Tutorials & Self-Improvement

10 Ways Singaporeans Can Increase Their Productivity By Working Smart

This Is How To Slack Less

Okay, confession time. How productive are you in a day? The odds are, not very.

We often waste time, whether it’s because we’re putting off an assignment we hate, or because what’s happening on Facebook is 1000000x more enthralling than vacuuming the house. This results in us not being productive, and when the deadlines and dust bunnies start looming in our faces we just want to cry into our kopi.

Let’s be real – given a choice between doing the laundry and mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, we’d all choose the latter. A lot of valuable time gets wasted in our lives, which is probably why 24 hours in a day seem inadequate.

So how can we get out of this cycle of time-wasting, and turn ourselves into efficient, effective people who can get stuff done ASAP? Here are 10 simple and straightforward ways you can turn into a lean, mean productivity machine.

1. Start with the unpleasant stuff

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If I couldn’t get away with not eating my veggies as a child, I would scarf them down first, then inhale everything else on my plate to eliminate their taste from my mouth.

Use this same tactic to boost your productivity! Start with the stuff you hate doing, whether it’s dealing with a difficult client or writing an essay for the class you can’t stand.

If you put it off till later in the day, you’re more likely to drag out the more enjoyable tasks as long as possible in order to avoid the yucky stuff. This leads to inefficient use of your time, and it’ll make your entire existence seem like a chore because you’ll be thinking about your impending doom.

Do the stuff you hate first, and get it out of the way for a happier day ahead.

2. Check in on Sunday

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Yes, the weekends are for relaxing, but opening your email on a Monday morning and having an entire avalanche of emails and to-dos fall on your head is enough to make all the chilling for naught.

This sounds counterintuitive, but check your email on Sunday evening so that you’ll have a better idea of what needs to be done the next day. You don’t need to reply to emails or do any work – just take stock of what you need to accomplish and figure out your Monday gameplan. This will help you plan your timetable (see #3) and set you on your way to a productive week ahead.

3. Use timetables, not to-do lists

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To-do lists tell us what to do, but we usually end up tackling only the easy items and letting the harder ones snowball, so they’re not all that effective. Instead of to-do lists, use timetables.

Life in school was easy because we had a timetable. English at 8, Math at 9, Recess at 10… we might have hated the rigidity of it, but there’s no denying that the structured approach kept us on track and got us to do things we didn’t want to do, like attending classes.

Allocate time for everything. Check and respond to your email only at specific times of the day, perhaps an hour before lunch and an hour before you go home, and schedule intervals between work or studying for social media perusal or sitting down to indulge in a bag of chips. Planning out your life will definitely make you a more effective person, and up your productivity.

4. There is an app for that

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Much like Darren The Traveller in our Types of Singaporean Travellers video, there’s an app for everything. Some say your smartphone is an anti-productivity device, but it can actually help you lead a more efficient life.

Download bus apps to find out when your bus is coming, so that you don’t waste time lurking at the bus-stop, or use a bookmarking app to store interesting articles for perusal after your work is done. Even Google Maps, which seems very commonplace, can save you time by helping you find the fastest way to get to where you want to go.

Suggested Apps:

  • Google Maps – to help you find the fastest route to anywhere (iOS, Android)
  • SGBusLeh – find out when your bus is coming (iOS, Android)
  • Pocket – bookmark interesting articles across your devices (iOS, Android)
  • Evernote – the best note-taking platform in the world (iOS, Android)
  • Goodbudget – an expense tracker that is straightforward and a lifesaver (iOS, Android)

5. Find a place and time for everything

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If you work from home, you would be no stranger to the temptations the home office holds – the refrigerator, the bed, and the TV are all hovering in the vicinity, ready to destroy your productivity.

It’s admittedly hard to separate ‘home’ and ‘office’, especially with the wonders of wifi allowing you to take a call while lying on the couch in your pyjamas. So in order to boost your efficiency, it helps to have a specific space dedicated entirely for work.

There are plenty of services available for entrepreneurs to find a workspace out of their houses, like shared co-working spaces, and if you need space to stash extra materials or files, why not rent a storage facility? To get you started, StorHub has storage solutions that are light on the pocket such as a $0 move in promotion that make getting things organised a breeze.

6. Make mornings matter

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Getting out of bed is sometimes the hardest part of my day, but starting the day off well goes a long way in making you more productive.

Just 15 min of exercise kick-starts your energy levels; 30min of stretches or a light jog in the morning makes me feel fresher. It also makes you feel better about yourself, because hey, you worked out!

Having a good breakfast also helps to power up your body and kickstart it into action to tackle whatever life has to throw at you. Take the time to ease your brain into a positive mindset before heading out the door, and you’ll definitely feel like a champion.

7. Maximise your time!

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Time is money. Every second you spend doing something irrelevant is a second wasted. Brush your teeth and wash your face while in the shower. Do your readings for your morning class on the bus ride to school, or take calls with clients in a cab.

This sounds like a very ‘duh’ kind of productivity hack, but it really makes a difference. Find pockets of time during the day that you often waste, and put them to good use – I for one spend twenty minutes lying in bed staring at my ceiling because I woke up before my alarm, but I could easily put that twenty minutes to use working out or watering my plants.

8. Expand your space

More space is always better.
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If you’re a collector of items, like paintings, instruments or books, and you find that your hobbies are occupying much-needed space in your house, here’s a suggestion: Find a space and turn it into your own. It can be your personal art gallery, library or music studio, a home away from home and an extension of your crib.

How does that boost your productivity? Greater space = greater comfort, which will lead to better expression of ideas. If you don’t believe us, stop what you’re doing and clear your desk right now, leaving only the essentials behind. You’ll find you work better this way. You’re welcome.

9. Eliminate distractions

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Eliminate everything that will take you away from your work. Log out of social media accounts on your work computer, chuck your phone into your bag, and get into your productivity zone.

Better yet, schedule your disruptions. Allocate perhaps 5 min every hour to fulfil your desire to not miss out on what’s happening online, or block off an hour each day to make and return calls. If you’re the kind of person who often gets distracted by their stomach, allocate ‘snack times’ in your schedule.

Not only will it keep you from running to the pantry at the slightest grumble of your tummy, you’ll have something to look forward to, much like we looked forward to recess time back in school.

10. Declutter!

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Mess creates stress. There’s a reason why my office desk is ten times tidier than the one I have at home – having everything organised keeps me in a positive state of mind. Physical clutter is distracting, and it leads to mental clutter, making you feel even more distressed because everything looks 1000x more overwhelming when you’re under pressure.

To boost productivity, declutter. Get rid of things you don’t need – let’s be real, if you haven’t used that USB fan or that portable neck massager in a year, you probably never will.

But sometimes, we have stuff that we only use once or twice a year, like plastic stools that only appear at Chinese New Year, important office files that are only referred to twice a decade, or fancy dresses that we only need when we get invited to a posh party. We don’t use them often, we can’t get rid of them, but we can’t deny that they’re cluttering up your space.

Store them somewhere else! You can store your irregularly-used items in a storage unit and just take them out when you need them. Don’t worry about it being inconvenient to get your stuff back – storage facilities these days are easily accessible, with locations all over Singapore.

Get productive!

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Getting your life in order has never been easier, and in Singapore, we’re always trying to make the best use of our space. Use whatever you have at your disposal, like StorHub storage unitsor IKEA closet organisers, to maximise your efficiency. StorHub‘s storage units are under 24/7 surveillance and come with complimentary insurance, so all your stuff is in safe hands.

With biometric security, your stuff has never been safer. Source

Additionally, StorHub has zero move-in cost, and you don’t need to put down a security deposit. Even better, you get to use their facilities for free in the first month after signing up with them!

Short of shelling out several million for a bigger house or office, getting a StorHub unit is the best way for you to expand your space and create a more conducive environment for work. Find out more here!

What are you waiting for? Take the first step to becoming the brand new productive you!


This post was brought to you by StorHub.

Stefanie Yeo

Sometimes I think our human existence is futile, but then I eat a really good steak and things start looking up.

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