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How to increase productivity with 9 tips from Pareto's CEO

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I recently managed to beat my personal record of working hours in a row without losing focus. I'm not going to share (of course!) the number of hours and minutes for one reason: I hate stage entrepreneurs! What I'm really looking for is to explain the set of tools and methodologies used to achieve so many well-worked hours, with high productivity and little interruption. In fact, this is a question I always hear in my talks: "Ricardo, but how do you manage to work for so many hours in a row?" Let's go?! It's not difficult. You just have to be willing and follow the routine. Oh, I swear there won't be any tips like: eat fruit, vegetables... breathe fresh air... These are real tips =)

How to increase productivity
Tip 1: Start a routine.

Start your day with half an hour of an incredible (and online) course. As well as waking up your brain, you'll start off with a wonderful feeling of being ahead of the game. A routine like this (even just 30 minutes) can change your performance in the long run. Think about it: 30 minutes a day adds up to more than 180 hours of knowledge in a single year, in other words, it's like completing a postgraduate degree every two years! But in order not to waste your time on anything, I'm going to recommend the Edx platform (free), whose value proposition is to offer you the best courses from the world's top universities TOTALLY for free! You only pay if you want a certificate! And let's be honest, who needs a certificate? The important thing is knowledge. One of these days I'll even do a medical course there lol.

How to increase productivity Tip 1: Start a routine.

 

How to increase productivity
Tip 2: Agile Methodology

When you start work, make sure you plan your day at least minimally. Categorizing all demands into circumstantial, critical and urgent is a good way to work. Critical means important, but urgent means "stop everything and do it now". Interestingly, when you start categorizing demands, you'll notice that many interruptions are circumstantial or critical, but urgent ones are really few. This means that, in 90% of cases, you'll be able to say no to other people's demands and get on with your planning. I use kanbanflow (free) to plan my routine. It's the kanban agile methodology, a real success here.

How to increase productivity Tip 2: Agile Methodology

 

How to increase productivity
Tip 3: Time tracking

Start measuring the time you spend on each task! Is it boring? No, it's very cool! For this, I recommend the app Toggl (free). Initially, using the kanbanflow pomodoro was important for me to get into a rhythm. After that, Toggl's stopwatch turned out to be more suitable so as not to interrupt me every 25 minutes. Today I can easily spend 5 hours focused and without any interruptions. That, without a doubt, is an incredible step forward. By the way - I almost forgot - when it comes to measuring your time, avoid micro-projects! Make a point of categorizing your hours into macro areas so that you can draw clear conclusions at the end of the week. That way you can see exactly what you're working on. The first few weeks will surprise you! You'll certainly find that areas with no priority end up taking up much more time than you thought. That's a big step towards productivity, my friend!

How to increase productivity Tip 3: Time tracking

 

How to increase productivity
Tip 4: Brain Power Up!

Just started a task? Then boost your concentration and performance with brain.fm! This is the most advanced artificial intelligence app for music composition (with a focus on brain performance) on the planet! Trust me: it really improves! I'm a fan of their work and I really do see a noticeable increase in performance on tasks. This is the white paper for you to understand a little more about the technology behind this incredible company.

How to increase productivity Tip 4: Brain Power Up!

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How to increase productivity
Tip 5: Master your messages. Don't be dominated.

We often let Whatsapp, Slack, Facebook, email and many other channels distract us throughout the day. Simply set better times to check your channels. Set up your own plan. Be it every two hours. 3 times a day. Or whatever. Just control when you open your messaging apps. Otherwise, you'll be hostage to other people's demands and you won't be in control of your own time. I won't be so bold as to tell you that there's a magic formula here. I don't know if opening messaging apps just once or twice a day will really change your productivity. What I do know is that, as CEO, I can't ignore my team's communication. That's why I have to check messages more often. However, I set certain times to read everything that comes to me, so that I have more control over the demands. Keep one thing in mind: it only takes one wrong thing to zonk your day. From there, it becomes a snowball effect.

How to increase productivity
Tip 6: Record and monitor interruptions.

Take advantage of kanbanflow to register each of the interruptions you have. This is a simple tip for those who always run a timer when executing a task. When you stop the counter because of an interruption, just record the reason for it. At the end of the month you'll know exactly what to stay away from and where you need to improve in order to concentrate more.

How to increase productivity
Tip 7: Avoiding blue light

Recent research suggests that blue light, although during the day it gives you a boost in alertness, reaction time and even mood, is bad for your brain in the hours before you sleep. The cause is the photoreceptor in your eyes, called Melanopsin. This receptor is sensitive to a narrow band of blue light in the 460-480nm range that can suppress the production of melatonin - the hormone responsible for your healthy sleep cycles. Statistically, that tablet or cell phone game before bed can shorten your sleep by an average of 1 hour! To avoid this kind of problem, I use the Twilight app (free). If you'd like to read a little more about the subject, here's an article from Harvard Medical School.

How to increase productivity
Tip 8: Pre-sleep meditation.

I've always wanted to meditate, but I've never been able to. I'm a very restless person, unable to reach that magical state where you rest in a few minutes lol. But this app has helped me change that for good. Mindroid is an application that modulates brain waves and makes your brain enter a state of relaxation quickly, in about 20 minutes. With me, in just 30 days, my deep sleep increased by 56.41% (according to Sleep as Android)! With a little research, you'll be able to find some good studies proving the positive effect of modulating brain waves. It's been working very well for me.

 

How to increase productivity Tip 8: Pre-sleep meditation.

How to increase productivity
Tip 9: Sleep like an Android.

After the Mindroid meditation, measure your sleep with Sleep as Android. The app will help you better understand your sleep deficit, deep sleep rate, irregularities and even whether you're snoring. It's an incredible app for brain performance freaks like me. In no time at all, you'll have enough data to conclude, with a simple statistical test, the impact of deep sleep on your daily productivity. Yes, my friend, you'll be able to say, with 95% statistical confidence, that you get an x% boost in productivity from a better bedtime or even the percentage of deep sleep. My tip is to measure your sleep and productivity (in hours) for 30 days and then add in another 30 days the variables you want to prove in your test. With the data in hand, just do the math and you'll be able to see the mathematical correlations. Pretty simple, right? And that's how I conclude my tips for you!

I really hope you enjoyed it. Tell me what crazy things you've done to increase your productivity! Well, it's 3:52 a.m. and Sleep as Android is telling me that I'm 1:42 a.m. past the recommended bedtime. So off I went!

NOTE: I'm not kidding. See below for recommended bedtimes to optimize my REM performance.

 

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Rica Barros

Rica Barros is founder and CEO of Pareto, the leading AI startup in Latin America

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