Why most productivity hacks don’t work

If you wish to be extra productive, you may often discover a hack that guarantees that can assist you get extra carried out in much less time. Nonetheless, hacks don’t at all times clear up the issue, and a few are higher than others.

A study by the enterprise platform Rovva explored a number of the most prevalent productivity hacks to see what labored, what didn’t, and why. The most efficient hack was utilizing two screens, which might enhance productivity by 42%. Different useful practices embrace having pure gentle in your workspace, ingesting water, and going for a stroll, which assist improve cognition and creativity.

Hacks that proved to not be efficient embrace multitasking, taking chilly showers, getting up earlier, and having a clear workspace. These have been extra depending on the individual. For instance, pure early risers could profit from getting up earlier than others and utilizing the quiet time to be productive, however night time owls could not get the identical outcomes in the event that they pressure themselves to get up earlier.


The issue with most hacks is that they’re a bandage and never a treatment in a really distracted world, says Dr. Amantha Imber, founding father of Inventium, innovation consultants based mostly in Australia.

“The average desk worker checks email every six minutes,” she says. “This begs the query, what deep targeted considering can you could have in six-minute increments? It’s an enormous drawback.”

Are You Fixing the Incorrect Downside?

Productivity hacks usually disguise the bigger concern beneath. For instance, to get management you’re your e mail, you’ll find a number of hacks, reminiscent of batch checking your inbox or closing your e mail program.

“These are all nicely and good, however we nonetheless obtain emails that must be processed,” says Imber. “Relatively than on the lookout for and attempting extra e mail hacks, tackle the workflow behind the communication.”

For instance, scheduling conferences usually creates a whole lot of unscheduled back-and-forth communication that clogs up your inbox. “What if we modify workflow on how we set conferences?” asks Imber. “What should you used a instrument like Calendly that addresses the foundation trigger and removes the forwards and backwards versus counting on hacks that can assist you cope with your inbox?”

Some folks use hacks to keep up their vitality all through the day, reminiscent of counting on fast fixes like caffeine and sugar. Imber agrees with the hacks on the Rovva research, suggesting walks as a substitute.

“A study from the University of Colorado discovered that half-hour of strolling damaged up all through the day into brief strolling breaks leads to larger vitality and resilience within the afternoon,” she says. “Elevating your vitality on this method is extra sustainable.”


Conferences are one other space the place you’ll discover all types of hacks to assist enhance their effectiveness. The primary strategy to get on the root trigger is to determine if the assembly is definitely an e mail in disguise. “Lots are,” says Imber.

One other strategy to repair conferences is to rethink the 30- to 60-minute default setting. “That is left over from analog calendars the place the day is spaced out in one-hour increments,” says Imber. “Parkinson’s regulation means that work broaden to fill the time obtainable for completion. If you happen to set a gathering for 60 minutes, it is going to doubtless be 60 or 55 minutes lengthy. Earlier than you default to those occasions, ask your self how a lot time the assembly deserves. Likelihood is you may dramatically cut back the time setting.”

As a substitute of on the lookout for a hack, Imber says it’s at all times finest to search for the foundation trigger. “Hacks nonetheless have an essential function and might inspire us within the brief time period,” she says. “You possibly can really feel a way of productivity if you apply a hack. However hacks are usually not a long-term answer. For that, go upstream.”