Harout Mardirossian monthly hack about productivity techniques

Monthly Hack By Our Teammate: Productivity Techniques

Everyone at least once tried to be more productive. Get everything done in time. Often we use tools, work techniques or some tricks to remember, save, track something during work hours or even in everyday life, because it’s hard to be a human. Our lives are too fast and contain too much information to understand, remember and reproduce. This is why we rely on productivity techniques to stay on track in life. I really hate the phrase “life hack” or “hack to …something” because YOU CAN’T HACK THE LIFE. These are the words of a complete moron. Only you can adapt to upcoming life events and situations or manage your affairs. So let’s start with the cool productivity techniques and move on to the best ones.

Pen and paper – you are best friends

Visualize your ideas. This is very important to visualize ideas. Imagine you are working on a project. The project is very large and requires complex solutions. You have a bunch of ideas, “…must do this, must do that”, but you can’t manage them. They are too many. Too many to remember. The solution is to write them down on a piece of paper. Make bullet notes, use the connector arrow to indicate the flow of ideas. Write all of them down and start thinking about which one is a more suitable solution. This is how our brain works. We cannot “imagine” everything in our heads, we have to see the solution. Before work or brainstorming, prepare a paper or use a beautiful notebook. The look of your notebook will motivate you to use it more often, so choose the one that pleases you. And soon, it will become your best companion.

Music makes us feel the rhythm

Have you ever tried following the music? Don’t answer that I know that you did it, and you did it quite often. Rhythm is a magical thing. And in fact, it is one of the best productivity techniques in question. When you follow the rhythm of the music and your moves are coordinated you feel joy. You start to enjoy your work, and nothing distracts you. I’m a software engineer and 40% of my work is typing. This will become annoying by the time. You write a bunch of lines of code, words, names and you easily get bored of it. My solution is to make my typing more musical like a piano man. A keyboard is a keyboard: one produces words, the other produces music. I put on my precious headset, turn on “Standards” by Lesley Odom Jr. on Spotify, very motivating music accompanied by a great piano in the background, and start typing. Imagining myself as a pianist on a large stage and the basic typing instantly become not just a writing set of symbols and numbers into the file, it became something nice. Something beautiful. Something huge. The music follows you and you try to match every keystroke with the sound of the piano. Try this technique and I guarantee that it will change the way you work. I do this not only when I type, but also when I clean the room or when I cook something. You instantly start loving the job you do. It even helps you be more creative. Do your best. And in case of failure, music will not let your mood fall.

What do I need to do for today?

Planning your day is very important and is fairly considered to be one of the most crucial productivity techniques. The best way to get things done on time is to plan every step. When you wake up, the first thing you need to do after breakfast is to make a to-do list for the day. Start with the little. Go to the grocery store, buy one, two, thee. Clean cat litter. Clean up desk. Complete task one. Work on the report and so on until the end of the working day. Make your day more organized and in a couple of weeks, you’ll feel like you are doing more and more day after day. But do not forget that you cannot organize your evening this way. If you do this, you will be annoyed, because after the hard day you are tired and you want to rest and you can’t force yourself to do something you don’t really want to. If you added “read a book” to your to-do list for the evening and are emotionally tired you will skip it or even delete it from the list. After you start skipping tasks during your work hours which will negatively affect your productivity.

I can’t work in such a mess

Always try to keep your work area clean. No dirty cups, draft papers, keys, remote controls, toys and anything else that can disturb you.
You should have the necessary minimum of your needs on your desk. If you have something on your desk that you do not use in your work, you start playing with it. It will bother you. You need concentration in your work. Keep your desk clean and simple. Put one or two souvenirs or a photo of your wife or girlfriend. Put some plant on your desk. Things that won’t catch your attention for a long time. Things that will give you energy.

Oh my back hurts, I’ll lie down for a bit

Our bodies and our health affect our performance. If we feel pain, we cannot work. Do your morning exercises. It not only keeps you healthy but also energizes you. You will feel energized immediately after training. How your day goes depends on how you started it. Keep your body healthy so it won’t let you down in the most awkward moment. At the end of the day, there can be no better tips about productivity techniques than physical activity and exercises.

Oh my god, I forgot that today is the day

Our brains are “designed” to forget. This is a very common situation. You have scheduled a meeting and forgot the date. The boss said to finish the job and make a presentation by March 27th. But you forgot everything.
The presentation not finished yet, the meeting missed three days ago and you have upcoming events that you still don’t remember. Always use calendars. If you have multiple events during the day, schedule them in your Google calendar and set a notification one hour before. As a software engineer, I have many scheduled events. For example, an application release or an updated schedule. Or maybe I signed up for a cool webinar. Since I have too many things to remember while working, I can easily miss a date or forget what day of the week it is. So adding important dates to the calendar is a huge benefit.

I thought it would only take a few hours

Have you ever tried to measure the duration of how long you do something? We always tell our managers “Pfft, I’ll do it in an hour, it’s easy”. But when we actually start doing it, we find that we have to read the documentation first, for example, or we don’t know the result of the function and oh oh.
Two hours, no three, or maybe a day, I don’t know. To find out how fast you are working or completing a simple task on a project, try measuring time. When you start the task set a timer, do the task non-stopping and stop the timer. Analyze it, find out what disturbed you during this session and try to beat your time. When you find the average length of your working sessions you will easily estimate the task duration and will get it done on time. Believe me, you will be proud of yourself and your manager will be happy with your work.

These were some of the main productivity techniques that I use in my daily working process. Try implementing them in your life and the results won’t make you wait for long. 
And if you’re using other productivity techniques for better performance, feel free to share them with us!


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