When you’re building a business from the ground up, it’s likely you’re always seeking more of one thing: time. While you can’t add hours to the day, TikTok is flooded with productivity hacks that claim to help you get more juice out of the existing 24.
The hashtag #productivity has 7.5B views on TikTok, with #productivityhack coming in at 159.8m views. That’s a lot of people looking for tips and tools to stay focused and boost output.
We’ve rounded up some of the most popular, and most effective, productivity hacks to keep you on track for building your venture and away from, well, TikTok.
1. Energy Management
Energy management is about learning which tasks boost or drain your energy. You can do this through an audit where you track your energy levels throughout the day, and then:
- Identify which activities feed your energy, and which deplete it
- Draw a graph of your day with the Y axis as your energy level and the X as time
- Write notes to remind yourself what activities you were doing at rises and dips
Once you have your graph, take note of the points when you feel drained of energy. At those moments, try to implement activities that you’ve identified as energy boosters.
For example, if you see that around 3pm every day you feel a drastic decrease in energy and start questioning why you’re staring at a screen on a tiny floating space rock — try taking a walk outside, preparing a snack, or another activity you find energizing.
By studying your personal energy levels and understanding which times you might need more support, you can implement healthy habits to bring those valleys a bit closer to baseline.
2. Time Blocking
If you’ve ever creeped on a co-worker’s calendar just to see it’s entirely full, they might be time blocking.
Also known as timeboxing, time blocking is exactly what it sounds like: You physically block out time on your calendar for every task.
You can start by making a list of all the tasks you want to complete that day, then assign a block of time for when you want to work on each one:
- Block out time for the necessities: breakfast, lunch, dinner, sleep, and a morning routine if you have one
- Approach your schedule hour by hour, and write in tasks with the estimated amount of time you think it will take to complete them
- Err on the side of caution: If you have a workout class booked that’s a 20-minute walk from your apartment, give yourself a cushion of 30 minutes each way and add that total hour onto the length of your workout class
Penciling in slightly more time for each task can help you stay on track and avoid racing to play catch up if something doesn’t go as planned.
Tip: Many users note that grouping similar tasks can help you get them done more quickly. (For example, working out and walking the dog. Taking a nap and eating chips horizontally… JK.)
3. Pomodoro Technique
While the Pomodoro Technique has been around since the ’80s, it’s seen a resurgence on TikTok with burned-out Gen Zs. Pomodoro, which means “tomato” in Italian, becomes a measurement for time (24 hours in a day x 60 minutes in an hour = 1,440 minutes a day / 25 minutes in a pomodoro = 57.6 pomodoros a day… AKA a buncha tomatoes).
The technique is simple:
- Choose a task you want to complete
- Set a timer for 25 minutes
- Work until the timer goes off
- Take a 5-minute break
- After four 25-minute sprints, implement longer breaks (15-30 minutes)
Will this productivity hack make you crave a bowl of pasta? Probably. But it’ll also help you get more work done.
The technique has stuck around because people find the simplicity to be effective. The bite-sized time increments can break down overwhelming projects into something that feels more manageable.
4. Five-Minute Rule
Let’s set the stage: You have a huge assignment due tomorrow that you haven’t started, but a single TikTok video leads you to a Reddit rabbit hole that spits you out into a 4.8k-word article that links you to a website.
Before you know it, you’ve become a subject-matter expert in lawn-gnome hats, but the sun has set, and your deadline is looming even closer.
Enter the five-minute rule: You have to work on your goal task for five uninterrupted minutes, after which time you’re allowed to stop (if you wish).
Sounds not so helpful, right? But people find that it’s actually those first five minutes of commitment that are the hardest to overcome, and that once you’ve begun a task, it’s easier to stick with it.
It also tricks your silly little brain into thinking the task is actually not so bad — instead of seeing a big, scary mega task, you’re just looking at a five-minute commitment.
Breaking news: Multitasking is out, and monotasking is in. While we once idolized performing dozens of unrelated tasks simultaneously, the newest productivity fad is all about choosing one.
To get started with monotasking:
- Pick the task you want to work on
- Do your best to tune out other thoughts/projects/distractions
- Set a predetermined amount of time that you want to spend working on your task
There are even books and dedicated startups focused around monotasking that can help you get started.
A perk of monotasking is that it can be applied to any area of your life, not just work-related tasks (hello, pile of clean laundry waiting to be folded). It also can be combined with other productivity hacks in this list, like body doubling, or the Pomodoro Technique.
So, instead of scrolling through TikTok while in a Zoom meeting and eating lunch, take a breath, step away from the sandwich, put down the phone, and pick a task.
6. Body Doubling
A productivity technique often used by those with ADHD, body doubling is the act of completing your task in the presence of someone else, whether in person or virtually.
All you need to do is identify the task you want to accomplish, and make sure you have a partner to do so with. This could mean connecting with strangers by going live on TikTok, entering a Zoom room with a peer, or sitting at a coffee shop with a friend.
Regardless of who is watching, the idea is that someone’s gaze holds you accountable for a pre-set amount of time so that you can finally finish that pesky task.
While someone watching you work might be giving Big Brother energy, body doubling is more collaborative than it is voyeuristic.
The rise of body doubling comes at a time when more people than ever are working from home, with many finding it challenging to self-motivate and stay on track.