We all strive to improve our productivity and increase our efficiency. Applying these eight work habits used throughout your week will allow you to automate more tasks, feel healthier, and work smarter nor harder.

 

1. Create a triggers list to make sure nothing gets skipped

A triggers list is a one to two-page comprehensive list of the tasks you need to accomplish each week. These include calls to make, meetings to schedule, conversations to have, contracts to sign, or paperwork to complete.

I use Google Sheets to maintain my triggers list. I review my triggers list every other Thursday for about 10-15 minutes. I add or modify the list as necessary.

As I review my list, I add the tasks that come up to my to-do list on Todoist.

 

2. Find ways to automate

I use Zapier to automate a few different things. I have Zapier upload PDFs of certain searchable emails to my Google Drive. I’ve also connected it with my Todoist and email accounts so starring an email automatically adds it as a task to my to-do list. Using Zapier this way is great for emails I want to get out of my inbox but will need to tackle at some point soon.

I also use a free application called ClipMenu to store multiple copied text items or images to my clipboard. Of all the ways I try to automate at work, ClipMenu is the one that gets the most use.

Update: ClipMenu is no longer available, check out this article for Microsoft options and this one for Mac options.

 

3. Create checklists for your repeated and complicated projects

You can do this on paper or in an application. I use Todoist.  Todoist is super helpful for my tasks, allowing me to track actions I need to take with clients, prospects, and others. You can build all of your checklists into the program for various recurring tasks and projects. It’s simple to tweak the lists as changes to procedures occur.

 

4. Become friends with the IT guys

The obvious reason is your computer doesn’t always work. You may get top priority when your computer decides to start acting up! I’ve also found IT guys know a lot of computer shortcuts that help me become more productive. A couple of keyboard shortcuts include using the spacebar to preview an image or document in a file (try it!), Command + Spacebar to do a quick search, and Command + Tab to switch quickly between applications you are using.

For a more comprehensive list of Mac shortcuts, check out Cult of Macs Top 10 Keyboard Shortcuts.

 

5. Stand up. Walk around

According to LifeHacker website they recommend to walk around for 5-10 minutes each hour. I try to do this in my job. I’ll get up from a coaching call and walk into the kitchen to give my kids or dog some attention.

Walking to people’s offices to talk with them rather than sending an email or text is another way I make sure you move around. Going to their offices also has the benefit of creating more clarity on the subject in question.

 

6. Stretch

Take a couple of minutes to stretch your shoulders, back, and legs. When I had my HR job, while I wait for print jobs to finish, I often did a couple of quick stretches.

Yes, it looks funny, but it will help you feel better by the end of the day. I recommend doing shoulder stretches, pec stretches, hamstring, and quad stretches. This will improve your posture and flexibility. Plus it gets you to stand up.

When you do the stretches, walk around for 1-2 minutes then hold each stretch for 30-seconds. The shoulder and pec stretches are great for improving posture with the constant sitting many of us do.

The leg stretches are great to help loosen you back up after sitting for long periods of time. The next time you’re hunched over reading or typing, let that be a reminder to stretch your body. Ergo-Plus is a great resource for workplace health and safety, including stretching.

 

7. Bring healthy snacks and lunch to work

Nutrition always matters. With most of us having sedentary jobs, it matters even more. Bring fruits, vegetables, nuts, yogurt, and other healthy snacks to work. Sometimes my office looks like a lunchroom, but I feel energized and clear headed because of it. When we are energized and clear headed we will be more productive.

The second thing you can do is pack a healthy lunch the night before work. This helps you to have control over what you eat at lunch. Even with my allergies, I still don’t order very wisely when I eat out. Cheeseburgers are a problem for me!

 

8. Find an exercise buddy

I try to connect with people for exercise or hanging out. Through the many meetings I have, I frequently learn about the exercise habits of the people I’m meeting with. For me, I’m always looking for another racquetball partner!

What are some ways that you stay productive? Which of these work hacks do you want to implement?

 

Looking to further improve your productivity?

My Five C’s of Productivity mini course has been designed to help anyone struggling with getting organized, feeling overwhelmed with their daily tasks, or staying productive. Even if you are ‘on top of it’ you will find benefit from the easy tips I share.

 

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