Chris has worked in a business leadership role for the past 15+ years. He likes to share his experiences with others to help them learn.
There are thousands, if not millions, of productivity tips and hacks available on the internet. We all want to be more productive but most of us aren't willing to put in the effort to implement the techniques necessary to achieve greatness at a legendary level.
This article isn't your typical list of productivity tips. I am not going to include the "obvious tips" or the ones that your grandma gave you when you got your first job. Instead, this article is targeted to the extreme office athlete and work warriors that desire to truly succeed at a level not seen by their peers before. These atypical productivity tips are so extreme, people will also call you crazy if you implement them.
1. Stay Hydrated
It’s common knowledge that staying hydrated will help you to be more productive. Your brain requires lots of water to function optimally. Besides, staying hydrated will help to improve many functions of the body including the production of energy, oxygen transport, and even your metabolism. Staying hydrated will improve the clarity of your mind and give you a natural boost of energy.
However, one of the challenges to staying hydrated is having to constantly fill up a bottle or cup with more drink. Drinking liquids from cups and bottles is so last decade. Every day when I get to work, I place a gallon-sized container of spring water on my desk. I satiate my thirst constantly with some silicone tubing. I no longer needlessly reach for a cup to take a sip of water. I no longer take time to run to the water cooler to fill up either. When I get thirsty, I just sip on my extra-long straw.
To improve your productivity even more, forget about conventional hydration methods and move straight for an intravenous solution. Hospitals have been using the proven IV hydration method to keep people full of fluid for decades. There’s likely nothing stopping you from bringing in a few bags of saline solution, medical tubing, and a needle to the office to help you stay hydrated during the workday. No employer would dare question you for fear of violating HIPAA laws. Meanwhile, you’ll be the one laughing your way to success because you won’t be wasting valuable time refilling water bottles.
2. Curtail Bathroom Breaks
Who wants to take time out of their busy day to use the restroom? I’m not proud to admit that I might use the restroom anywhere from 6 to 8 times during a workday (staying hydrated is tough). With a single restroom break taking as much as 4 minutes, this could easily add up to 32 or more minutes per day wasted on eliminating waste.
Your employer deserves better than this. Besides, your long term success depends on you finding ways to minimize lost productivity so you can excel. Much like the use of an IV drip mentioned previously, one solution to reduce your restroom breaks is to employ the use of medical devices such as catheters. Personally, I have not tried this...yet.
If that sounds a little too extreme a quick Google search on this subject reveals hundreds of commercially available products designed to allow you to “use the restroom” without ever leaving your seat. I realize that this may sound gross to some of my readers, however, these pee products have been in use for decades by truck drivers, race car drivers, and even sports fanatics who don't want to leave their seats. If these professionals can use this technique, there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t bring one into the office to help you win at work.
3. Defeat Hunger
Being hungry means lost productivity. While stopping work to refuel your body is very important, the time it takes to do so can result in significant losses of potentially productive time. The average worker in America is given a 30-minute lunch break. However, many workers spend much more time than this chowing down on food. This is especially the case when you consider all of the snacking that people do as well.
How can we defeat hunger while not wasting valuable time eating? Depending on how extreme of a work warrior you are, there are many potential solutions to this. For a level one productivity hacker you can easily eliminate complicated meals by pre-planning everything in advance. Meal prepping on the weekends is well worth the investment because it allows you to eat more quickly and with less effort during the workweek. In addition, you can make healthier choices as well. However, meal prepping alone may not be enough to help you gain the edge that you need in the workplace.
For a level two productivity hack you can go a step further and simplify all of your meals. Look for meals that you wouldn't mind eating multiple times a week. Meals that don't require cooking or heating are even better. For example, I often combine meal prepping with this method to make lunch an easy, stress-free meal. To do this, I like to make a bunch of healthy sandwiches and then bring them to work with a piece of fruit and some mixed nuts. When it's time to eat lunch, I just grab the food the cooler that I keep nearby.
However, a lot of people meal prep or bring sandwiches to work. Although these ideas will help improve your productivity, it isn't that revolutionary. If you want to hack your lunches and improve your productivity to epic levels, then you need to replace your meals with something nutritious, filling, requires no heating or cooling, and does not need to be cooked. There may be a lot of things out there that fit this description, however, I recommend a product called Soylent.
Soylent is essentially a meal replacement drink that is designed to keep you working without having to stop and think too much about lunch. This drink was designed by an entrepreneur who was looking to solve the problem of wasting time on meals. Soylent tastes pretty good and leaves me feeling satisfied. Sure, drinking something like Soylent can get boring after a while - this is the point! If you want to be more productive at work, you shouldn't waste valuable brainpower thinking about lunch! Drinking Soylent has been a great way for me to expeditiously satiate my stomach during a busy workday.
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4. Employ Artificial Intelligence and Automation Techniques
Advancements in technology are improving at an exponential rate. This simple fact can have profound implications for your job and your future. Instead of resisting the rise of robots and eventually becoming a slave to technology, I urge you to master it instead. Becoming a master of technology will very likely lead to increased mastery of your job (and possibly a promotion). Most tasks in any workplace can benefit from technology and automation. If you can leverage technology to automate portions of your job, you will be a superstar in the office and you can get more stuff done than anyone else. Below are some tips to help in this area.
If you use Microsoft Excel at work, much of the work you do can likely benefit from advanced formulas and Macros. This is especially the case for repetitive tasks. If you're even somewhat tech-savvy, you can learn how to employ macros and visual basic code on YouTube with minimal effort.
If you do a lot of writing, you could probably benefit from the use of dictation software that writes for you while you speak. I've tried a number of these and the free voice typing tool in Google Docs works great. When you combine this with other free tools like Grammarly and Scribens, you'll be able to create top-quality content quickly and with minimal effort.
In addition to these examples, I would strongly suggest searching online for ways to automate specific tasks that you do at work every day. You'll be surprised at what free tools and techniques are available online. One time long ago when I was an intern I was tasked with renaming thousands of image files manually. After some research online, I found a tool that could rename groups of files (and even edit metadata) in batches. I was able to complete this monumental task in one day. The project was expected to take me two weeks to complete.
5. Remove Distractions and Stop Multi-tasking
Did you know that it's impossible to multi-task? In reality, your brain is just switching focus back and forth between multiple tasks. When you "multi-task," you are wasting time and energy when your brain has to make the switch back and forth. This is why focusing on one task at a time is the best way to get things done quickly, efficiently, and with fewer mistakes. However, in a world full of distractions, how can anyone get time to focus on just one task at a time? The answer is actually quite simple - just do it. I realize that this is easier said than done.
When it's time to focus and get stuff done, you need to make a deliberate effort to get rid of the distractions in your life. Turning off the TV, disconnecting the phone, deleting your Facebook account, sending the kids to the babysitter, and locking your office door are some simple ideas to try. If work is filled with too many distractions, ask to see if you can move your office to a better location. If not, perhaps the boss will let you work from home for at least a portion of the week.
If you can't telecommute or move your office, then you could just resolve to call in sick and get your important projects done at home. It's sad to say, but years ago I called in sick on many occasions to get an important project done on time. This allowed me to skip several useless, time-wasting meetings while also avoiding the endless phone calls and people showing up at my office to "pick my brain." I really wouldn't recommend this method, however, sometimes a work warrior has to take extreme measures to win at work.
6. Learn to Disappear
If you aren't keen on calling in sick to get some work done, perhaps you can learn a magic trick instead. Most magicians know how to make things disappear. As an elite office worker, you can learn a thing or two from magicians.
I have a friend that has learned to disappear while remaining at work. He has taken some extreme measures and has constructed a "secret office" in an empty storage room at his employer's office building. He is the only one with a key to the storage room and often "disappears" to get some important work done in his 2nd office without being distracted. My friend employs several strategies in order to ensure that he doesn't get exposed while also maintaining a high level of productivity.
© 2020 Christopher Wanamaker
Carolyn Fields from South Dakota, USA on March 29, 2020:
I've had a "secret office" once. I was in a job where I was overwhelmed with paperwork, and my cubicle was out in the middle of a busy office. People were always stopping by to ask questions. I just got fed up. I found a desk in a utility/storage room and set up shop there when I really needed to get things done. I'd forgotten all about that until you mentioned it. Not crazy at all!
FlourishAnyway from USA on March 29, 2020:
I laughed at the thing about stoping urinating. When I was working sometimes I’d go in the bathroom and just sit there for a time out when I was stressed out. Sometimes you just need to stretch your legs and get away from coworkers and the computer screen for a moment. I like the stop multi-tasking recommendation.