Do you want to be more productive at work? Whether you’re an entrepreneur with your own business or an employee who is looking to get ahead, there are many ways to hack your productivity on the job.
There are thousands of tools available to help you stand head and shoulders above your coworkers, as well as to make your workday far more relaxed than it might feel now.
11 Ways to Hack Productivity at Work
Here are our top 11 picks for ways to hack productivity in the office and on the job site.
1. Automatic Scheduling Software
Are you tired of calling your clients to schedule appointments? Or, is your assistant getting bogged down chasing clients to book appointments on your calendar? Why not just give clients and colleagues the opportunity to look at your calendar and book an appointment themselves?
There are a number of low-cost, online services that sync with your calendar, let you set your availability, and then give you a link to send to others or even to simply add to your email signature. One automatic scheduling software is Calendly, but there are other good ones such as SimplyBook.me and AppointmentPlus.
After setting your availability, you can also set up reminder emails and texts for yourself and the other person so that the meeting happens on schedule. Automatic scheduling software is one of the greatest productivity hacks for streamlining your schedule and minimizing getting stood up by your clients/colleagues.
It’s inevitable that as you tackle projects at work, you are going to come into contact with problems that you’re not entirely sure how to solve. Or, you may be feeling the pain of inefficient solutions to problems in the workplace.
When you encounter these problems and can’t find an empathetic person to help you, take to YouTube and look for ways to teach yourself how to hack these problems. Thousands of industry experts have built libraries of “how-to” and “do-it-yourself” videos. Employees have gotten promoted by teaching themselves new skills at work when no one else knew how to fix a certain set of problems.
3. Email Templates (Canned Responses)
If you work all day at a computer and end up sending many similar emails, you might consider building canned responses. These are essentially email templates where all you change is the name of the person you are sending the email to, plus maybe a couple of other items.
This saves you having to type out the same message several times a week. If your workplace uses Google Suite for email, check out this free tutorial on how to set up canned emails. For Outlook, check out this instructional video here.
Whether for lead generation in your sales job, or simply as someone looking to be an expert in your field, networking is one of the finest ways to open up your world. Networking is not just for the outgoing. It is for anyone looking to build a community of people who do what you do.
There is no need to be competitive. Even if you are looking to make sales, connecting with other professionals will challenge you to be better. Also, you will begin to develop a positive reputation that can lead to more sales or even a better-paying job.
One of the best productivity hacks available is the old-fashioned list. Trello is an app for your computer or mobile device that makes list-building fun. You can use it just for yourself or with a team. Use Trello to break down big goals into milestones and small steps. Have fun using the software to build your list, share it, and check off key tasks.
6. Meeting Agendas
Most executives believe that meetings are a major waste of time. However, few people have found a way to get around having meetings. If your office doesn’t make wide use of digital communication tools to collaborate on projects, then take the initiative to draft meeting agendas. If you are a project leader, create the agenda and send it in an email to all those attending.
For those who are not project leaders, help your supervisor by suggesting an agenda. You can send a modest email something like this:
“Hello [name], I know that we have a scheduled meeting today at [time]. In preparation for the meeting, I have taken the time to jot down a couple of questions that have arisen for my team and me this past week, and I would like to discuss them if there is time.”
Doing this for your supervisor often helps them know how to keep the meeting focused. It may also motivate them to begin creating meeting agendas themselves.
7. Instant Messenger Apps
Instant messaging apps are connecting people in different departments and even onsite workers with remote-based contractors. Digital, real-time communication tools are helping projects get done faster, more accurately, and with fewer meetings.
Among the most popular chat apps built for the workplace are Google Hangouts, Skype for Business, and Slack.
8. Video Conferencing Software
Many of the top instant messaging apps also allow video conferencing as well (Google Hangouts and Skype). For hosting presentations for people in various parts of the world, other software programs such as GoToMeeting and Zoom allow you to show your face, share your screen, or even take control of someone else’s screen to show them how to do something.
9. Google Docs
Do you need to share a document to allow more than one person to access and edit it? Google Docs will allow you to do this, and it is free and cloud-based. All you need is the other individual’s email address, and you can invite them to read or edit the document. You can even add notes and comments on the side to highlight something about the document.
Many businesses are even finding Google Docs robust enough to dispense with paying for a Microsoft Office 365 membership. While not every office could get by without Microsoft Office Suite, it does demonstrate how efficient and low-cost Google Docs can be when completing major projects.
10. Focus Booster
Human beings have short attention spans, but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t capable of more. In an age where technology seems to cut our attention spans even shorter, this app helps you stay focused for longer periods of time. Focus Booster will help you see how well you do now and then track your progress for longer periods of top-quality, focused work.
While there is a free version, you can purchase a premium version to access more tools or to track and help improve productivity among your team members.
11. Short Assignments
This tool doesn’t really have anything to do with cool software (except maybe when using Trello). The fact is that many people burn out at work feeling overwhelmed with having to complete major projects in short time frames.
One of the finest ways to feel empowered in the face of feeling overwhelmed is to break big goals down into small ones. And if those goals still feel overwhelming, break them down into even smaller goals. As you start checking off each of these small goals (or short assignments), you will begin to feel momentum quickly. Reward yourself after hitting certain milestones.
Before long, you’ll be accomplishing more faster than you thought you could.
Use Productivity Hacks to Boost Your Performance
Don’t allow yourself to get bogged down with busy work. Use some or all of these tools above to shorten your workday (if possible) and improve your performance. Also check out these workplace productivity apps that will boost your performance even more.
And if you are in a leadership role at work, show your team how to use these tools, too. It will only make your department stronger, and you will rise up as an influential leader in the company.