Ultimate life hacks you can use at work

Tuesday 05 November 2019
There’s no need to completely overhaul the way you work – but these tricks will change your habits for the better
a laptop showing a coding screen

It may be unsurprising that life hacks are all about saving time and focusing efforts, in turn setting yourself up for success instead of failure. We look at world-renowned life hacks that you can apply to your everyday working life; from computer shortcuts to four-hour working weeks, you may be surprised at some of the advice. One thing all of these hacks have in common, though, is that they’re all founded on prioritising your tasks in order of importance.

At Encore Digital Media, they introduced a nine-day working fortnight as their own life hack. Since then, they have not only seen a positive impact on staff happiness and culture, but an increase in productivity.

“My co-founder and I have tried to build a business that rewards output rather than the longest shift,” Dan Shaw, co-founder of Encore Digital Media, says. “Everyone gets an extra day off, every fortnight; It’s a chance to step away from work and have a regular, mandatory rest day.”

What other life hacks can we learn from? One thing they all have in common is that they lead you to re-evaluate your priorities. In Encore Digital Media’s case, Shaw’s staff are encouraged to work in a smarter, more collaborative way, which frees up an extra day of rest.

Warren Buffet’s 5:25 rule

Warren Buffet has always believed in personal development. Over his career, he’s also won the Presidential Medal of Freedom, has auctioned off his time to raise money for charity, and even learned how to play the ukulele – but how does he find the time to focus on so many things at once

Simple: he prioritises.

Buffet’s 5:25 rule works as such: write down 25 goals and aspirations for your life. Then immediately eliminate 20 of them, and dedicate your time and energy into only achieving the 5 remaining goals. This hack works to make sure you’re not trying to achieve too much, focuses your efforts so you’re not half-heartedly completing steps, and helps you realise exactly which goals are most important to you.

The four-hour working week

This isn’t a joke – Timothy Ferris genuinely believes you can achieve all of your weekly workload in four hours. The author of six New York Times bestselling books, Ferris says the practices hinges upon “being productive instead of busy”. By reducing your working hours so drastically, you create a pressure to do all the aspects of your job extremely well and extremely quickly. His argument is that, if everyone reduces their working hours, everyone can focus on the jobs that they exceed in – rather than mixing your tasks in with other parts that you aren’t as good at.

“Doing less meaningless work, so that you can focus on things of greater personal importance, is NOT laziness,” he says. “It is far more lucrative and fun to leverage your strengths instead of attempting to fix all the chinks in your armor. Focus on better use of your best weapons instead of constant repair.”

The Pareto Principle/80:20 rule

This hack dates all the way back to the 19th century. Vilfredo Pareto came up with a theory that in society, 20% of the population were the ones with influence over 80% of the economic wealth. When applying this to your everyday life, this theory means that of the 10 things on your to-do list, 2 of those things are the most important ones which will add value to your role and other workload. Following this principle, you would immediately start getting to work on the top priority tasks – no matter what the deadlines are for the other 8 tasks – as they hold the potential for [rewards].

Shortcut your way to the top

Jim Huse believes most of your job can be done through computer shortcuts. He puts forward a case that of all the things you do during your day-to-day project and time management, most of it is repeating mundane tasks, such as writing emails, locating files, and other general admin duties. He believes that by doing an audit of how you spend your days, you can see how you best work and allow you to identify how much time you spend doing admin that can be replaced by automation and shortcuts.

Examples he uses are to save frequently used phrases in the Autotext or Quick Part Gallery of your email software, so you can use a keyboard shortcut instead of typing it out. He also recommends using your calendar as a map of your day, including blocking out time in there to do specific tasks that you don’t want to be interrupted during.

If you’re looking to shake up your team’s working processes with these life hacks, check out how Clarizen thinks you should manage your resources the right way

Image: Goran Ivos Unsplash