“Focus on being productive instead of busy.” – Tim Ferriss

If your to-do list is stressing you out, worry no more.

Sometimes productivity is not about trying to squeeze even more things into each day, but rather about working smarter and not harder. We all want to be more productive when a new year, month or week rolls around, but can we be?

Here are five tips to help you hack your productivity potential. 

Print out your big-picture goals, paste them where you can see them… and then keep moving them around. It’s so easy to miss the forest for the trees when the minutiae of each work week become your primary focus. Prominently display your larger goals in an attractive way that gets you fired up. Then, because we’re masters at getting used to our environments, move it somewhere different each month.

Use productivity apps

Using a great productivity app is like outsourcing, but less stressful. These could be a series of reminders, a task schedular or tools to automate repetitive tasks.

Monitor meetings

Most of us hate meetings. We can each count on one hand the number that have yielded real progress and decisions, yet have countless ones each month. When entering any meeting, clearly state the objectives of that meeting and it’s end time. Even better – try to have as many meetings on Teams, Zoom or WhatsApp, as possible.

Try the ‘pomodoro’ technique

So named because of the inventor’s egg timer being in the shape of a tomato (‘pomodoro’ in Italian), this technique means switching of all devices and alerts for a 45 to 50-minute period and working as hard as you can in that finite time on one task only Then, for 10 minutes, you take a mandatory break. This technique harnesses focus and it’s truly amazing the difference it makes.

Drink more

… water, that is. Research has proven that dehydration – which most of us have can impair cognitive functioning by as much as 30 percent! Purchase yourself a glass bottle that is 500-750ml, and keep it on your desk at all times – filled with water.

Productivity is not an easy skill to master, which is why brand new books on this subject line the shelves of every book store throughout the year. Take each day at a time and be kind to yourself.