Three Easy Steps To Increased Productivity

Three Easy Steps To Increased Productivity


Sometimes in the middle of trying to do all the things you need to attend to, it feels like all you’re doing is treading water while the to-do list floats all around you. We’ve got three small tips to help you get more daily tasks to shore.


Take control of your emails

Emails are like tiny time suckers. If you take the time to respond to every single one that floats into your inbox the second it floats in, you lose focus on what you’re doing, and then you have to take the time to yourself back into the swim of it things and the day gets away from you in small beeping chunks.


If you decide to respond later and then forget about the waiting emails, then that becomes a problem too.


The best thing to do is take control of the emails. Don’t stop what you’re doing every time one comes through, but do respond to them – at a time convenient to you.


Unless an email is absolutely urgent, deal with them in bunches at allotted times. That way instead of breaking your concentration every ten minutes, you’re dedicating 15 minutes chunks to emails throughout the day, and dedicating longer uninterrupted chunks to everything else.


Make the most of your commute

If you’re someone who has a long train or bus commute to work, that’s a great time to get through small chunks of work. Your commute is a great time to tackle a few emails. You answer them there and then  and save yourself all that time later.


No matter what task you tackle on the train, it will be a more productive hour than mindlessly trolling Facebook.


Determine your most productive hours

Different people are at their peak efficiency at different times of the day. Some are most productive after lunch when they’re full and happy. Others are most focused first thing in the morning. While others hit their peak efficiency after they’ve settled in and have been at work for an hour or two.


Figure out your optimum work time, and set yourself goals of doing larger or more demanding projects at that specific time.


Working according to your body’s natural rhythms is useful for getting things finished. Give yourself small easy tasks when you know your brain is on autopilot, and save the more complex things for when you’re at your mental best.



Decision Time

Decision Time


Do you have any projects on the backburner? Things you intend to do? Things you’ve started, but haven’t got around to finishing yet? Things you hope to one day do? How important are those things? How long have they been relegated to the backburner?


The limits for perpetual time

The sun comes up every morning and goes down every night. The predictability of life makes it seem somehow perpetual. If I don’t do this thing today, I can to it tomorrow. If I can’t get to it this week, I will get to it next week. In reality, the only time we ever know we have for sure is right now. This very moment.


Even though it sometimes seems like we have all the time in the world to do those things we mean to do, we really don’t. If we don’t purposefully allot a specific time to a specific task, chances are it will never make it from the backburner to the front burner. Chances are it will never get off the stove.


If you are not doing this thing you want to do now, when are you going to do it? Give a backburner project its moment by scheduling it in. Decide what you are going to do with your time. Don’t plan to do things some time. Plan to do them in specific times.


Consistently move things from the backburner to the front burner and off the stove entirely. Make way for new things. Take charge of your time and keep your life fresh and invigorated.


Use your time wisely. Decide what to do with it.

What You Don’t Do Is As Important As What You Do

What You Don’t Do Is As Important As What You Do


Everyone knows the importance of To-Do lists for keeping themselves on track and ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks. Often lost in the shadow of the powerful To-Do List is the less recognized but also important To-Don’t List.


You may not have heard of the To-Don’t List so let us explain. It’s a list of things you don’t want to do everyday. Things that hold you back, that drain your energy and productivity. That waste your time.


Here’s a quick overview of why a To-Don’t List can help you Avoid Time-Wasting or Repetitive Tasks from Lifehacker


Not only will creating a To-Don’t List help you remember all the things that hold you back, it will also help you clarify the things you want to add to your daily To-Do List.


Same as a To-Do list, your To-Don’t list needs to be personalized to your lifestyle and habits. Unlike a To-Do list that will probably change daily, a To-Don’t list is normally updated much less frequently, because of instead of being a list of specific things you need to do everyday, it’s more like a general list of things you don’t want to do everyday. So it will likely only get revised when you realize there’s something else that needs to be added to it.


Once you’ve got the To-Don’t List that works for you, post it where you can see it everyday.


Here are a few examples of things on our To-Don’t List:


Don’t stop what you’re doing every time an email comes through

Emails are like buses. They come through all day long and there’s always another one coming. Some of them are important, some less important and some are out and out time wasters.


No matter which category a specific email falls into, when you stop what you’re doing to attend to it you’re breaking the flow of whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish. Your concentration gets broken, you start thinking about other things and it takes time to get yourself back in the right mindset to finish what you were working on – and then another email shows up. Better to let the emails line up at the bus terminal and finish what you’re working on before taking a ride.


Don’t always fall back on what’s worked before

Learning shortcuts for doing things is great. But sometimes doing things the way you’ve always done them doesn’t give you the opportunity to come up with new, better ways of doing things. Pay close enough attention to what you’re doing to recognize when it’s time to try a different approach.


Don’t put off till tomorrow

“How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?” Just because we don’t like doing something doesn’t make it any less important. Instead of putting off things we don’t want to do or are afraid to do, it’s better to simply deal with them as they come up. Today.


Don’t dwell on the past

The past is full of positives and negatives. Dwelling on the past steals focus away from the present. Learn from it and then move on.


Don’t let yourself get dragged down by negative people

Negative people can drain your energy, and send you into your own negative feedback loop. Stay vigilant with your attitude. Recognize when you’re being influenced by someone else’s negativity and push the re-set button.


Not sure how to go about creating your To-Don’t List? Here are some suggestions from Allen Gannett in TNW News. The To-Don’t List: Things you will NOT do


Now it’s your turn. What’s on your To-Don’t List? Where are you going to put it so you’ll see it everyday?

All You Need Is A Minute

All You Need Is A Minute

We’ve all got a list of things to do every day. Some days we get through some things, some days everything, and some days none. That’s to be expected. We can’t always accomplish everything we want to do, but do you ever notice that some things keep moving from to-do list, to to-do list day after day without ever getting done?


The reason some things never get scratched off the list is because they seem so big and daunting. Oftentimes when a project or task feels overwhelming we put it aside until we feel mentally and physically ready to deal with it. Then by not dealing with it, the thing gets the added weight of a psychological barrier against doing it and we’re even less inclined to tackle it.


No matter what the size of your task, whether you’re prepared to do it or would rather put it off indefinitely, there’s a little trick that can completely change your perspective on it.


Give it a minute

Rather than getting intimidated or overwhelmed by the size of a project, deal with it in small, easy to manage segments. Essentially the trick is to only commit to one minute.


Set a timer and devote a single minute to your task. At the end of the minute you will have some sort of result. It probably won’t be a huge result, but it will be something. At that point you can either decide to come back and give your task another minute tomorrow or you can keep going. The hardest part of any project is getting started.


One minute is enough time to start, it’s enough time to put you into the proper mindset to get on with your task. You’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish by committing to a single minute!

Workday Hours Are Not All Created Equal

workday hours_edited-1


Some people are morning people, some night people, some 2:00 in the afternoon people. All of us have times of day when we feel most energized, most clear headed, most capable of getting the most done. Obviously that’s the time of day you should reserve to get your most important tasks done. The problem is, some of us haven’t taken the time to figure out exactly when our most productive time is. Sometimes we get so caught up just trying to keep up we don’t realize we’re frittering away our most productive hours of the day.


Your most productive time of day can change over time

You might think you’re a night person because you always found yourself burning the midnight oil while you were in school, but that may have been a consequence of the lifestyle you were leading at the time rather than a reflection of your true nature. Also as our lives evolve our most energetic, productive time of day can change too. To determine your current most productive time of day you just need to spend some time looking for patterns.


Take a week (including the weekend) and write down how you’re feeling at regular intervals throughout the day and evening. When you’re getting things done. When you have long stretches of easy concentration. Even though you’re not working, weekends can be really good for helping you figure this out because there are less defined time constraints on weekends. You can do things according to when you have the energy or the inclination to do them rather than because someone just told you that you needed to get it done yesterday.


Were there certain times of day when you found yourself steadily on-task without getting distracted by emails or Facebook or the need to get up and check out what was going on around the water cooler? If you consistently feel energetic at a certain time of day, that’s going to be your most productive time.


The link between energy levels and productivity

There’s a direct link between energy and productivity. The more energetic you feel the more productive you will be. So once you’ve figured out your most productive hours, one of the keys to getting the most out of them is ensuring you’re getting enough sleep.


90 minutes of focused work

Carve out 90 minute periods to take advantage of that productive energy. Over fifty years ago Nathaniel Kleitman, a sleep scientist discovered our sleep patterns cycle through 90 minute periods where we move from deep sleep to light sleep and back again. He also discovered our bodies cycle through a similar 90 minute pattern throughout the day, moving from higher to lower alertness every 90 minutes.


Meaning, although we can work for as many hours as we make ourselves sit there working, we work really well for 90 minute stretches. So to work optimally, we should recharge every ninety minutes. We’ve talked before about the importance of breaks. Getting up from your desk, stretching your arms over your head, going for a short walk, doing some deep breathing exercises. By focusing your efforts within two ninety minute cycles or even three during your high productivity hours, you won’t believe how much you’ll get done outside of the tired zone.


Do most demanding things during high productivity. Save more mundane or rote things for your less productive hours and watch yourself get so much more done every day.