At CUE we LOVE productivity hacks. Did you know that simply smiling more can make you more productive?

Having more fun, prioritizing tasks, and better communication are excellent practices to improve your productivity, but when talking about ways to be more efficient we often forget about focus.

Without a doubt, the biggest killer of my productivity is distractions.

On a 70 degree Friday in April, when the view from my desk looks something like this:
I find it next-to-impossible to do anything but fantasize about hiking up the Boulder Flatirons or sipping a refreshing beverage on any of the rooftop restaurants in close proximity to our Pearl Street office. Even when the weather is sub-par, the streams, feeds, and timelines of Instagram, Facebook, and Medium still pull me down a rabbit hole.

Here are some of the tricks I use to bring myself back to reality when willpower isn’t enough:

  1. Forest — If technology is your kryptonite, Forest is for you. Simply install the app on your phone or desktop browser, set a timer, and get back to work! Every time you sit down to focus you earn credits and those credits go towards planting a real tree on your behalf. The longer your phone goes untouched, the more credits you’ll earn. Focused work = improving the environment. 100% boss approved.
  2. NoisilSometimes all you need is a little ambient noise to block out the background chatter about 80’s rock puns and Indian food. Noisil comes with a variety of relaxing sounds and pre-set mixes optimized for productivity and relaxation. Pro tip: save the fire crackle for after work, it’ll put you to sleep.
  3. Exercise — I find that the days I take a yoga class before work, I’m filling up my coffee cup a little less and my attention span is much longer. There was a time in my life when I agreed with Mindy Kaling when she said: “there is no sunrise so beautiful that it is worth waking me up to see it.” But, I’ve come to learn that pulling yourself out of bed to exercise before work can pay off in more ways than you expect.
  4. SelfControlThe artificial kind. When you can’t seem to muster up enough self-control to stay focused, download it. The SelfControl app allows you to block your own access to anything online that typically distracts you.

Distractions can be tempting, but if you pair a little SelfControl with Forest you’ll be a productive, do-gooding machine.

How do you fight off distraction?