If you want to be more productive, you can usually find a hack that promises to help you get more done in less time. However, hacks don’t always solve the problem, and some are better than others.
A study by the business platform Rovva explored some of the most prevalent productivity hacks to see what worked, what didn’t, and why. The most effective hack was using two monitors, which can boost productivity by 42%. Other helpful practices include having natural light in your workspace, drinking water, and going for a walk, which help increase cognition and creativity.
Hacks that proved not to be effective include multitasking, taking cold showers, getting up earlier, and having a clean workspace. These were more dependent on the person. For example, natural early risers may benefit from getting up before others and using the quiet time to be productive, but night owls may not get the same results if they force themselves to wake up earlier.
The problem with most hacks is that they are a bandage and not a cure in a very distracted world, says Dr. Amantha Imber, founder of Inventium, innovation consultants based in Australia.
“The average desk worker checks email every six minutes,” she says. “This begs the question, what deep focused thinking can you have in six-minute increments? It’s a huge problem.”