Here's a few tips and tricks picked up over the years that will make you more productive, allow you to get more stuff done faster, and be happier, healthier, and wealthier because of it.
1.) Turn off ALL notifications on your phone besides iMessages/text messages. Chances are, you won’t be able to do much meaningful work on a mobile device and each time your phone buzzes with a new email, you get incredibly distracted. Same thing goes for Instagram and Facebook. Check social networks and email on your own time.
2.) Try and only check email two or three times a day if you can. If you have Outlook, Gmail or Mail.app open at all times, you’re going to get pulled out of whatever you’re doing each time someone drops you a note. 99% of the time, they can wait.
3.) You don't have to answer every email that comes flying into your inbox. You have a good idea who is important and who is the real deal. "Mark as read" should be your best friend and "inbox zero" is the most blissful thing ever.
4.) If someone suggests hoping on the phone, suggest working out the deal via email unless they're significantly more successful or important than you. Sure, email might take more time, but it's on YOUR time. If you have a conference call set for 3:30pm, you're working your entire afternoon around it.
5.) The first thing you should do each work day is what you are looking forward to LEAST. Otherwise, it will hang over your head until it’s done.
6.) Use Instapaper or Pocket to save articles you find interesting. You'll have a treasure chest of awesome to read while relaxing with your iPad later in the evening, and you won't be pulled out of whatever you're doing when you come access a great link.
7.) Turn down deals that are high work/low reward unless you're really hurting for cash. The power of "no" is incredibly powerful in business, and your focus should be on replicating low work/high reward clients and deals. It's the 'ol 80/20 rules.
8.) Get up early. Having an extra hour or two each morning is like cheating at life.
9.) Never trade a freebie for a favor. About 70% of the time, it will compromise you in some way or shape, it almost always does.
10.) If your internet is acting slow, or you're in a place with poor WiFi like a hotel or airplane, just turn the computer off and focus on something else worthwhile that's offline. Dealing with slow internet is always a pain, and you end up painfully hitting refresh instead of ever getting any work done. Instead? Go do something else that's important and on your to-do list.
11.) Most people sending you a text message are loved ones or close friends and should be given a priority. The easiest way to have conversations with them is to install the iMessages app on your desktop, assuming you have both a Mac and an iPhone. It’s much easier and faster to type messages with a real keyboard than it is to pull a touch screen phone out of your pocket every time it vibrates.
12.) Make sure your tablet has no access to work related files, documents, or emails, and only use it when it’s time to relax. Desktop or laptop computer is for work, the tablet is for play. It helps separate work/home life nicely if you love spending time on the internet when out of the office.
13.) For simple tasks that come in, knock 'em out of the park right away. That faster you can close the door and get them out of the way, the better.
14.) Keep a clean office, home, and car. The less cluttered and dirty your life is, the more relaxed, productive, and happy you’ll feel.
15.) Go through your Twitter and Instagram feeds and unfollow uninteresting people, publications, and brands that are posting low quality content every few months. That way, when you're spending time on social media, you're at least spending it with the best of the best.
16.) If you have flexibility with your schedule or a longer lunch break, try hitting the gym in the middle of the day instead of before or after work. It will allow for more relaxation in the morning and evening while giving you an awesome boost of energy for the second half of your work day.
17.) If you work on a computer all day, you might as well invest in a fast one. A computer cramping up and slowing down is only going to frustrate you.
18.) When making reservations or appointments, always use the corresponding app instead of calling around. As examples, ZocDoc is great for medical appointments, HomeJoy is great for house cleaning appointments, and OpenTable is great for restaurant reservations. You’ll save time and have a clearer picture of what’s available where and for how much.
19.) If you’re feeling in a funk and not getting much work done, go and do something else that needs to be done in the day. Whether that’s picking up dry cleaning or calling your parents, you can be productive with non-work activities and (most of the time) when you return to work, you’ll be back in the zone.
20.) Map out your week every Sunday night before getting to bed. It allows you to visualize your week and focus on what's really important.
21.) Let any call from an unknown number go to voicemail. That way, you can listen and respond on your own time, not theirs.
22.) Keep your computer clean. It's a lot easier to get work done when you have organized folders and not 248 random things sitting on your desktop.