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8 Approaches Ultra-Productive People Use To Finish Their Tasks

8 Approaches Ultra-Productive People Use To Finish Their Tasks

Are you always racing against time? Do you always find yourself stuck with a lot of tasks and no way to manage them? Do you have a satisfied feeling at the end of the day or are you sulking over where the day went? Do you often wonder how others balance their time and get everything done?

You have landed at exactly the right place! Here, we will tell you how to be ultra-productive and make the most of your time – the most precious yet scare resource for every human being. Let’s not waste any time and get on with the approaches that you can actually start applying today. These are the tried and tested approaches used by ultra-productive people.

1. They know their priorities

All of us seem to have a LOT on our hands all the time and it is always very important. But trust me, if we look closely, we would find that not everything on our to-do list is equally important. Some of them are and some of them are not. Some can be delegated, some cannot be.

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Ultra-productive people know their priorities better than the rest of us. So, we need to follow their lead and prioritize tasks. Also, when we accomplish the most important things, we tend to get even more motivated to get on with the rest of things to be done.

2. They don’t defer tasks

Either they do it, delegate it or eliminate it, but they never defer it. Delaying a thing to be done later means that you will have to look at it twice, read it twice or comprehend it twice. That’s a big time-waster. Tackle the task at hand immediately, delegate it if you can or decide that it is not required.

3. They focus on one task at one time

Multi-tasking is old school, ultra-productive people focus instead! If you are trying to multi-task, you may think that you are saving time or getting a lot done in little time but usually that’s not true. Instead of this approach, it is much better to focus on one task and finish it by a decided timeline. This will not only help you in achieving better results but will actually save you time and energy.

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4. They don’t say “yes” to everything

Saying yes to everything is a sure way to end up not getting what you want. Productive people say no more than they say yes. This way, they have only those things to do that really matter to them or can really make a difference. If you say yes to everything, you won’t be able to get even half of them done and end up disappointing yourself as well as others.

Learning to say no is an important step that can boost your productivity. Over-commitment is a key to failure.

5. They set aside specific time for email and other ways of communication

Being connected all the time is a fallacy that has sneaked into all of our daily activities. Apparently, it doesn’t take specific time because we falsely believe that we are “just checking” our smart phones when waiting in a queue or so but this activity takes both our precious mental energy and time.

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Ultra-productive people check their emails and other messages only at specific times. This way, they can focus on the task at hand and can complete it more successfully.

6. They do the least inspiring thing first

Generally people try to delay doing the stuff that they find least interesting. That’s a wrong approach for productivity. Ultra-productive people tackle such things first. This way, they have a clearer mind to do rest of the activities and can actually look forward to them. Otherwise, a less interesting task to be done would keep nagging you even when you are involved in your favorite activities.

7. They plan their day

They plan effectively. Good planning is like getting almost half the task done! If you plan your day or week, you will be quite clear about what needs to be done, how much time it will consume and what are the expected results. Otherwise, you will keep doing things constantly and the results might be vague or undesired.

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8. They have a to-do list

Documenting things is one of the best ways to be absolutely clear about your thoughts. Ultra-productive people document their tasks. Sometimes, by following this practice, we can be surprised by the results ourselves. When we write down things, we put them in black and white. In our mind, things can be a jumbled mess but when you write them, you know exactly what needs to be done.

Featured photo credit: university student group/www.audio-luci-store.it via flickr.com

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Lianne Martha Maiquez Laroya

Lianne is a licensed financial advisor, Registered Financial Planner, entrepreneur and book author.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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