Today is National #4pmFinish Day.
You want to be out the office by 4pm right?
But you’ve got loads of work to do?
Take things up a notch with these productivity tips and be out the door by 4pm.
1. Use To Do Lists
It might seem simple. It might even seem a bit stupid, but who cares. To do lists work.
It’s more than just having a plan. It’s about having that little sheet of paper looking at you all day, judging you for not getting your work done.
For something that only takes a couple of minutes at the start of the day, to do lists can make a massive difference when it comes to upping your productivity.
2. Try Natural Nootropics
Forget caffeine. Forget multivitamins. Today’s high flyers are staying smart, alert, and productive by supplementing their diet with Nootropics.
But what are Nootropics?
Nootropics are supplements that boost your brain’s performance.
Sounds complicated right? Well no, not really.
There are tonnes of completely natural Nootropics to boost your brain power from health store favourites like Ginko Biloba and Artichoke Extract, to naturally occurring amino acids (the building blocks of protein) like L-Carnitine and Tryptophan.
Even basics like caffeine and vitamin B12 are nootropic, so it’s easy to find the right supplements to give your brain a boost.
3. Stay Hydrated
The average human body is anywhere from 50-60% water.
That means if you want to stay at your best, you need to keep it topped up.
Studies have shown staying hydrated can increase productivity by as much as 14% so keep a glass close by if you want to stay on top of your game.
And it’s not just productivity that is benefitted, nearly every aspect of your health is better when you drink more water.
4. Listen to Music (As Long As There’s No Lyrics!)
Lots of studies have shown that music can help improve productivity – and it’s especially useful when you listen to music with no lyrics.
When you’re trying to work the last thing you need is to get bummed out by Morrissey or hyped up on Metallica.
By listening to instrumentals, or music like classical and jazz, you get all the benefits any of the distractions.
Next time you’ve got writers block or you’re trying to cancel out the noisy office, try a bit of Brian Eno.
5. Practice Mindful Meditation
When you think of meditation you probably think of wise monks sitting in lotus position half way up a Tibetan mountain.
However, meditation, and more specifically mindfulness meditation, can be a great tool for people in business.
Practicing mindfulness basically means focussing on the now, and not being dragged off into stresses and worries by what Buddhists call your monkey mind (or what we know as the little voice that asks you if you’ve left the gas on).
To practice mindfulness simply find somewhere quiet, and start focussing on your breath.
The most common mistake people make when it comes to meditation is believing it means thinking about nothing. In fact, meditation simply means being more aware of everything – including your thoughts.
This makes you understand your thoughts better, so you understand your emotions better, which helps you be more rational and make better business decisions.
If you ever feel things are getting too hectic, try a bit of mindfulness to get back on track.
6. Exercise more
You don’t need me to tell you exercise is good for you. But did you know it was good for your brain too?
Exercise has a positive effect on your brain chemistry, helping you produce loads more of helpful hormones line adrenaline, and serotonin – the happiness hormone.
This helps your brain function better for the rest of the day, and it will also make you sleep better.
With better sleep, you’re better rested, so you can perform even better the following day.
Exercise is also good for the brain and productivity because it’s habit forming.
Exercise teaches us to push through difficulty, and to carry on in the face of adversity.
If you can make yourself keep running after the 7th mile, or squeeze out that last rep when your arms have turned to jelly, imagine how easy it will be to make yourself do that last line of the spreadsheet before you break for lunch.
Exercise isn’t just about health, it’s about discipline and learning to push yourself to meet your goals, which will increase your productivity no end.
7. Go Inbox Zero
Another great way to improve your productivity is to go inbox zero.
But what’s inbox zero?
Inbox zero means striving as much as possible to keep your email inbox at zero, and to never leave work with emails still in your inbox.
But how can you do it?
The problem people have with inbox zero is that sometimes you get emails that you simply can’t give a full answer to that day.
It might be someone asking you to do a long piece of work.
It might be someone asking you a question you don’t have the answer to.
It could be something dead easy, but you just don’t have the time to do it today.
With inbox zero it doesn’t matter.
If it’s something you need to do but can’t now – you schedule time for when you’ll get it done, commit to that, and move the email from your inbox.
If it’s a question you can’t answer you forward it to someone who can – and remove the email from your inbox.
With inbox zero you spend less time trawling through emails, worrying about other people’s demands, and spend more time being productive and making good things happen.
8. Get Your App on
Today we are blessed with countless apps that can massively improve your productivity.
There’s not enough time in this blog (or probably in my entire life) to go through every app that can help you so I’ll put it this way – if you’ve got a problem that’s holding you back, there’s probably an app for it.
Finding it hard to manage all your notes? Get Endnote.
Spending too long trawling round town looking for healthy food? Get Deliveroo.
Looking for love but don’t have time to disco? Get Tinder.
Today there is an app for every problem.
And, if you find a problem with no app? Build that app! You could end up with the next Snapchat on your hands.
9. Use the Phone
As good as apps are, and as effective as inbox zero is, another great way to stay productive is to eschew them both and use the phone.
But why the phone?
Because with a phone call you can get problems solved first time.
How many times have you sent someone a text, only to end up phoning them when you realise you’re both confused.
How many times have you sent customer service an email, only to end up a week down the line still firing emails back and forth.
While a phone call might be slower than one email, or one text, it is certainly much faster than sending loads of messages over a few hours.
There’s a time and a place for things like WhatsApp – but if you want to have a real conversation and get to the root of a problem first time, you can’t beat a good old fashioned phone call.
10. Red Bull
And when the worse comes to the worst? Why not try a Red Bull! – they are the brains behind national #4pmFinish day after all.
Find out more about the campaign here.