Bringing Back “Old School” Productivity Hacks

As technology gets more and more advanced, we tend to forget how we used to do things.

Think of how shocked kids are when they hear how you did homework before the internet. (No one appreciates the dewey decimal system anymore!)

But are we becoming too reliant on technology? While it certainly makes our lives more convenient, we now bypass certain steps that helped us to stay on top of our organizational game.

Here are some ways kickin’ it “old school” will make you more productive:

Remember the Typewriter – This old piece of tech is symbolic of a whole generation, you’d be hard pressed to find a black and white movie that doesn’t include a typewriter. One of the downsides to the typewriter was that if you made a mistake you had to start over again. As much of a pain as this may be it made you more conscious of what you were typing. Read more

Cross These Tasks Off Your To-Do List

I love outsourcing. I mean who wouldn’t? You get to take your to-do list and hand it off to someone else!

What’s not to love?

However it’s one of the few productivity suggestions that when I mention to people, the response I get tends to be dubious.

The answer I always get is, “Well, I dunno, I like to do things myself.”

Sound familiar?

I’m a control freak, so I get it. Letting someone else be responsible for a part of my business (even if it is only a very small one) can feel scary. But if I can get past the control freak fear, then why can’t other people.

I think that most people actually aren’t afraid to outsource – they just don’t know where to start!

For example, if you asked a child if they wanted to give up their chores, of course they’d be happy. But when you tell them they have to pick just one — the choice becomes a bit more difficult. Read more

How Much is an Extra Hour Worth to You?

I have always been fascinated with the idea of how much our time is worth. It’s something I write about a lot on this blog.  Whether we are Presidents, CEO’s or an up and coming entrepreneur, we all get the same 24 hours in a day and it’s up to us how we use them.

I did a Google Survey and I asked thousands of people ““How much would you pay for an extra hour in your day?”

The majority of people responded that they would pay between $0-$199. So not very much at all. How interesting is that?

That 72% clearly valued their money over their time in the end.

However, the second highest group of people (11% of those surveyed) said they would be willing to pay over $1000! To those people an extra hour was practically priceless.

So why this huge disparity in how people value their time? Read more

Why You Didn’t Get Everything Done Last Year and How to Change That

The new year brings with it hope for the future but also a little guilt as well. Guilt because we look back at the previous year and think “oh I didn’t get to do as much as I set out to do.”

It happens and it’s disappointing.  And nothing reminds us more of this than looking at that unfulfilled bucket list.  Or starting yet another day with the best of intentions only to get sucked into your old roommate’s vacation photos on Facebook and then getting nothing done. We all promise ourselves that next year will be different.

However that’s quite statistically unlikely, given that only 8% of people achieve their resolutions!

So how do you break out of the vicious cycle? It’s all starts with how you make these goals. Here’ are the steps you need to finally cross off some of the most difficult tasks on your list!

Imagine next year’s Christmas letter – Every year people will send out Christmas letters detailingall the exciting trips they’ve been on t and all their new jobs/houses/kids/etc.  Whether or not you regularly write one of these, productivity guru and author Laura Vanderkam explains in her TED talk about  time management how you can use them to focus your goals. Laura suggests you imagine what you would write on next year’s letter today.  That vision includes the 3-5 key things that would have to happen for it to be a successful year. Once you have picked those things you have goals for the next year – now you just need an action plan.

Prioritize – Once you’ve picked your goals you don’t need to roar ahead, all guns blazing trying to achieve everything at once. Write out the steps you will need to take to achieve each goal and create a priority list of what is more urgent. Things that need to be started on right away, like training for a marathon, take top priority. You will need to start carving out time in your calendar for training and book your place in the race. Less important things like cleaning out the garage can wait until a later date (but this doesn’t mean you should ignore them altogether!) For an easy way to figure out how to prioritize your new goals, sign up for the FREE PDF I created for you called “Prioritize Like a Pro.”

Find the why – I wrote recently about a talk Julie Morgenstern gave, where she explained how she always used to hoard cookbooks.  And she couldn’t throw them away until she understood why she kept them. The reason — she kept them because they represented the mother she wanted to be. (Isn’t that heartbreaking?)  Similarly you can’t successfully do-over your goals from last year until you understand why you failed. Perhaps they were too big, or you didn’t give yourself enough time to do any of them or any research that would have helped. Sometimes you have to realize that maybe you won’t ever do it and toss the goal all together. We’re not all perfect, sometimes you have to let go of those goals you’ve never quite gotten around to and be OK with it. I, for instance will never learn to speak French. That’s one goal checked off by default!

What are some of your goals for 2017?

Expert List Techniques You’re Not Doing – But Should! (+ a freebie!)

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’re probably a pretty savvy list maker. So how do you take it to the next level?

Getting the most out of your list, firstly, means understanding how priorities work. For example, today you might want to pick up groceries and also start planning the first chapter of your book. (That’s two separate lists – I’m sure you already know that!)  But how do you make sure that the here and now doesn’t override your long term goals?

Split your lists into lists: Immediate Priority vs Long-Term Priority

Not only do I believe in having multiple lists, but those lists can be split into different categories. We aren’t talking about daily to-do lists here to be clear. These lists are IMMEDIATE PRIORITY vs. LONG-TERM PRIORITY lists.

I like to use Evernote to keep my goals separate – and I split them into 2 notebooks. Your active list is what you are going to do for the week (like writing that book chapter!) or other important things that are on your mind – like knocking off some of your Christmas shopping! In another notebook I store my long-term priority list. This is where I keep all my ongoing projects and reminders for things I need to do later in the month or later in the year.

For example, if your goal for now is to write chapter one of your book, it’s a good idea to keep your outlines for the later chapters in this notebook. You don’t need them right now, but you’ll want to have them handy for reference. Or you can keep links to the Google Docs where you keep your notes or inspiration in this folder as well.  Anything that will make it easier for you to start crossing off tasks is helpful.

Be very specific  

With your IMMEDIATE PRIORITY list you need to be very specific. For example, I make my daily to-do lists at the end of each day. I think of every email or phone call I want to make the next day and I clearly write out what needs to be done.  Instead of “emails” I will write “send an email to Trisha about Monday’s event” This helps me to keep on task during the day.  I’m also automatically prioritizing as I write my list.  

To learn how to do that sign up for my free giveaway “Prioritize Like a Pro.”

With LONG-TERM PRIORITY lists it’s good to have an overarching idea of what you want to do, but it’s best not to get too bogged down in the details. To go back to the book example, you would set yourself a deadline for when you want to complete each chapter and write and outline for each of them. But you wouldn’t plan the days you’re going to write it until you’re closer to that deadline. Then you can pull from that list when the time comes to make your daily to-do lists.

Plus these lists can overlap each other – by that I mean you’ll be using them at the same time. So you should reference them and pull items from the long-term priority list and stick it on the immediate priority lists. Eventually it will graduate to the daily to-do list. Think of each list as a stepping stone – as you move from one to the next you’re closer to completing the task.

The reason I keep these separate is so that you can focus more on what’s on your daily to-do list without getting too distracted by those big goals. I would recommend checking in on your long term priority list every week or so.  This way you know what tasks you have coming up. But you won’t feel overwhelmed by everything you have to do.  

If you’d like to check out my system to Prioritize Like a Pro fill in the form below and I’ll send you my free giveaway.