5 Weird Productivity Hacks That Really Might Work

Kyla Bills

Distractions happen and productivity can be hard to harness. Whether it’s a beautiful day right outside your window or Twitter gossip with your office bestie, sometimes things get in the way of getting things done.

But we all have our hacks, right? Some weirder than others. So, in the spirit of helping my fellow workers unlock new ways to do the damn thing, I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite productivity tips from colleagues, friends, and around the web.

Listen to music like you’re speedrunning a video game

Brenden Lovejoy, Art Director at New Stand, swears by speeding up his music while working. “When I need to turn my productivity up a notch, I listen to my typical music at 1.25x playback speed,” he says. “It naturally makes me think, react, and work faster—I feel like Adam Sandler in Click. Warning: When you switch the music back to the intended playback speed, you’ll feel like you’re living life in slow motion, which is also a vibe.”

Find a little motivation in someone whispering, “You can do it!” over and over again

When software engineer Owen L. is working through a big task, he throws on headphones and listens to encouraging ASMR videos by looking up “ASMR you can do it.” ASMR has the ability to elicit a lot of responses—from the physical to the emotional—so it’s no surprise that it can move you to finally start on the email you’ve been avoiding sending all week. He explains: “A soothing voice on the internet whispering to me that I can succeed in my tasks does make me believe I can finish.” Go figure.

Spend your morning Googling “baby animals meeting cute video long”

We all know that, for some reason, it’s emotionally rewarding to look at a video of a baby dog meeting a baby human and becoming best friends, but it might actually be helping you impress your boss. According to a study out of Hiroshima University in Japan, looking at cute—or kawaii—images correlates to a higher ability to perform subsequent tasks. While they think it’s because of the good mood it puts you in, who is to say for sure? All we know is that you have a perfectly good reason to never be embarrassed that your TikTok For You Page is filled with babies trying on glasses and seeing their parents clearly for the first time.

Up the stakes by racing against your dying laptop

Deadlines do really help most of us. Especially when they’re set by someone (or something) else. David Niu, Founder and CEO of TINYpulse, recommends racing to beat the clock of your laptop’s charge running out. Go to a coffee shop, leave your charger at home, and rush to get everything done before your laptop putters to a halt. You should hope in your race to the finish that you finish the five-page memo your boss asked you to have done at 5 PM.

Frantically play 2048 and hope no one’s looking at your computer screen

Remember the 2048 craze that swept the nation? I actually never left it. In times of desperation, with a deadline looming, my brain reverts back to 2014. After playing for 10 or 15 minutes (you might need to set a timer to make sure you stop, the game is famously addicting), it suddenly becomes easier to look at my computer screen. Maybe it’s the thrill of succeeding at something relatively silly that propels me through the day or maybe it’s the total brain emptiness that comes with pressing the arrow button on my laptop in a familiar pattern.

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