TikTok is a phenomenon that no one saw coming. A music app that transformed into a cornerstone of pop culture content in 2020? I wouldn’t have believed it if you’d told me twelve months ago that I’d be scrolling for hours a week, but here we are. I also wouldn’t have believed you if you told me about a mass quarantine, so I guess a lot has changed since 2019.
What’s interesting about TikTok is that you can find all types of intel and information about topics you’d never expect to learn about on a platform made for teens and college students (close to half of all users are between 18 and 24 years old, according to Hootsuite). On the platform, there’s often reference to the “X side of TikTok” — there are dozens upon dozens of genres of content you can find, and the cool thing about the TikTok algorithm is that once you start engaging with a specific type of content, the more it will show up on your For You Page (this is basically the equivalent of the Instagram Explore page).
The TikTok algorithm can be a blessing and a curse, as it’s what often keeps me hooked on the app — if they’re serving me the exact type of content I engage with and share, my time on-platform increases dramatically. The average TikTok user spends about 46 minutes per day on the app, which is a pretty impressive number considering that there are more than 500 million app users around the world. Even more staggering considering the app was created just four years ago, and only rose to mass popularity in the United States in late 2019.
One of the “sides” of TikTok that I found interesting was the organizational and productivity side of TikTok, aka TikTok productivity hacks. Three words that no one would ever think to pair together. There are actual productivity gurus sharing tips and tricks with their audience about how to work smarter, and the tips were pretty good. Ahead, here’s a breakdown of the six best productivity tips I learned on TikTok.
Einstein and Aristotle used to do it, so it must be a good idea. This productivity hack is all about taking bringing the mind to it’s most creative and productive time. The idea is that you’re at your most productive and creative when you’re between the stages of being awake and being asleep, so simulating the experience of falling asleep and quickly waking yourself will supercharge your productivity, creativity, and overall performance. But be careful — if you sleep for more than 20 minutes, this could actually cause a productivity decline.
Harvard Business Review recently named this tip the most effective way to be productive, so you know it’s got to be good. At its most basic, timeboxing is a technique that helps you manage your time by allocating certain hours of the day to specific tasks. And in this TikTok, we learn how to use a Timebox planner to denote our most important tasks and stay on track. In this planner, there’s a “Priorities” section, where your top three priorities are listed for the day, a “Task Dump” section, where all relevant tasks are written out freeform, and then a calendar section, where you’ll give each time a timebox.
If you’re into a more digital approach to timeboxing, check out a productivity tool like Hive that has a resourcing capability. With Hive, you can assign specific tasks chunks of time in your calendar, so you can ensure that all of your priorities and task dump tasks are completed.
The Eisenhower’s Box For Time Management
Developed by Dwight Eisenhower in the 1900’s, this productivity hack is great for people that have several urgent or important tasks on their plate that they’re having trouble sifting through. The idea here is that, to plan, you create a box and divide it into four sections. The upper left section is labeled “U+I,” which stands for “Urgent and Important,” the upper right section is labeled “I,” which stands for important, and lower left corner is labeled “U,” for things that are urgent, and the lower right corner is labeled “None,” which means that it is not urgent or important, and is an area where things like, watching TV or, ironically, watching TikTok, would go.
Once you’ve created your box, brainstorm all of the tasks you need to do. If you’re using a tool for project management like Hive, you can take all of your tasks in My Actions and use that as a starting point. Then, sort each task into one of the four boxes, and start tackling the tasks in the top left box first. From there, delegate the important but not urgent tasks (lower left box) to teammates, and decide on a time to do the urgent but not important tasks in the future (upper right box).
A Jeff Bezos signature, this rule helps control the size of meetings, which is especially critical at large organizations who could fall into the trap of “more is more.” This rule states that if two pizzas couldn’t feed the people in a room for a meeting, the meeting is too large. This helps Bezos stay focused and cut down on the amount of meetings people need to attend, as well as the time it will take for them to be completed. Typically, more people = longer meetings. With this hack, the richest man in the world is protecting his time and the time of others at his company.
If you’re in a position at your organization to control meeting size, try to keep attendees under eight people. What Jeff says goes.
An especially useful trick when you’re working from home, object layering is exactly what it sounds like, and is most usefully applied to things like your cell phone. Here’s how to object layer to prevent checking your phone:
- Grab a sticky note and write a reminder on the note
- Turn your phone off, place it in a different location, and put the sticky note on top
- Hide it in a drawer or a place so it isn’t in your immediate periphery
By putting several layers between a distracting object, like your phone, and yourself, you’re postponing mindless scrolling, endless text notifications, and other distractions.
This is a genius tip for all students or individuals who have been tasked with reading articles or additional content — by converting articles and text into a podcast, you can “read” the article while doing other work simultaneously, therefore increasing productivity. The Google Chrome extension that does this for you is called Podcastle.AI, and it’s a total game-changer. Imagine the amount of time you could’ve saved if you’d been able to listen to all of your reading materials while multitasking?!
This list is a by no means exhaustive explanation of the top productivity hacks on TikTok, and that’s what makes the app so great. There’s always more to watch, learn, and listen to. If you’ve got a TikTok productivity hack that we need to know about, leave it in the comments below.