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13 Productivity Tips From People Getting Stuff Done

13 Productivity Tips From People Getting Stuff Done

When did being productive get so complicated?

Remember the good ol’ days when technology and productivity actually worked together, one helping the other? Nowadays, it feels like these two aspects of our day-to-day are at odds. With technology creating unlimited access to everything, distractions are on the rise and productivity is harder to master.

Well, not for everyone.

Luckily, the leaders of the pack are finding ways to navigate through the rise of distractions and still get stuff done. With these gurus openly sharing their wisdom with the rest of us, hopefully we can restore the delicate balance between technology and productivity. Here are 13 tips from the experts.

Prioritizing Your Priorities

Apply yourself to the things that generate positive ROI and you’ll never get lost under a pile of to-dos that keep you busy but render no value or tangible outcome. Being “scatterbrained” is a great excuse when you pass off mediocre work. Zero in on your strengths and assign yourself to singular tasks while passing off the rest into capable hands.

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1. “Your time is $1000/hour, and you need to act accordingly.” – Jason Cohen, A Smart Bear

2. “Pick one thing and do that one thing – and only that one thing – better than anyone else ever could.” – Jason Goldberg, Fab.com

3. “Delegation is the most important fuel for productivity. Having more staff should double, triple, quadruple, etc. your time. Cultivate a sense of ownership in the company.” – Daniel Tan Kh, SomoThemes

How Technology Can Help

Unload your brain of the tedium to give yourself some space for creative and critical thinking. Clutter in your brain become the distractions that veer you off course. Here is where technology can help you stay focused.

4. “Get a reminder app for everything. Do not trust your own brain for your memory.” – Julien Smith, Breather

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5. “Use RescueTime to block off all social media sites and email for 90-120 minutes first thing in the morning. Focus on your most important one or two to-dos. If processing email on Gmail later, use The Email Game to double speed.” – Tim Ferriss, The 4-hour Workweek

6. “Use Trello.com to map out all of the tasks of the company. This gives a macro view of what’s going on and allows you to delegate tasks that may better be completed by another person.” – Matt DeCelles, Serial Entrepreneur

The Truth of the Matter

Be honest with yourself. Productivity is of course the ideal but it isn’t the only thing that matters. Having a realist approach is the best way to stay motivated to keep going.

7. “Only plan for 4-5 hours of real work per day.” – David Heinemeier Hansson, 37Signals

8. “It’s normal to have days where you just can’t work and days where you’ll work 12 hours straight.” – Alain Paquin, Whatsnexx

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Simplify the Chaos

The big picture can be overwhelming to most people so remember, it’s all in the small details. It doesn’t have to be overcomplicated to be great.

9. “Separate thinking and execution to execute faster and think better.” – Sol Tanguay, HEC Montreal

10.“Break the unreasonable down into reasonable chunks. A big goal is only achieved when every little thing that you do every day gets you closer to that goal.” – Maren Kate Donovan, Escaping the 9 to 5

11. “Build routines and habits so you’re not deciding, you’re just doing.” – Eric Barker, Barking Up the Wrong Tree

Master Your Schedule

Remember that you’re in charge. The choices you make with your time are completely up to you. Sometimes it feels like you’re racing against the clock but when you do it right, it’s you who’s holding the reins.

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12. “Set a no matter what date. To be profitable. To quit. To make a change. Stick to it as if it’s life or death. Because likely is.” – Danielle Laporte, White Hot Truth

13. “Work in 30-45 minute bursts. Our minds can’t handle anything more. Even if you’re on fire, pull yourself away and reflect for at least a few minutes.” – Jonathan Fields, Author

As the experts tell us, it’s all about priorities, technology, honesty, simplicity and time management when it comes to mastering productivity. For more protips, check out 101 Productivity Tips & Lifehacks From The Pros. Then find out how you can Enhance Productivity and Stop Over-Thinking: 3 Quick Ways to Get Out of Your Own Way.

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

Have you ever thought of yourself as a problem solver? I’m guessing not. But in reality, we are constantly solving problems. And the better our problem solving skills are, the easier our lives are.

Problems arise in many shapes and forms. They can be mundane, everyday problems, or larger more complex problems:

What to have for dinner tonight?

Which route to take to work?

How to fix a project that’s running behind schedule?

How to change from an uninspiring job to a career you’re really passionate about?

Every day, you’ll be faced with at least one problem to solve. But it gets easier when you realize that problems are simply choices. There’s nothing ‘scary’ about them other than having to make a decision.

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No matter what job you’re in, where you live, who your partner is, how many friends you have, you will be judged on your ability to solve problems. Because problems equal hassles for everyone concerned. And people don’t like hassle. So the more problems you can solve, the less hassle all-round, the happier people are with you. Everyone wins.

Why Are Problem Solving Skills Important?

Problem is something hard to understand or accomplish or deal with. It can be a task, a situation, or even a person. Problem solving involves methods and skills to find the best solutions to problems.

Problem solving is important because we all have decisions to make, and questions to answer in our lives. Amazing people like Eleanor Roosevelt, Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., are all great problems solvers. Good parents, teachers, doctors and waiters all have to be good at solving different sort of problems as well.

Problem solving skills are for our everyday lives.

How to Enhance Problem Solving Skills

Most people believe that you have to be very intelligent in order to be a good problem solver, but that’s not true.

You don’t have to be super smart to be a problem solver, you just need practice.

When you understand the different steps to solve a problem, you’ll be able to come up with great solutions.

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1. Focus on the Solution, Not the Problem

Neuroscientists have proven that your brain cannot find solutions if you focus on the problem.[1] This is because when you focus on the problem, you’re effectively feeding ‘negativity,’ which in turn activates negative emotions in the brain. These emotions block potential solutions.

I’m not saying you should ‘ignore the problem,’ instead, try to remain calm. It helps to first, acknowledge the problem; and then, move your focus to a solution-oriented mindset where you keep fixed on what the ‘answer’ could be, rather than lingering on ‘what went wrong’ and ‘who’s fault it is’.

2. Adapt 5 Whys to Clearly Define the Problem

5 Whys is a problem solving framework to help you get to the root of a problem.

By repeatedly asking the question “why” on a problem, you can dig into the root cause of a problem, and that’s how you can find the best solution to tackle the root problem once and for all. And it can go deeper than just asking why for five times.

For example:

If the problem is “always late to work”…

  • Why am I late to work?
    I always click the snooze button and just want to go on sleeping.
  • Why do I want to go on sleeping?
    I feel so tired in the morning.
  • Why do I feel tired in the morning?
    I slept late the night before, that’s why.
  • Why did I sleep late?
    I wasn’t sleepy after drinking coffee, and I just kept scrolling my Facebook feed and somehow I couldn’t stop.
  • Why did I drink coffee?
    Because I was too sleepy at work in the afternoon, not having enough sleep the night before.

So there you see, if you didn’t try to dig out the root of the problem, you may just set a few more alarms and have it beep every five minutes in the morning. But in fact, the problem you need to solve is to quit Facebook surfing endlessly at night so you’ll feel more energetic in the day time, and you won’t even need coffee.

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3. Simplify Things

As human beings, we have a tendency to make things more complicated than they need to be! Try simplifying your problem by generalizing it.

Remove all the details and go back to the basics. Try looking for a really easy, obvious solution – you might be surprised at the results! And we all know that it’s often the simple things that are the most productive.

4. List out as Many Solutions as Possible

Try to come up with ‘ALL POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS’ – even if they seem ridiculous at first. It’s important you keep an open mind to boost creative thinking, which can trigger potential solutions.

Coming from 10 years in the corporate advertising industry, it is drummed into you that ‘No idea is a bad idea’ and this aids creative thinking in brainstorms and other problem-solving techniques.

Whatever you do, do not ridicule yourself for coming up with ‘stupid solutions’ as it’s often the crazy ideas that trigger other more viable solutions.

5. Think Laterally

Change the ‘direction’ of your thoughts by thinking laterally. Pay attention to the saying,

‘You cannot dig a hole in a different place by digging it deeper.”

Try to change your approach and look at things in a new way. You can try flipping your objective around and looking for a solution that is the polar opposite!

Even if it feels silly, a fresh and unique approach usually stimulates a fresh solution.

6. Use Language That Creates Possibility

Lead your thinking with phrases like ‘what if…’ and ‘imagine if…’ These terms open up our brains to think creatively and encourage solutions.

Avoid closed, negative language such as ‘I don’t think…’ or ‘But this is not right…’.

The Bottom Line

There’s nothing scary about a problem when you start to adapt my advice.

Try not to view problems as ‘scary’ things! If you think about what a problem really is, it’s really just feedback on your current situation.

Every problem is telling you that something is not currently working and that you need to find a new way around it.

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So try to approach problems neutrally – without any judgment. Practice focusing on defining a problem, keep calm and not to make things too complicated.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Planet of Success: Problem vs Solution Focused Thinking

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