know I did!), but you’ll feel alive. The cold water turns the shower from a place of mindless relaxation to a place of conscious awareness. Why am I doing this to myself? What other challenging things do I need to accomplish today? They’ll probably seem like a piece of cake after this.
Maybe it’s a placebo effect, but even so, if the results are a more motivated and productive self, isn’t it worth a shot?
Give it a try for week or take the 30 day cold shower challenge and let me know how you feel!