To make life easier, it helps to know the shortcuts.
You still have to do the work, but these “hacks” help you do more – faster and with less effort.
I’ve studied this game my whole life, and I picked up some handy strategies along the way.
Here’s the best of them.
How To Get Better Results While Working Less
#1 – Say No More Often
Overwhelm comes from saying yes too often.
Say no to everything that doesn’t elevate your health, wealth or self.
#2 – Acknowledge Others More
Appreciation is a powerful emotional need for all humans.
Use it generously and watch the magic happen.
#3 – Have a Productivity System
- Gather everything
- Prioritise it
- Then delegate, delete, schedule or execute
Use whatever system works for you (try GTD).
#4 – Practice Empathy
When you help other people get what they want, you get what you want.
Empathy unlocks everything you’ve been trying to get from the world.
Read why empathy matters here.
#5 – Focus On What You Can Control
Easily said, harder to practice.
Limit time spent on non-controllable things, act on the things you can.
#6 – Send Voicenotes
Typing takes time and misses context and detail. Record and send voicenotes instead.
Keep each one under 1 minute (no one listens to your 4 minute voicenotes, trust me).
#7 – Don’t Be a Doormat
Don’t abandon your plans to accommodate a last-minute requests from others all the time (once in a while is OK).
You’re just training the time vampires that its OK to disrupt you.
Your priorities are more important.
#8 – Use The “I Have a Call in 2 Minutes” Trick
When someone calls or visits your desk, hit them with “I have a call in 2 minutes, what’s up?”
They’ll get to the point quickly and you can carry on with what you were doing.
This 100% makes life easier. Try it.
#9 – Hire Slowly, Fire Quickly
Fast hires rarely live up to expectations. Treat it like finding someone to date. Do your homework, move slowly.
Too many red flags?
Trust your gut, even if its super early. It will save you time, money and pain in the long-run.
#10 – Only Check Email At Scheduled Times
Don’t be a slave to your inbox.
Schedule time to check email and stick to it. I do 11:00, 15:00 and 19:00 usually.
#11 – Check Your Calendar From Google Chrome
Those 3 to 4 clicks to get to your calendar cost you time. Multiple that by the number of times you check your mail in a year and its scary.
Use Checker Plus for Google Calendar to view your calendar without leaving Chrome. The free version is awesome, you can get premium for $1.
#12 – Auto-Complete Forms With 2 Clicks
Use a form completion tool (Here’s 5) – it pastes in your addresses, card numbers, name, email addresses and all of the information you enter online.
Thousands of clicks and keystrokes gone forever!
#13 – Listen To Podcasts Over Music
I rock out to music everyday, but I always make time to listen to podcasts while I work.
The learning compounds over time and you’ll be amazed at what you learn.
Here’s some I listen to often:
- The Tim Ferris Podcast
- Perpetual Traffic
- The Digital Marketer Podcast
- The Gary Vee Podcast
- Agency Unfiltered
#14 – Create a Cheat Sheet For Common Replies
Everytime you find yourself replying to something repeatledly, add it to the cheat sheet.
Copy it from here next time – thousands of useless keyboard strokes eliminated forever!
Mine includes addresses, phone numbers, URLs, common email replies like “Thanks, I’ll review and get back to you” and many others.
This is one of the easiest ways to make life easier.
#15 – Be a Learner
Leaders are readers.
Be a sponge, take in as much as you can about the things you care about.
It will never be a bad investment.
#16 – Buy Convenience, Not Extravagance
Use your money to buy time, convienience and to make your life easier.
#17 – Meditate More
You’ve never heard anyone give meditation a bad review. There’s a reason 95% of the most successful people on earth mediate.
Use the Insight timer app for thousands of free meditations.
#18 – If it Takes Under 2 Minutes, Do it Now
Don’t procrastinate on things you can do quickly. Attack them right now.
Everything you leave takes up mental space and creates underlying anxiety. Kill it quickly, live more freely.
#19 – Using Timeboxing on Your Calendar
Plan your day, block out time for each specific thing you intend to do. Then stick to it.
#20 – Be The Master of Your Phone
Your phone is a distraction device. Become the master of it by setting it up to serve you.
#21 – Listen More. Talk Less.
Two ears, one mouth.
You’ll learn more, be considered wiser and when you do speak, people will listen.
#22 – Discover Your Values
Life is frustrating and confusing until you discover your values and live by them.
#23 – Own Your Time
Owning your time gives you maximum control over:
- How you spend your time
- What you work on
- When you work
- Who you work with
All essential for long-term happiness.
#24 – Heal Yourself
The hole in you is like a hole in a boat.
Don’t try to build an empire on quicksand. Find the path to healing that suits you (for me it was ayahuasca).
#25 – Automate Repetitive Tasks
They make the tools you use work with each other, and do the things you’re doing manually for you.
#26 – Create a Timeless, Capsule Wardrobe
Classic pieces that will always be stylish. No big logos, writing, bold colours or “flavour of the month” trendy stuff.
Buy once, buy well and make hundreds of outfits from a few quality items.
#27 – Automate Your Finances
Use standing orders and direct debits to automate payments. Get your savings/investments deducted from your main account automatically.
Use Buxfer to do your personal finances with ease.
Automation and organisation of your money will always make life easier.
#28 – Breakdown Complex Tasks
If its overwhelming, break it down.
You can only eat an elephant piece by piece.
#29 – Have a Morning Routine
Successful people have solid morning routines to start their day the right way. Here’s some of them.
Don’t underestimate having a routine to get the essentials done every day.
Daily habits dictate your destiny.
#30 – Create Flow Blocks
Block out long chunks of time in your calendar for getting into the stuff you thrive at. For me its strategy work at the whiteboard.
Shut out all interruptions, focus completely and watch the magic happen.
#31 – Own Less Stuff
I’m far from a minimalist, but living out of a medium suitcase and a backpack forced me to focus on the essentials.
As they say, what you own, ends up owning you.
Having less stuff makes life easier. Buy less, but better quality.
#32 – Use a Password Manager
I have 678 different logins – that’s insane.
Trying to remember them all is foolish.
#33 – Touch Everything Once
Every time you check an inbox, decide to:
- Delegate, or
- Schedule it for later
Never leave it in your inbox.
Touch it once and watch how much more productive you become.
#34 – Do The Opposite of Everyone Else
Oscar Wilde said “When you find yourself on the side of the majority, its time to pause and reflect.”
Successful people tend to do the opposite of the majority.
Note: this does not apply to things that are clearly sensible (e.g. go to a hospital if you split your head open – this is not the time for herbal medicine!)
#35 – Create Repeatable Processes
If you delegate work often, create process documents and checklists. I use Process Street.
The work you get back will be much more consistent and you’ll save hours of rework a week.
#36 – Isolate Yourself
Shut the door, put the headphones on and limit human contact (in person, telephone calls).
Focus. Great work requires unbroken periods of deep thinking.
Your elevation may require your isolation.
#37 – Keep All Notifications Off
Shut off all notifications on your phone and laptop.
Notifications interrupt you and it takes on average 23 minutes to get back to the task you were doing.
With an average of 46 smartphone notifications a day alone (not including email, messaging and calls) its easy to see why productivity is low.
#38 – Don’t Chase Two Rabbits
The man who chases two rabbits catches none.
We’re not all Elon Musk.
Focus on one thing. Make it happen, then get onto the next thing.
#39 – Use The Pareto Principle
Use the 80/20 rule to optimise your life:
- 80% of your results come from 20% of your actions
- 80% of your frustration comes from 20% of things
#40 – Discover Your Optimal Work Time
The world tells us we all work best between 9am and 5pm.
The reality is different for everyone.
I work best in 3 blocks:
- 05:00 – 10:00
- 11:00 – 14:00
- 20:00 – 23:00
The single most important productivity advice you need to follow is this: Match your highest priority work to your most productive hours.
Use this to find yours and work during those times to accelerate your results.
#41 – Do a Morning (Brain) Dump
By the time you get to your desk, you have a head full of stuff.
Start the day with a clean sheet of paper and drop EVERYTHING onto it. Clearing the mind allows space for you to focus.
See The Artists Way for more.
#42 – Use Evernote
David Allen, creator of Getting Things Done (GTD) told me, “The mind is not designed to store things, its designed to process them.”
I use Evernote to store everything. I can safely forget it, knowing I can find it again anywhere I am, even years later.
I’ve been a premium subscriber for 4 years, that speaks volumes.
#43 – Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time
Your productivity is more correlated to how you manage your energy. Schedule work blocks for when its peaking.
Know when its time to back off the gas. Set up your weekly schedule to allow enough rest so you can go hard again.
Consistency trumps intensity.
#44 – Limit Distractions
Notifications off. Phone face down. Noise-cancelling headphones on.
I use Freedom to shut out social media sites and to “lock down” my laptop and phone for anything other than the work I’m scheduled to do.
#45 – Choose Window Seats on Airplanes
The birds eye view, plus you can sleep/work/relax as you don’t have to get up to let people out all the time.
#46 – Create Daily “Control” Rituals
What are the things that you could do daily, that take minutes, but add control to your life?
For me its checking my finances, writing my to-do list, doing my morning brain dump and timeboxing my tasks onto my calendar.
#47 – Outsource Everything Else
When you know the handful of things you excel in (for me its speaking, writing, learning and creating), you should outsource everything else.
Someone else can do it better and faster than you.
Outsourcing also makes more time for you to do more of the stuff that you are best at (which usually means you make more money).
Outsourcing is a fast-track way to make life easier.
#48 – Spend Money To Save Time
On your death bed you’d pay anything for another 5 minutes.
Don’t underestimate the value of your time – always pay to save time if you can.
It always makes financial sense if you use that time to do something that pays you. If you get $30 per hour, pay someone $15 to cut your grass while you work.
The end result is still $15 plus the lawn done. It just makes sense.
#49 – Know Your Path To Prosperity
Wealth Dynamics reveals your personal path to prosperity.
For example, I’m a creator. Great at starting things, bad at finishing.
I need a supporter on my team to finish the things I start or I’ll never achieve much.
Discover your profile and start understanding how to make massive progress with less effort.
My #1 Way To Make Life Effortless
In this guide, I’ve given you 49 ways I’ve personally used to make my life better.
If I had to choose one, I’d choose #49 – the Wealth Dynamics test helped me know when I was doing work that I shouldn’t be doing.
Work I’d never be good at and struggle with.
Switching to the work I was made for had the biggest net impact on my productivity, results and happiness.
If you can’t invest in the test right now, check out the 16 personalities test instead which gives you a general look at you as a person.
Whatever you do, I hope it makes a difference for you.
DM me on Instagram or comment below to tell me which made the biggest difference for you.