Posts

5 Things Productive People Don’t Do

Being a productivity expert means people are often ask me for ways to get more done. Many people, I find, approach this from the wrong angle. They want to know how they can write their lists for maximum efficiency or what smartphone app is going to manage their busy schedule. While these things can help, being productive isn’t so much about what you do, it’s more about what you don’t do.

I am a big believer in doing less with my day. This may seem like it’s at odds with being productive, but it’s much better to do a few things really well then lots of things poorly. For example, if you do a rushed job when you vacuum, you will probably have to go over it again in a couple of days. However, if you  try to reach into every nook and cranny you won’t have to worry about vacuuming again for a while. Read more

How Doing Nothing Can Help You Get More Done

I meet people all the time who struggle with their productivity because they believe that being efficient means doing as much as humanly possible, all day every day. Not true! Productivity is more about quality over quantity, as well as prioritizing your time to suit what is important to you.

I love finding other productivity nerds like myself who are just as passionate about this stuff. Like Chris Bailey author of The Productivity Project. Chris recently did a TEDx talk about the year he spent trying to hack his productivity. He found that the most important lesson he learned was how valuable meditation was in his day to day life.

While most people see meditation as doing ‘nothing’ Chris found that these quiet moments allowed him to reflect on his day and focus on the tasks ahead.

Being productive doesn’t mean you have to be physically doing something all the time!

Here are some of Chris’s top tips:

The Rule of Three – Keep it simple. Give yourself just three tasks that you want to have accomplished by the end of the day. By limiting how much you have to get done, you can be certain you’ll complete everything you set out to do! Once you’ve finished those three tasks you can move onto other smaller chores.

Quit Multitasking – I harp on about the perils of multitasking all the time so it’s good to see that someone else agrees with me! Chris points out that the more tasks you do at once, the less chance of success you have with any one task.

All Things in Moderation – You can’t be at your best if you haven’t slept well or had enough to eat. Balance your day and take care of yourself. Make sure to get a little exercise, as well as eat healthy meals. Chris is also a big believer in taking regularly breaks like me!

Disconnect – Technology is nice, but when we become reliant on it, it can really hamper our productivity. Treat the internet as a nice tool for occasional use instead of something you must have!

Let your Mind Wander – If you’re too busy rushing from one thing to another your mind never has a chance to relax. Downtime is often the best place for coming up with new ideas. It’s why I stopped reading articles at breakfast and just let myself have a peaceful moment! I’ve come up with so many ideas for my blog this way!

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-21-06-00

 

 

 

P.S. If you like TEDx talks you should check out my friend Terri’s! It’s about why you should stop searching for your passion and it has over 1,000,000 views!

Don’t Waste Your Sunday

I love Sundays! There’s so many things you can do with this final day (or first depending on how you look at it) in the week. You can catch up on errands and chores, relax with a bottle of wine and Netflix or get some much-needed sleep. The only problem with Sundays is that they feel really, really short!

It’s fairly normal to get to 9pm and look back and wonder where the day has gone. This can sometimes lead to “Sunday Evening Bum Out”. It can really set you off on the wrong foot for the start of the week.

Here are some ways to make sure you get the most out of this day so you can start on Monday feeling refreshed!

Plan your Monday on Friday – As tempting as it is to rush out of the office as soon as you can on a Friday – it might be worth to take a little bit of extra time to plan out your Monday. I like to make an action plan all the things I have to do so I can hit the ground running when I get into the office. It’s also smart to get your desk space and your email inbox tidy as well. Now you can relax all weekend knowing that your Monday will run smoothly. Read more

The 3 Classic Flaws of Productive People

What makes a person organized? If you ask my friends and family they’d say that I was born with stellar time management and organizational skills – but that’s not true!  I’m actually a procrastinator and it wasn’t until I became a TV producer that I got my act together because I had no other choice!  When your segment is going live – you need to be ready…no procrastinating allowed!

When I started to think about it – I  realized this is actually the case of most of the super-organized people I know. Many of them were once disorganized or procrastinated just like me.

So what changed? How were they able to overcome it? They found a coping system. A hack to make sure they accomplished their tasks despite their flaw. Here’s a few of the most common ones:

 

Being Forgetful – Whether it’s true or not, I forgot always sounds like the lamest excuse. While we are all permitted the occasional bout of forgetfulness, frequent memory lapses are seen as an excuse for laziness or a lack of motivation. In order to get by,  genuinely forgetful people turn to list making and organization as a way to keep themselves in line. Many forgetful people will develop a daily routine so that they don’t forget key tasks. They tend to struggle with too many lists as they compulsively write everything down.

Tip – A great trick that I use all the time myself is setting reminders in my phone. If a friend tells me she’s heading off to vacation on Friday, I set a reminder in my phone and then I don’t forget to wish her a good trip.

 

Perfectionism – It seems obvious, but many productivity obsessed people are perfectionists from a young age. Everything must have a purpose and a place – there is no room for error. Perfectionists also turn to lists because they hate it when things go wrong. So they will often make a backup plan for a backup plan! Their only downfall is they can sometimes waste time making sure their list is juuust right instead of getting on with it. Part of the problem here is also getting everything in line before getting started on a task.

Tip – Sometimes you just have to say “I’m going to work on this thing for 10 minutes and see how it goes.” Oftentimes that’s the only push you need to get started and combat being a perfectionist.

 

Handling Procrastination – As I’ve always said procrastination is my fatal flaw. I can always think of at least 10 other things I could do instead of the task I should be working on! So I started using lists to force myself to keep on track. The one problem I have though is that I will often waste time looking up apps or websites that could help me complete my tasks, when it would have been quicker to just do it!

Tip – Making daily lists of what I need to get done and breaking up a task into steps has been amazingly helpful when getting through my daily to dos.

What’s your flaw that forced you to be more productive?

 

What kind of List Maker are You?

Since starting this blog and writing my book Listful Thinking — one of my favorite parts is meeting lots of people who love making lists. Even at my day job, working as a news producer, I encounter tons of fellow list makers who can’t wait to swap list tips!

Over time I’ve started to notice that list makers tend to fall into certain categories, all with their own styles of list making.

Check out the categories below to figure out what kind of a list maker you are:

Monkey List Maker

You might be this list maker if:

  1. You have a list for – literally – everything.
  2. All your lists have a place, like a notebook or in Evernote.
  3. You keep them in a certain order or they are color coded.

These list makers are just like me and for them lists are serious business! Monkey list makers are normally very organized, but they can fall into the trap of spending more time writing lists than crossing items off! To stop yourself from doing this make sure that every task has a deadline – even if it’s not urgent create a ‘fake’ deadline.

Monkeys are known for being very smart and efficient.  Though if you’re a monkey and you don’t set a deadline – you may never get around to doing that task. Read more