Every day here on Inc.com, I search out tidbits of success and productivity advice from a host of experts and super achievers. I hope plenty of it is useful. But is this piecemeal approach really the best way to uncover the best productivity hacks out there?
A new website seems not to think so. The simple but intriguing site lets anyone submit a productivity hack and invites the entirety of the internet to up- or down-vote these suggestions. The result is a crowdsourced list of the top productivity lists that the internet deems the most useful. It's called -- you guessed it -- 50 Hacks.
So which ideas does the collective consciousness of the interwebs currently think are most likely to help you get more done? I've culled a few suspect product pitches from the list and combined a handful of repetitive posts to bring you the top 20 productivity hacks as decided by the internet at the time of writing. The original hacks are in bold with my comments and links to additional information in regular text afterward.
Shower in the morning. If you're unemployed or working from home, not having a routine to start the day really affects your mentality. I'm not sure why the internet thinks so many people have lax hygiene habits, but this top tip isn't wrong about morning routines. A host of super achievers swear by them, though I'd argue showering is less important than finding whatever routine works for you personally.
Get some movement in before starting work. Go for a walk, a short bike ride, something outside. Science agrees here too -- both exercise and nature are amazing for your mood, energy, and mental and physical health.
Stop obsessing over productivity hacks and actually start working on that backlog of yours. A harsh truth quite a few productivity obsessives would benefit from taking to heart.
Have no "zero days." Get something, anything at all, done every day. No matter how small, having accomplished something during the day will feel good, and getting something done often inspires you to get more done once you've started. It could even be just making your bed, according to one legendary leader. That way you start your day with an easy win.
Don't oversleep, wake up at a standard time each workday, and start work at a standard time each day. At least three of the top entries basically boiled down to this advice, which is pretty hard to argue with. I'll let this one hack speak for all of them.
Set up a separate profile on your computer to just do work (or study) things. Don't log in to social media or time-wasting sites on that profile, but continue to use them in your normal profile. It will be slightly harder to waste time, and you'll be more productive. Along the same lines, a hack slightly further down the list insists you should delete social media from your phone.
When writing a to-do list, add some easy wins to the mix, even if they are tasks you would have done anyway, like: shower, eat breakfast, and brush teeth. Your brain will deliver dopamine when you complete these tasks, resulting in enthusiasm to complete even the boring stuff! Top VC Marc Andreessen even recommends trading in (or at least supplementing) your to-do list with a done list celebrating your wins.
Eat the frog first. The idea is that you identify one challenging task (the frog) and complete the task first thing in the morning (eating it). This is a classic bit of advice for a reason.
Note down every idea you get on paper, online notepad, or anything near to you, because you will forget. Top writers agree.
Slo-mo your life. What that means is that whatever activity you are doing, slow down your movement. You'll notice an immediate calming effect; your brain starts to process things better, you begin to appreciate the little details in your environment that you never noticed before. This is basically stealth mindfulness and recommended by both business professors and meditation teachers.
Unionize. A healthy reminder that many of the conditions that lead to stress and burnout are collective and require collective solutions. Sometimes the only effective productivity hack is political action to improve working conditions and social support.
Stop watching the news. Yes, you have to know something about what's going on in the world to be a good citizen and businessperson. But a host of research shows constant news consumption is terrible for your mood, so limiting yourself to a single, set news checking session a day seems sensible.
Chain your habits together one after the other, so that one habit is sort of triggering the next for a productive day. Another similar idea from a Google productivity coach: Always do certain things in certain places, leveraging these associations to create "hot spots" that help you get more done more easily.
Spend 10 minutes at the end of each day to determine your top goal for the next day. No point in beavering away productively if you don't know what you're trying to accomplish.
You don't need to wait for motivation to start, but you will feel motivated once you get the ball rolling. My Inc.com colleague Jeff Haden wrote a whole book on this principle.
Productivity sucks; rest more. A lot of folks are apparently feeling this way post-pandemic. Rest is great and needs no justification, but it's worth mentioning that many experts claim that resting more can often help you get more done in the long run.
Drink more water. Can't argue with water.
Anything that takes less than two minutes to complete, do it now. Some experts frame this as the one-minute rule, but the principle is the same -- and sound.
Don't like anything on the list? Then head to the site and submit your own ideas or upvote better alternatives.