PROFESSIONALS SHARE TIPS FOR BECOMING MORE
INSPIRED & EFFICIENT IN 2018
BY DONNA CLEVELAND
n my professional life, I’ve been amazed at how much making a few small tweaks to my habits has improved my output and
daily experience at work. This revelation has left me wondering—what other productivity hacks are people practicing that I
could be taking advantage of, if only I knew about them? So, on all of our behalf, I asked 11 professionals across many fields
to share the strategies that are making their life more inspired and efficient in 2018. I
Donna’s favorite productivity hacks
Just start: It’s easy to feel daunted by new projects. I find that taking the simple step of open-
ing a document, titling it, and writing a few bullet points makes the project feel tangible and
ready to dig in to.
Batch process everything: Do you repeat tasks that involve the same or similar steps? You can usually save time
by grouping these tasks together and tackling each step for all before moving on to the next step (e.g., write your
articles for the week, fact check all of them, then add images at the end).
Listen to music without lyrics: I used to listen to pop or hip hop at work, but stopped after catching myself singing
along instead of actually doing my job. Recently, I discovered that listening to music without lyrics gets me in the
zone without distracting me (Try Spotify’s Deep Focus or Productive Morning playlists).
Embrace the chaos: Author and professor Brené Brown is the first person who introduced me to the idea that when
things feel messy, good stuff is usually happening. For me, this applies to big-picture planning meetings and complex
writing projects. When I feel overwhelmed and like I can’t see an end in sight, that’s often when I’ve done my best work.
Know your next step: Before I leave work for the day, I write down my exact next step for a project so I can jump
right back in the next morning without losing momentum.