Entertainment And News

8 Tiny Habits That Let You Finish More Work In 2 Hours Than 95% Of People Can In 2 Weeks

Photo: fizkes / Shutterstock
woman done with working

Do you ever wish you could just magically snap your fingers and have your work week over in half the time? That's a tall order, of course, but it turns out there are some small tweaks you can make that will help you hack down your to-do list in record time, according to productivity experts.

The phrase "work-life balance" has become a cliché for a reason: People are more overworked and burned out than ever before.

A Deloitte study found that 77% of American workers feel totally burned out by their jobs, and it's having some shocking consequences — the World Health Organization warned in 2021 that the stress caused by all this overwork has resulted in a steep uptick in heart disease and stroke since the year 2000.

Hopefully, your work situation isn't quite that dire, but still — the need for a better work-life balance is clear. These eight very simple tips shared by @successtheory.co on Instagram can help that effort by drastically reducing the time it takes to get work done so you can focus more on what matters.

RELATED: Psychologist Reveals 4 Tiny Habits That Absolutely Kill Productivity

Here are 8 tiny habits to finish more work in 2 hours than most can in 2 weeks

1. Create music playlists that help you focus

Background music that aids with focus can help get your brain into the "deep work" phase where you're most productive, and get you there even faster, according to @successtheory.co.

   

   

They suggested exciting but symphonic film scores from movies like "Inception" and "Ad Astra," and studies show that working with music can be hugely beneficial, particularly if it is instrumental music without lyrics.

2. Prime yourself for a productive workday beginning the day before

"Short-term preparation leads to long-term success," the Instagram account wrote. They suggested priming your mind for whatever task you have at hand, starting with getting enough sleep to make sure you're energized the next day. 

Complementary activities before certain tasks can help too. They said that "30 minutes of reading primes you to write," for example. It's a bit like warming up your brain the way you warm up your muscles before working out.

3. Schedule deep work sessions of 90 minutes to two hours

Basically, break your day into chunks, sometimes known as time-blocking. "It takes 20-30 minutes to get into the flow state," the account wrote, and your focus begins to tank after 90-120 minutes. 

   

   

Chunks of work adhering to these time frames ensure you're in the right rotation of working and taking breaks to get the most out of your brain power without exhausting yourself. 

4. Separate tasks by type

Group analytical tasks like organization, research, and planning together. Keep them separate from creative tasks like brainstorming, writing, or designing. This is known as "task-batching."

   

   

It works because your brain has to adjust when moving between different types of tasks, which a University of Michigan study found costs between 20-40% of your brain's efficiency. 

So the fewer transitions your brain has to make, the more productivity you'll retain and the more time you'll save

RELATED: 8 Tiny Habits Of People Who Always Reach Their Goals

5. Remove distractions

They suggested using tools like noise-canceling headphones and downloadable tools that block distracting apps or websites from your phone and laptop so you can stay on task. 

What if there's too much chaos going on around you at home or the office? Decamp to a coffee shop, a library, a hotel lobby — wherever works for you and will allow you to escape the distractions.

8 Habits To Finish More Work In 2 Hours Than Most Do In 2 WeeksPhoto: Jacob Lund / Shutterstock

As @successtheory.co put it, "It's impossible to get distracted when it's not an option."

6. Set one goal for each work block

For each 90-120 minute block, @successtheory.co recommended breaking it into three tasks and moving through them one at a time without deviating.

"Knowing what you need to do," they wrote, "prevents you from getting distracted with 'busy work,'" — like that constantly pinging inbox, for instance.

7. Reflect on each day and each work block

Just because these are great ideas doesn't mean they're going to be instantly successful! So the Instagrammers recommended evaluating each work session to find places for improvement. 

   

   

Perhaps two hours is too long for you and 90 minutes is better. Perhaps you're more productive in the morning than in the afternoon and can shift certain tasks earlier in the day. 

8. Reward yourself

This is probably the easiest one of all! But the Instagrammers advised building in rewards after each work session — a bit of Netflix, a few minutes of a game, a quick walk, whatever works.

This helps your brain build positive associations with work, and scientific research has shown that it keeps you motivated and working hard so that you can get to the good stuff that comes after.

RELATED: 20 Unsexy Micro-Habits That Save Me 30 Hours Every Week

John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.