Do mindful productivity hacks sound like an oxymoron to you?
While you might think of yoga as mostly stretching, yoga is actually an ancient philosophy and science based in mindfully managing your energy so that you can be the most powerful version of yourself.
In fact, sound yoga sequencing always applies the principle of efficiency. If the sequence of postures and breathing techniques aren’t moving you toward the main purpose of the practice, then you are losing energy and not working as effectively as possible.
I’m a proponent of both efficiency and effectiveness on and off of the yoga mat.
Running my own business means I have to both manage and motivate myself. Along the way I’ve found useful tools that help me optimize my effectiveness and maximize my efficiency.
The key to using these tools is to create a foundation of focus and mindfulness first. No matter how many productivity hacks you may have, if you aren’t addressing your wellbeing first you will still end up feeling overwhelmed and unfocused. Approach each day from a state of steadiness by establishing a morning routine that helps you feel in control, yet flexible enough to face the flow of the day.
Identify what you want to accomplish and why, rather than diving into emails or long To Do lists. As you begin to work on the project that will have the most impact, start to mindfully observe where you are losing energy. The tools listed below can help you see gaps in your focus and give you a structure to fallback on when you aren’t sure what to do next. But naturally, the quality of the information you put into these tools influences the quality of your output. Spend a little extra time upfront with a tool like Asana to make the most of these mindful productivity hacks.
Mindful Productivity Hacks
Asana – Free for teams up to 15 – Nope, this one isn’t for yoga. It’s a project management tool. I use it for both personal and professional projects and goals. It allows you to build in milestones and invite others to be part of your projects and manage their tasks within each project. It’s a nice way to keep communication centralized and gives you a timeline for completion.
Toggl – Free and Paid Versions – I’m probably a little too obsessed with Toggl. It’s just a simple time tracker, but if you use it wisely it will up level your focus and productivity. Toggle allows you to track the time you’re spending on a project as you are work on it or to go back and log a block of work into the tracker. You can also make notes on the specific tasks you worked on and get reports on how you spend your time.
Pomodoro Technique – I use this in conjunction with Toggl, but it is really designed to be used as a countdown timer. The premise is that you set a timer for 25 minutes and stay focused on a particular task for that time period. When the timer goes off you take a 5 minute break to do something totally unrelated. I recommend setting no more than 3 rounds of the Pomodoro timer before you take a more significant 10-15 minute break. You get structure, forced focus and programmed breaks with this method of time management.
Jing – Free – Need to show someone (or even several people) how to do something on the computer? This technology allows you to record your computer screen once and use the recording repeatedly to train people. You can also use it in reverse and have someone record their computer screen to ensure that they did a task the way that you want it to be completed. It’s free, but it’s limited to 5 minute videos.
Snagit – Free Trial – For longer screen recordings use Snagit or invest in Screenflow for Macs (full editing functionality).
MY #1 PRODUCTIVITY HACK – Free – Only check your email 3 times a day! Turn off automatic notifications as soon as you finish reading this article. I’m serious – very serious. This is the best thing I have done for myself and my business. Use an autoresponder signaling people to call you if it’s an emergency if your boss or co-workers expect immediate responses. It’s unlikely that you’ll get a flood of phone calls if you word your email professionally and back it up by being more effective on the job.
Do you use other mindful productivity hacks? I’d love to learn about them. Please share your tips and tools in the comments below or leave me a question so we can be more productive together.
Photo Credit: Bench Accounting via Unsplash