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work hacks to be more productive

5 Fast Productivity Hacks to Help You Work Better

Be more efficient to reduce stress and get things done.

Sometimes it feels like no matter how hard you work; your to-do list keeps getting longer and longer. And that never-ending list of Things That Need to Get Done can feel daunting. But there are strategies you can use to help you work more efficiently — and more effectively. Here are five simple productivity hacks that can help you get there.

1. Employ the Two Minute Rule

When you first encounter a new task, ask yourself this basic question: Can you get it done in two minutes? If the answer is yes, then do it, right then and there. Procrastinating just adds an extra step to the process and more stress to your workday. If it’s something quick and easy, make it quick and easy!

2. Reduce Your Email Load with the 80/20 OHIO Rule

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the endless flow of email you receive, but frankly, most of it isn’t that important. In fact, up to 80 percent of it can be safely ignored. And the 20 percent that is legit? That’s where OHIO comes in: Only Handle It Once. When you get an important email, deal with it right away. Leaving it for later only creates more work and occupies valuable brain space. Your time is better spent solving problems than dealing with old emails.

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3. Do The Hard Stuff First

Is there a particular task that has you stressed out? There’s A report you have to prepare or a phone call you dread making? There’s one easy way to remove that stress: Do the hard stuff first. The more you put off doing the hard stuff, the more you worry about it and the more stress it causes. So, figure out which task is causing you the most stress and tackle it first. Once it’s done, you’ll be more relaxed and productive for the rest of the day.

4. Disconnect from Distractions

Whether it’s status updates, tweets or text messages, diversions caused by your phone and internet can eat away at your work time, causing you to be less productive. Try setting your phone to airplane mode or using an app for your computer that blocks Internet connectivity at assigned times. When it comes to social media chatter, silence is golden.


    1. Mukamal KJ, Wellenius GA, Suh HH, Mittleman MA. Weather and air pollution as triggers of severe headaches. Neurology. 2009 Mar 10;72(10):922-7. doi: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000344152.56020.94. Erratum in: Neurology. 2009 Oct 27;73(17):1428. PubMed PMID: 19273827; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2677474.

5. Institute a No Meeting Day

Meetings don’t just take up big chunks of your day, they also interrupt your workflow. That’s why some companies have designated a specific day of the week as a No Meeting Day, to ensure workers can have a solid block of uninterrupted — and more productive — time. And when you do have meetings? Try short, standing meetings to take care of quick business matters.

Stress is one of the leading causes of headaches for many people. See our complete list of articles on about stress for more information.

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