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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 September 11, 2019

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

How often do you feel overwhelmed and disorganized in life, whether at work or home? We all seem to struggle with time management in some area of our life; one of the most common phrases besides “I love you” is “I don’t have time”. Everyone suggests working from a to-do list to start getting your life more organized, but why do these lists also have a negative connotation to them?

Let’s say you have a strong desire to turn this situation around with all your good intentions—you may then take out a piece of paper and pen to start tackling this intangible mess with a to-do list. What usually happens, is that you either get so overwhelmed seeing everything on your list, which leaves you feeling worse than you did before, or you make the list but are completely stuck on how to execute it effectively.

To-do lists can work for you, but if you are not using them effectively, they can actually leave you feeling more disillusioned and stressed than you did before. Think of a filing system: the concept is good, but if you merely file papers away with no structure or system, the filing system will have an adverse effect. It’s the same with to-do lists—you can put one together, but if you don’t do it right, it is a fruitless exercise.

Why Some People Find That General To-Do Lists Don’t Work?

Most people find that general to-do lists don’t work because:

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  • They get so overwhelmed just by looking at all the things they need to do.
  • They don’t know how to prioritize the items on list.
  • They feel that they are continuously adding to their list but not reducing it.
  • There’s a sense of confusion seeing home tasks mixed with work tasks.

Benefits of Using a To-Do List

However, there are many advantages working from a to-do list:

  • You have clarity on what you need to get done.
  • You will feel less stressed because all your ‘to do’s are on paper and out of your mind.
  • It helps you to prioritize your actions.
  • You don’t overlook so many tasks and forget anything.
  • You feel more organized.
  • It helps you with planning.

4 Golden Rules to Make a To-Do List Work

Here are my golden rules for making a “to-do” list work:

1. Categorize

Studies have shown that your brain gets overwhelmed when it sees a list of 7 or 8 options; it wants to shut down.[1] For this reason, you need to work from different lists. Separate them into different categories and don’t have more than 7 or 8 tasks on each one.

It might work well for you to have a “project” list, a “follow-up” list, and a “don’t forget” list; you will know what will work best for you, as these titles will be different for everybody.

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2. Add Estimations

You don’t merely need to know what has to be done, but how long it will take as well in order to plan effectively.

Imagine on your list you have one task that will take 30 minutes, another that could take 1 hour, and another that could take 4 hours. You need to know the moment you look at the task, otherwise you undermine your planning, so add an extra column to your list and include your estimation of how long you think the task will take, and be realistic!

Tip: If you find it a challenge to estimate accurately, then start by building this skill on a daily basis. Estimate how long it will take to get ready, cook dinner, go for a walk, etc., and then compare this to the actual time it took you. You will start to get more accurate in your estimations.

3. Prioritize

To effectively select what you should work on, you need to take into consideration: priority, sequence and estimated time. Add another column to your list for priority. Divide your tasks into four categories:

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  • Important and urgent
  • Not urgent but important
  • Not important but urgent
  • Not important or urgent

You want to work on tasks that are urgent and important of course, but also, select some tasks that are important and not urgent. Why? Because these tasks are normally related to long-term goals, and when you only work on tasks that are urgent and important, you’ll feel like your day is spent putting out fires. You’ll end up neglecting other important areas which most often end up having negative consequences.

Most of your time should be spent on the first two categories.

4.  Review

To make this list work effectively for you, it needs to become a daily tool that you use to manage your time and you review it regularly. There is no point in only having the list to record everything that you need to do, but you don’t utilize it as part of your bigger time management plan.

For example: At the end of every week, review the list and use it to plan the week ahead. Select what you want to work on taking into consideration priority, time and sequence and then schedule these items into your calendar. Golden rule in planning: don’t schedule more than 75% of your time.

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Bottom Line

So grab a pen and paper and give yourself the gift of a calm and clear mind by unloading everything in there and onto a list as now, you have all the tools you need for it to work. Knowledge is useless unless it is applied—how badly do you want more time?

To your success!

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Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews via unsplash.com

Reference

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