Three productivity hacks that will add at least one hour to every day

There are whole industries that are built around the idea of making you more productive. David Allen is a successful man partly because he started a company that helps people get stuff done. Although I’m not David Allen I have managed to attain a certain level of productivity. In this article, I will share three hacks that helped me become more productive.
These are not general philosophical guidelines, but “hacks” to help you be a more productive person. Two principles are my philosophical guidelines. To be productive, you need to find 1) your personal rhythms and 2) the right environment for work. I find that I can accomplish a lot of work when I work from 6:30am to 12pm, simply because my mind and body are primed to function well and have the right environment. My work environment is remote. This means that I often find refuge in local coffee shops with my Macbook Pro, and bluetooth headset. (The headset is intended as a subtle signal to potential conversationalists that my audible inability to communicate with me is a problem.
These two factors, time and environment, are my starting point to productivity. Every person’s starting point or foundation is different. It is important to determine what works best for your situation.
These hacks can be used to add at least an hour to every day.
1. “Do Not Disturb.”
You are able to say no to distractions during your workday for the most part. (As a father who works from home, I know that there are exceptions.) Distractions are a major time-waster. To recover from distractions, it takes a lot of mental energy. Multitasking is not something humans are wired for.
It’s not about being an ogre to people who need your attention or companionship. It allows you to be productive and give people your full attention and affection. “Do not disturb” can be a valid boundary. As a human being, you should be able to set boundaries that allow for productivity, happiness, and efficiency.
Take it all in this light. I can spend two hours being a nice guy to the office yappers, tapping on Twitter IMs, trying unsuccessfully to get my actual work done. I’ll be frustrated and grouchy by the end of those two hour. Or, I could spend an hour of focused, unaffected Do-Not Disturb work. I will be able to accomplish a lot of work in that hour-long blaze of productivity with zero distractions. I’ll then have an hour to chat with people, tweet messages and smile at the world, without feeling the constant pressure to get stuff done.
Here are some practical tips for doing the Do Not disturb thing.
Use the Do not Disturb feature on your smartphone. Smartphones are the embodiment of disturbances. I just take my phone out of my sight and turn the volume down.
Disable popups. Turn off any popups that appear on your computer screen, such as emails, tweets, notifications, IMs and so forth.
Your Do Not Disturb sign should be posted. I use Adium, an instant messenger, to place a Do Not disturb notification when I’m in my zone. Make a sign if you have a physical office and place it on your front door or at the entrance of your cubicle.
2. You should unplug your device for at least an hour during the day.
I am not capable of working for long periods of time. In accordance with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow theory, I find myself sometimes in a flowing stream, but it doesn’t take me on an endless ride of unabated productivity for hours. Instead, I have discovered the value in breaking down my day into smaller blocks of productivity.
People are capable of focusing on a single subject for long periods of time.