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One Question That Will Help You Refocus and Achieve Greatness at Work

One Question That Will Help You Refocus and Achieve Greatness at Work

These days, people are working more, and feeling more stressed — yet still have significant financial concerns and feel behind. Research conducted by Groupon has talked about how people perceive their work-life balance.[1] Here are some of the findings:

  • 20% of the respondents said they worked 10 hours/day.
  • 60% of the respondents said there wasn’t enough time in the day to do everything.
  • 50% said workload was preventing them from work-life balance.
  • 53% said they still had significant financial concerns.
  • On a 1-10 scale, stress at home averaged a 5; at work, it averaged a 6.4.

That’s a lot of stress — but people still have financial concerns. What gives? How can we make this situation better?

Ask yourself a new question

    Chris Bailey, the author of The Productivity Project experimented with different techniques to help him organize and prioritize tasks. By modifying another productivity guru Brian Tracy’s approach, he arrived at this critical question:

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    “If you could just do one thing on a day, every day, what would you do that would allow you to accomplish the most with the same amount of time?”

    When you’ve got the answer for yourself, repeat the question but in a slightly different way: “If you could do only two more things all day, what second and third tasks let you accomplish the most in the same amount of time?”

    Not all tasks are created equal

      There are certain tasks in any job that, for every minute you spend on them, you can now accomplish more on other tasks.

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      Consider a project manager. They should be designing project workflow. Checking email is less important or almost a distraction. Customer service support, though? They should be checking email — and answering phones.

      Checking off many items on a list means nothing if nothing great was actually accomplished. This in some ways is the difference between “busy” and “productive.” When you’re spending time on things that matter, that is being productive. When you’re just checking off to-do list items, that oftentimes is just being “busy.” There’s no end game contribution.

      But when you spend more time and energy on items of significance, you accomplish more in the same amount of time — and by definition you are becoming more productive.

      Define your top priority task every day

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        By asking the critical question “If you could just do one thing on a day, every day, what would you do that would allow you to accomplish the most with the same amount of time?” you will be able to identify the most important task at the moment.

        Once the top priority task is defined, review your work progress every day by asking these Did I get done what I intended to? Did I invest enough time, attention, and energy in the right things?

        These questions will help you to evaluate your progress and it’s a self-check of whether you got distracted or remained focused on the most important things. This review also helps you to prepare a better plan for the next day.

        It all begins with defining priorities and what is truly important. Almost every day is going to have a personal or professional task that needs to come first above all. Isolate that task and work on what matters most. Achieve significant greatness even if you ignore 40 emails.

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        Most of life is about defining priorities

        Knowing your priority is the pathway to a more consistently successful version of self. Ask yourself the critical question to identify the one thing that matters most and design what you work on and focus towards around the answers. You are going to be more productive within days.

        Featured photo credit: Vecteezy via vecteezy.com

        Reference

        More by this author

        Leon Ho

        Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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        Last Updated on May 25, 2020

        10 Best Task List Apps to Boost Productivity in 2020

        10 Best Task List Apps to Boost Productivity in 2020

        Organizational drag is anything that eats up time and keeps people from getting things done in time. Companies that wish to boost productivity do so by creating more efficient processes.

        This also applies to individuals, freelancers, and entrepreneurs. Whether you work alone or as part of a team, it is important to use the right tools to boost productivity, and having an accessible and easily manageable task list can go a long way.

        Here is a list of the top ten productivity apps that you can use to achieve more.

        1. ToDoist

          ToDoist is an awesome to-do task list app that is used by over 10 million people. To use the app, you just have to write down all the activities that you plan to do. The software will then interpret these activities and categorize the tasks accordingly.

          For instance, if you create a task to go for lunch at noon with a friend, the app will automatically categorize this task as a meeting and will send you a reminder at the right time.

          However, this app is more than a personal activity planner. You can use it to plan activities for the entire team. It is also good for planning entire projects, discussing details about the project, and monitoring the deadlines.

          The basic functionality is free, but you can unlock premium features for $36 or $60 a year for full access.

          Available on iOS and Android

          2. monday.com

            This productivity app lets you manage your workflows and tasks. It is a great tool for creating a task list and helping you have a clear view of your work and the status of each task.

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            The app is a bit similar to a spreadsheet. However, it looks much nicer, and it allows you to toggle between multiple views. It gives you alerts and notifications, and it allows you to attach files as well as communicate with colleagues.

            The features of Monday.com include a task board that can be customized to manage due date, hours spent, task status, and much more. Users can upload and attach files, make comments, mention members of their team, and more. It can also be integrated into Google Drive, Slack, GitHub, Jira, Dropbox, and many other platforms.

            If you have problems setting it up, you can contact the customer via email or phone.

            Available on iOS and Android

            3. CloudApp

              CloudApp is a great app for boosting productivity. It offers highly intuitive communication, which can help you save up to 56 hours a week. Your only problem will be deciding how you can utilize all the extra time.

              Whether you are talking with a customer, colleague, or client, this app has all the features you need. With GIFs, screenshots, and image annotation, you no longer have to write lengthy emails. Instead, you can show people what you want them to do.

              The app has over 3 million users. It has proven quite reliable when it comes to helping users to boost productivity. You can opt for the free version or you can opt for a $9 a month upgrade to access premium features.

              Available on iOS

              4. Quip

                If you are working closely with members of your team, Quip is a great app for team activities. The platform combines spreadsheets, documents, slides, and chat. Its main strength is that it comes with a suite of Live Apps. You can use them to increase the functionality of Quip.

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                Moreover, you will waste less time by being able to streamline the use of various tools. Quip is one of the most adaptable productivity apps in the world.

                There are options to use connected tools to track time, manage work, and much more. Some of the integrations of Quip are Dropbox, Github, Slack, Salesforce, and much more. The app costs just $30 a month for 5 users.

                Available on iOS and Android

                5. Trello

                  Trello is an app that makes managing projects an easy task. This is made possible by the app’s Kanban philosophy. It is a visual and intuitive platform.

                  Users can break huge tasks into small chunks, making it useful for creating a task list. This is made possible by creating cards for each task. The cards can be organized into different columns, which are representative of various stages of the project. Once a task is complete, a card is moved from one column to the next.

                  The app is free but it comes with a premium plan with $9.99 a month.

                  Available on iOS and Android

                  6. Focus Keeper

                    This app is perfect for those who wish to improve their work habits and minimize distractions while maintaining focus on current tasks. Focus Keeper is based on the Pomodoro technique. This method utilizes timeboxing to ensure each task is complete.

                    This is more than a task list app. If you wish to understand how you work best, the app delivers a suite of tools that you can use to set up your workday. It tracks your hours, analyzes, checks interruptions, and much more. Some of the integrations of Focus Keeper are Trello, Asana, Todoist, Basecamp, Outlook, Google Keep, and many others.

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                    The app costs $2.99 a month for those who wish to access premium features. It is accessible on Linux, iOS, Android, web, macOS, and Windows.

                    Available on iOS and Android

                    7. Quire

                      This app is designed as a professional and personal to-do task list manager. The app has a very efficient and optimized design due to the developers’ philosophy on visual task management. It allows you to easily get updates and work with your teammates.

                      The app also allows users to customize and choose templates based on their preferences. It is easy to use, but it helps you get things done. The app is currently free.

                      Available on iOS and Android

                      8. Asana

                        This Kanban-style app is quite popular. It helps you visually organize your tasks. With this app, you can set deadlines, tasks, assignees, and visualize your workflow. It is quite popular and used by many people.

                        The app features a sleek clutter-free design and comes with several integrations. As a result, it can be adapted to a wide range of projects. The app costs $9.99 a month.

                        Available on iOS and Android

                        9. Toggl

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                          You can use this simple time tracker to help boost your team’s productivity. It works on different devices across several platforms, and it comes with numerous friendly reminders to ensure that you remember to keep it on. It usually sends you a report once you complete a task to help you make improvements next time.

                          The app is free and those who wish to access premium features pay $9 a month.

                          Available on iOS and Android

                          10. Omni Focus

                            This app is considered the gold standard of the to-do apps. Omni Focus delivers a huge number of features that can be used to sort, prioritize, and plan tasks. It features several ways to categorize tasks such as location, energy needed, and priority.

                            It is only available on Apple devices and it costs $39.99 for the standard package.

                            Available on iOS

                            Summary

                            All the apps above are great for boosting productivity. However, you will need to pick one that best suits your needs. Try a number of them out before you decide to settle on one.

                            More Tools for Productivity

                            Featured photo credit: Bram Naus via unsplash.com

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