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Want To Know How Much You’re Getting Done In A Day?

Want To Know How Much You’re Getting Done In A Day?

I’ve always been interested in finding new ways to boost my productivity.

Recently, a colleague of mine recommended an online productivity assessment tool that he’d tried out. His words caught my attention, especially as he mentioned that the assessment was free – and only took around 2 minutes to complete!

For most people (including myself), productivity is the difference between success and failure.

Just think about your typical working day… However well you plan your tasks at the start of the day, if your productivity falls below par, you’ll quickly find yourself running out of time to complete all your work.

So, what is the online productivity assessment that my colleague recommended?

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It’s called the GTD-Q® assessment. Developed by David Allen, the assessment evaluates two key elements of self-management: control and perspective.

While the assessment is not supposed to be a comprehensive overview of the way you work, in just 2 minutes of answering some simple questions, you’ll be able to gain valuable insight into what your personal productivity level currently looks like.

Could a 2-Minute Quiz Help You Get Things Done?

David Allen created his Getting Things Done®(GTD) system after he came to the realization that: “Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.”

GTD is the work-life management system that has helped countless individuals and organizations bring order from chaos.

People who have undertaken the system report greater performance, capacity and innovation. On top of these things, the system helps alleviate the feeling of being overwhelmed, while at the same time instilling focus, clarity and confidence in the individual.

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What does the assessment look like? Well, here’s a screenshot of the first five questions…

    There are 18 questions in total, and as I’ve mentioned earlier, it should just take you a couple of minutes to answer them all.

    As you can see from the screenshot above, for each question (or statement) that you are presented with, you’ll have a choice of selecting one of the following answers:

    1. Strongly Disagree
    2. Disagree
    3. Neutral
    4. Agree
    5. Strongly Agree

    It’s important to remember that there are no wrong or right answers in the quiz. Instead, focus on answering all the questions in as open and honest manner as possible. By doing this, you’ll gain the most benefits from taking the assessment.

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    Once you’ve submitted all your answers, you’ll be immediately presented with an appraisal of your strengths and weaknesses. It’ll look something like this:

      The above image shows in a striking visual form how your self-control and perspective determine the way you work – and your level of productivity.

      On the results page, you’ll also be given a brief written overview of your strengths and weaknesses, and what you can do to improve these. For instance, the example above has the following wording associated with it:

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        How the GTD-Q Assessment Can Help You

        You’ll probably already know where you stand on some of the questions. For example, “My life is too chaotic” is a dead giveaway, as is “I have a good way to track all of my things to do.”

        However, not all of the answers are as straightforward, and it’s the totality of your answers that draws together the assessment’s conclusions.

        As you’ve seen from the image above, your test results will place you into one of four quadrants:

        1. Visionary (Crazy Maker)
        2. Captain and Commander (Autocrat)
        3. Responder (Victim)
        4. Implementer (Micro Manager)[1]

        Whichever quadrant you’re placed into, you’ll be given some insights for improving your productivity – or, at the very least, confirmation about what usually challenges you.

        Finally, it’s only fair to warn you that the 2-minute assessment is definitely a tool to help sell the GTD system. However, the good news is, that you don’t have to buy or sign-up for anything to see if you’re a Visionary (Crazy Maker), Captain and Commander (Autocrat), Responder (Victim) or Implementer (Micro Manager). You’ll also get the basic insights and advice for free too.

        So, don’t hesitate, head over to the GTD-Q assessment now – and discover how you work, and how you could improve your work.

        Reference

        [1] Success With CRM: GTD-Q: Which quadrant should you be in?

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        Brian Lee

        Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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        Last Updated on July 13, 2020

        How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

        How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

        Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

        If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

        1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

        The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

        Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

        For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

        The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

        2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

        Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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        As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

        Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

        3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

        Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

          This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

          We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

          Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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          When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

          Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

          4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

          Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

          For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

          Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

          5. Make Decisions

          For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

          If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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          If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

          Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

          I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

          This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

          The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

          6. Take Some Form of Action

          Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

          The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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          It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

          Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

          The Bottom Line

          Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

          When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

          More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

          Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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