How To Get Faster at Doing Things

Here’s my personal and proven approach on how to get faster on doing things in a digital era.

In no particular order, here we go:

  • If something crosses your mind while you are working or studying, especially a negative bugging piece of thought, just make a quick note of that something and record it in a notebook. Just get it out of your system!
  • Install Papier (Chrome) or Board (Firefox) — if you want your note-taking to be digital. You can also do a brain dump on Google Keep or Evernote .
  • Experiment with the 30 + 5 method  — sprint hard for 30 minutes (like writing this Medium post) and then take a 5-minute break (go to the bathroom, brush your teeth, do a stretch, drink water, read an article, do 10 push-ups, clean your desk etc.)
  • Learn to scan read  — titles, intros & outros, summaries, blurbs etc. so that you can decide if it warrants a full read
  • Learn keyboard shortcuts both for your computer ( Mac / Windows / Linux ) and browser ( Chrome , Firefox )
  • Learn to type faster  — double your typing speed, double your output. Assuming you are typing the right stuff. (via Noah Kagan )
  • Make your PC/Mac machine as fast as possible so there is no dead time waiting for things to load
  • Install Chrome/Firefox plugins : Pocket , LastPass , Pablo , AdBlock , Tab Scissors , Sexy Undo Close , Buffer , YSlow , Clipboard History , OneTab , Awesome Screenshot
  • Bookmark your main websites and remove their names
  • Make use of sharing functions and shortcuts when using Outlook, Google Docs, Google Spreadsheets, Dropbox, Google Drive
  • Install Alfred (Mac) or Launchy (Windows). Tweak them up!
  • Speed up your mouse/touchpad
  • Use a Pomodoro Timer. I have mine as a Chrome extension .
  • Automate some parts of your writing process. Use TextExpander for MAC or TextExpander for Windows .
  • Templetize email responses. One of my folder contains email templates for different scenarios.
  • Always single task! Remember: the conscious mind has a processing capacity of 120 bits per second. It’s hard for us to understand two people talking at the same time. Don’t get cocky.
  • Use automation software such as IFTT and Buffer (for Social Media)
  • Always ask this question: What would this look like if it were easy? (borrowed from Tim Ferriss )
  • Give yourself 5 minutes to do a morning e-mail check, if you really have to. Do it fast.
  • Schedule everything so you won’t forget it. Adjust along the way.
  • Create a pattern with your Pomodoros. Start small with a cycle of 2–3 Pomodoros followed by a 10– 15-minute break
  • Use gamification for daily value-adding tasks — e.g. 1000 written words gets you X reward. Switch the rewards.

Environmental design

  • Have a distraction-free office/desk.
  • Keep an organized junk drawer for keys, duct tape, lantern, batteries etc.
  • Have some sort of a stress ball. Play with it in your Pomodoro break. Ideas Doctor Gregory House has one too!
  • Work without your laptop charger as it will make you get things done quicker.
  • Invest in a big screen monitor. It’s easier to split your screen when needed.
  • Use music to get yourself in the zone. I prefer something without lyrics like the classics or some chillstep mixes. Here ’s one I like.
  • Jog everywhere you go. Stop walking.
  • Take a fast cold shower . I prefer doing it in the morning. It can also be a huge reset button for your afternoon!
  • Set an alarm clock.
  • Go to bed at the same time every night.
  • Wake up at the same time every morning. Try getting to sleep at the same time.
  • Get up at your fixed time the next morning even if you have to stay late at night — the consistency of your cycles is more important than the amount of sleep.
  • Sleep in a cool, dark room. Preferably somewhere around 19 degrees Celsius.
  • Cover your windows to keep out the light.
  • Stretch in the morning.

Drink (and eat) up!

  • Green tea
  • Black coffee
  • Mushroom coffee
  • Camomile tea (if you feel the need to calm your nerves)
  • Dark chocolate
  • Experiment with intermittent fasting. This is not only for the health benefits but for the time you are going to save as well!

Conclusion

Things will add up. A minute here. An hour there. You will adjust.

A good night sleep can lead to a good waking up experience which can lead to a calm mindset which can lead to a good workout which can lead to a good and productive work day which can lead to a good day which can lead to a happy life.