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Top 5 Life Hacking Tips That Have Changed My Life

1) Eliminate interruptions and distractions. Honestly, this is something I still really struggle with

1) Eliminate interruptions and distractions. Honestly, this is something that I still really struggle with, particularly if I'm doing a task that requires me to use the internet, where distractions abound. However, when I'm doing a task (NOT something mindless like making a grocery list) that requires my full attention, such as applying for a film online or working on my show, I make sure to turn off my phone, email and any other computer notifications, as well as close any social media browsers. If I'm in a loud space such as a coffee shop, I try to get some headphones and play some music that won't affect my ability to work. When my work is done, I feel a huge sense of accomplishment, and then I reward myself with more distracting things (hello Youtube videos!) that I previously avoided

2) Focus on one thing at a time. Research has proven that people who multitask are less productive than those who do a single thing at a time. This makes sense given that humans have a limited capacity for simultaneous thought: we can only ever have one thought in the mind at any single moment, although we can have thoughts very close to one another. Additionally, it takes time to transition into a new task. Something that it took me years to learn is that if you're switching back and forth between things while multitasking, you're actually wasting a lot of time in transition. Though it can certainly be tempting to attempt to do more than one thing at once, it's better not to. James Schramko has a great idea that I've benefitted quite a bit from: write your different tasks on sticky notes, one task per note, and then pout them in a stack, with the most important tasks at the top. Execute the stack in order, pulling off tasks as you go. I personally find that a similar technique of writing down all my ideas for a cabaret show or screenplay on sticky notes before transferring them to my Google Drive helps to break it into my more manageable chunks.

3) Do your most important task first. When I have a day off from work, I always aim to block off the first 90 minutes of your workday to attend to the most important/ Another thing I've found makes a big difference is whether or not I take some time the day before to make a prioritized list so that I know precisely what I'll be working on the next morning. I go "all in." The hardest part of this for me is to not check my email prior or at any point during the 90 minute work period. The key is to not do something else that's easiest, less time consuming or something that has just come up. Just focus on your #1 priority that will move the needle forward on your long term goals.

4) Create a resourceful state for work. Examples of when I (and I'm not unique in this way) am not resourceful include: when I'm tired, hungry, bored, have been working on the same task too long, or are being too consumed with unimportant information (for example, I have a bad habit of getting overly invested in the lives of celebrities, but it's ultimately a distraction from the issues at hand in my own life). Most people work best when they focus for 60-90 minutes at a time and then take a break.

These are a few examples that have worked for me when I don't feel resourceful:

a. Exercise

b. Occasionally taking a nap if possible

c. Moving my body in some capacity, even if it's just stretching. One of the best time batching techniques for this is to also run a necessary errand simultaneously

d. Temporarily put one task on pause and try a new one

e. Have a healthy meal or snack. Some examples of healthy snacks I like are: carrots with hummus, an apple with peanut butter, or a banana. Although I have a huge sweet tooth, I do find that I tend to get a crash afterward from eating sugary foods

5) Do low energy tasks when your energy is low. This is a technique I first began to implement when I was in college. For those that don't know too much about my background, I have a degree in Vocal Performance from Berklee College of Music. The music theory curriculum at Berklee is no joke, and that type of work I found took 100 percent of my concentration. However, making a plan for when I was going to do what homework assignments is an example of a low energy task that I could do without 100 percent mental clarity. Other examples of low energy tasks included: emailing, simple phone calls, laundry, tidying, etc. These things allow me to get a little to clear space for tomorrow to do the things that matter.


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