How to Be Way More Productive
Wake Up With More Energy
Many people feel tired in the morning not because they didn't sleep enough but because they have low blood sugar. You can minimize this by consuming a tablespoon or two of unsweetened almond butter before you go to sleep. It's a very simple way to stabilize your blood sugar. (I've tested this by having a continuous glucose monitor implanted in my side.) Right away, a lot of people will go from feeling groggy to feeling extremely alert when they wake up.
Double Your Reading Speed in Five Minutes
Write down a sentence, any sentence that has eight to 12 words and fills a single line on a page or screen. If you read it by starting your fixation on the first word of the line and ending on the last word, you're wasting about 50 percent of your peripheral vision on margins. Instead, simply make your starting point two or three words in from the left side and your ending point two or three words in from the right side; you will double your reading speed. You can try this by underlining that portion of the sentence as a guide. You still see the edges of the text, but you've eliminated the margins.
Clear Your Inbox in Half the Time
The only consistent way to get to inbox zero is to respond to fewer emails, because each response breeds more email. For those you need to respond to, here are a few tools I find helpful.
The first is five.sentenc.es, which gives you a footer that says, "Why is this email five sentences or less?" and links to an explanation. There are different versions: four.sentenc.es, three.sentenc.es, etc., depending on how short you can actually make your emails. This excuses brevity; it absolves you of guilt.
Boomerang is an extension for Gmail. It allows you to do two things really well: The first is scheduling emails to be sent later, so you don't leave stuff in your inbox and mark it as unread because you want to respond to it a week from now. Second, you can set a time for an email to boomerang to the top of your inbox if someone does not respond, so you don't have to remember to follow up.
The last tool is emailga.me, which forces you to go through your email sequentially without an inbox view, with timers and other gamifications. It helps me get through email in 40 percent to 50 percent less time.
As told to Inc. editor-at-large Tom Foster.
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