Ultra-Productive People Reveal The Life Hacks That Help Them Get Everything Done

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Some people are masters at productivity. Others, not so much. What are the secrets to getting a lot done?

sleepandfood asked, People who have time for studying, meeting your friends, sleeping enough, working out, what's your secret? What time-management tips can you give?

Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.

Only check Reddit while in the bathroom.

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  1. Meals and meal planning. It's easy to burn a lot of time each day just cooking and eating. Meal prepping (or at least preparing large enough portions to last you multiple meals) is a huge time saver.
  2. Make a daily and weekly list of what you NEED to get accomplished. Obviously, there's only so much you can accomplish daily. Decide what needs to be done today and use whatever free time you have to work on the longer term goals once you get through the daily list. Often, chipping away at the weekly (or longer term) list pays dividends later on. If you're studying 20 minutes or so a week out from a big test, you'll find you don't need multiple hours the night before.
  3. Be good with down time. Find ways to be efficient with those awkward blocks of time in your schedule that often turn into browsing reddit or zoning out.
  4. Find ways to do something you enjoy while working on the things you don't want to do.. If you like a podcast, listen to it while you do the dishes or fold your laundry.
  5. Plan time for you. If you just grind all day everyday you can easily burn yourself out. Find time to do the things you enjoy, just moderate it. For example, if you're a gamer, limit yourself to a reasonable amount of time. Watch an episode or two of your show, but don't binge. Check Reddit while you're on the sh_tter instead of dedicating large chunks of time. Moderation, not elimination, is key.

Simple but effective.

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In the morning, do the things that piss you off. In the afternoon, do the things that are no big deal. At night, do the things that make you happy. Then get some f_cking sleep.

Edit: Wow this got popular! Keep kicking a** everyone!

Stop making excuses. Ha yeah right.

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Find reasons to do it now, not reasons to do it later. You will be surprised at how much you can do in not too much time. The leftover time is great.

Compartmentalizing time is easier said than done.

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Plan your days by prioritizing the most important things you want to get done and allotting a sensible amount of time to do them.

Splitting your days into manageable chunks makes achieving what you want to feel more feasible. With regard to studying/chores, it can keep you more focused having an allotted time to do them and can help avoid procrastination.

I also find making lists of things to be done helps with the focus aspect and also gives a satisfying feeling when you can cross that activity off the list.

Hofstadter's Law.

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It's about being realistic with how long things take.

Example: I'm going for a one hour run. That's 15 minutes to get dressed and find all my stuff and get out the door, then an hour to run, and 20ish minutes to stretch and cool down after.

If you don't account for all the extra bits of time you quickly end up over-scheduling and not "having time" to do things you'd planned to.

The downside to working from home is working.

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Don't let yourself veg out until you've accomplished what you need/want to that day.

Not gonna happen.

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Stay the f_ck off of Reddit, probably.

But the Netflix hole is never-ending.

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You want honest advice... I've gone through stints/months being productive in those categories, and know Type A people who do consistently, the literally only thing done differently is virtually zero time spent on the big three time wasters: Reddit, Netflix, TV.

You turn off your tv and computer for mindless browsing/watching, you'll find you have hours each day to now devote to other things.

It's just a rearrangement of priorities. Right now I prefer Netflix binging over social interaction. Or sleep. Or health.

It's definitely helpful to get enough sleep.

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Get off the internet. Huge time waster.

Make sure you get enough sleep, it makes organizing the rest of your life so much easier.

Working under pressure can be really motivating.

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I used to be that way, though now I have fewer demands on my time than ever and cannot find a spare moment seemingly.

I think the secret is maybe to just have lots of demands on your time, so you have the motivation to finish one thing so you can move on to the next, then when your day is done you're ready for bed.

Now I need hooours to gather the motivation to leave the house because I can (or at least justify) take that much time, and days just slip away.

"Bullet journaling" seems like a YUGE time-suck.

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My time management skills got a lot better when I started bullet journaling. I skip the daily logs because that's more than I need to keep organized and tends to make me overwhelmed, but I have a weekly setup with my calendar, a to do list, a goals list (different from the to do list in that my goal might be "get rid of that giant piles of clothes on the floor" and my to dos might be "do laundry" "sort through t-shirts to see which ones I can get rid of" "combine those two half-full drawers in the dresser so I can put other stuff in the now empty one" etc. It helps me bust through that executive dysfunction by being able to write down both what the big picture goals are and the separate tasks to get there.) I also put an "upcoming" section for things that I'm not ready to put on the to-do list but that I need to start thinking about -- for example, if my sister's birthday is a month away, I probably don't need to order a gift today, but I should start brainstorming ideas on what to get her. I also do monthly calendars, which are good for the big stuff that's not going to change (birthdays, which day my car insurance payment needs to go out when my timesheet needs to be in for work) but it's really the weekly spread that does the heavy lifting. Having it all in front of me in a manageable segment of time has helped me a lot with getting my own mental processes sorted around time management -- planning ahead, setting reasonable goals for what I can accomplish in a certain length of time, etc. And because I've got it all written down in front of me, I spend less time worrying that I'm forgetting stuff or that I'm not making progress, which was actually taking up a surprising amount of time. I spend less time worrying and more time doing, which makes me feel good about what I'm getting done, which feeds right back into the worrying less/doing more loop. It's been really good for both my time management skills and my mental health, honestly.

If I had only employed this method in college...

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In between classes, instead of going back to your room or meeting up with friends, go to the library or a quiet place to do work. Study on the weekends to get ahead on more time-consuming tasks. Reading always took me quite a bit of time, so I read a lot on the weekends so I wouldn't have to worry so much about it during the week.

Ahhhh life without social media. Nope.

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So this is not advice from me. But I have a roommate who has managed to learn piano, Spanish, salsa and get a few technical certifications in past few years. She also makes tons of friends and manages to stay in contact with all of them. So I can tell you about her life.

She is not on Reddit. She has never heard the term "binge-watching". She also doesn't know about "Netflix and chill".

She wakes up at about 8.30 AM, goes to the gym and then to work. she gets back by about 8-8.30 PM. Then helps me make dinner, eats and then does the Spanish class homework on a couple days while she watches a little tv or goes to her room to practice her musical skills or she reads something in front of the tv. She also goes to all random classes on weekend mornings and goes to meet friends or dates in the evenings. She will always make time for any friend visiting from out of town. She also saves money and takes vacations. She also manages to find time to travel to her hometown to meet her family at least every two months.

So basically she isn't addicted to social media/Reddit or Netflix and saves a ton of time.

That's one way to free up your schedule...

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Unemployment. The secret is unemployment.

Don't think that's how it works...

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If you do everything last minute it only takes one minute.

This actually works!

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I treat it like a game. To get the highest score and max xp, you need to do your daily quests regularly. Since I developed a gaming mentality at an early age, I find it extremely satisfying to complete repetitive tasks as efficiently as possible. It's easy xp, you just need to constantly improve your routine and make it fun.

Or you could just budget every single minute.

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Actually manage your time. Like most things, if you write it down and plan ahead it works. If you "hope to find time" throughout the day you won't.

If I write down that I will be at the gym at 12:15 and stay for 45 minutes it's almost a lock that I'll do it. If I just say "try to go to the library tomorrow afternoon" I know myself and I'll get distracted or say I'm tired and I won't go.

Preach.

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Don't have kids.

Fiber - the secret to a regular schedule.

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Wake up early, and eat well. Staying well fueled enough to last the whole day without a nap (god forbid) requires a sh_t ton of veggies and all that.

Trust me, you will literally never feel better in your life then when you're eating healthy, exercising frequently, and sleeping on a regular schedule.

The secret is routine and commitment, give it a few weeks before you consider bailing. You'll remember this post and come thank me later.

Little. Chocolate. Donuts. Finally, a plan we can stick to.

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Little Chocolate Donuts. They taste good, and they've got the sugar I need to get me going in the morning. That's why Little Chocolate Donuts have been on my training table since I was a kid.

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