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Steven Aitchison, productivity hacks, morning personThis is Week 36 of a Year of Living Productively

This week I tested whether getting up at 5:00 a.m. could help me get more done. I went to bed at 10:00 p.m., hoping to enjoy these 5 benefits to rising early. For details, scroll to the bottom of last week’s post.

How Rising Early Saved My Sanity This Week

  • Helped me make progress on an important project. I was able to get a lot done on the homeschool curriculum I am writing. I felt great about making this a priority.
  • Made me feel virtuous. By the time I started school, I felt I had already accomplished so much.
  • Wasn’t hard to get up. By day two, I was waking up at 5 on my own. I wasn’t crazy tired at 5 and the extra hour flew by.

How Rising Early Made Me Crazy This Week

  • Not in sync with my family. I was not a nice person when the first day, my husband got up too and said, “Hi.” Let’s just say he really thought I was a crab until I explained that I was getting up to have work time alone. He made the adjustment, but nights were tough. On one particular night, our ball team was playing late, and everyone stayed up to watch. I could not get to sleep.
  • Mid-morning crashes. I felt great until a few hours after 5. Then I couldn’t think about anything but going to bed. I took naps to compensate, but the morning after my trouble sleeping was a fiasco. I didn’t seem to be able to recover. Caffeine doesn’t agree with me (I love that expression, don’t you?), but I’m sure I couldn’t have drunk enough coffee to feel better after my sleepless night. The extra productivity I gained was lost to fatigue and naps. Would it get better the longer I got up at 5? I didn’t care.

Did Rising Early Help Me Get More Done?

Yes and no. I realized that in general, I am already an early riser, getting up at 6. I have time to exercise on planned days, spend time with my husband and oldest son, and have personal devotions before starting the school day. Getting up at 5 was great for having project time, but the negatives outweighed the positives. The compromise I have made is to get up at 6 and to spend half an hour working before my family members are really in a chatty mood. (In fact, I’m writing first thing in the morning now).


I continue to get up at 6 a.m. I do think I could adjust to getting up earlier, but there is no way in this household that I could get to bed before 10 a.m. I have learned that I need 8 hours of sleep to be at my best. I love getting up at 6. I get my most important activities done and feel like even if the rest of the day is a waste, I’ve had a great day.

keyboard shortcuts, brainscape, productivityThe Productivity Approach I’ll Be Using for Week 37

This week I’ll be testing computer shortcuts. I am going to adopt several keyboard shortcuts apt to save me the most time.

The concept. I’m pretty computer savvy. And I’m also pretty geeky about productivity. But when it comes to saving time on the computer–where I spend a good portion of my time–I’m pretty dumb. Example. I have a reputation at home for being the Open Tab Queen. If I’ve been sitting at a computer using Chrome, you can bet that (especially prior to Do It Now), I have left a good 25 tabs open. Leaving that many tabs open slows performance down such that closing them all takes forever. At least it does if you’re computer shortcut ignorant like me.

So one day when I faced my 25+ open tabs, I happened to right-click on a tab and discovered that I could close them all at once. Furthermore, I saw that I could close all tabs to the right. Then I got really crazy and figured out that I could move the tabs I was actually using to the same place, making it even easier to use “close tabs to the right.” The amount of time this has saved me is significant. Brainscape wouldn’t be surprised. They assert that simple keyboard shortcuts can save us eight days a year!

That got me thinking. How many other shortcuts are there that would save me time? Turns out, a LOT. Some of them are easy to implement, like the tab closing trick. Others are habits I would need to develop. I’m excited that there’s an app to help you learn the keyboard shortcut habit!

If you’d like to join me this week, here’s what you do. Decide on which computer shortcuts you’d like to adopt this week. Choose a few easy, automatic ones and some that may require habit formation. Make sure that what you choose will be a major time saver based on how you use the computer. Consider trying the free app if you’re an Apple user. Here are some lists of shortcuts and time savers to get you started.

6 Google Chrome Extensions to Help You Get Things Done, 20 Essential Time Saving Chrome Extensions6 Computer Shortcuts Every Computer User Should Know, PC & Mac Shortcuts, GMail ShortcutsWord Time Savers (also Excel at this site), 10 WordPress Plugins That Save Bloggers Time, How to Create Your Own WinKey Shortcuts

To see if computer shortcuts boosted my productivity, click here.

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Here are the links to the productivity hacks I’ve tried so far:

A Year of Living Productively

Week 1: Paper To-Do List

Week 2: Covey’s Quadrants

Week 3: Routines

Week 4: Paper Planner

Week 5: SMEMA

Week 6: Guilt Hour

Week 7: Envision Ideal Day

Week 8: Do it Tomorrow

Week 9: Pomodoro

Week 10: Time Warrior

Week 11: Scheduling

Week 12: The Repeat Test

Week 13: Personal Kanban

Week 14: Eat That Frog

Week 15: Vacation

Week 16: David Seah’s 7:15AM Ritual

Week 17: Another Simple and Effective Method

Week 18: Daily/Weekly/Monthly To-Do List

Week 19: Ultimate Time Management System

Week 20: Getting Things Done

Week 21: Time Blocking

Week 22: Morning Ritual

Week 23: Beat the Week

Week 24: Productivity Ritual

Week 25: Make it Happen in 10 Minutes

Week 26: Focus & Relief List

Week 27: Accountability Chart

Week 28: Limiting Choices

Week 29: Zen to Done

Week 30: Heatmapping

Week 31: Gamification

Week 32: The 12 Week Year

Week 33: David Seah’s Ten for Ten

Week 34: David Seah’s Emergent Task Planner

Week 35: Steve Kamb’s Do It Now