You’ve probably seen a lot of productivity hacks out there. I’ve read a bunch of them. I’ve tried a bunch. I’ve had some work for me and I’ve communicated those on the blog.
But sometimes it’s good to see what is really working in the form of study. It’s hard to look at individual cases or even a few examples and draw conclusions.
So it’s good to look at science-backed information and form better opinions from a wide range of general information instead of a few specific cases.
So today I tried to find some productivity hacks you can use that are backed by science. These aren’t just things I’ve tried or that I’ve seen in a few cases. These are based on actual studies of many people.
1. Walking Can Reduce Risk Of Early Death By 25%
Obviously a great way to be successful in life is to live a long life. There is quite a bit of information about how you can live longer, but I thought this one was very interesting.
Simply walking 20 minutes per day can cut your risk of early death by 25%. The study looked at over 30,000 people over 12 years and gathered this finding. They found that those going from little activity to even some activity had great impact.
I work in a home office and especially during the winter I’m not very active. I do like walking with my wife and I do enjoy walking on the golf course.
But knowing that a simple walk for only 20 minutes every day can help you live longer is a powerful motivator. And I’m sure there are other benefits like ideation and positivity.
2. Visualization Almost As Effective As Physical Practice
This one is kind of crazy.
A study found that visual practice can be almost as effective as physical practice. You can actually increase muscle strength from only mental practice. It’s not as much as weightlifting, but still…that’s pretty crazy.
How can you use this to your advantage?
Practice doing the things that can make you more productive without actually having to do them. You could practice cold calling in your mind and become better at it with your most important prospects.
Visualize yourself giving presentations or leading meetings without actually having to practice being in those situations. You can become better and get more out of those situations without the physical practice.
3. Self-Affirmation Makes You Perform Better Under Stress
Entrepreneurs deal with all kinds of stress and problem solving situations. Performing better in these situations can obviously make you more successful and more productive.
The idea is to focus on something that matters most to you in life like your family or friends. Or succeeding in whatever you do. Then writing or thinking about why that’s important to you.
Performing this exercise has led to better performance under stress and in problem solving situations.
In business we can get caught up in the day-to-day tasks, but there is immense value in focusing on why we do things. It can even lead to better performance and focus. Science backs it up.
4. Keep Your Goals Secret
This one surprised me and I’m sure it’ll surprise you.
Have you heard that you should share your goals with others and in a public forum? I have heard that one before, but this study says that doing so will have the exact opposite effect that you would like when it comes to motivation.
The idea here is that stating your goal in public gives you the illusion that you’re working on that goal or that you’ve moved closer to achieving it. Of course that’s not true, but that’s how it feels and as a result you don’t work as hard to achieve that goal.
Expect yourself to do well. Set a goal, keep it to yourself and work on making it reality in real ways instead of false ways like telling people about your goals.
5. Cyberloafing Makes You More Productive
This was my favorite finding of them all.
Taking a short break while working to browse the Internet can make you more productive. The study found that it can make you 9% more productive at what you’re doing.
I’ve always done this at my jobs. I’ve gotten into something and I’ll work on it for 15-20 minutes straight then I’ll find an article to read. Or I’ll save a few articles in the morning or mark a few websites I want to check.
Then I’ll do work and when I’m done with little tasks I’ll check those things. I always thought I was pretty productive; maybe not more than others, but just as.
And I guess maybe science backs up my thinking.
It’s great that people share their stories on productivity. Sometimes you can implement those in your own life and it will work out great, but sometimes stories are unique and specific and it won’t work for everybody.
But if you focus on larger studies like the ones above you can pick up on things that are true for many people. Hopefully this can give you some direction on what you should do with your efforts to become more productive.