Back-To-School 2016: Productivity Hacks For Study Or Business

Does it feel like fall? Even if you’re in an area of the country still basking in sunshine, there is no denying the calendar says September. While traditionally back-to-school time, it’s also a season where families get back to work and entrepreneurs get pumped for the last months of the year. If you’re feeling the need to get organized and get on track whatever your priorities, consider these hacks to improve your productivity.

Go Offline. No, Really.

Bryan Guido Hassin told Inc. he has what he calls “airplane days” to get things done. Imagine life on an airplane. There is no internet or cell service, and you’re probably not attending PTA meetings in the aisles — unless you’re very devoted. Hassin blocks off a full day a week where he can’t be on the office network or answer phones. During that time, he works on his high-priority items without distraction. Hassin calls it his most productive hours of the week.

Ignore Your News Feed

Even if it’s real news. If you have to stay online, Inc. contributor Larry Kim says most information that is truly important will come to you somehow. There’s no need to constantly check in with broadcast or online news since most of it is trivial or depressing anyway. Hugging your dog, however, is a valuable and stress-relieving way to spend your time, according to Kim.

Set A Timetable For Each Day

Lifehack is all about schedules, especially if you are a procrastinator. Deadlines create pressure to complete tasks, even if it happens late. Schedule in everything you need to do, including all aspects of a project, from planning and research to composition and polishing. Lifehack also recommends trying the (10+2)*5 scheduling method: work for 10 minutes and break for two minutes five times in a row. That adds up to one hour, and once you get into the rhythm of working, hopefully you’ll be less inclined to take a break.

Go Outside

You may love those breaks, but they are much less effective if you simply move from a spreadsheet to your social media feed. Fast Company recommends a tried and true trick: take a walk. Getting outside in the fresh air, or at least away from your desk, during your break time will energize you and give you a feeling of being refreshed. Sad about going back to work? Plan to take another two-minute in 10 minutes.

Choose Great Scents

Especially if you’re working in a communal space, you can get distracted by various smells. Food, traffic, gym bags, you name it — your nose is smelling it. Artificial scents like those sold in drugstore chains may claim to solve the problem, but really, they just make it worse with their headache-inducing chemicals. Instead, get fresh herbs from a garden store. Fast Company recommends rosemary, basil, lavender, and mint. If the scents make you think of food, use your two-minute walking break to plan dinner.

Make It Colorful

Maybe you work well in clutter — or at least believe you do. While no one is saying you should do a spring cleaning to start the fall, you might want to reexamine your workspace. Good lighting and a comfortable chair can make those 10 minutes before the next two-minute break easier to take. Choose colors that will help your brain get the job done. Lifehack says red increases your attention to details and blue makes your more creative. If you don’t want to redecorate, consider a new pack of multi-colored pens, but limit the doodling to your break.

The great thing about workplace hacks is that you always have another day to try them. If your Monday isn’t as productive as you hoped, start off your Tuesday fresh with new ambition. At the end of the day, your life, study, and business time are to be enjoyed in order to be successful.

[Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images]