The new year is coming and you have set new resolutions to improve and achieve more. However, you never seem to accomplish a big part of them and frustrated with your unproductive self.
Unlike any other common bits of advice that ask you to follow abc and xyz. We all know that staying focus, less interruption, less procrastination and Pomodoro technique can improve work efficiency. However, they are so hard to follow because it is always easier to said than done.
Today, I want to share with you my simple stupid and effortless productivity hacks that squeeze more juice out of the 24 hours all of us have each day.
1. Turn on 2x speed for when watching video on Youtube.
Effort required = 0%, Implementation difficulty = 0%
This is one of the simplest time-saving productivity hacks you can implement straight away. If you already know this trick, great! You’re one of those who always seek to get things done faster and more efficient.
Other guides will tell you to avoid any unnecessary distraction and entertainment. On contrary, I want you to embrace your procrastination because human need break and rest. This hack works well if you’re watching tutorials, gadget reviews, drama, parody and so on.
As New Straits Times reported on 2016, Malaysians love Youtube so much that they spent an average of 80 minutes to watch video daily. Turning on 2x playback speed immediately cut down your time consumption on video by half. By using this small trick, it saves you 40 minutes each day, 20 hours each month, 10 days each year. Indirectly, you get 10 days worth of extra time to accomplish more.
Congrats! Now you’re 2x faster whether you are learning new stuff or watching drama. It definitely affects your viewing experience but you get to consume much more info in a shorter period of time. If 2x speed is too fast for you, you can always start with 1.25x speed first.
2. Take advantage of your commute.
Effort required = 0%, Implementation difficulty = 10%
According to a brief infographic compiled by MichaelPage Malaysia, city dweller in Malaysia spend an average of 44-75 minutes each day in commuting to work. For my own scenario, I spent over 1 hour each way to drive to my workplace, the total of 2+ hours each in my car.
I used to listen to radio stations like My FM, OneFM, Hitz FM, BFM all the time. Then one day I thought I could have put these precious hours into good use. Consider that we sleep 8 hours a day, the balance of our active hours are 16 hours. 2 hours is equivalent to 13.3% of 16 hours. Am I going to waste 13.3% of the rest of my life like that? The answer is no.
I find that listen to podcast and audiobook is a good choice to maximize my commuting time. It requires little attention and near to zero interruption on my driving. At the same time, I am learning extra knowledge every day and adding value to grow myself.
Download a free podcast app on your smartphone from Play Store or App Store, select your topics of interest and start learning. If necessary, buy a great pair of true wireless earphones for a better experience. Also, install an audiobook app if you prefer to listen to long form and continuous content.
3. Upgrade your laptop/PC to SSD.
Effort required = 0%, Implementation difficulty = 20%
If you’re still using an old desktop pc or laptop that runs on a magnetic hard disk drive (HDD). You’re leaving tons of productive hours on the table.
SSD has been around for decades but the adoption rate is low especially in a developing country like Malaysia due to its high price tag. Today it is the standard and only storage choice for all Apple MacBook products. That’s part of the reason Macbook is so light and blazingly fast.
SSD is hella expensive compared to HDD. One TB (1000GB) HDD is only around RM170+ while one TB SATA SSD cost RM700+, being at least 4 times more expensive. However, SSD has a lower storage capacity compared to HDD. In my opinion, speed matters more than capacity in our current fast pace society.
A shorter 10 seconds here and there can be significant time-saving when accumulated. Most importantly the short loading time let your work continuously and does not interrupt your workflow. Remember in the old days how we always turn on the PC then go to the toilet, or grab a drink. With SSD, you can turn on your PC and work straight away.
Besides, HDD needs routine defragmentation and clean up to ensure top performance while SSD performance hardly deteriorates over time. You can focus more on your the actual work rather than maintenance works.
As the old Chinese wisdom says, an inch of time cannot be bought with an inch of gold. When you can buy time with your money, you know SSD is a good investment.
Effort required = 20%, Implementation difficulty = 30%
The Pareto principle also known as the 80/20 rules. It states that:
20% of our actions will account for 80% of our outcomes.
Pareto principle aligns perfectly with one of my favourite quote “done is better than perfect”. Things do not need to be 100%, just get things done by investing 20% of the effort to get 80% of the desired result.
Applying Pareto principle doesn’t mean you can deliver a half-assed job. However, it is important for one to remember work smart, focus on the task that will deliver results and ignore 80% of the works that only makes you looks busy.
It requires some time to learn and apply Pareto principle, pay attention to yourself and self analyse the redundant tasks in your routine.
5. Shop online
Effort required = 20%, Implementation difficulty = 10%
What could be worse than commute 2hours+ daily to work? Commute 2 hours to the shopping mall to buy stuff!
Since every Malaysians are so busy working every day, it is common that Malaysians go out shopping during their off-days. Crowd and traffic congestion is guaranteed. Malaysia shopping mall is so freaking huge that you have to walk all the south, north, east, west court and travel from the ground floor to the 4th floor in order to complete your shopping list. You easily waste another 2 hours in the shopping mall.
Today, shopping has never been easier with so many online marketplaces in just one click away. Enjoy your day off at home and shop relaxingly. It easily saves you over 10 hours each month by shopping online.
6. Visit my website, TechRakyat.com
Effort required = 30%, Implementation difficulty = 0%
Online shopping is great but it can be difficult to distinguish the good product from the bad product when you can’t physically feel the products.
At TechRakyat.com, I empower readers on how to make smarter decisions and share useful tips like this article. From time to time I do product reviews based on thorough research and my personal experience. More than often, I will reveal my research and thought process so that everyone can learn together.
I only recommend the best product, unlike other websites that give you a pointless list of 10 products which does not help you to make a purchase decision. You are going to save tons of research time by following my site and learn plenty of new things.
It is a guaranteed productivity hack but only required your effort to follow my site regularly.
Two Bonus Productivity Hacks
I don’t include the two bonus hacks below in the list because they are by no means easy to adopt and implement. It requires a high level of self-discipline for one to follow but I personally find them extremely effective. Hence, I wish to share with you all.
Bonus hack #7 – Write a daily to-do list
Effort required = 80%, Implementation difficulty = 20%
Write a simple daily to-do list using Google Keep on your smartphone. It gives you a clear picture of what you need to accomplish by end of the day. Crossing off each task also gives you a sense of accomplishment.
I prepare my to-do list with two key secret sauces:
- Break down a big task into few smaller tasks, small steps help you to keep on track to the goal.
- Prepare tomorrow to-do list today, wake up in the next morning and totally in control of how you’re going to start your day.
Bonus hack #8 – Learn to say no
Effort required = 20%, Implementation difficulty = 80%
How to get more things done? The best way is to eliminate the numbers of things you have to take care at one time.
Learn and acknowledge your right to say no to your boss, colleagues, peers and others. Time is the most precious resource and you shouldn’t waste it to please anyone but yourself. Worse case, you may even disappoint others when you fail to deliver.
Start by saying no to miscellaneous small tasks that your colleagues ask to help out and let them know how it affects your important work. Slowly, you will learn to when and how to reject request appropriately.
p/s: I only post useful stuff